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BLW and weight gain (health visitors)

(35 Posts)
JackieBrambles Tue 01-Oct-13 13:45:50

Hello everyone

I’m new to Mumsnet but have been a long time lurker since my baby boy was born in February!

He’ll be 33 weeks tomorrow and we’ve been doing BLW since 25-26 weeks.

We’ve really been enjoying it and he’s been eating a wide variety of stuff (although after his face got blotchy after having eggy bread I’ve not given him ‘neat’ eggs in any form yet). His faves are mango, nectarine, plums, humous on rice cakes/pitta and potato/sweet potato wedges so far. He’s had meat and fish too (he liked sardines on toast!).

Some is definitely going in (can tell by his poo) but it varies day to day how much he’ll eat. Some meals he’ll happily sit for ages picking at bits but other times he’s just not bothered or gets annoyed in his highchair (I always try to bf him at least an hour before in case of hunger/frustration). We give him food three times a day (breakfast at 8ish, lunch at 12.30ish and dinner at 6ish).

I went to the health visitor today to get him weighed and he’s now on the 9th centile (was fluctuating between 25th and 9th). He’s 7.34kilos. She said that his weight has slowed too much and we need to get more calories into him. Her suggestion was to give him yogurt? (petis filou she said??). I remember reading on here that’s full of sugar and it doesn’t seem right to me. She knows I’m doing BLW so suggested I give him a spoon and have one myself and just have a go with it.

I really don’t want to spoon feed him and I don’t think he’d allow me to anyway. But she wants to see him again in two weeks and now I’m worried that I’m messing this up.

I breastfeed on demand and he still feeds at least twice over night as well, and I also offer even if he hasn’t demanded if its been longer than 3.5 hours-ish during the day.

He’s absolutely gorgeous, smiley and thriving. He’s been crawling for a month already (quite early it seems compared to his friends of a similar age) and last week has started pulling himself up on things. Do you think it could be that he’s burning more calories because he’s so active?

Sorry this is so long.

Does anyone have any advice of high calorie foods I can give him? How do you experienced BLWers ‘do’ yogurt? What kind do you buy?

I’ve got the BLW cook book and I’ve made the lentil wedges and lamb sausages (sausages went down better!).

Or should I just ignore the health visitor and go with my gut? (which is that he’s absolutely fine??).


Thanks in advance smile

JackieBrambles Thu 31-Oct-13 11:33:47

Thanks for replying Tiktok - I agree so I called yesterday morn to find out who my assigned hv is (my original one left) and I left a message on her voice mail.

She hasn't called back yet though. I guess I will call again tomorrow if I still haven't heard anything.

tiktok Thu 31-Oct-13 11:23:09

This HV sounds very undermining, and unless she really doesn't like her job or mothers, she probably doesn't intend to be.

Weight is only one aspect of a baby's health and well-being, and by 8 mths, when you can see what the baby's doing, his behaviour, his physical development, his energy, then it's really not much a a guide.

I have not heard that a vitamin pill will increase appetite and don't see how this could work. Perhaps she could explain if that's what she meant?

We know that stress round mealtimes is not good for babies at all, and does not increase intake. Many babies eat better when meal times are sociable and when no one is really taking any notice of what they eat.

Could you, perhaps, call the clinic and ask to speak at a separate appointment to another HV? I think that's the best way to get reassurance, honestly....nothing in your post indicates anything to worry about, but a proper assessment from someone official is probably the only thing that will put your mind at rest smile

JackieBrambles Thu 31-Oct-13 09:46:58

Sorry to bother you all again, but I’m feeling quite stressed!

My ds is 8.5 months now (37 weeks). It has been a month since I last saw the HV and I felt like he had been eating well so we thought we should go to get him weighed.

Mistake! I saw the same HV as before and as it was so busy at the clinic I felt I couldn't be awkward and ask to see someone else.

He was 7.34kg a month ago, and he’s now 7.43. He’s just below the 9th centile. He was born on 50th, went down to 25th and has fluctuated between there and the 9th since then.

The HV again sucked air through her teeth (and wrote ‘minimal weight gain’ in his red book) and asked me what I was feeding him.

I explained that I have been carrying on doing BLW, but I have also started offering yogurt to my DS on a spoon. He likes it and just grabs the spoon and directs the bowl end to his mouth and sucks it off.

Her suggestion was to increase his portion size?? I give him loads, lots of choice too and if he won’t eat it what can I do? He won’t really accept anything other than yogurt on a spoon, I’ve tried and he wants to feed himself because that is what he has always done.

He’s been enjoying meal times and eating lots of different things but how much he actually ingests is anyone’s guess!

I guess this is my main worry – when will he actually start eating lots rather than just sucking/licking/gumming stuff? Maybe I’m offering the wrong things? I’ve been avoiding egg because it seems to bring his face out in a rash but I’ve been giving him pretty much everything else.

