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Thread: HELP - 5 month old BF baby not gaining weight - long post.

  1. #1

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    Default HELP - 5 month old BF baby not gaining weight - long post.

    I'm at a loss as to what to do. My 5 month old BF baby is not gaining weight. Everywhere I turn I get completely different advice. I really want to BF my baby and all I have ever offered her is BF but she just is not thriving on my milk. And I don't know what to do.

    At birth she was 4 kgs! At 5 months she is 5.4 kgs. I know that babies are supposed to double their weight by 6 months but I really can't see that happening. After she was born she lost a lot of weight - 3.6 kgs the day we left hospital. Then at 2 weeks - 3.845, 4 weeks - 4.2, 8 weeks 4.65, 4 months - 5.345 and 5 months - 5.470 So last month she put on only 125 grams!! In a month!!



    She has never been that interested in feeding. I wanted to do demand feeding but in the end I had to feed based on time otherwise she wouldn't eat enough. Now she only stays on the breast about 5 to 10 minutes. I offer both sides every feed. At the moment I do 3 hourly feeds during the day. I try to offer more feeds and she just refuses! She wants to look around or play - anything but eat!

    So far I've been told I should be feeding every 4 hours so that she's more hungry. I've been told I should be feeding more often to get more into her. That I should add formula into the mix. That I should express and offer her expressed milk as extra feeds. That I should start solids. I don't know what to do.

    Thing is .. she meets all the criteria for a healthy breast fed baby - enough wet and pooey nappies, bright eyes, happy when awake, active, good skin, etc. So why isn't she gaining weight?!

    TIA!

  2. #2

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    hun sounds like she and you are doing a fab job!!
    remember that babies weight starts to plato around this time, weight gain slows down considerably.

  3. #3

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    :yeahthat

    Do you know that I was told by a midwife that the growth charts they provide us in our MCHN books are actually around 30 years old and based on FF babies!! I dn't know if it is true but I am trusting what she is saying!!!!

    She said not to take them too seriously and to just go by the obvious wees and poos and bright/alert signs that you see everyday!!!

    My DS was exclusively feed EBM due to a cleft lip and he was always fairly normal on the percentile graph......( he had surgery at 6 months) however at 8 months he had dropped off the graph and my MCHN said she wasn't worried at all beacause he had gone through major surgery( 3 general anesthetics in 1 week)

    I asked if he had not had the surgery would she be more worried and she said NO he looks healthy and reacts to stimuli...etc......... So stuff the graphs!!!

    It sounds like you are doing a great job and just trust your instinct....you will know if something isn't right with your bub!!!

    hope that all made sense and my main point was to reassure you that bubs sounds fine and you keep doing what you are doing!!

  4. #4

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    Looking at her gains at week 2 and 4, they are certainly within the normal range for a newborn. And bf babies tend to really plateau from about 3 months. So I don't think the weight gains are too much of a problem. And it's good that the nappies sound right etc. Where is she on the charts btw? Also are you seeing a MCHN or GP and have they expressed concern? What does your instinct tell you?

    I have a 2 1/2 year old who was in the 10th percentile for a quite a while, yet he was a huge eater. I think some babies are just small. If you have a worried health professional or you feel like something is wrong, then I would suggest seeking medical advice (or a second opinion) just to rule out a problem. But otherwise it sounds to me like your DD is doing fine.

    If you do want to try and help her gain more, from the advice that you have received, feeding more often is the most likely to help. But if she is already feeding as often as she wants then that is difficult. You could try a dream feed if you don't already as a way of squeezing an extra one in.

    It does sound like you are doing a great job though.

  5. #5

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    It is concerning when your baby's weightgains seem to falter - and you certainly get lots of advice! I have to second what Manta has said. Your baby lost 10% of her birthweight. No problem there. She regained it by 2 weeks. A big tick there! 125 gms in the last month is low - but would you even know if you didn't have scales? She seems alert and gorgeous. Was she unwell in the last month at all? Cold or anything? Is she sleeping through the night? Waking for a "rollover feed" could help get a little more into her - usually they are still sleepy and not as easily distracted at that time. She was a nice size when she was born. You sure grow a nice baby in there! What are you and her dad like sizewise? Often in the first year a baby's growth pattern will change to reflect their genetic predisposition. Where babies are born relatively big, but genetically they aren't going to be big people, you often see this crossover.
    Are there any allergies in either side of the family?
    It is prudent to check things out - but ultimately babies will be what they will be, and tying ourselves in knots won't change it

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the responses.

