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So was my milk rubbish or what? Advice please!

(30 Posts)
chibi Thu 16-Oct-08 09:26:48

I have been stewing about this for a few weeks now...

My dd was born on the 75th centile but over the course of the first 4 months of her life gradually dropped through the centiles until she reached just below the 9th. I exclusively bf her till about 24 weeks and then began weaning her BLW style, while continuing to bf. She is bf still.

At the time, I saw bf counsellors, called advice lines as I was concerned about her being so tiny but apparently the latch was ok, and she was weeing and pooing often so there apparently wasn't a problem. Instead it was suggested that maybe she was born bigger than she was meant to be and was catching down growth.

However, I had her weighed when I took her for her MMR at 15 months a few weeks ago and she is now just below the 50th centile. shock

When she was exclusively bf I agonised over doing so - was I being selfish? Would she be bigger/growing better on formula? But I took comfort from the idea that because she was growing near the 9th centile for so many months, it was where she was meant to be.

Now that she is on the 50th centile, I can't help but wonder if my milk was insufficient, if she was meant to be bigger and that I deprived her of needed nutrients/calories? sad

Could this be true? Would there be any knock on effects from this?

I am TTC a second child - if I am lucky enough to have another should I bf again or give up as my milk is inadequate?

trishpops Thu 16-Oct-08 09:31:40

I'm no expert at all but aren't these growth charts based on ff babies from the fifties? i'm sure i read somewhere that there is a different chart for bf babies but it's rarley used. try kellymom.com for more info.
Don't feel bad, try not to focus on her size but instead on all the wonderful immunity you have and are giving her, and that you have given her digestive system the best possible start in life, reducing her risk of all sorts of probs later in life xxxx

Bramshott Thu 16-Oct-08 09:32:49

I think that babies weigh different amounts at different stages in their growth, and that if your DD was happy while you were bf (and you'd have known if she wasn't!) then of course your milk wasn't rubbish!!

Someone will be along soon with more techical advice on why this is the case, but I would advise you to have confidence in yourself, and to throw away the charts / not go to the weighing clinic! Unless your second DC is very small and there is an issue around weight, weight is not the best indicator of being healthy and growing well - much better to look for signs like alertness, weeing and pooing well, reaching developmental milestones etc.

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 09:36:05

oh lovely - please dn't be . Centiles aren't an exact science (those pesky babies can't read the charts wink). If she was happy, alert, meeting developmental milestones roughly, weeing, pooing mustard-yellow poos etc., she is almost certain to have been just fine, really. She was consistently growing at that time, not dropping further, which is another indicator. Your dd might well grow in long spurts, with little growth activity in between - she is possibly in a spurt now. Breastmilk is very, very rarely bad 'quality', from what I understand. Importantly, your dd may very, very well not have put on any more weight on formula than she did on bm. We have become so used, due to our ff culture, to thinking of formula as somehow more substantial that it is hard to remember that in most cases where bf is able to progress as it should, our bodies do a just-fine job of sustaining and nourishing our babies. .

Please do bf again - it sounds like you did really well Possibly if you have reason to believe your supply might have been a little low, it is worth investigating ante-natally what you can do in case of low supply (kellymom is good on all sorts of bf issues, or go to LLL meetings antenatally if you can). Good luck TTC.

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 09:36:47

trishpops, the charts are based on both bf and ff babies. There are new growth charts for bf babies - I think you can find them on the WHO site.

greenlawn Thu 16-Oct-08 09:37:34

I agonised so much over this - my ds1 was premature, slow-growing, and even now is still very small for his age (5). But the paeds we've seen have reassured me that it was nothing to do with my choice to bf exclusively and that they fully support that decision as being in his long term best interests. Contrast this to non-expert people who would come out with stupid comments like "did you forget to feed him?"

Ds2 however was enormous, and I found myself trying to justify why he was charging his way upwards through the centiles!

All babies are different, but I'm absolutely sure there is no chance your milk was "rubbish"!

