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13 week old not gaining weight but don't want to give formula - help!

(7 Posts)
FandL Mon 08-Jun-09 12:53:40

Desperate for some advice/help from others who've had similar probs.

In brief: dd born with weight on 50th centile BUT I have type 1 diabetes so although she wasn't heavy for a baby of diabetic mum I think she was heavy for her - especially as length only on 9th centile! She dropped to 25th centile at 4 weeks and followed this til 9 weeks. HOWEVER, she is now 13 weeks and has dropped to between 2nd and 9th. Have always demand fed her and she fed 7 times a day until 9.5 weeks then dropped to 5 feeds (and I KNOW some will say this sounds very few but both my niece and a close friend's baby did exactly the same thing at same age with no ill effects). Which meant she was sleeping through from 8pm to 7am.

She seems happy, healthy and alert and I just don't sense that she is a 'starving' baby! I do trust her to tell me when she's hungry but should I be MAKING her feed more often during day? (she feeds 3 hourly currently and always 'asks' for these feeds, doesn't seem hungry before that)

I don't want to re-introduce a formula feed -when she was 4 weeks we were advised by health visitor to give her one at 11pm as she had a couple of weeks of no weight gain. At 9 weeks she slept through and didn't seem to want this feed anymore so I dropped it (very happily) and have been excusivly bf since. Very emotional about this as know research shows she's less likely to develop type 1 diabetes if I bf her exclusively for 6 months (I developed childhood type 1 diabetes at 8 years old). Think things made worse by fact my mum ff me and my brother and, while she's trying to be supportive, she thinks I'm mad not to 'top her up' with a bottle of formula!

Am now obsessing I may not be making enough milk. As the day progresses she does squirm about when feeding and comes off the breast (I sense this happens when the milk supply is slowing down and she's getting frustrated?) And she will sometimes cry for a short period after feeding but then calm down and seems happy. She only feeds for 7-10 mins each side (and I do sense she has completely drained the breast after that). Have tried changing her from side to side to try to keep her feeding for longer to increase my supply but she can get very annoyed when I do this!

I also am trying to express for 5 mins each side after she feeds but rarely get even 1oz when do so (making my paranoia even worse that I'm not making enough milk!)

I have now re-introduced another bf at 10pm-ish (which is a dream feed)

Have looked at WHO charts for BF babies which are more re-assuring as she is not underweight according to those (but is a bit borderline!) Although her weight has crossed a 'z' line which they seem to think may be risky.

Going to get her weighed again today and have been booked to see GP so will update you as to what they say.

Soooo (blimey, sorry for going on for so long and in such rambling fashion!)is there anyone out there with similar probs? Especially any other diabetic mums with babies whose weight has dropped dramatically since birth. ANY advice really gratefully received anyway - am I starving my child???!!!! Really need to know I'm doing the right thing by trying to carry on with exclusive bf.

Mij Mon 08-Jun-09 13:17:28

I really feel for you - it's hard to see a baby crossing weight lines even when you know in your heart of heart's she looks fine, alert, well, etc etc. And charts can be used/interpreted very badly by some HCPs.

Have you spoken to a well-qualified BFC? And I mean an NCT, LL or ABM one? Please, please do if you can. Because of your additional health concerns re diabetes (you and the baby) I would worry about info coming from anyone that didn't have both the some medical knowledge and the complete picture from you (and a well-trained BFC will tell you if they lack enough knowledge of diabetes).

The only couple of things I feel able to say in the circumstances, are that firstly, the amount you express and the amount you're producing and your DD gets can be very different. Also - weight isn't everything, and a good GP should be looking at your DDs overall health (as you are already doing) before doing anything like suggesting formula. Finally - if you're getting her weighed very regularly, that can add to anxiety if you're somehow hitting pre-growth spurt times (which are pretty regular at this age).

Oh - and also, if you are demand feeding it's unlikely your supply is to blame. But if you feel you really want to be doing something (and I understand that feeling) try checking out kellymom.com for ideas on how to boost supply. But if you're re-offering the breast after she's telling you she's finished both sides and she's fussing and not interested, that really doesn't sound like a hungry baby...

Good luck!

FandL Mon 08-Jun-09 13:25:42

Thanks so much for your reply Mij - it's made me feel much better!

I am definitely going to speak to a well-qualified BFC about this after I've seen the GP later today. Will also check out kellymom.com.

Thanks so much again for your rapid reply - was hoping someone out there was listening at the right time!

pinkspottywellies Mon 08-Jun-09 13:52:05

Hello! Just glanced through your post but story is very similar to my dd in terms of weight (although not diabetic or anything!)

She dropped from 50th and from weeks 10-16 only put on 6oz altogether - so averaging an ounce a week! HV said at 12 weeks that 'we'll just wean at 16 weeks' or that I had to top-up with formula. After a lot of panicking and wondering which I had to do (cause I thought I would have to) I spoke to a bf counsellor and said ok I have to wean or give formula which is worse? She asked which I wanted to do and I said neither cause she's fine. There's nothing wrong only that she's not following the line on the chart. Well there you go then, she said. Do nothing!!

So I carried on as we were and she grew and developed and was fine.

Then, when I went to the HV when dd was one she was back at the 50th centile (never having had formula and weaned at 25 weeks) and the HV said 'isn't it funny how they often drop off their line and then by a year old, they're back up where they started' hmm So why the pressure to fatten them up then??!!

Anyway, IME, you know your baby and if you think she's fine then carry on as you are. And re expressing, that isn't usually an indicator of how much milk you have. Babies are just more efficient at removing it that a pump.

Stick at it! And good luck smile

Unicornvomit Mon 08-Jun-09 13:55:42

formula not necessarily the answer. DD was formula fed from birth and still made her way down teh centiles..

the more she goes to the breast, the more your supply will keep up with her demands.

expressing is not an accurate way of guaging how much milk you have

if she is weeing/pooing, happy and settled then she is most likely fine. weight gain can plateua or even fall off, but she might well have a growth spurt in a week or two and put some weigh back on

FandL Mon 08-Jun-09 16:12:01

Thanks to both of you....feeling SO much better about things - think I really needed to hear from someone who went through the same thing and whose baby is now older and fine! Am definitely going to speak to a bf counsellor..the whole fattening them up thing is annoying isn't it - why should their weight follow a particular line (mine certainly hasn't and doesn't!!!!!)

Also really intersting to hear that formula fed baby also went down the centiles - makes me feel better as had been worrying that I was starving her by my decision to bf not ff her and it sounds like in all likelihood she may have worked her way down the centiles anyway.

Just back from seeing GP who said she's not worried about her as she looks healthy, happy and alert; she thinks it could be 'catch down growth' as her height and weight now more matched - have to bring her in to be weighed next week to see how she's doing (she hadn't gained weight today....but she had only been weighed on Friday so not overly concerned!)

Can't believe this has been such a stressful period! If I were able to take the emotion out of it things would be so much easier - doesn't quite work like that being a parent though does it!

Thanks guys for all your help and support - very very appreciated smile

Unicornvomit Mon 08-Jun-09 16:13:04

great, glad you are feeling more reassured and happier.

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