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What if I really just don't have enough milk?

(66 Posts)
Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 21:01:38

Have asked about problems with ds2s weight gain a couple of times. He is now 9 weeks old and weighs 10lb 1 after being 8lb 13.5oz at birth so has dropped from just below 91st centile to just below 9th. In the last week he only gained 2.5oz.

He has had a cold though so am really hoping that is why it was so low, the week before it was 6.5oz which was a record for him, week before that it was 3.5oz.

I am feeding loads, for a long time on each breast before swapping him. He feeds at approx 12, 3.30, 5.30, 7.30 through the night then most of the morning from 9.30 - 11.30, long feed at lunch time, long feed before tea and again after tea till he falls asleep anytime between 8 and 10. I have become expert at feeding him in sling out and about or just carrying him around whilst feeding!

I am eating LOTS, haven't lost even 1lb since he was born ! Drinking 4/5 pints a day. And resting lots as its pretty much enforced by his feeding, theres only so much walking and feeding i can manage each day with bad back!

Not sure what else I can try.

As i said hopefully it was just his cold and will pick up again but hv has said he's dropped 4 lines and that is the max she would like to see and if he's not picked up next week we'll have to look at supplementing with formula. I did this with dd and ds1 as i felt I didnt have enough milk with them either but I didnt have mn then and didnt really know what I was doing! This time I just feel so strongly i want to do it all myself with NO formula at all but then wonder if perhaps I'm being selfish doing that and if he needs formula i should just give it to him. Feel so crap that I can't feed him well enough myself.

Could it be that he really does need formula?

But if he doesn't then what can I do?

And what can I tell HV if she tries to pressure me into it?

tiktok Wed 27-Jun-07 21:04:36

Nothing you have said in your post makes me think for a second you have a problem with's a problem with confidence!

Stop worrying about drinking a lot - won't make any difference, honest!

how would formula help with your confidence in bf?

You are doing fine and so is your baby.

Weight gain is on the normal spectrum.


Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 21:22:26


Everytime I go to clinic I get a lecture on making sure i rest/eat/drink enough and that crash dieting and rushing around doing house work will affect my supply and I am told to come back the next week to see how he's gaining. The implication has always been that I must be doing something wrong. As i know I'm not and am doing everything they suggest (the state of my house and my flabby tummy are testament to that!!) I have lost confidence and started to feel that I must just not be good at producing enough milk. Sounds silly when i write it down but every time I've seen a mw or hv since he was born they've questioned what I'm doing. And he does look so skinny still but he is very happy and smiley in between feeds.

lemonaid Wed 27-Jun-07 21:31:06

If you don't have enough milk at present, then there are drugs you can take to boost your supply (Domperidone). Given that you have strong feelings about wanting to breastfeed and not wanting to supplement this time, I don't see why that isn't being suggested as an option for you and instead they are pushing formula.

purplemonkeydishwasher Wed 27-Jun-07 21:31:08

if the HV is making you feel bad about something that you know is right then don't go back!

if he's putting on weight (even a little bit) and has lots of wet and dirty nappies then you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. you said yourself that he's happy and smiley in between feeds!

YOU ARE DOING GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(and [most] HVs are the work of the devil!!)

Befsnork Wed 27-Jun-07 21:34:33

Pesha - have you tried fennel tea - its meant to help them with wind and increase your supply. deffo helped getting the wind out, and supply is pretty good too now

myjobismum Wed 27-Jun-07 21:41:16

i know just how you feel - my DS weight went so low it was off the chart for 3 months! he was born 6lb and it took him til he was 15 weeks old to reach 10lb - the HV was all nag nag nag - made me take him in every week to be weighed (which isnt really advised because causes more worry than its worth, fortnightly gives better readings!) HV always blamed my milk and often had me in tears - but DS was unwell and on medicine which upset his tummy - but she wouldnt listen - in end we went to pead at hospital when he was 6 months (and guess what she just said he was a happy healthy baby!) please dont give in and give him formula unless you want to, because i did and it made not one sodding bit of difference! you will be pleased to know though, that he was born on the 2nd centil (6lb) and at his 18 month check he has almost reached the 25th cent at 23lb6
also hieght he was born on the 0.4th and has now crossed the 50th at 18mth check BIG BIG !!

Hope this helps and just to show the HV dont always know whats best - as long as he is gaining weight and not losing it, feeding well, is happy, sleeps ok and has alert times - then this is far more important than the centile charts IMO!

Loopymumsy Wed 27-Jun-07 21:41:49

Message withdrawn

Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 21:46:25

Thank you for all your responses

I have read about domperidone on here before but dont really know enough about it and how advisable it is iykwim.

Not sure I could just stop going to get him weighed, I know I prob should but I cant help myself, I have to know! However it is part of a big clinic so I could just go in when it's busy, get him weighed and then escape before they have a chance to talk to me!

LOL at HVs being he work of the devil
He only has dirty nappies once or twice a week but ds1 had them even less often so not really worried by that and he does have lots of wet nappies.

Is fennel available in any other form, I've never found a tea I like! Someone on my Post natal thread suggested fenugreek so thinking of trying that too although read conflicting opinions of it here.

Befsnork Wed 27-Jun-07 21:52:04

i make a strong pot in the morning, let it cool, then down 'shots' of it as i'm not too keen either. things taste less strong cold too.

