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Want to bf to 6 months but how to keep weight up?

(20 Posts)
Warwickmum Thu 02-Jul-09 23:18:08

I hope someone can help as I am getting conflicting advice from hv/friends/relatives!
My DS is just over 21 weeks old and is currently 16lb15. Over the last four weeks he has put on 4oz, 3oz (over a fortnight), 3oz and this week only 1oz. Would really like to reach 6 months exclusively breast feeding due to research that suggests digestive problems may occur later on in life if weaning before 6months (due to a change (that cannot be detected) in the gut that can happen anythime between 4 and 6 months. I realise that when you start weaning, that the majority of calories still come from milk, so guessing this in unlikely to lead to better increase in weight, so my question may not actually be about weaning afterall??? I am feeding on demand and DS was feeding every 3 hours until about a month ago when he had another dip in weight. I upped feeding to every 2.5 hours on suggestion of hv and increase in weight improved again (he went up by 15oz one week!). He has been feeding every 2.5 hours and sometimes 1.5-2 hours for the last 2-3 weeks. He is also doing briliantly at night and has been sleeping 8.30pm ish to 6am ish. I am totally happy to feed more often but it is not obvious that is what DS wants. I'm just concerned that he is not getting enough nutrition from me and wonder if there is anything else I can do to try and improve the situation without the need to wean yet. The HV has just said try to persevere with bfeeding. I'm happy to do that, I just don't want to 'stunt' his growth! He is quite long and skinny and it is really hard when relatives keep telling you that 'that boy needs some food inside him'!! Sorry for the essay!

Warwickmum Thu 02-Jul-09 23:20:39

Sorry this is now on here twiceblush!!!A bit new to this and missed off subject first time so did it again with a subject this time and now can't delete thread with no title!

whomovedmychocolate Thu 02-Jul-09 23:21:06

He sounds fine. On breastmilk alone my DS who was a bit early shot off the top of the growth charts as did DD.

You do not need to do anything more than feed on demand. Oh except ignore anyone suggesting early weaning/topping up.

Dalrymps Thu 02-Jul-09 23:27:56

You are doing great, some lo's are just tall and skinny smile(like my ds). I agree, ignore people saying he needs some food inside him, breastmilk is higher in calories than any of the early weaning foods anyway so you're right it'll not make a lot of difference. If he's happy and full of energy then just carry on as you are! You're doing great.

Montifer Thu 02-Jul-09 23:29:23

You're doing a great job! Just keep feeding on demand and remember he'll ask for more during growth spurts.
DS was pretty much exclusively bf until 8 months-ish. (I can wholeheartedly recommend BLW for stress free, fun filled weaning).
That boy really doesn't need food inside him nor cereal in a bottle etc - he just needs what you are giving him!
envy at the sleeping through, 13 month DS still isn't doing that!

elkiedee Fri 03-Jul-09 00:11:09

It sounds like you've got a health visitor who is keen to support you in breastfeeding and that's great. My ds2 is a very similar age I think (dob 3 February) and size, his weight gain is on the slow side. First weaning foods are mostly fruit and veg anyway and not nearly as calorific as breastmilk, as others have said - ask well meaning relatives how they think vegetables or baby rice or whatever they suggest would fill him more effectively than milk.

Good luck.

mawbroon Fri 03-Jul-09 08:26:00

Has he lost any weight? Or just not gained much over the past few weeks?

It is common for the exclusively breastfed baby's weight to plateau around this stage. My DS was the same. He averaged about 1oz a week from roughly weeks 16 to 22 (ish - dont' have my red book to hand) and then on breastmilk alone, the line on his graph took off very steeply for the last few weeks before starting solids at 26 weeks.

If you are otherwise happy with him and he seems happy and healthy, then rest assured that he is following a typical weight gain pattern for an exclusively breastfed baby.

HTH smile

Warwickmum Fri 03-Jul-09 08:27:34

Thanks everyone. I feel a bit better now knowing that other people have tall and skinny babies!!! He's the only one in our group and it was starting to worry me a bit! Will keep going with the bfeeding. Mind you, not too sure that hv 'keen' to support the bfeeding. I get the impression that she is just quoting the guidelines and to be honest hasn't really given me anymore support than 'try and persevere for another week'sad after telling me in a rather concerned tone that he hasn't really changed weight this week other than 1oz! Anyway, I will carry on and just hope if he is feeding more that it will actually increase my milk supply.

elkiedee Fri 03-Jul-09 08:57:01

Sorry to hear that HV isn't as supportive as all that, I misunderstood earlier obviously. When's he due to be weighed/see HV again? If he seems quite well otherwise can you steer clear?

sambo303 Fri 03-Jul-09 09:26:33

I have seen the hv 3 times for weighing (ds now 10 months) because I didnt want to get worried about weight gain/loss/centile thingies. I am just going on whether ds seems happy/active and is weeing and pooing regularly. He is absolutely fine and happy and healthy. Are you seeing the hv each week? As elkiedee says, maybe steer clear for a month or longer.

