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It was NOT MY FAULT. Mothers of slow gaining babies, read this...

(50 Posts)
verylittlecarrot Fri 26-Feb-10 13:01:59

Some of you may recall my challenges a couple of years ago with my very slow gaining dd. I did everything I could possibly think of - we had a perfect latch, very frequent feeds, co-sleeping, sling wearing, expressing, domperidone, 'more milk plus' and other galactogogues, breast compressions, switch nursing, skin to skin, breast crawl, co-bathing...and all we achieved was a measly one or two ounces a week, and I had regular blocked ducts. DD dropped off the bottom of the centiles. We saw paediatricians and infant feeding counsellors. We bf exclusively to 6 months despite the worry of her weight gain, and then continued until she was 2 years and a few months. She weaned when I was pregnant again.

Despite telling myself that her growth was 'normal for her' and that she just took only what she wanted from me, I have always doubted myself, and worried that my breasts were 'inadequate' - that I was one of the small percentage of women who have truly low supply.


My beautiful baby boy was born almost 3 weeks ago. He lost a fair chunk of his birthweight after a sticky start. (I had a severe PPH and needed transfusions) But in the last 17 days he has gained 23 ounces. He weighs more at 3 weeks old than dd did at 6 months old shock. He is gaining at 3 times the rate she did. He doesn't feed as frequently and he is nowhere near as demanding. It boggles the mind.

Same breasts. Same milk. Different baby.

I can now forgive myself and can actually believe what I always wanted to. DD gained exactly the way she was programmed to. Nothing I did could have changed that. It was NOT MY FAULT.

I know there are some of you out there also harbouring feelings of guilt and worry about your slow gaining babies. Take it from me - sometimes it really IS just the way they want to be. Forgive yourselves, please. It is NOT YOUR FAULT!

tiktok Fri 26-Feb-10 13:11:34

Fab story, VLC.

You could add to 'same breasts' etc the obvious....'same mother' That is, you were tuned into the needs of your baby in (presumably) the same way, and responding (no daft schedules).

There is a lot about 'outlyers' we don't know - these are the babies whose growth is tracked in research, and where the dots are miles away from everyone else's. They don't get accounted for in the resulting data, but they may be perfectly healthy! It's reasonable to make sure these babies are healthy despite their 'outlying' growth patterns, and the majority of them are just fine...but boy-oh-boy the anxiety and the investigation and the traipsing back and forth, to find that out, and even when all is well, you get that residual worry

Sounds like you're getting rid of it now though

cory Fri 26-Feb-10 16:32:10

Great story- and good on you for having the confidence to try again!

I forgave myself when dd was 10 (!) and her OT casually pointed out that her disability would have caused any feeding problems. I always knew it couldn't have been a supply problem since I was leaking everywhere and filling the freezer, but I still had a feeling it must have been my fault that I couldn't get it into her. Pshaw! No more my fault than the fact that she wasn't walking at 18 months and needed a wheelchair by age 7.

puddock Fri 26-Feb-10 16:35:24

Thank you for the update and the confidence-boost!

verylittlecarrot Fri 26-Feb-10 17:40:57

The worry is evaporating now, tiktok. I find myself wanting to cart my newborn around all the paediatricians and doctors that saw dd and shout "See? I am perfectly capable of feeding a child adequately. All babies grow differently."

(Of course, now my worry is that this one goes more hours between feeds, far more than I am used to and I can't do much to persuade him otherwise. So despite his weight gain I panic about my supply packing up due to less frequent feeds. Doh. It is VERY, very hard to trust to nature doing it's thing.)

On a more sensible note, I do know that my supply is probably matching his intake perfectly and that a growth spurt is probably just around the corner to make me eat my words about infrequent feeds.

essexgirl31 Fri 26-Feb-10 21:21:17

Brilliant story. I followed it at the time as DS1 weight gain slowed - though I had nothing like your worries.

Enjoy your DS and DD of course!


Chellesgirl Sat 27-Feb-10 00:21:24

Can I add my story???

When dd was born I intended to BF. I had her latched but she had difficulty breathing (something midwives failed to act on when she was first born). So she was taken off me and made to try again later. She was feeding ok but still grunting. She spent time in NICU the night she was born having oxygen and they fed her formula - she sicked up. I fumed and complained at why they never called me to come and feed her.

So in hospital she lost weight nearly the ten% over 3 days, I was trying to BF but nurses wernt helping me, telling me that she would need to frink 30ml of formula before she would be allowed home.