Pannacotta Wed 27-Jun-07 21:53:24

I do think that HVs are often obsessed with weight gain when its obvious in other ways that a baby is well (wet and dirty nappies and in your case happy baby too).
I didn't bother taking DS1 to be weighed and will not take DS2 either.
I found some of the local HVs and my GP unsupportive of exclusive breastfeeding. Even though DS1 was huge and gained lots of weight my GP wanted me to give him formula at 6 weeks so I could get more sleep. I didnt listen and he was breastfed till he was 2 and has always been very healthy.
Trust your instinct and your breastfeeding, sounds like you are doing a great job...

Lio Wed 27-Jun-07 21:53:50

Don't go back if you don't want to, you know if your baby is fine. Mine were both 91st centile then dropped to under 9th and have stayed there, perfectly healthy and gorgeous children, now age 3 and nearly 1. Stick with it

lemonaid Wed 27-Jun-07 21:57:44

Domperidone is very safe and has pretty much no side-effects (contrast to Reglan which is more common in the US and can cause depression). I am not saying you should take it (as tiktok says, it sounds as though you may not have a problem at all), but if you get to the point of being about to supplement then definitely worth investigating that route first.

Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 21:59:50

Myjobismum - lovely to hear your lo is doing so well now

Ds2 was born on 91st for weight and 98th I think for length and is still very long which I think makes it seem more worrying as it wasnt just his weight but his length also that was high at birth iyswim. But think I will just go once a fortnight now although I prob will go monday in the hope hat it will have picked up and last week was just a glitch cos of his cold.

My dr at 6 week check seemed very pro bf and commented on how wriggly and active he was and that that probably had something to do with his slow weight gain as he is burning off alot of calories. But then she also stressed the importance of me eating enough. When she weighed me she said I was overweight but to be expected having just had a baby and shouldn't attempt to diet till he was weaned.
Well what she actually said was wait till he's 4 or 5 months when i wean him But that's a whole other issue!

tiktok Wed 27-Jun-07 22:03:15

Pesha, diet, liquid intake and rest have very little at all to do with your supply - lots of threads on this, or see

You dont need domperidone, you don't need fennel tea, you don't need to do anything because your baby is just fine...he is probably doing 'catch down growth' which is perfectly physiological.

Your HVs are being poisonous, sorry.

Befsnork Wed 27-Jun-07 22:05:10

tiktok - can you explain catch down growth please?

Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 22:10:27

Sorry took ages writing and x posted!

Pannacotta at your gp suggesting formula to get more sleep! Lots of people have suggested that to me and cannot understand why I dont want to but a gp?!

Good to know about the domperidone. If his weight gain is still very low monday then I think I will try it. And will visit health food shop tomorrow and see what they've got, even if all it does is make me feel better!

Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 22:16:06

Argh - x posted again, have been doing that all day!

Yes could you explain 'catch down growth' please, have never heard of this. I have read on here a couple of times that what i do has nothing to do with it but everyone in rl seems to think it has everything to do with my milk.

2Happy Wed 27-Jun-07 22:20:16

I think catch-down growth means that your baby was born at a really good weight, well done to your body for supporting him so well. But now that he's born he's settling down onto what will be his more normal body shape, if that makes sense....tiktok can probably explain much better!

Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 22:29:39

So basically all the cakes and chocolate I ate in pg went straight to him but now he's out its going straight to my bum instead and not so much my milk so he's settling down to a normal weight?!

bookthief Wed 27-Jun-07 22:35:09

Here's an article from the journal Pediatrics about it. It basically says that about a third of normal babies between birth and six months will cross 2 major percentiles either up or down and that this is normal for them and not a sign of anything wrong.

2Happy Wed 27-Jun-07 22:37:10

Ummmm I didn't really mean it to sound that way...that's kind of the way it was explained to me, that babies have a natural body size/shape (which may make make more sense if you look at the parents' build) but isn't necessarily reflected in their birthweight...oh ok, it was the cake, dammit!! (Tiktok's gonna be along in a minute and tell me I'm all wrong here, and that's on top of insulting you!)

Pesha Wed 27-Jun-07 22:52:21

Not insulted at all

DD was 8lb at birth and dropped alot and has been on lower centiles ever since but with her I did give top up bottles occasionally. DS1 was chunky and solid build which is more like me and dp but do think ds2 could be a more delicate build like dd. He has dropped 4 lines though which is what is concerning hv and I have to say even at birth didnt seem very chunky. But as you've all said he is very happy and doing all the right things so hopefully it is just him adjusting to his natural weight.

tiredandgrumpy Wed 27-Jun-07 23:10:19

and what are these charts they are using? Are they exclusively bf babies, or are the charts combined? It's acknowledged that bf and ff babies have different growth patterns, and that different babies find their own positions on the centiles, which may differ from where they were born., based on no medical experience whatsoever, but as a committed bf, I'd say that if your ds is happy & otherwise well, I wouldn't listen to the worries of this particular hv. Our parents didn't have access to the charts, but were more used to following instinct. Use yours to decide whether he seems to be thriving.

elkiedee Wed 27-Jun-07 23:14:16

Are there any breastfeeding support groups or anything like that near to you? There's the Breast Feeding Network and La Leche League, and the NCT, perhaps one of those will be able to hook you up to more positive support, and they have phoneline support as well - maybe someone can help you put together the argument for what you want.

I wanted to bf but failed - Danny did get really dehydrated as well as losing too much weight. I'm still very upset about the whole thing and feel strongly that health services need some rethinking, having all the pro-bf policies in the world, of the kind my hospital professed to have, don't help once you get caught in health service interventions.

Pesha, I think it's a real shame that your local GP and hv seem to be taking this attitude. Your baby may well be growing how he's meant to be as others have suggested.

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