My partner was pressuring me to wean ds early (bad sleeper) and one of the times I took him to be weighed was to prove he was a good weight (he was ) so I could hold off a few more months.

Well done on bfing so long thus far and envy at that wonderful sleeper you have there. smile

whomovedmychocolate Fri 03-Jul-09 10:11:05

Why do you think you need to up your supply. If he's gaining weight albeit slowly and is happy and fine you don't need more milk. I know it's hard to trust your milk when you first start out but honestly, you don't sound like you have a problem. If he was hungry he certainly wouldn't be sleeping so soundly! envy.

Please stop going to see the HV if she isn't supportive. Go to mum and tot groups and seek out the breastfeeding mums - they will probably be lot more knowledgeable and supportive

moosemama Fri 03-Jul-09 10:31:03

Sounds like you are doing fine to me. My dd is 24 weeks (yesterday) and exclusively bf. Other than the first couple of weeks when the mw and hv came to the house she has only been weighed when she went to the clinic for her immunisations. She is bright, healthy looking, active, meeting her milestones has lots of wet nappies and dirty ones about once a week. She is slim, but not skinny.

When babies get to this sort of age they become more active, rolling, sitting up, attempting to crawl etc etc and this can temporarily slow their weight gain, it doesn't mean they need supplementation.

As long as you are feeding on demand and your baby is satisfied you don't need to worry, he will demand all that he needs from you and your supply will adjust accordingly.

This article talks mainly about newborn weight gain, but also briefly covers 2-12 months at the end, and says exactly that. Look at the baby not the scales.

ThingOne Fri 03-Jul-09 10:41:54

You sound to me as if you are doing just fine. Is there a reason you are having him weighed so often? Every week seems a bit unusual. I think the normal recommendation is no more often than once a month. If you look at your son's gain over a month it looks fine. If you look at the week where he gained 1oz it makes you feel nervous. But the truth is he is gaining, not losing, and he weighs plenty.

I would just avoid the HV for a month or so, if I were you.

If you are feeling pushed into introducing solids earlier than you wanted to, remember that the early weaning foods contain far less calories than breastmilk. Giving you baby some pureed carrot is not going to help him put on weight.

whomovedmychocolate Fri 03-Jul-09 11:35:27

and enjoy this 'small baby' stage - it gets a lot messier and noisier after this bit

sambo303 Sat 04-Jul-09 09:48:24

just received my copy of the nct mag "New Digest" which states:

"frequent weighing of healthy term babies isnt necessary and returns misleading information. Once feeding is established the support materials recommend 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and one year, and say that babies should not be weighed more often than once a month in the first 6 months, and no more than every 2 months between then and a year."

this is in reference to the new growth charts for exclusively bf babies.

borinbugger Sat 04-Jul-09 10:35:09

my hv was nt supportive either,tried to get me to bottle feed . but i ignored her and breast fed exclusivley till 6 months .best advice i got was from a bf counsellor who told me to feed on demand (it was hard work day and night) but after the first 2 weeks my babies gained weight steadily and we never looked back
good luck !

borinbugger Sat 04-Jul-09 10:37:30

my ds was long and skinny too even after weaning.dd was chubby always just different babies different shapes !

borinbugger Sat 04-Jul-09 23:00:28

it must b hard for you bein under so much pressure from other people but MUM KNOWS BEST ! good luck x

borinbugger Sat 04-Jul-09 23:01:10

it must b hard for you bein under so much pressure from other people but MUM KNOWS BEST ! good luck x

kathryn2804 Sat 04-Jul-09 23:16:03

Have you got the new or old growth charts in your red book (new ones have just come in I think!) Anyway, the old growth charts in the red books are based on bottle feeding and show a steady growth pattern which breastfed babies just do not follow, esp at about the 4-5 mth period. They have started to adopt the breastfed baby graphs because they are worried that the formula graphs are actually not doind anyone any favours and could even be encouraging obesity!! Go to the WHO website and find the breastfed baby growth charts and see if that helps.

Otherwise, sounds like you're doing fine. Everyone is a different shape, sounds like he's a fit and healthy boy. If he's alert, happy, weeing lots and pooing once every few days (or even up to once a fortnight!) he's doing fine! well done!

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