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BF nearly 3 week old still losing weight - does this have to mean FF?

(10 Posts)
pulapula Fri 02-Oct-09 20:58:34

My sister is struggling with BF - her DS started at 10lbs, and is nearly 3 weeks old and is 9lb 2 and lost a couple of ounces in the last few days.

She has been advised to FF and he is much more settled. They said something about her milk not being the right "texture" being the reason - although this is secondhand via my mum. Does this sound right?

I know she will be disappointed not to BF, and i will be phoning her in the morning (and seeing her next week) and want to encourage her to mix feed, but i feel like i don't know enough about it as i assumed that if her latch is ok and is feeding regularly, baby should gain weight? I know tongue-tie can be an issue so i will mention that to her too - I don't want her feeling like it's her fault he's not gaining weight sad.

Anyone else had a baby which didn't gain weight at first, and gone on to successfully BF even after a spell of FF? It would be good to be able to report some success stories.

OonaghBhuna Fri 02-Oct-09 21:36:27

My Ds is 11 weeks and he lost alot of weight initiallly because he had a tongue tie. He wasnt able to access the hind milk.I had a very worrying first 3 weeks because he was born 3 weeks early and was only 6lbs 140z.His weight dipped to 6lbs.
As soon as the tongue tie was snipped the latch felt completely different and he started to gain weight immediatly.So its really important to get it checked out at least to rule it out if he doesnt have a tongue tie.

TheShockoftheTwo Fri 02-Oct-09 22:06:36

My understanding is that it's quite normal for breastfed babies to lose weight in the first few weeks. Percentage-wise, your sister's baby's weight loss sounds in the safe zone so not sure why she's been told to FF - probably a box-ticking paedatrician or HV. It makes me so upset when women who want to breastfeed get undermined like this...
My boys (twins) were 5lb12oz at birth and lost 10 and 12% weight in the first five days - basically because I was overwhelmed and it was all a bit surreal and so I didn't feed them every three hours. They were too small to demand food so I had let them sleep. Once I fed them regularly they sustained their weight and then started gaining in a day, and then put on weight, getting quicker to do so as we got better at feeding.
A friend of mine also didn't feed her baby regularly enough and she lost weight, so the hospital scared her into FF. She sought support from breastfeeding counsellors and has gone from mainly expressed milk bottlefeeding and some FF, to mainly breastfeeding at 12 weeks.
Another friend found her baby's feeding issues stemmed from tonguetie, and once clipped this improved.
www.theshockofthetwo.blogspot.com

moaningminniewhingesagain Fri 02-Oct-09 22:14:32

I'm a success storywink and see here for the long version. DS lost 17 percent of his birthweight, I topped up from week 3 to week 8 and successfully got back to exclusive breastfeeding. Still BF now at 9.5m and v happy.

Thinkstoomuch Fri 02-Oct-09 22:47:32

Only have time for a quick reply but sounds like your sister has been given atrocious advice.

I think some mums are not prepared for how breastfeeding in the first few weeks can be very frequent indeed - is she definitely feeding enough? It can feel like it's all you do all day at first. Watch tv, have drink and food handy and don't try to achieve much like shopping etc. beyond the minimum.

All too frequently I hear so-called professionals who favour formula imply a baby that is breastfeeding frequently should somehow be spacing its feeds or that it's hungry. And please don't believe any crap about there being anything 'wrong' with her milk. Grrr! So I'd want to say to your sister please don't believe it if that's what she's being told and just feed, feed, feed and stick with it as it does get easier after about 6 weeks.

If there is a tongue-tie then she should find which hospital in the area will treat it immediately (it varies).

And yes it's perfectly possible to go back to exclusive breastfeeding as long as she keeps BF now as much as possible and just topping up with formula if she really feels she has to.

tiktok Mon 05-Oct-09 09:54:53

No such thing as breastmilk being the wrong texture - sounds like something has got misunderstood there.

The weight loss and contiunued weight loss is serious, though - it is far from normal for babies to lose weight in the first few weeks (days, yes).

Not her fault things are going bad - three weeks is plenty time for her healthcare profs. to have discovered a problem.

yes tongue tie is worth checking for. But if she wants to revive breastfeeding she will need to feed very, very often and to express too...the weight loss indicates that she has either not been feeding often enough or the baby has not been transferring milk and has just looked as though he was doing so

detoxdiva Mon 05-Oct-09 10:16:44

The advice she has been given sounds crazy - wrong texture?? hmm

Dd lost far more than than her 10% and I put this down to not putting her on the breast enough while waiting for my milk to come in..which in turn made it a longer process.

My 4 week old ds has tongue tie and has fed successfully from day 1 - it's worth getting checked out but it doesn't mean the end of bf.

To echo TikTok, if she wants to restart bf get your dsis to get him back on the breast - a lot - to encourage her milk production, and get him checked out by the gp for any underlying reasons why he's maybe not feeding as effectively as he should.

pulapula Mon 05-Oct-09 11:04:56

Thanks for the advice. I know she has had his latch checked on numerous occasions due to the weight loss. I think the "texture" thing could well be my mum misinterpreting things as i only got this secondhand. I guess it could be that he is getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk?

tiktok Mon 05-Oct-09 11:09:49

Latch is important, for sure....but at the root of many of these difficulties is simply frequency of feeding, and milk transfer. It's not enough for a baby to hang out at the breast and look as if he's feeding. The milk has to be getting into him

And this has to happen often - day and night. Long sleeps can be the sign of a baby conserving calories because of lack of milk intake - not contentment.

A baby only 9 lbs 2 oz from a birthweight of 10 lbs, aged three weeks, has really not been getting the milk he needs, and I would guess her supply is under serious threat of disappearing.

Yes, it can be turned round.

I think it's highly likely the baby needs formula in the meantime, though.

pulapula Mon 05-Oct-09 11:37:30

thanks tiktok

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