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Uneasy about doctor's advice

(72 Posts)
PerpetualStudent Thu 30-Nov-17 08:47:05

My DD is gaining weight very poorly. She's 11 weeks and has barely added a lb to her birth weight. (3.1kg to 3.5kg. She was born at 38 weeks and has had several colds, poor mite)
She is BF, on demand without any issues as far as I can see (DS had tongue tie so know what to look for there) has wet/dirty nappies etc, though green poos since latesr cold.
Have been in and out of GPs getting her weight monitored since 6 week check. Yesterday DP took her, as I am poorly with mastitis, and saw a different doctor.
His advice was to swap completely to formula for 5 days, barr BF enough to relieve the mastitis to 'check if the milk is the problem' With the assumption that I can switch to pumping, and presumably back to BF if this isn't the problem, without messing up my supply.

To me this feels like very wrong-headed advice? From what I understand a tiny %age of women have real supply issues, surely my DD needs to start getting tests for other issues?
Literally since her birth formula has been suggested to me by midwives, Drs, HV - it feels like for any issue BF is seen as the weak link to be eliminated before other action is taken.
Im not anti formula, DS was mix fed, but I feel like there could be a real problem here which is not being identified due to formula being treated as a magic bullet?

Has anyone else been advised to do this formula check/swap?

LunasSpectreSpecs Thu 30-Nov-17 08:52:55

Please phone the National Breastfeeding Helpline or get on their webchat.

I'm a trained bf counsellor and this isn't advice I'd ever give in the situation you outline, especially to a mother with mastitis. You really need to speak with an expert in depth about what's going on. GPs are notoriously poorly trained on breastfeeding.

cinnamonswirlies Thu 30-Nov-17 08:56:17

Such little weight gain in 11 weeks would worry me enormously.

Perhaps the GP wants to focus on ensuring the baby gains weight and is nourished first and foremost, then try to work out what else may be going on.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Thu 30-Nov-17 08:57:13

It sounds like you know what you're doing, and surely the mastitis would be made worse by reducing BFing?

How's her breathing and health in general overall. You say she's had several colds?

Mine didn't put on more than a pound either in the first 6 weeks and he was having a lot of milk. There was an underlying health issue that was initially missed because all the MW/HV/GP put any problems down to having bronchiolitis.

maybebabyyes Thu 30-Nov-17 09:00:22

I would switch to formula

welshweasel Thu 30-Nov-17 09:00:26

Absolutely phone the feeding helpline but I’d be really concerned about that little weight gain. For context, mine had doubled his birth weight in 9 weeks (admittedly was a little smaller to start with). How many centiles has she crossed?

cinnamonswirlies Thu 30-Nov-17 09:01:19

Also just to add why that would worry me, my baby went from 8lb5 to 13lb1 in 8 weeks.

reallyanotherone Thu 30-Nov-17 09:02:59

Mine was the same and i got exactly the opposite advice- that formula can artificially boost weight and mask a medical problem, if there is one.

I was referred to paeds for blood tests and opinion. At no point was i told to switch to formula.

welshweasel Thu 30-Nov-17 09:03:55 your baby was born on the 25th centile and has literally fallen off the charts. Way below the 0.4th centile. Honestly I’d be taking drastic action today. I’m surprised you’ve not been admitted to be honest.

Mishappening Thu 30-Nov-17 09:05:34

A bit of formula would do her no harm and would ensure she was properly nourished before looking for other possible problems. I am a huge advocate of bf, but not at all costs.

cinnamonswirlies Thu 30-Nov-17 09:08:53

I honestly think some women feel under so much pressure to breastfeed they lose sight of what is really important.

Be kind to yourself, use formula, get yourself better and then try to work out what's going on.

TookyClothespin Thu 30-Nov-17 09:11:35

Have you been referred to a paediatrician?
DD2 had weight gain issues and was referred to paeds at 8 weeks after dropping 2 centiles. A serious problem was found which she is having treatment for. Not once was it suggested we swap completely to formula (she is mix fed)
Not saying theres a serious issue for you, but its worth asking for referral. Did you BF your DS? Paed told me if you've successfully BF 1 baby, it's unlikely to be a milk issue.

PerpetualStudent Thu 30-Nov-17 09:13:34

Thanks for the quick replies.
Apart from the colds, she seems generally healthy and alert ('well, she clearly looks like a healthy baby' is the most common Drs comment!) The colds have (unfortunately) been very clearly passed on from her nursery-attending brother. He's only 2.5 and loves his little sister and wants to be close to her. We do everything we can to stop germs spreading but it seems inevitable once he is coughing, she will be a few days later.

