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Mighty oaks from little acorns grow - slow weight gain support thread

(693 Posts)
FireworksScareMossyPets Sat 03-Nov-07 16:57:53

Thread for those of us whose los are:
* Healthy
* Meeting developmental milestones
* Producing plenty of soaking wet nappies
* Producing several pooey nappies (quantity varies after first six weeks or so)
* Gaining weight...

but just much more slowly than the centile charts tell us they should.

This is a thread for help, support and understanding from other Mums who have "been there, done that".

It's where we can share links, share our stories and what if anything we have done to help our lo's weight gain - or whether we've just ditched the scales and looked at the baby.

However, we also don't want to lull other Mums into a false sense of security; if your lo is not meeting the criteria at the top then it is best to get help from a breastfeeding counsellor (or general infant feeding specialist - not all slow gaining babies are breastfed) or supportive health care professional.

Mossy xx

Moorhen Sun 04-Nov-07 09:17:03

I'll join! DS gained 3-4ozs a week for his first eight weeks and I caught all sorts of sh*te from HVs etc. Even though DS active, alert, smiley from four weeks, content...

Eventually took myself off to bf support group who corrected my latch for me (I was holding him a bit awkwardly and he was giving up before getting to the hindmilk), and suggested expressing during the day to give him an extra bottle in the evening.

I did, and he started gaining 8-10 ozs a week. Now at 14 weeks he is still happy and content, and even put on 6ozs last week when he had a cold and was off food.

I can see now that he was always fine, just a bit skinny. But it's a relief and probably worth getting the latch checked out if you're in a similar situation.

eidsvold Sun 04-Nov-07 09:52:32

mossy as I told you on FB - I had dd2 go from top percentile to bottom in the space of 6 - 12 months. GP did monitor her and see her on a monthly basis BUT she steadily climbed the charts - very slowly. HOWEVER when she had her 2 1/2 yo checkup - she was back up at the top of the chart where she had started.

We are now having the same thing with dd3- she has dropped across the percentiles and when I mentioned that dd2 had done that - we checked her chart and it was clear that my dd3 was going to be like dd2.

I am varying dd3's food - just started weaning and I am feeding her more BUT as it is so hot here at the moment - dd3 tends to be drinking more than feeding iyswim.

I am not worried - she is doing fine - very alert, happy and generally content.

SharpMolarBear Sun 04-Nov-07 10:26:55

Just getting this thread on my list, will be back later when more time
Thanks for listening to my worries, I think the OP is very well written!)

FireworksScareMossyPets Sun 04-Nov-07 14:54:39

Eids hello smile do you find it is a relief for you that your dd3 is following a pattern that's already there (from your dd2)? What I mean is, do you panic less because you know it's normal now?

Moorhen, you know, in the first few weeks my ds was gaining very slowly, and my latch was wrong... got it sorted out, and he didn't gain any faster, but he did start settling between feeds, and spent far less time at the breast (he had been feeding on the hour, every hour, for an hour, almost, iyswim!) so I think he is just not meant to be a fast gainer!

Sharpmolarbear - yes come back later!!

SharpMolarBear Sun 04-Nov-07 15:03:30

I'm back!
Quick summary of my story. DS started on about the 25th line and stuck to it until he was about 17 weeks, when we all had a D&V bug. He then lost weight / didn't put on / only put on a few oz each time I've had him weighed from then on. Doesn't help that a few weeks later I had a night in hospital which left me with a few supply problems.
He's fine though, and the HV is supportive, calls him 'lean'! Am BLW now, and he's eating very little, although I think that's because he's not really got the hang of it yet.
Has anyone expressed regularly in order to top up and increase supply? I'm tempted, but expressing is such a hassle!

FireworksScareMossyPets Sun 04-Nov-07 15:10:41

Sharpmolarbear, I tried expressing between feeds for just a few days as I often suspected a supply issue, but it was such a faff, as ds is quite high-maintainance and between feeds was when he wanted to snuggle up to me. I tried pumping one side / feeding the other but couldn't get the knack.

I also tried Fenugreek, but it didn't seem to do anything, although it's hard to tell whether or not you have a supply issue isn't it?

I cut out all alcohol and most coffee for a bit - made no difference.

Tried "mothers' milk tea" and other assorted supposed galactagogues like fennel, aniseed, oats for breakfast and the like - again didn't make any difference in his weight so in the end I ruled out supply as an issue.

Which at least means I can have a glass of wine in the evening and a few coffees too! grin And stop faffing about with tablets, special foods, teas (although that organic mothers' milk tea is very tasty) and the like.

I've heard it said Fenugreek is meant to be the best galactagogue, but you have to take absolutely loads for it to work. And then once you've increased your supply you have to maintain it by ensuring plenty of feeds...

Is he settled between feeds and otherwise doing okay? Also, if you're doing BLW, if he was starving hungry I would have thought he'd just eat more solids to make up for it?

hunkermunker Sun 04-Nov-07 15:14:57

Good idea for a thread. I'm researching and writing something about growth charts atm - will post a link when I'm done.