RhinestoneCowghoul Thu 16-Oct-08 09:39:22

The feeding charts aren't based on ff-babies, it's just that the type of feeding wasn't differentiated. And if you look at the breastfeeding rates you'll see that lots of babies have formula in their first year, so charts tend to be a bit skewed towards ff. There are charts based on solely bf babies, my HV gave me one. But it's not really about the charts...

It sounds like your DD grew at the rate that was right for her - they grow a different rates at different times. You gave her milk that was absolutely tailor-made for her needs - what better product could you buy Sounds like you've done a great job to me!

chibi Thu 16-Oct-08 09:46:16

Thank you everyone for your kind comments.

I hadn't had her weighed for months before the MMR, I don't know what possessed me to check her weight.

TheProvincialLady Thu 16-Oct-08 09:57:48

My DS did the exact same thing - 75th centile at birth, dropped to about 9th, then after weaning back to 50th - now probably about 25th. He eats like a horse and always has. HV response "Oh yes they do that sometimes"shock So there are some sensible ones out there!

My DS also grew out of his first shoes within 3 weeks, then was in the next size for 7 months, and has grown out of the next pair in just a month. I don't think growth is always steady like the charts suggest.

tiktok Thu 16-Oct-08 10:03:27

chibi - there are two mutually-exclusive explanations for your daughter's growth pattern, neither of which means your milk was rubbish:

* this is your daughter's own physiological growth pattern. There is nothing wrong with it. Plenty of babies grow like this. Charts are an irrelevance - charts smooth out all the natural bumps and leaps and bobbles that any individual baby's growth would show. It is not at all uncommon for babies to change centiles

* some or even all of the weights were inaccurate

In any case, it doesn't matter in a healthy, thriving baby/toddler.

FaintlyMacabre Thu 16-Oct-08 16:03:45

Thank you Tiktok, and others, I have pondering this question myself for some time as well. I could have written the OP with regards to my baby's growth pattern -he spent the first 6 months ex bf on the 9th centile (born on the 50th), BLW, still breastfed and now on the 50th at 11 months. For the first 6 months I just assumed that he was meant to be small, but lately I had been wondering whether there was something wrong with either my milk or the way I was feeding him, or possibly whether he had reflux.
It is very reassuring to see others with babies who have followed a similar path.
Thanks Chibi for asking the question I had been meaning to for ages!

pudding25 Thu 16-Oct-08 19:32:43

I am hoping that DD (5mths) will jump up the centiles at some point in the future.

She was born on the 50th and has been going down and down -weigh in on Monday, she was below 25th.

I am trying not to worry as she is happy, healthy, meeting her milestones (and is mix fed) but because she is on 91st percentile of height, I kind of think she should weigh more!

sunnygirl1412 Thu 16-Oct-08 20:12:59

None of my three ds's thrived on my milk and I felt like a total failure because all around me at the NCT coffee mornings were breastfed babies who were all putting on weight with no problems.

I was pressurised by my hv to supplement feed No2, and when I said I wanted to bf, she told me she had to think of the best interests of the baby - as if I wasn't!! I was not best pleased!

However, all three are now husky healthy boys with fine appetites.

Tryharder Thu 16-Oct-08 23:28:28

Pudding25, my DS1 was something like 98th percentile for height and 50-ish for weight. He's tall and skinny - better than being short and fat IMHO. Perhaps your dd is destined to be a supermodel grin

PurpleTab Fri 17-Oct-08 19:20:40

I do think my milk was rubbish - have been breastfeeding for 6 months but he fell after a couple of months from 50th to 2nd percentile, but was 75th percentile for height. Finally after 6 months with constant compression, expression, super-switching and being told my latch was fine, I gave him some formula after feeding him both of me - and he took all 3oz. He's now been on solids for 3 weeks and already up to 9th, and not waking twice a night.