She was born on the 25th centile, tracked the 2nd for a while, but is now off the bottom of the chart! I'm in no doubt as to the severity of the weight issue, it just seems that, unless Im producing diet pepsi in my boobs, its likely to be a health and not a feeding issue? It feels like the formula 'check' is just delaying her getting properly tested. We're going back in on Monday, I think I'm going to push for a pead referral then (if I had been able to be at GPs yesterday I would have done it then!)

Swatsup Thu 30-Nov-17 09:16:30

All I know is that everytine I got mastitis it was from expressing milk and breastfeeding as often as possible was the best way for it to clear up quickly. Maybe topping up with some formula? But the breastfeeding helpline is probably the best place for advice.

123MothergotafleA Thu 30-Nov-17 09:16:36


PerpetualStudent Thu 30-Nov-17 09:17:18

Mine was the same and i got exactly the opposite advice- that formula can artificially boost weight and mask a medical problem, if there is one

This is precicely my concern. How do I get a pead referral today then? Can call my GPs, but it's one of those places where you have to call at opening time to get an appointment, though they try to squeez in kids where they can. Are there other ways to be referred?

KatoGreen Thu 30-Nov-17 09:18:15


Sorry to hear you are managing this tough situation it sounds really difficult

Can you request immediate referral to a hospital based lactation consultant who can do a pre and post feed weigh of baby to see exactly how much baby is taking in a breastfeed? If this shows she is taking a good amount surely the hospital should then immediately look to doing other tests for underlying issue?

Or if you want to try formula perhaps you could do say 3 days of mixed feeding - 4 formula bottles plus 4 breast feeds - and pump during the bottle feeds to protect supply?

Do you have a pump? If not could you hire one straight away do its ready if & when you need it so no delay?

KatoGreen Thu 30-Nov-17 09:19:51

Can you go into A&E and get referred to ped that way?

welshweasel Thu 30-Nov-17 09:23:42

I’d try ringing the HV, express your concern and ask that you be seen urgently by paeds. If a referral isn’t forthcoming then I’d go to A&E as a last resort. In the meantime I’d supplement her with formula.

NoodieRoodie Thu 30-Nov-17 09:25:06

We have a infant feeding coordinator at our local hospital who runs clinics and will give phone advice, do you have something similar? I found that this wasn't widely known about or signposted to new mums but presumably your health visitor should know. I had one very slow grower, although she was never this slow, and two monster chunks. Formula was never suggested to me but it was to others in identical situations at the time. I'm a bf peer supporter and I'd be wanting someone really knowledge to have a look at you

PerpetualStudent Thu 30-Nov-17 09:38:57

My local A&E has been in the press this year for being one of the worst in the country. I've had awful experiences taking my son there.
Will try down the HV route, though they will want to refer me back to the hospital where I gave birth, where I had a very difficult time and am likely to have a panic attack if I try to return (literally, not figuratively)

My DP thinks I am being obstructive and we should just follow the Drs advice (though he was happy to let me BF rather than get up to make a bottle when it was due at 3am last night!!)

Smoochyschmoo Thu 30-Nov-17 09:48:05

Shocked at that advice. My ds is 18 weeks and has gone from 99.6th to just above 50th centile, so he’s dropped a fair few. He’s been referred to peads (no appointment through yet though) and at no point has formula been suggested by either HV or GP.

PerpetualStudent Thu 30-Nov-17 09:49:31

I'm sorry, I probably do sounds obstructivr in the above post!
I've been to some local BF support groups, but it was just parroting 'nose to nipple, tummy to mummy'.
Honestly I just feel like there is so little consistent or engaged support. I'm not evangelical about EBF - my son was mixed fed because even after his TT was snipped my supply never caught up. I was fine with that, and I continued to BG until just shy of his 2nd birthday. I'm not anti formula at all, Im basically of the 'fed is best' school of thought. My issue isn't with being told to give formula, but with the lack of other medical investigations - DP says Dr yesterday didn't even listen to DDs chest or take her temp!
It just feels like every avenue for support is inadequate and has its own agenda. Sorry to be so negative, I'm just venting.

KatoGreen Thu 30-Nov-17 10:00:49

Gosh don't worry I'd be wanting to vent too - such simplistic advice would make me furious.

RockCrushesLizard Thu 30-Nov-17 10:19:16

I agree with the suggestions to call the helpine.
We can't tell the whole story online. Obviously that is a worrying weight gain, and yes formula may be indicated, but we don't have the whole picture. I'd imagine the first port of call would be experienced eyes to look at a feed, discuss baby's behaviours etc and go from there.

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