After hospital stress, took dd home (self discharged) and she fed amazingly, gained all her weight back in 24hrs. hmm

I stupidly as us new mums do, took her to the HV to be weighed every week. She was born on 50th percentile (5 weeks early) dropped to 25th at 3 weeks and she was constantly sicking up, relux, colic, puke was projectile after every feed and very mucousy (sorry tmi) HV's and midwife at gP's told me to supplement her as she was loosing too much weight (though she sustained this percentile for weeks) finally at 3 months, Id had enough of the puke and crying and went to the doc and said I think shes lactose intolerant. BOOM! I hit the nail on the head, not only is she lactose intolerant but cows milk protein too. So while these HV's ignored her puke, and practically made me feed her formula (through my PND) they were making her ten times worse. I thought I was a failure not being able to BF her anymore as doc put her on prescription formula. Horrid feeling at being accuse of not feeding her enough by docs and HV's to giving up by my DP's aunty. 'you could have cut out your dairy' unfortunately its not just 'dairy' that needs to be cut out, but practically everything has Cow's MP in. from gravy to bread.

At 6 months dd then dropped down to just above 9th percentile she was feeding great on the soya formula.

At 15 months contracted vile gastroenteritis and we took her to A&E where they said she was 'failing to thrive' so they orederd for some blood tests (on a poorly, dehydrated, young toddler) and said if she doesnt gain the weight back on once illness had subsided then they would be forced to do 'something' about it. (what that something was, I would love to know).

So referred to consultant a few weeks later to get to the bottom of dd's poor weight gain and 'failure to thrive'. Consultant took one look at dd and laughed. HE said hed never heard so much crap, nasty talk about a healthy, happy young girl. He got the blood tests reults back that came back all normal. ANd told us not to worry and he would contact the Docs for us.

DD was siagnosed with 'constitutional slimness' whereby she does not keep lots of fat on her body (and with a dairy free diet, I dont expect her too either)...but other than that I know she is healthy and thats all that matters. And with the BFing thing..wel yes guilty I still feel, cause if I knew what I do know about the particular foods, I would have cut them out, but for her health the formula had to be.

Thankyou verylittlecarrot for the chance to be able to rant smile. Im glad your ds has taken well to the breast and I hope my next dc will too. God bless.

YanknCock Sat 27-Feb-10 00:26:31

thanks for sharing that vlc, have had worries about my DS being little but he's doing everything he's meant to, very happy, and never gets ill!

confuddledDOTcom Sat 27-Feb-10 00:40:46

Thanks for sharing VLC and congrats on the new baby.

I had a similar situation. Both my children were premature so slow growers. Toddler was usually around half age as clothes size, Baby is now still in 0-3 at 14 months. I've been told regularly that she's too small (even compared to crack babies who start off smaller and are "normal" size when they get to a year - yes, but they're fed junk food most of their life!) but she's perfect! Healthy baby, why worry about the size?

deleting Sat 27-Feb-10 01:24:53

verylittlecarrot - congratulations and what a great story - how true. We have a slow gainer, but luckily ds2 was my 3rd and although we've been worried about him and his slow gaining, I know I would have been frantic if he'd been my first and would definitely have been doubting my supply/quality of milk and would have probably been persuaded to ff which I didn't want to do. As it is he is still only 12lbs at 8 months. He was 4 weeks early and 4lbs (2nd centile). We thought it would be just a case of him piling it on quickly and catching up. ds1 and dd were good weights, had been great feeders and put on loads in the first few weeks, thought he would be the same, but he was extremely sleepy and struggled for weeks to latch on and it was a daily grind of trying to latch on for half an hour and when that didn't work expressing and trying to keep him awake long enough to pour it in. This was every couple of hours day and night. He was weighed every week and sometimes he would have put on nothing and others 2 or 3 ounces. For a few weeks he put on 6 ozs a week which was great, but then he went back to the 2 or 3 ozs. He's had loads of tests to discover why he's small, but nothing has shown up. He's healthy and alert and although probably a couple of months behind developmentally is doing it all in his own time. He's still off the bottom of the chart, but following a line. Exclusively bf to 5.5 months and I'm still bfing him, but he's now having three meals a day, still co-sleeps and feeds during the night a couple of times and still gaining the same. We see paeds/nutritionalist every couple of months and they say the same about doing something, though what they will do I have no idea.

AbricotsSecs Sat 27-Feb-10 01:39:39

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AbricotsSecs Sat 27-Feb-10 01:41:18

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Chellesgirl Sat 27-Feb-10 10:50:34

lol @ wother, thank you thats really excited me knowing that when dc2 comes along one day and has the same problem I can tackle it just like you did. I really take my hat off to you, for being able to continue the BF...It did really make me feel so low up until dd was about 10/11 months and still think 'what if' now, but I cant really carry on the whats if's, dd is okay and shes healthy, dc2 one day hopefull wont go un - noticed in the care system cause I have the knowledge now. Thanks again smile

belgo Sat 27-Feb-10 10:53:36

Congratulations VLC! I had missed your birth announcement.

And you are quite right, some babies are just small. All of my babies have dropped centiles - ds from 75th at birth, is now on the 3rd percentile.. He's a very healthy little thing, so are my girls, and we just have to look at all the other babies in the family and we were all tiny!