I just feel like if I’d started off spooning in puree like everyone else has done he would be eating so much more and would be a big chunky baby like all the others his age! But now he'll never take puree or anything from a spoon so I feel like it’s my fault he’s so petite and that I’ve failed him

I did tell her that he is very active, has been crawling for 2 months and is now cruising/trying to climb so is probably burning a lot of calories that way but she didn’t seem to pay it any mind.

She also suggested I get an over the counter multi vitamin (Abidec) because this will help increase his appetite? I have never heard of this, has anyone else? I did get some and tried to give it to him fairly unsuccessfully – he just spits most of it out!

Has any one else had something similar? When did your blw babies start swallowing whole meals?

I swear since I saw the HV he has stopped wanting to try foods, maybe he’s picking up on my stress! I really don’t want to worry about meal times with him. My DH is not worried and says he's fine and a little dynamo and v happy. But I'm just worried he's too small!

Any words of comfort/advice much appreciated.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Sat 05-Oct-13 07:41:02

Have a look in your red book, his weight should be marked on the charts so you can see if he's actually lost or just dropped centiles (as JJJ said, more likely).

Good calorie-dense foods are avocado, banana, anything mixed with a dollop of mascarpone (mmm), cheese sauces (can mix with veg) and buttered toast. I've just read the original BLW book and it allows for spoon-feeding if the baby will accept it, it just advises not to give at every single meal (though loaded spoons are always fine), so even purists shouldn't have a problem with this smile

JackieBrambles Fri 04-Oct-13 12:20:13

Thanks Free, good point about the spoons! Will try that. I'm being impatient I know.

FreeButtonBee Fri 04-Oct-13 10:07:49

The other way to do it is to put the loaded spoon on the highchair tray. Then he can pick it up. 50% of the time they will grab the food but eventually the will grab the handle and have a go at getting it into their mouth.

FreeButtonBee Fri 04-Oct-13 10:00:16

When giving spoons, you need to make sure you present them with the handle rather than aiming the bowl of the spoon at their mouth. That way, they have a fighting chance of not grabbing the food! Took me ages to work this out. And remember it will take time for him to work out how to use a spoon - try it at the end of one meal a day for a week or so, no pressure and when he's had a reasonable stab at eating other stuff. You might be surprised at how quickly he picks it up if you persist.

JackieBrambles Fri 04-Oct-13 09:48:57

I think it's all just got to me today. Sorry, am going to re-read this thread as there is lots of assurance!!

His sleep is bad at the moment (im sure others have it way worse but he was up at 10, 2 and 5 last night) and I'm feeding him pretty much every time he wakes and DH and I were wondering about night weaning, as I wasn't convinced he was actually hungry in the night but this weight thing has made me wonder!

JackieBrambles Fri 04-Oct-13 09:19:07

Thanks for the post Tiktok, I agree, I should really ask her. I was thrown really because there has never been any issue of his weight before and I have never seen this particular hv before either so in my head I had dismissed her opinion whilst I was sitting there, it was just afterwards I started to worry.

I've tried giving him a loaded spoon of natural yogurt with some mashed fruit in and he just grabs the stuff in the spoon with his fingers! It makes me worry that so many other mums say their babies (even blw babies) adore being spoon fed yogurt. When mine doesn't want to entertain me putting anything in his mouth!! I know that's the point of blw though.. Sorry I'm rambling.

Another mum came up to me at a group yesterday asking ' how old is your teeny crawler?!' She was worried her daughter wasn't crawling but I just felt worried that he's small!! :-/

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 02-Oct-13 15:01:04

sparkle did your Lo lose weight or just drop down in the centiles? Actually loosing weight is very unusual in a baby.

sparklekitty Wed 02-Oct-13 13:41:45

My BLW DD lost weight at one point. My HV asked if she was BLW and when I said yes she shrugged and said it happens sometimes, weight again in a month and if still loosing then look at what she's eating.

She said a good way to increase weight was more carbs, so bread, pasta, rice etc.

I give DD those Rachels baby yogurts, they're just yogurt with fruit puree in them (yes I know I could do this myself but I'm too lazy) and she loves them.

tiktok Wed 02-Oct-13 13:32:32

Jackie, it does seem very odd advice from the HV - from what you have said here, there is no cause for concern. Maybe she thinks there is? It might make sense to ask her - tell her you have been so worried, you have sought comments from anonymous people on the internet, and this has led you to wonder why the HV suggested your baby needed to gain more weight. She needs to know she is worrying parents, and to explain why her advice is to give processed, high-sugar foods to a baby whose weight seems well within normal and who is showing every other sign of health.

