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How long did your premature baby take to catch up weight-wise?

(20 Posts)
NewToAllThis11 Mon 23-Sep-13 21:20:44

Hi all

I've posted about my DS before (born at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 7oz) because he came home on oxygen. He's almost 3months corrected (so almost 6 uncorrected) now and weighs just over 9lbs, so still under the 0.4th centile. He's been gaining about 6ozs per week since he came home 2 months ago, which I thought was pretty good, but having seen a consultant today, he needs to be putting on more like 8 or 9oz by the sound of it.
I feel like he's still the smallest baby in the world, even though he's really hungry and doing really well developmentally. I'm sure he'll catch up eventually but it's so stressful worrying about how small he still is (and the doctors really don't help with that!)
Does anyone have any advice or experiences they wouldn't mind sharing?

NowFourSpuds Tue 24-Sep-13 15:01:57

Hi New

Congratulations on your DS coming home & getting through the world of NICU!

Did the consultant mention anything about weaning now DS is 6 months old? My twins were 1lb 5 & 1lb 7 at birth, and around 5lb & 6lb when they came home after 19 weeks. DS weight gain was awful, and he was below the 0.4th centile for a long time, although he took huge amounts of milk. DD wasn't great either, particularly when we were weaning her oxygen & she used more energy to breathe.

Once we started weaning their weight gain improved dramatically, we had a high calorie diet so added lots of cream and cheese to their meals. Maybe that's the next step? They are both now on 9th centile for corrected age (6 months).

I found the pressure of weight gain one of the most difficult things in the early days, but life is much easier now they are weaning and steadily gaining weight. I hope that helps!

Poppet45 Tue 24-Sep-13 19:30:46

Size stress is so horrid and you really feel it at every baby clinic and mums gathering so you have my sympathies. Dd was 2lb 4 at birth but 1lb 15 at her lowest at 27 weeks. She was rehospitalised for zinc deficiency and pneumonia. She's got cows milk protein intolerance so we couldnt bulk her up with dairy and unlike most of her nicu roomies is bf so I've watched them sail past her weightwise (she was smallest to start with too). At the start weaning made her reflux much worse so she didnt really start solids til 6 months adjusted (9mths act) and
she couldnt manage fingerfoods til 1. But at 2 shes on the 50th centile for weight, 9th for height and her head is above the 75th. Theres some evidence that trying to make catch up their weightgain too fast in the first year or so they can be predisposed to adult obesity so try not to stress too much. Slow and steady is a good thing!

plentyofsoap Tue 24-Sep-13 20:04:49

Hi I know I worried so much with ds. His weight gain was very slow, but seemed to improve once I weaned him. I cooked everything myself and tried to add "good" fats. To be fair he is 5 now and still very slim so I don't know if he would have always been slim or being prem contributed. I insisted he was tested when he was about 2 just to rule out anything which may have been missed which was negative. Its easy to say now but try not to worry he is doing excellent.

NewToAllThis11 Tue 24-Sep-13 22:02:47

Thank you, all. I don't know many mums of premature babies IRL so it's lovely to hear from people who've been through it and get that it's hard sitting in baby groups with 19lb 3 month olds, when your own baby is about half that!

Spuds - yes, the consultant does want me to start weaning DS so am planning on starting next week. Can I ask whether you worked though baby rice, veg, fruit etc. and then got to the cheese and cream, calorie rich foods? I was feeling quite anxious about it because he's still so small but I'm quite looking forward to it now, especially if it helps him gain weight more quickly. It's amazing that your dts are now on 9th centile - well done!

Poppet - DS is bf too, although he was put on two formula feeds a day once he was term to help with his weight gain. He's also just been put on to Infatrini instead of the previous formula in addition to bm. We started that today and he guzzled it down but was so windy and uncomfortable for hours afterwards. I know he needs to gain weight but I'm feeling increasingly uncomfortable about giving him formulas that make him so uncomfortable. And I don't want to fill him up with formula so that he has no room for bm!

impecuniousmarmoset Tue 24-Sep-13 22:08:37

Easy to say, but if he's tracking his curve, don't worry too much. My DS was born at 26 weeks on the 50th centile, but for various reasons, by the time he reached term was down to 0.4th centile. He was also fully breastfed (ditched ng tube at term) and though he's always had a super-healthy appetite he has tracked the 0.4th centile in both height and weight ever since (he's now 3 and a bit).

