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Baby's weight is too low!!! Help please.

(35 Posts)
piximon Tue 05-Apr-05 20:15:53

My 31 wk old B/f baby lost some weight a few months ago when she had flu and has been static on the 2nd centile for a few weeks now. It's always been a slight cause for concern that she's small (now weighs 14lbs) and we've been trying to wean her onto solids since she was about 4mths after presure from the HV but she's still not very interested.

Today I saw a new health visitor who says the baby isn't interested in solids as she has too much breast milk. She has given us a strict feeding timetable of b/f at 7.30am, 3pm, 8pm and 11pm with a feed at 5.30am for this week only.
If she refuses to eat the solids she will have to go hungry till the next feed. After two hours of crying, baby eventually ate two tablespoons of food at lunchtime but refused to eat any dinner. Surely at this rate she'll lose more weight???

HV also said that for breakfast the baby should be having half a weetabix with full cream cows milk. I thought cows milk was to be avoided until 12mths especially as we have allergies in the family but she said I was wrong.

I ended up leaving the surgery in tears as she really implied I was a bad mother for starving my baby. When I happened to smile at my baby she said she "hoped I would take her comments seriously".

Didn't help that she also says there are problems with the baby's eyes and we should be concerned as they are too wide apart and she thinks there is a squint. Saw new Dr who says she's too small to tell at the mo if there is a problem with her sight. Also said B/f may be good for some reasons but bad for trying to fatten her up.

And I finally gave in and my 2 yr old had his MMR jab.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

mummytosteven Tue 05-Apr-05 20:23:52

not an expert at this but think your HV was far too gung ho and hideously prescriptive - your baby having to have weetabix FFS. I get the impression that your baby has always been small - so in that case it's not as concerning as if there has been a sudden huge slide down the centiles. it is ok to use cows milk in cooking from 6 months, and I have never heard of there being any suggestion to avoid in case of allergy but stand corrected if I am wrong.
In terms of fattening your baby up I would have thought BM or formula milk was better than fruit veg purees as more calorific.

I have also had some very dictatorial HVs so really sympathise with the bullying into early weaning problem.

Tissy Tue 05-Apr-05 20:24:41

b*llocks to your HV! "Too much breastmilk" WTF!!! The WHO recommends breast milk ONLY for the first six months, and this is what the HV should be pushing. From what you say, I don't think your baby has actually lost weight on breastmilk, except when she was ill?

If you breastfeed your baby on demand, i.e. whenever she is hungry, assuming she does not have an underlying medical condition (and there is no reason to suppose that she does), she will be fine. Breast milk has far more calories and nutrients than you will be able to get into her with a few mouthfuls of solids.

The charts that HVs follow slavishly are not based on breastfed babies, so do not apply to your child.

Seriously. Ignore the HV, and breastfeed your baby until she shows interest in solids, it may not be for a few months yet.

Xzebra Tue 05-Apr-05 20:25:10

I am really shocked, don't know where to start. Strict timetables are not the way forward. Plus Breastmilk has the same or even more calories in it than most early solids. Plus it's more digestible; a baby needs fewer calories in breastmilk than formula to live on because the breastmilk doesn't get wasted at all. Unless you're tanking her up on baby rice, olive oil and Greek yogurt, the breastmilk has the same or more calories than just about any other suitable early weaning food. Cow's milk with wheetabix.. and I think(?) wheetabix is high fibre, high fibre foods are not suitable for babies under 1, and they don't help babies gain weight!!

Am sputtering I am so annoyed for you but will just bump this up so someone more coherent than me can explain better.

tillykins Tue 05-Apr-05 20:26:13

I think your HV is talking rubbish! Breastfeed away as much as she will have, its got more calories than baby rice or mushed carrots. Then I would just offer her a baby yoghurt or similar, just as a taster to get her used to it
As for leaving her crying till the next feed - I think that went out with the ark piximon. Half a weetabix? Is the woman mad? She is 7 months old (your DD, not the HV!!!)and yes, no cows milk till 12m old
Go have a chat with your optician about her eyes, they are the specialists but I think lots of babies eyes seem v wide apart and I don't think that in itself is any cause for concern. And a lot look like they have squints to start with
And change HV, this one is bonkers

You are doing a fabulous job, bf at 7 months is wonderful and by far the best thing - darn sight better than weetabix and cows milk (unless you are a cow...) You are doing fine, hang on in there

mummytosteven Tue 05-Apr-05 20:26:31

don't know much about bfing, but surely the best way of getting her weight up would be to play it a bit cooler on the solids, and get as much BM milk down the baby as possible?