SharpMolarBear Sun 04-Nov-07 15:14:58

My goodness you could write a book!
Yes, he's settled between feeds (although he feeds every 2 hours), and I'm not really worried, I just wondered if this was something I should try.
As I'm so lazy, I'm glad you tried all of that stuff as now I don't have to! (Give up coffee shock)
Also, thanks for teaching me a new word - 'galactagogue'
Agree with the high maintenance, it's got better in the last couple of weeks but until recently if DS was asleep he needed to be entertained.

SharpMolarBear Sun 04-Nov-07 15:15:27

Thanks hunker

katepol Sun 04-Nov-07 15:27:38

I don't need this thread now - but I would once have done.
All my three started at about the 2nd centile, were fully breastfed and went up to about the 9th centile. Then at about 10-12 weeks, weight gain slowed right down, to below the bottom of the charts. Once they got about 2 yrs old, gain began to increase slowly, back onto charts.
All are healthy, 2 are very active, 2 bad eaters, one good eater (the best eater currently the lightest for age).
HV advised top ups at 5 months, early weaning. We saw paeds and nutritionists with dc2.
Looking at their charts though, they all pretty much grew the same way as each other, just not in line with the charts, despite what we did/were advised to do.
All are now healthy, bonkers, normal kids, but I was really stressed at the time.
Supportive vibes to those who are going through it now...

FireworksScareMossyPets Sun 04-Nov-07 15:36:02

Ooh yes Hunker would be very interested to read your research on growth charts.

Sharpmolarbear maybe that should be our next support thread title. "Galactagogues. Mossy's tried 'em so you don't have to." grin

Katepol yes, it's really stressful isn't it? Even when in your heart you know nothing is actually wrong, the fact they are not following some line in some book freaks you out because, well, if the line didn't mean anything why would it be there in the first place?

What I hate is when HVs say "falling through centile lines" which makes it sound like weight loss when it's not, it is weight gain, just quite slow weight gain.

verylittlecarrot Sun 04-Nov-07 17:37:07

Hi girls
Just weighed dd again tonight on our scales. Since we bought them 3 weeks ago she has gained - gulp - 4 oz. So her weight gain which previously averaged just under 3 oz a week, has now slowed to an ounce a week.

So, let's see...she's 15 weeks old tomorrow, but only weighs 8lb 10. She's dropped off the bottom of the charts.

have seen HVs
have seen GPs
have seen paediatricians (pronounced her a "well baby", tho' her weight gain has slowed further since then)
have seen lactation specialists
Have never had a problem with the latch (never had sore nips ever, please don't hate me)
have taken galactogogues <waves at Mossy>
have pumped (pathetic yield plus I get blocked ducts as result)
bf on demand (roughly every 2-3 hours but sometimes more frequently)
Switch nurse sometimes (she always has both sides, anyway)
carry dd in a sling
co-sleep and feed several times in the night

dd has wet & pooey nappies, bright eyes, clear skin, smiles - no - grins manically, can bear her own weight standing, holds her head up, babbles and blows raspberries like she hasn't a care in the world. She is growing in length faster than she's putting on weight, which means she looks skinnier each week to me.

No-one has really been able to explain why she is not putting on weight. Is it low supply? How would I know? DD doesn't seem "hungry". She feeds and seems satisfied. The only advice I've had was from the lactation specialist who suggested pumping after every feed to increase supply. She seems to think that pumping is the best way to increase supply rather than just feeding more often hmm She told me not to worry about the blocked ducts - but of course each time I get one there's far less milk flow to the baby, which doesn't help.

I just feel at a bit of a loss. On a good day, I can just enjoy being a mummy to my tiny little pixie. I have been known to be Mrs FeistyI'mNotWorried. But on a bad day (tonight for example) I feel physically sick because she seems such an extreme case and I seem powerless to help her gain weight.

I wish there was a bf friendly paediatrician browsing the threads who could help advise.

How bad does it have to get before someone actually tells me to do something differently?

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy won't she put on weight?????


FireworksScareMossyPets Sun 04-Nov-07 18:45:10


"On a good day, I can just enjoy being a mummy to my tiny little pixie. I have been known to be Mrs FeistyI'mNotWorried. But on a bad day (tonight for example) I feel physically sick because she seems such an extreme case and I seem powerless to help her gain weight."

Yes ikwym. I feel the same.


When you weigh her, do you weigh her without a nappy every time?

Could she be putting most of her calories into length rather than weight?

Is anyone in your family petite i.e. is it genetic? How quickly did you yourself grow as a baby - do you know?

"she seems to think that pumping is the best way to increase supply rather than just feeding more often" I've heard it said that is the case only if baby is having a problem extracting milk, otherwise baby is always the best way of removing milk from breasts.

At the end of the day, she is gaining weight... just very slowly.

Could you put everything on hold for a day or two and do nothing but lie in bed and feed and see if that helps her weight gain at all?

