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Can eeating more whilst breastfeeding really increase babys weight gain?

(28 Posts)
Deaby Tue 14-Oct-08 13:29:29

Just got my 14 week baby weighed and although she is putting on 3 ounces a week on average she is a little one and is constantly below the 2nd centile on the growth charts. The health visitor has advised that as she is alert, happy, content, pooing and weeing well, it is my diet that is affecting her not putting on as much weight as she sould. The health visitor advised that I need to basically pig out eat lots of choclates and cakes etc and have 4 meals a day! Im only petite myself and scared Im gonna get fat! Has anyone else been in this position??? Does increasing food intake help baby put weight on? hmm

BlardyEejit Tue 14-Oct-08 13:31:09

Tis rubbish. You'll put on weight but will make beggar all difference to the baby.

She's just small like her Mum. Your hv is a loon.

MurderousMarla Tue 14-Oct-08 13:33:23

Nonsense, ignore the HV - she doesn't know what she's talking about hmm

If she is healthy and gaining I would not be concerned, some babies are small, some are big, and some are average - yours is small

CapricaSix Tue 14-Oct-08 13:33:34


ignore hv. "she is alert, happy, content, pooing and weeing well," - no worries!

Elasticwoman Tue 14-Oct-08 13:35:52

NO. You should eat and drink healthy food and fluids regularly (maybe hv thinks you're not doing that?) but pigging out is not required. To increase your baby's calorie intake, feed more often. This will increase your milk supply.

How often do you feed (on average) over 24 hours? Is she exclusively bf or are you supplementing? Do you offer both breasts at each feed?

As both you and she are petite, maybe she does not need to gain weight any faster.

Deaby Tue 14-Oct-08 13:38:29

Im feeding 6 times over 24 hours. And she only empties 1 breast and seems satisfied after that. Im exclusively bf.

mawbroon Tue 14-Oct-08 13:38:36

As others have said, eat and drink to your hunger and thirst and ignore what the HV has said.

You would have to be on deaths door from malnutrition before your diet made any difference to your milk.

Caz10 Tue 14-Oct-08 13:41:53

I got told by the lactation consultant at my hospital that I should be feeding dd at that age AT LEAST 8 times in 24 hrs, so I think if you have any concerns the bext way would just be to feed her more often! But she sounds fine, lots of threads on here re dumb-ass HVs and slow weight gain babies!

wastingmyeducation Tue 14-Oct-08 13:48:09

Ha! If the amount I ate affected DS he would be a big fatty! grin
Sounds like you're doing fine, but as suggested above, you can offer more feeds if you're worried about LOs weight.


Deaby Tue 14-Oct-08 13:49:59

Thanks people, thicnk Im gonna increase her feeds and see if that helps.

isaidboo Tue 14-Oct-08 13:50:45

..but it's a good excuse for the odd slice of cake!

tiktok Tue 14-Oct-08 14:00:53

You know, it's pretty bad when HVs tell mothers rubbish like this...

TheProvincialLady Tue 14-Oct-08 14:01:01

That sounds like a good plan Deaby.

FWIW I was really ill when I had DS and hardly ate anything for about a month. During that time he went from the 75th to the 91st centile. When I got better I started eating more and my appetite was HUGE...meanwhile DS started to drop centiles and is now somewhere between 25th and 50th at 24m and has been for over 18m. It is obviously his natural size and nothing to do with what I ate or anything else.

mrsgboring Tue 14-Oct-08 14:08:06

I think she may be thinking of a study which compared "successful breastfeeders" with those who had supply issues and found that the "successful" ones ate up to 1000 calories a day more than the ones with supply issues.

If you had a supply issue, eating more (but not forcefeeding yourself, just making sure you don't let yourself miss meals and get hungry and don't diet) might help. But you don't have a supply issue. Your DD is doing fine, she's just small and so your daft HV thinks she should "catch up". Had exactly the same thing. FWIW my DS did catch up when he went onto solid food and is now quite massive, but he was perfectly normal and happy when on milk only.

Stop getting your DD weighed - she is obviously fine, and I'm sure you've got better things to do than have weekly conversations with a bit of a crackpot.