    Last night I decided to try giving her some EBM after a b/f (only offered about 40 mls) and she drank the whole thing! Now that worries me because I wonder if she is actually hungry but isn't interested in my bbs any more? Or maybe I am not producing enough for her needs due to her fussy behaviour? I did the same thing this morning after she kept pulling on and off for about 5 minutes and then refused to go back on. And she drank happily from a bottle (offered about 30 mls). I wonder how much EBM she would drink if I offered her a whole bottle?

    I do feel like something is wrong. I think what's wrong is either my supply is now too low for her or she's not interested in the breast any more because she can't look around while she's on them. She constantly pulls off to look around.

    Now I'm even more confused as to what to do. Should I keep offering her EBM after feeds? The problem is I can't express any more so I won't be able to keep up with her. But I'm scared that I've been starving her.

    ETA - Just realised I didn't answer questions. She hasn't been unwell at all. I think the heat really effected her feeding though but that was a while ago now. She usually wakes at least once in the night and I feed her somewhere between 9 -11 pm ish. She is having 5 feeds a day at the moment. I have sometimes tried to fit in a 6th but she will only suck for a minute. Though she also sometimes only sucks for a few minutes on the other feeds too. My DH is large but I'm not. No allergies but my DH's side has asthma.
    Last edited by Moi; March 12th, 2009 at 10:25 AM.

  7. #7

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    Aw, Tanya, that must feel rough! You are not starving your little girl. She knows how to get milk and you offer it to her all the time. Please don't beat yourself up!
    Babies do find it heaps easier to feed from a bottle. (Though there are those like mine who refuse to do so! Opposite problem - particularly if you want to go out for a while!) She probably just guzzled the bottles because it was dead easy to do so, not necessarily because she was starving hungry, KWIM?
    Having said that, it could be an easy way to get more into her, and if you are worried about your supply and she won't accept the breast more often, you could express half an hour after each feed which will give you the EBM top-ups and will also encourage your supply to increase. A warning though: once you start introducing bottles there is a very real possibility that she may no longer want the breast because it is easier to get her milk from a bottle. This may not happen, but it just might, and that would be a real shame.
    Like MR & Barb said, probably if you want to increase the feeds, offering the breast more often is going to be your best bet - the most positive way to get more into her without the possibility of her doing away with feeding from the breast.
    Maybe you could introduce a new feed where you have a warm, relaxing bath together and try her on the breast then? And/or in a quiet, darkened room when she is sleepy.

  8. #8

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    100 grams isnt alot but i understand your worry. Mia has been as low as putting on 20 grams in 2 weeks. Try not to worry too much as long as shes healthy. Their weight does slow down now. Could u imagine is she put on 200 grams every week. She would be HUGE by the time shes 1! lol

  9. #9

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    Tanya, babies do often drink a bottle even if they are not hungry as such. Bfed babies are used to working to retrieve milk, and with a bottle it kind of pours into their mouths. Swallowing it is like a reflex action rather than a reflection of hunger.

    The fussiness at the breast you are describing is really common at that age and is not related to low supply. It is natural curiosity which comes with her increased awareness of the world. There are some things you try that might help (or might not LOL!) - feed in a darkened room, cover her during feeds, feed in the bath, and/or try a bfing necklace to keep her attention during feeds - if you haven't seen these Mothers' Direct sell them I believe or you could try googling. Also night feeds often go better as they are sleepy - which is why dreamfeeds (or rollover feeds) can really help.

    I would be wary of giving EBM top ups too often especially if you are not expressing anymore. This could start to deteriorate your supply as your body doesn't know that she's drinking the extra milk so doesn't make more to cater for it. From what you describe it sounds like she is getting enough milk from you - perhaps see how you go without the top ups for a couple of days. If she remains alert and settled with plenty of wet nappies it is likely that she is getting enough bm. GL hun.

  10. #10

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    Thanks girls. I'll stop offering her extra EBM because I really want to continue b/f and don't want to effect my supply! I might try expressing every day, though at the moment I can only seem to get like 1 ml out but that might help a bit with supply for her.

    Snacks - I love the idea of trying a feed in the bath. I'll have to try that.

    MantaRay - I did a search on breast feeding necklaces and saw they look a bit like a teething ring I have. So during the last feed I put the ring on my chest and she played with it and ate at the same time. She kept pulling off to put the ring in her mouth but then she'd pop back on the boob. Normally she'll pull on and off and then stay off after a short time. But she seemed to enjoy playing and be able to pop on and off when she felt like it. She did that over an hour - with some long breaks off but also a good few minutes on at times. So I think she would have eaten more than normal. Thanks for the suggestion!!

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