5.5 month old BF baby needs more food: weening or formula?(30 Posts)
My little Gal is BF every two hours and she is nearly 6 months old.
Wondering if I should start weaning or introduce formula feed at night?
Any friendly advice gratefully received!
I should point out that I am trying to say that her demand is greater than my supply!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Readiness for weaning is sitting up unaided, loss of tongue thrust reflex, pincer grasp, ability to pick up food, put in own mouth, chew and swallow. Is she exhibiting these signs?
It is extremely unlikely that after 5.5 months of exclusive feeding your supply is not enough and is more likely that your dd is having a growth spurt. She needs to suck more to tell your body that she needs more and your body will respond accordingly. If you interfere with this very clever process, your body does not respond by making the milk your child needs and then you do start to have supply issues.
It is not abnormal for a baby of this age to feed every 2hrs or more, especially during a growth spurt. My dd certainly did at that age.
There is no harm with putting a few bits of steamed veg in her reach and seeing if she takes the initiative but if she's hungry your breastmilk is the best thing for her.
hana is right - your supply will catch up to her demand within a week or two if you hang in there and feed her whenever she asks.
but yes, offering finger food and seeing what she does with it is a good way to gauge readiness for weaning.
And well bloody done too. It's hard work with a hungry bfed baby but you're doing marvellously.
Thanks for the positive support. She has been feeding non-stop for about a month now.
I don't seem to be making more. I never manage to pump more than about 60ml either.
weaning-wise she does not sit up but she is always trying to pull food into her mouth.
Actually probably longer than a month. I did think it was a spurt but it did not stop.
checking her weight it has gone from 75th percentile to 25th also
Pumping is absolutely no indication of what is happening with your supply. Some women can never pump a drop and they successfully bfeed.
How is she? Pooing and weeing normally? Happy? Alert? Meeting milestones? Bfed babies' growth does slow as they reach 6 months after gaining quite rapidly in the first few months. Plus moving around more uses extra calories. The thing is with solids is that they won't offer more calories, fewer in fact than milk. If she is grabbing food and trying to eat it then I would let it happen and carry on with the milk feeds as much as possible.
Are you offering both sides? Do you offer night feeds too? Is she teething at all?
Like I said, my dd fed at least every 2 hours from birth until around 7 months when she started to go longer but the change was gradual and she still bfeeds regularly now at 2yrs old.
She seems happy enough and alert.
I guess my main fears are:
- not getting enough sleep now - yes she is two hourly 24 hours a day.
- the drop on the growth chart
yes, sorry she feeds both sides i meant to add
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Well done, it's tough when they feed all through the night and I know because I had to do it! I tried weaning, formula before bed, dreamfeeds...I'm afraid to say that nothing has worked except time! At 8.5 months he has now started sleeping pretty much all night, just in time for me to go back to work. And I am doing nothing differently.
You've done really well to EBF to 5.5 months. We started BLW at that point although he played with the food for a good couple of months rather than eating it.
Re: pumping, I've always found I can't express as much as he eats. If he's at grandma's and has a bottle, I usually find I can express a couple of ounces less than the 'lost' feed. Breast pumps are not as efficient at getting the milk out as babies.
I wouldn't waste your time expressing tbh, unless you're really needing to, ie back at work or similar. Feed feed feed, it will pass. My BFC said to offer a "third" side iyswim, if they were still hungry after both sides.
As someone else said, solids won't improve the sleep (sadly). Just time. But if you think she's ready then no harm in trying BLW as well as the bfs
Most bf babies level out on the growth charts at this age, the charts are based on ff babies, they gain weight at a more regular rate, but bf babies don't. As long as she is gaining weight and not losing it don't be alarmed by drop down the centiles. Trust your eyes, is she chubby? Healthy? Alert? Happy? Gaining weight (even if it's slowly)? If the answer to these questions is yes then just chill and carry on doing the fabulous job you currently are doing!
There is a growth spurt at about 18/20 weeks, it can be fierce, but it is a growth spurt, and not an indication of needing solids or formula, your milk is still the most calorie dense food there is, and all she needs for the next 6 months, solids are not actually a significant source of calories until babies are over a year old!
Please don't feel that what you are expressing is an indication of how much milk you make, it really isn't, try not to be discouraged!!
If she is really interested in food, wedge her in a high chair, sitting upright, and put some cooked broccoli florets or chunky (cooked) carrot sticks on the tray and let her try to feed herself. If she really is ready for/in need of solids she'll be able to pick it up and put it into her mouth and gum/bite bits off and chew them. See this and this.
I think you can get a bfed baby chart if you're interested but be led more by your baby and trust that the weight gain slows down. As greenmonkies says, the charts in most red books atm are based on ff and bfed babies mixed so are not wholly representative of a bfeeding weight gain pattern.
It is so, so hard I know. Do you co-sleep?
I have recently started weaning my dd at 4.5 months because she dropped off her centile, she was bf every 1.5hrs, she stopped sleeping through, and seemed to watch every monthfull we put in our mouths.
I know many mums will now view my in the same league as baby p's mum for weaning early, but i've already got a healthy 8yr old who was weaned at 4 months - no alergies. I spoke to my health visitor 1st who argreed that my dd seemed ready. She told me that very few babies make it to 6 months just on milk, and as long as you wait until after 17 weeks then there shouldn't be any problems.
Sorry forgot to add at the end. Follow your baby and your instinct not just what "the books say"
"very few babies make it to 6mths just on milk"
Sorry mrsf but that's a load of cobblers, and also makes it sound like it's a bad thing to be stringing the poor wee mites out on milk only for 6 whole months.
PLENTY of babies "get to" 6mths and beyond on milk only, both BF and FF.
Did your dd start to sleep through once you weaned her?
I had a slow weight gain dd, and a horrible start to BF so I know how tempting it is, but honestly nothing is more calorific than BM anyway! Look at kellymom here
Sorry OP was not meaning that starting solids with your wee one is a bad idea - she's almost 6mths, so no great harm in trying, GM's links are good. But it won't change her sleep or weight patterns greatly I wouldn't imagine.
"I know many mums will now view my in the same league as baby p's mum for weaning early". That's a rather distasteful and offensive statement mrsfossil.
I do agree that you should 'follow your baby' though. You've had the signs of readiness repeated on here and she seems to be on her way. Just let her go at her own pace and try not to worry about centiles and ounces and pumping. You can spend so long staring at them and not look at a healthy, thriving baby. I'm hoping you're asleep right now and getting a much needed break.
Just to add my twopenceworth, I started solids with my dd just before 6 months (think she was about 5.5 months, can't quite remember ) - it seems to have made her sleep worse, not better! We are BLW, and I wanted to wait until 6 months but she grabbed food off my plate and started eating it, so I guess she was ready! She's not taking much solid food, but for the past couple of nights she's been waking every hour to nurse!
Re: "not many babies make it to 6 months" - what a load of shite. HV's really do spout it IMO. My ds made it to nearly 8 months (he just wasn't ready before then) and pretty much every baby I know has weaned between 5 and 6 months and made it there on milk alone.
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