Anyway, we will have to meet up in rl and our two pixies can meet too and compare red books grin

slimbyxmas Sun 04-Nov-07 18:47:35

Hi Very little carrot, I am a midwife and a BF mum.
Firstly your baby sounds lovely and healthy!
There were a few things I thought of that might help.
What is your nutritional status? Are you a good eater and are you eating enough? I know there is alot written these days about the "healthy" low fat, high fibre, loads of veg diet, but in my experience when you are BF you need alot more calories and fats than usual. Lots of people may jump up and down at that but I can SEE a difference in the milk I express when I am eating low fat and when I am eating normally. In Volume and in colour, much more creamy when eating cakes! lol
Also I would go back to your lactation consultant and discuss domperidone tablets, these are sometimes given to mums to increase milk supply, it might just be worth asking.

verylittlecarrot Sun 04-Nov-07 19:09:41

Thanks gals
Mossy: She's weighed bare naked. Hope she's putting her calories into her length. She's actually on the 75th centile for length!!! and has dropped off the bottom for weight. Long, skinny baby.
I agree with you about the effective milk removal - this same lactation specialist has seen dd feeding several times and told me she was latched well and getting plenty of milk, so I was surprised at the pumping suggestion.

My dh is short and stocky. I'm 5'7 and was skinnyish this time last year, but thanks to eating like a horse for the last year I am 2 stone heavier dammit! However, I was quite small as a kid and only grew taller at puberty.

So to answer your question, Slim, I am a VERY good eater (as in I eat whatever I want and whenever, and my diet will start at some point in the distant future...) I wouldn't say it was superbly healthy and balanced (carrot cake counts as a vegetable though, right???) but it's fine, really. I don't think I drink enough as I have barely any sense of thirst and have to remember to drink.

verylittlecarrot Sun 04-Nov-07 19:10:59

...and I think I will mention domperidone to the lactation specialist when I see her at baby cafe next week - thanks

SharpMolarBear Sun 04-Nov-07 19:49:29

vlc you sound so worried.
It does sound as though your dd is healthy and fine
How often do you see your HV? How often do you get her 'officially' weighed?

verylittlecarrot Sun 04-Nov-07 20:00:27

I've "sacked" my HV! story is in another thread She was making things worse for us all as a family, and pretty much betrayed my wishes by referring us to a paediatrician the day after she agreed with me that we wouldn't escalate things!

As you'll see, I was in a happier place 3 weeks ago, and I'm sure by tomorrow morning I'll have bucked up again.

Gosh, I'm such a volatile drama queen blush

FireworksScareMossyPets Sun 04-Nov-07 20:22:47

VLC I don't think you're a drama queen. I think we're just so so so used to the image of big plump babies like those ones you see in birthday cards popping out of flowerpots that when you see your own lo with skinny arms and titchy legs it has the power to make you sick with worry.

You know, I too eat very healthily (dh sees to it; he is into cooking organic, prepared from scratch meals) with the odd cake for good measure and I too have skinny lo...

Not sure if there is necessarily a link between good eating and good milk, not for everyone, anyway, although individual experiences may be different.

Yes, I too have heard of domperidone... motilium, isn't it? For stomach upsets but has a side effect of increasing prolactin levels iirc.

It might be worth considering if you are sure that your dd's slow weight gain is definitely a supply issue...

You mention your dd feeds every two to three hours... have you tried bfing more often for a few days and seeing if that helps? Not that two to three hours isn't often, that's not what I'm saying, I mean, more to put your mind at rest than anything, introducing one or two extra feeds ... maybe go upstairs, put the radio on, some soothing music or maybe some comedy, lie down and feed her to sleep?

FireworksScareMossyPets Sun 04-Nov-07 20:25:15

Just a thought... does dd have a dummy?

It's only a tiny thought but I have heard it said a dummy can be linked to low weight gain (I think because baby sucks on dummy rather than breast)....?

(Ds doesn't have one btw not that it makes a difference at all.)

Gingerbear Sun 04-Nov-07 20:34:09

Hi Mossy, thanks for starting this thread.

DS is 5 months 2 weeks and I am going to get him weighed next Wed. At 21 weeks he was 13lb 11oz - which is below the 9th centile. But he has been training hard and sparring with Ricky Hatton, so we are hoping he is at his fighting weight now.

He is sitting up, grabbing things, blowing bubbles and making lots of oohs and aahs, I think that means he is meeting his milestones.

SharpMolarBear Sun 04-Nov-07 20:52:21

hi gingerbear!

SharpMolarBear Sun 04-Nov-07 20:58:26

T does have a dummy btw, wonder if there is a link
Oh and i have sore nipples today for the 1st time!! in fact i thought they were bleeding
well, off for another feed, hopefully the last. After the lsat 2 nights we are due a sleep through??

verylittlecarrot Sun 04-Nov-07 21:33:51

baby carrot only really has a dummy to soothe her in her car seat on our ocaasional car journeys, maybe once a week, so no, not really...

I have babymooned a few times and it hasn't really made any difference (nice though).

evenings I often lie down on the bed with her and it's one lazy feed/sleepathon. I don't really track feeds, they are just whenever.

We stayed in bed past noon today just feeding and snoozing too. blush

Hi gingerbear!

smb, sorry about the sore nips! sad

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