Chellesgirl Sat 27-Feb-10 10:57:11

sorry wotcher smile

RunJHC Sat 27-Feb-10 19:58:25

Congrats VLC - I remember your story from the acorns/oaks thread. DS has always been a little baby - 0.4/2nd centile and I do feel picked on sometimes when he's clearly absolutely fine. Hope all continues well with your DS.

willowstar Sat 27-Feb-10 20:48:43

thank you VERY much all for sharing your stories. I am currently going through the horror of traipsing to the hospital every couple of weeks to have the Drs tell me my little girl doesn't weigh enough and I need to give her formula...though now that she is 5 months I am being told to wean her.

It has been the only cloud in the sky since I had my daughter...she has severe reflux and is on meds for that and is on the 0.04 centile and keeps dipping under it...but she is just so well and developing great and all along me and OH have just said that we think that is just how she is meant to be.

but it has been VERY difficult with so many people telling me to give her forumula and having to go against medical advice. If she wasn't developing well I would have but there just doens't seem to be a thing wrong with her.

but yes, the doubts, the tears after every I doing the right thing? is my supply enough? am I feeding her enough? horrible. only this week I had to take her for a sweat tests and yet more blood tests which meant three needle stabs and a heal prick. this is the third lot of blood tests.

anyway, thanks very much for sharing your story, makes me feel better.

Hadeda Sat 27-Feb-10 22:31:31

VLC - I also remember you from the acorns/oaks thread. So glad things are going well for you with your DS.

My DD1 was also a slow weight gainer. I also worried for ages that I had "harmed" her by insisting on bf her and refusing to top up with formula. But she was meeting her milestones etc. Plus I was lucky I have a very supportive DH who helped me though some of those dark moments when I just felt guilty guilty guilty.

Fast forward 18 months and DD2 is born. On the 70th percentile at birth. She has never, ever lost weight, not even in the first few days when babies normally dip. She has tracked between 91st and 95th percentile. She is wearing clothes now that DD1 wore at a year. Again, same milk, same breasts, same mother.

I am tall and skinny. DH is tall and broad. Anyone care to guess who I think DD1 takes after and who DD2 takes after??

cory Sat 27-Feb-10 23:23:28

In my case, it turned out that it wasn't just how dd was meant to be: there was an underlying genetic disorder which showed itself more and more clearly as dd got older and which is now showing in ds as well.

So with hindsight, I very much wish I had known and had switched to formula- that would probably have been the right thing for us. Instead, I let dd lose far too much weight- daren't think what would have happened if she had caught a bug when she was at her weakest. And then I nearly killed myself trying to turn her round on constant breastfeeding and syringe feeds with expressed milk. If I had known that 7 years later she would be in a wheelchair, I think it would have given a bit of perspective and I would have been more willing to try anything that might make her life easier, instead of refusing to accept anything that seemed to go against my ideal of a perfect baby.

Chellesgirl Sat 27-Feb-10 23:48:56

willowstar do not put her on formula...from my experience with dd, I wished I had never given her formula. Your baby is not a 'lab rat' as DP used to say to the hospital staff...

Buglet Sun 28-Feb-10 09:54:25

Any answers out there?

My darling boy (sorry don't know the shortcut system yet as new to this) has NEVER been hungry. He is now nearly sevenmonths old and after a nightmare start (screaming at the breast, nobody had any answers, slow weight gain, stressed out depressed mother,then stopped wanting bottle, now weaning and refusing food). His entire life has been a battlefield as far as eating is concerned and his desperate mother now exists on cigarettes (I'd given up), nurofen plus and coffee.

Can anyone PLEASE tell me why my baby has never been hungry???

Chellesgirl Sun 28-Feb-10 09:56:40

buglet how much did he weigh at birth and how much does he weigh now???

has he had any reflux problems??? Any allergies diagnosed??? have you had a breatfeeding advisor to check he is feeding ok/taking something from the breast??? He must be eating something if hes made it to 7 months wink I think you might be doing just fine.

Buglet Sun 28-Feb-10 17:13:54

Thank you Chellesgirl... he weighed 8.8lb at birth and the only reason he eats is because I coax and cajole and drip feed every ounce into him... I have been to GP numerous times, am regularly at clinic and the last time we weighed him he was under the 25 percentile. I no longer go as it leaves me feeling depressed and anxious. He feels skinny and light and is much slimmer than his NCT compatriots.

He didn't have reflux although GP put him on ranitidine.. breast consultant (NHS) said 'ooh he's difficult isn't he?', like I was unaware of that. Private breast consultant said 'you've tried your best, it's a bit late now to start again' (8 weeks old).

He is ok because of the enormous amount of work I've had to do to keep him going. He looks great and is hitting all his milestones but the last 6 months have really taken their toll and I am feeling at the end of my rope. I have zero patience and my relationships with both baby and husband are suffering.

I guess the worst thing of all is that NOBODY anywhere seems to have the answer... no 'expert', no doctor, no website, no book. All I want to do is enjoy my baby without fighting a war. I feel alone on this as I never see any posts about babies who never want to eat anything.

AbricotsSecs Sun 28-Feb-10 18:19:40

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AbricotsSecs Sun 28-Feb-10 18:22:20

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