I wonder if some people just can't produce enough whatever they do but we're not told this or people would be put off trying bf???

lulumama Fri 17-Oct-08 19:22:56

FWIW, my formula fed DD dropped from 50th to below 25th centile and was very, very petite until recently, when she is finally back to being average, so i don;t think formula is neccesarily going ot make a child destined to be petite, bigger than they ought to be, IFYSWIM

some babies have to be smaller, others bigger, for there to be an average in the first place

seeker Fri 17-Oct-08 19:40:22

My ds was ENORMOUS at birth - (10.6lbs). he fed well, was happy, hit milestones, peed and pooed and did everything he should do, but plummetted through the centiles. He never lost weight, he just only put on tiny amounts. Because he was my second child, I had to confidence to say that he was fine, and to carry on feeding him, and he is now a robust, healthy, average sized 7 year old. I hadn't heard of catch down growth til tictoc told me about it a couple of months ago (thank you!) but I had worked out for myself that something like that must be happening. His body was obviously self regulating. If he had carried on on the 99th centile "they" would probably have been telling me he was too heavy by the time he was 1!

Please don't beat yourself up - breast milk is about more than putting on weight, it's about immune systems, and gut development and psychological closeness - and you've done all that. And your baby is FINE!!!!!!!!

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 19:42:13

Your baby's health is far more important than it's weight. As long as they're well, their soft spot isn't sunk, they've got plenty of input and output (drinking and weeing/pooing), have bracelets... Basically, if you hadn't looked at the chart would you say your LO was doing well and thriving? If the answer is yes the weight doesn't matter.

hellyberry Fri 17-Oct-08 20:11:20

i'm another believer from experience of catch down, i think, though i've never heard the concept before! ds2 was 11lb 11oz at birth, also 60 cms long, but being late had rolls of fat on rolls of fat plus some oedema. he dropped to just under the 60th centile in weight over the first 2 months, while never losing weight. He's been busy adding length since then, doesn't chubb up so much. i only weigh him by adding him to me on the bathroom scales, as getting to the HV is such a faff. He moves between the 40th and 60th centiles quite a bit.

i stopped BF at 5 mths when I started taking methotrexate. he eats a lot of food too now, and i can see no difference in his growth rate, he has spurts and stalls as before. i can totally see the difference in his immune system though...he is constantly picking up the bug of the week from ds1's pre-school.

chipmonkey Fri 17-Oct-08 20:31:31

chibi, one thing hardly anyone ever does on their second or subsequent child is look at the charts or agonise over where their LO is/is supposed to be! Your dd sounds absolutely fine!
BTW, when I was getting ds4 checked up by my PHN ( That's Irish for HV!) she didn't look at the charts either. She just said "He's exclusively bf, he can do what her likes!"

GreenMonkies Fri 17-Oct-08 20:39:07

DD1 was born on the 25th centile, by the time she was a year old she was on the 0.4th. She was, and still is, small but perfectly formed and stonking healthy.

DD2 was born on the 75th centile and was still on the 75th by the time she was a year old (but at 2 is now on the 50th). Both bf exclusively, started solids at 6 months, both growing to the pattern that thier DNA has dictated for them.

Theres nothing wrong with your milk, just don't be too influenced by the growth charts and percentiles. If she is growing, has a healthy amount of flesh on her and isn't a sickly wee thing she is undoubtabley fine.

BF your next baby, theres nothing wrong with your milk!!

sunnygirl1412 Sat 18-Oct-08 16:03:16

I have got to say that I look back at pictures of my sons, especially No2, when they were totally breastfed, and they look skinny and pale, which reinforces my belief that my milk wasn't up to scratch for some reason. Makes me feel like a failure, as I've said.

No2 would feed constantly, though not terribly strongly (as far as I could tell) so I couldn't see what more I could do to boost my supply - I was drinking enough, and eating a decent diet as far as I can recall.

However, what seeker said has really struck home to me:
*"Please don't beat yourself up - breast milk is about more than putting on weight, it's about immune systems, and gut development and psychological closeness - and you've done all that."*
I need to take this on board too, and remember it when I feel bad about it. Thank-you seeker, for such wise words!

RedOnHerBeheadedHead Sat 18-Oct-08 16:37:59

you can download the breastfed baby growthcharts at the bottom of this page

tiktok Sat 18-Oct-08 18:07:30

sunnygirl, studies all over the world have shown that breastmilk differs very little in quality - the quality of your breastmilk would be just fine and it would have nothing to do with skinniness or paleness.

sunnygirl1412 Sat 18-Oct-08 18:16:32

Thank-you, tiktok.

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