Ask her what she thinks will happen if you follow your own observations that he is doing fine, eating well from a range of healthy foods, and developing normally....and therefore you don't need to do anything different. If she has concerns she has not expressed clearly enough to you, then she can share them with you. You will be able to judge how convinced and convincing she is smile

noblegiraffe Wed 02-Oct-13 13:12:00

My 8 month old loves baby yoghurt. I'll put some on a spoon for her, put the spoon on her tray, she grabs it, shoves it in her mouth (mostly) then bangs the empty spoon on the tray till I oblige and refill it.

You want thick stuff, like fromage frais that will stay on the spoon. I bought some Rachel's yoghurts and they were way too runny, were running off the spoon before it got to her mouth. Yeo Valley and Muller both do tiny weaning baby yoghurts that are the right consistency.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 02-Oct-13 09:48:40


Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 02-Oct-13 09:48:06

I remember being at the drs one day, It was baby clinic day and I was sat opposite a woman with a baby boy. She was telling her friend about how the HV had said the baby was under weight and how they had told her to do all this stuff to increase calories. The poor thing was huge. Beyond happy healthy chubby , we are talking three chins no neck and rolls on the arms and legs. She was saying how she rushed she's left it alone and allowed herself to be the judge and that they said he was gaining to quickly after all the fuss confused

CornishYarg Wed 02-Oct-13 09:38:59

I agree with everyone else; she's over-reacting to a normal fluctuation in weight. My understanding was that weight fluctuations were only cause for further investigation if they crossed two centile lines (with no corresponding change in length). Some HCPs do seem to panic when a baby is on a lower centile line; there seems to be a lack of understanding sometimes that, by definition, some babies have to be on the lower centiles.

If you did fancy giving yogurt a try, our approach for DS who refused spoonfeeding was to load up a spoon with yogurt and hand it to him to feed himself. A bit messy but he got pretty proficient quite early. You could try stirring pureed fruit into natural full-fat yogurt; it would still contain sugar, but fruit sugar only rather than also having added sugar. Or some yogurt brands like Rachel's My First Yogurts don't contain added sugar and are sweetened with fruit sugar only.

mrsmartin1984 Tue 01-Oct-13 16:02:27

Your HV is talking out of her back side. The growth curves are an average. All children go through growth spurts and stalls. It's only and issue if he drops two of the lines on the growth graph. Allot of HV are very anti BLWing. Do what you feel is right. He sounds like he is doing fine. Some meals are better then others

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 01-Oct-13 15:47:58

I hardly ever took dd2 to the HV. I found them to be a waste of time and so focused on feeding schedules and charts that they were completely detached from the actual baby. A breast feeding baby who is feeding on demand and trying everything in varying quantities and is happily doing so at the table with his family, does not need any intervention smile

Sounds like a lovely set up and I hope he enjoys throwing his spag Bol grin

JackieBrambles Tue 01-Oct-13 15:42:02

Wheresmy - until today I was busy thinking 'food for fun etc' and I was so pleased that he'd sit happily at the table with us for a good hour trying a bit of everything that she really knocked my confidence. I'm so glad I've come here to get some reassurance!

Thanks again

JackieBrambles Tue 01-Oct-13 15:18:17

Spag Bol tonight, with a couple of rigatoni pasta shapes!

Funny how i'm now not worrying about the mess! When I first started blw I was horrified :-D

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 01-Oct-13 15:05:48

If she truely was concerned she would have measured him and also measured his head circumference.

Don't go and relax and enjoy your Lo. What's for tea? smile

JackieBrambles Tue 01-Oct-13 15:03:36

X post Jilted, I think that's what I'll do - not go!

She didn't measure him, his length hasn't been measured since 6 weeks (although he has an 8ish month check coming up where he will be I think). To be honest she barely even looked at him!

Its most unlike compliant me to disagree with a health care professional, but I just find their advice so conflicting - plus so many of then don't seem to 'get' blw.

And thanks for the welcome! :-)

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 01-Oct-13 15:03:27

You weren't weak either, your baby's weight is such an emotive subject, you were bound to listen to the silly bitch her.

And yes you are right, the NHS don't recommend moving to 3 meals a day till Lo is between 8 and 9 months.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 01-Oct-13 15:02:15

Three meals a day is rubbish!! Some babies will some babies won't. It's meant to be fun and and jut a little taste, your baby will decide when he's hungry for more food , forcing it will result in them eating less not more. Listen to your baby not a stranger with a text book. smile dd2 was 8/9 months before she are actual meals she just tried stuff up until then. Nothing wrong with her weight either smile

marzipananimal Tue 01-Oct-13 14:59:42

Go with your gut, sounds like he's doing great. I wouldn't see the hv again in 2 weeks, it's too soon to weigh him again. Just say you have no concerns so don't need to see her

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