Although he is teeny tiny compared to his peers, developmentally he is absolutely fine, indeed a bit ahead in some respects! While I'll admit that I'd like it if he grew a bit taller (I worry he'll be accidentally squashed by his classmates when he goes to primary school!), in practice it is such a minor issue in the great scheme of things, and hasn't affected either his development, his energy or his general amazingness! It's just part of who he is, and if it's the worst effect he suffers from being born 3 months early, I tend to think we got off lightly.

impecuniousmarmoset Tue 24-Sep-13 22:12:54

Btw I don't mean to make light of the worry. One issue with having a prem baby is just how long they seem to remain babies for, and having a 6-month-old who weighs the same as some newborns is part and parcel of that. But it doesn't last. My DS was late walking and talking, but has fully caught up, and then some, in the last year. I really thought it would never happen, and now suddenly, 3 years on, we have a little boy in the house who never stops either talking or walking! The fact it was all so hard-won makes it truly awe-inspiring.

plentyofsoap Wed 25-Sep-13 04:33:52

I really agree with the above and I really wish I had not worried so much about his weight. Ds has caught up development wise and makes me so proud. We are very lucky. It is hard though I am pregnant again (and unable to sleep it seems!) and can't image having a term baby that gains weight normally wink

kiwik Wed 25-Sep-13 05:16:10

DS3 was born at 33 weeks, weighing 1.38 kg. He was in NICU for six weeks before we took him home. So he was twice the size of your baby at birth, but still v small and was v ill due to placental abruption.

He struggled for the first months, gaining v slowly. At six months I started him on solids, and he loved them and started to show a gain the same week. I started him on quite calorific foods - slices of mango and banana pureed with cream, broccoli pureed with cheese and cream. Slices of avocado and lumps of cheese to suck on. He had no pincer grip at six months, but had developed this by eight months and was happy to hold a biscuit/rusk and gum away on it.

He's now 22 months and is taller than DS2 at the same age. It was a struggle in the early days, but to see him now running about with his peers at nursery there is no difference at all.

NewToAllThis11 Wed 25-Sep-13 16:07:49

Thank you impecunious, plenty and kiwik. It's so nice to hear positive growth stories, and am so glad all your dc are doing well. Maybe it's a bit silly but after all the extreme worry of his first few weeks in the world, I feel like I don't want to agonise over his weight, so long as he seems happy and alert and is gaining weight. If he carries on as he is he will catch up with the 0.4 centile in a month or so, but the consultant wants him to be on the 2nd centile in 2 months, so we'll see.

He does seem fine though, and on a par developmentally with his corrected age of 3 months. Plus he's happy, alert and feeding well. I sometimes feel that the doctors won't allow you to relax for a second - there are so many potential things to worry about, but I just want to enjoy my lovely little boy.

Kiwik - thanks for the food suggestions (which sound rather scrumptious). Can I ask whether you used normal cows' milk cream to mix with fruit and veg please?

Thank you again. I love this forum and have got so much advice and reassurance from it over the past few months.

plentyofsoap Wed 25-Sep-13 16:54:25

If you have any questions just ask smile I felt very isolated after I took ds home and never under estimate what you have been through, but it sounds like you are doing great.

NewToAllThis11 Wed 25-Sep-13 19:48:18

Thank you, plenty. It is isolating. When DS came home I wanted to try and get to some kind of normality as quickly as possible, but it's hard having the oldest and smallest baby at baby groups!
Congratulations on your new pregnancy, btw. Wishing you a long, boring, uneventful pregnancy and a big, fat LO! (Although am sure you are very proud of your DS as I am of mine!)

plentyofsoap Wed 25-Sep-13 22:02:59

Thank you, but it looks like this one is coming early too, but I'm 31 weeks now so everyday is a bonus. I can remember feeling upset after baby groups too. I don't know what area you are in, but I found a baby/toddler group just for prems. It might be worth contacting the local neo natal unit or google local charities? It does get easier but make time for yourself too.