Tissy Tue 05-Apr-05 20:26:41

Forgot to add, I had a baby who was breastfed and who followed the second centile for ages, she's still on it age 3. Someone has to be on the second centile- it is quite normal.


debs26 Tue 05-Apr-05 20:31:03

get a new hv, this woman wants shooting. you are clearly a great mum who knows what her baby needs, stop listening to this idiot who hasnt a clue! completely agree with mummytosteven and tissy. btw, my baby lost weight due to a few feeding problems after birth and my lovely hv (they are out there) was perfectly happy that he stayed on the same line on his growth chart, it was not expected that he would jump back up to the line he was on before. babies will eat solids when they are ready and only then, if it is causing problems, dont try to force it!

tiktok Tue 05-Apr-05 23:01:45

piximon - your health visitor is in serious need of updating and training. The current guidance is to enable mothers to breastfeed exclusively to six months (not fur) . It may be your dd could do with extra calories, but the advice the HV has given you will end up getting fewer calories into her. Five breastfeeds a day and solids which she refuses will not nourish her sufficiently, and allowing crying is not a good way of encouraging her to eat - mealtimes need to be sociable, fun occasions for enjoyment, as I'm sure you know.

Weetabix is ok, and the full cream cows milk is ok, too - cows milk is ok after six months but just not as the main drink. But neither of these is essential, and in a family with allergies, you're right to be cautious.

Clearly, the manner of this HV is unfortunate; her job is to support you, not reduce you to tears ir belittle you.

Breastmilk is actually very good at 'fattening babies up' - but they do need enough of it for it to do its job Human beings who need to gain weight (whatever age they are) are advised to eat often (it's would be slimmers who are told to avoid snacks and stick to three meals a day). Breastmilk is fairly calorie dense compared to many early solids, and almost identical in calories to formula - but because it is the right food for babies, the baby uses up fewer calories actually digesting it, so the net intake of energy is greater. Better advice for you would be to breastfeed your baby ad lib - as often as you can/she wants to, inc at night, and to offer calorie-dense solids which she enjoys, such as banana, avocado. and non-allergenic cereals, in a way which avoids conflict.

Good luck with avoiding this woman in the future.

Squints are really difficult to diagnose in a baby of this age, but if you are concerned, then someone who knows what to look for could check it out.

tiktok Tue 05-Apr-05 23:02:09


twynkle Wed 06-Apr-05 14:03:20

Agree when general consensus that HV is awful witch from hell.
WH guidelines recommend no solids till 6 months. My youngest showed no interest in solids till around 11 months and was exclusively breastfed till then. The whole point of the weight charts is that they follow a normal there have to be some babies at each extreme. Thats the point of it!

cazzybabs Wed 06-Apr-05 14:13:17

Agree with all on here - my HV told me to aviod giving cows milk if I could because I had excema until dd was at least 1 year.

gothicmama Wed 06-Apr-05 14:17:29

agree with all HV wrong - on a practical note have you tried a cup of water with solids to quench thirst but not fill up as breast milk can do - it worked with dd but having said that she was considered small and the dr told me she did not eat enough - go with your feelings

ambrosia Wed 06-Apr-05 14:19:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bagpuss30 Wed 06-Apr-05 14:32:17

Just wanted to add my support as I have been through this too. I would just continue to breastfeed on demand as much as your baby wants for the time being. BM has more calories, as previous posters have said. The timetable that your hv has given looks exactly the same as that which is scribbled in the front of my dd's red book funnily enough. I was told by my hvs that my baby was being clever in getting me to feed like she was newborn (WTF???) and that I needed to be more strict . I was also told at her 8 month check that bm was really more of a drink at that age and that she should be eating more solids. Needless to say I ignored all of this advice and told the hv that I thought it was ridiculous seeing as though they had put me under extreme pressure to bf when she was born. She couldn't really say anything in return to that. My dd was fine and still is although now at 2 yrs 8 months is still petite, although eats like a horse some days .

Please do not let your HVs comments get to you. You cannot force feed your baby solids if she does not want to eat them. HTH

Catbert Wed 06-Apr-05 14:35:19

If you never had her weighed - would you be as stressed as you are at the moment? Is your baby doing the things you would expect? Is she happy enough, feeding OK, smiling, sleeping etc? If the answers are a resounding yes, I would develop a strategy of HV avoision!!!! (A word from the "Simpsons" I love).

Just feed when you and she wants to, listen to what the other MN gurus on this page have already said - because it's all TRUE, and trust you know what you are doing...

Oh - and change to a doctor who has b/f herself. Always helps.