Deaby Tue 14-Oct-08 14:15:12

Thanks mrsgboring. Its so worrying every week going to get her weighed! My baby is defo not malnutritioned and is always happy and smiling. Sometimes I dont think the HVs take mums size, and race into account. Plus, arent the growth charts based on formula fed babies which tens to be little fatties anyway? x

Elasticwoman Tue 14-Oct-08 15:20:06

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

lulabellarama Tue 14-Oct-08 15:21:56

*puts fingers in ears*

Whenever I vist new mums I always take cream cakes to help them out with breastfeeding grin.

aurorec Tue 14-Oct-08 15:32:51

Deaby, regarding the number of feeds, DD at 14 weeks was down to 6 feeds a day as well. I tried to nurse more often but she wasn't interested.
She was obviously an efficient nurser, not to mention my milk was abundant- and she was growing, just like yours is doing.

If she needed more feeds, she'd let you know. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Deaby Tue 14-Oct-08 16:36:36

Aurorec, thats reassuring. My LO doesnt seem unhappy and starved!Like you say, Im sure shed let me know if she was wanting more feeds. Im going to try extra feeds anyway and see if they work. Ill go back in two weeks to get her weighed and see if its made a difference.

Deaby Tue 14-Oct-08 16:36:36

Aurorec, thats reassuring. My LO doesnt seem unhappy and starved!Like you say, Im sure shed let me know if she was wanting more feeds. Im going to try extra feeds anyway and see if they work. Ill go back in two weeks to get her weighed and see if its made a difference.

CapricaSix Wed 15-Oct-08 08:12:51

AFAIK the growth charts are based on all babies, but because ff babies increase weight so much quicker than bf, it's not a good chart to compare your bf baby to. My dd was 8lb when born, her growth weight was v slow compared to the silly charts, because she was exclusively bf, for the whole of the first year (which from the HV's reaction was pretty rare as far as she was concerned so even more reason for her to think dd wasn't gaining properly i suppose). I always think that she came out much bigger than she naturally should be because I pigged out in pregnancy, and then once she was out, she rebeilliously made her way to her own natural relatively smaller weight! grin

The HVs started making noise about it when dd was about 8 mo and I had been merrily weaning her onto solids, quite pleased with how it was going. Then they started wittering about cutting down her milk & "concentrating on getting solids down her" and it all went downhill from there, i changed both of our relationships with food for a very long time, took a while to recover from it.

If i were you i'd stop going to get her weighed every week tbh! As long as she seems to be feeding, pooing, weeing, happy and alert you don't actually need to.

FlabbyTumSquashyBum Wed 15-Oct-08 09:21:24

I'm shocked to hear that a hv has given that advice. If a baby is alert, happy, content, pooing, weeing and gaining weight rather than losing weight, surely there isn't a problem to address? Why are they allowed to say such things?

I suspected the advice was a load of rubbish when I read your post but I'm reassured to read the posts confirmimg it as I've had the odd concern about my own dd but for opposite reasons. She is a bulky little thing and is nearly above the 91st centile; I do have moments where I pig out on biscuits and I have wondered if it's possible that my diet is making her fat!

My hv has given me a Breast From Birth growth chart for dd's red book. She's at the same point in both charts at the moment but I think it's normal for a bf baby's weight gain to slow down after a few months and I think that's where the charts differ. I'll be interested to see the difference on the charts as she gets older. Might be worth asking your hv for one?

BlardyEejit Wed 15-Oct-08 09:28:01

FlabbyTumSquashyBum, don't worry about it. I eat very healthily and exercise often. My dd was born on the 50th centile and shot up to the 91st within weeks. By 12 weeks she was off the charts completely. I exclusively bf for 7 months and am still bfing now at 17 months.

Here's the key thing. DD is very tall. She's still off the charts for weight but where she used to be a podgy little thing (I loved her rolls!), she's lean and tall now. They don't seem to account for that at all. And the weight gain slows down, I promise. Especially when they start running around.

Isn't it marvellous that all of our babies come in their own sizes and shapes? The hvs should hand out regulation dolls and have done with it.

LackaDAISYcal Wed 15-Oct-08 09:31:49

sad that you are getting such wrong advice from your HV deaby.

Here's a link to the WHO charts for breast fed babies (weight for age) for your information.

It sounds like you are doing a fab job and she is doing well on it. Don't let your badly informed HV undermine your confidence smile

witchandchips Wed 15-Oct-08 09:39:46

you don't need to eat more for the baby but if you have no fat stores and are reasonably active then you will need to eat more for you least you lose too much weight. Think its like pregnancy the baby will take what it needs and be fine; you need to make sure that you eat enough and healthy so that your body can recover afterwards

Think also the correlation between sucessful breastfeeding + increased calorie intake is the other way. Good supply results in a hungry mother results in more food. This does not mean that more food results in more supply

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