MiaowTheCat Thu 26-Sep-13 08:34:09

If its any consolation, I went from having the smallest baby at baby group to now having the tallest almost-toddler there! She just decided to almost miss 6-9 and 9-12 month clothes totally and went from being behind size wise, to being miles ahead, but we had genetics on our side as dh is incredibly tall.

NewToAllThis11 Fri 27-Sep-13 10:22:21

31 weeks is good going! Hope you're not too anxious and are managing to enjoy it a bit. Thanks, I will investigate baby groups for perms, but in some ways I just want to be able to go to the usual baby groups, because everything has been so unusual so far.
Thanks miaow - that is a consolation!

Mama1980 Fri 27-Sep-13 10:29:10

Hi my ds was born at 24 weeks weighing just 1lb he's now 9 1/2 months uncorrected. I have started weaning him under the guidance of a micro preemie nutritionist and developmentally he's sitting and making attempts to crawl though he has needed physio to help with muscle tone. He is still tiny (not quite 10lbs yet) but he's eating loads and doing great. He apart from his size is not really distinguishable from other babies his age.
My eldest ds was born a at 26 weeks and had a much tougher time in nicu than ds2 he needed numerous operations and a feeding tube for well over a year. He's now 5 and completely caught up, he's actually very tall now and his weight is in line with his height.

lotsofcheese Fri 27-Sep-13 10:38:31

Mine is still catching up age 4.75!!

He was a 29 weeker with IUGR, severe reflux (until age 4) & also had oxygen at home. Oxygen babies burn of 20% more calories just breathing, so even following is 0.4th centile line was an achievement.

We also did high calorie weaning, starting at 26 weeks actual age, and just started everything eg dairy, wheat, fish etc. Lots of cheese sauces, veg roasted in oil purées, custard made from Jersey milk etc.

He's nearly 5 & almost at 25th centile.

NewToAllThis11 Fri 27-Sep-13 15:32:42

Wow - Mama1980 your dcs are dpoing so well. That's amazing your son is sitting at under 10lbs. It just shows how strong and tough these babies are. I'm starting a bit of gentle weaning tomorrow - just baby rice, so we'll see how it goes.

Lotsofcheese - I remember you from my other thread about home oxygen. That's great your son is doing so well. Do babies on oxygen use more calories just while they're on oxygen or do they still use up more on breathing once they're strong enough to come off it? I think a high calorie diet will help, but I'm a bit concerned that if I put butter, cream and cheese in with vegetables then DS might not want to eat anything that isnt fat-laden as he gets older. Maybe that sounds silly, but I don't want to contribute to him having a poor diet later. How does your DS eat now if you don't mind me asking?

Mama1980 Fri 27-Sep-13 22:20:37

I second the high calorie weaning, I'm under the guidance of a nutritionist as we taking part in a extreme prem medical study. And much of what he recommends is high calorie.
In many ways ds2 was very lucky they knew my pregnancy was extremely high risk and I was hospitalised well before he was delivered so he had steroids, a mag drip etc. in utero which they say made a massive difference to his lungs and his little body had time to prepare. Physically he has had intensive physio which has helped with his movement, they worried he would have muscle issues due to the drugs he was given but so far so good, plus he also has two elder siblings he is desperate to join when they play grin

justhayley Thu 16-Jan-14 22:55:49

My DS now 21 months - a 35 weeker still hasn't caught up & is mini compared to his friends the sane age. I stressed SO much over this - probably until he was 1 & I stopped getting regular weigh ins. I was told to add lots of butter to his veg which I didn't do to be honest. I'm not sure if he'l catch up with his peers but development wise is way ahead so I'm know longer worried. As long as they are following their line & the weights not dropping I wouldn't be concerned toooo much!

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