DissLocated Wed 06-Apr-05 14:49:17

don't know if this helps but my dd (now 11mo) started off on the 50th centile but dropped down to the 9th around 4 months and has stayed there ever since. I was really worried but my HV told me to ask myself: does dd look OK, is she happy, does she have her 'baby fat', ie chubby wrists and legs. If the answer is yes, throw the charts away. I stopped getting her weighed and stopped worrying.

DD was exclusively bf til 4 months, then took to solids with enthusiasm and is now eating like a horse combined with breast and formula milk - but is still tiny and on the 9th centile! She's just little, like her grandma (not me unfortuately!)

ambrosia Wed 06-Apr-05 14:56:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

piffle Wed 06-Apr-05 15:01:04

gat a NEW HV, what a ridiculuous suggestion if your dd does not like solids and you reduce her breatmilk how exactl yis that going to help. nod and agree with hv while doing what you think is best for your child after you leave.
Best if weight gai is still problematic is to ask for GP referral to paed dietitian, when I met ours it was a revelation! Also some babies take 6 mths to find their own centile, look at your families to see the size of people within it and see if it bears resemblence.
If your dd is bright, cheerful, sleeping well and taking breastfeeds normally, then you have little to worry about. Our consultant paed said " we in the know, look at the child, not the scales"
Hmmmm if only that would filter down to the ones below!
Good luck xx

I had this exact same problem, my dd went from 50th at birth to well below on the 0.4.
Solids changed nothing, dd now 30 mths has just started to climb up to the 9th.

piximon Wed 06-Apr-05 21:13:21

Thank you all so much for your replies, I feel so much more positive about things.

Today she ate some baby porridge with banana and some yoghurt but I also b/f out of the "scheduled" times and felt like a naughty schoolgirl.

This HV is a temp for two weeks while our usual one is on holiday. She stressed that I had better take the baby back next week to see her and I am a bit worried about repercussions if I don't. The usual HV that I see has commented on how small baby is and encouraged solids but never made me feel bad.

I think what's especially difficult is that my son was bottle fed (I received no support to b/f at the hospital and gave up after about 8 hours as I didn't know what I was doing, no one had the time to help me and he was obviously starving). He never had any problems with his weight and wolfed down his food at every opportunity.

Thank you again.

chipmonkey Wed 06-Apr-05 21:45:00

Piximon, eyes too wide apart? If they are just wide-set then that is NOT a problem. If they are looking in different directions then it could be but tbh this HV sounds so ignorant about bf, that I doubt if she is an expert on eyes! See what you regular HV thinks and if you're still worried you could take her to an optometrist

aloha Wed 06-Apr-05 21:55:36

Weighing and seeing a HV are NOT compulsory. They cannot force you to have your dd weighed and there can be no repercussions. It's awful that you feel so stressed and under pressure. My dd is eight weeks and I've not had her weighed except once when the midwife came after she was born. She's never seen an HV and long may that last.
Just don't go back. As everyone says, SOMEONE has to be on the second centile!!

KathH Wed 06-Apr-05 22:23:40

what does she expect you to do? Forcefeed your lo? If she's static does that really mean there's a problem? I thought once babies were at a certain age their growth slowed down anyway? My dd2 was on one of the lowest centiles and always has been - she's now 8 and is still quite small but what she lacks in height she sure makes up for in temper! (sorry - thats probably not what you wanted to hear ) HVs make me laugh, if you've got a big baby then you're feeding them too much, if you've got a smaller baby then you're starving them - are all babies supposed to be on the middle centile then in which case doesn't it make a mockery of the whole thing?

PotPourri Wed 06-Apr-05 23:36:39

Total rubbish. If your little un seems to be developing well, then just ignore the stats adn unhelpful HV. Really, standing back, how can that be right was she is saying? Some babies are ready earlier than the 6 months, so by definition, some will be ready later. And forcing her to eat at specific times, how on earth does that teach her to enjoy food - it will just make it a chore and a battle of wills!? And like someone else said, if you didn't get her weighed, would you be worrying right now. If yes, then see someone who will be of use to you (NOT this HV), if no, then carry on as you see fit, slowly getting her into eating solids. You do know best.

Good luck piximon.

bobbybob Wed 06-Apr-05 23:52:46

Your HV cannot force you to give your child weetabix and cows milk. I gave neither of these to Bob before 12 months because of allergies in the family and allergic signs he was already demonstrating. Now at 2 he is the same height as all his peers and is all muscle. Children grow in spurts so a week isn't enough anyway. If your daughter was sick with the flu she needs all the breastmilk she can get to rebuild her strength.

This woman knows nothing about allergies, and it seems little about child development. Please ignore her.

Refuse to do anything different, if she is still worried (as opposed to just bossy) she will refer you to someone who does know what they are talking about.

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