Poor weight gain advice

Just after some advice please if anyone has any ... R was born 12/12/13 weighing 7.4lb, she went down to 6.10lb & then struggled up to her birth weight by week 5.  Since then R has steadily gained 4oz a week, she now weighs 9lb at week 12.

I was attempting to exclusively breastfeed but with my milk not coming in till week 2 & poor weight gain, I was advised to "top up" by the hv/midwife.  R's latch was never checked as she was asleep every time they visited & they advised LO shouldn't be on the breast majority of the time, she should just feed every 2-3hours & suggested again I should top up with formula.  I now know this to be bad advice.

Luckily once the Christmas period was over, I found a great bf consultant & spent 2 weeks working with her  to perfect R's latch. 

I still have pressures from hv & husband to continue some formula top ups until R's weight increases.  The hv are not too happy with R's weight gain. R has 2 formula bottles a day of 100ml each & 1 expressed bottle of 100ml, which I express at 3am, I can't get much milk expressing throughout the day. The rest is from the breast. LO sleeps through the night but I have to wake her at 3/4am to feed (advised by hv not to let R sleep through) this is with a bottle as she won't latch on & is generally asleep whilst feeding.

I have gone through a lot of hardwork continuing bf & many disagreements with H.  LO is satisfied feeding from me, generally every 2/3hours.  If we are in the house R wants to feed on & off all day but I find this to be a lot of comfort sucking.

R has a steady weight gain of 4oz a week, the doctor is happy with this, both myself & H were small babies, R is a happy healthy baby but they still want me to increase formula??

Sorry turned out to be very long!! Has anyone experienced similar bf or ff.  I just feel they are focussing too much on the chart rather than R as an individual who is following the 0.4 percentile line.

When the time comes where I am not satisfying R I will switch to ff but at present I enjoy bf & I believe R does too.


  • Hi

      I am a first time mom to a baby boy, born on 11th Nov 2013. I went and weighed him 2 weeks ago and I was told he is a bit less than he should be and that was 13.6lbs!!!!!!!!!

      I bottle feed him as he never really took my breast and I could never express more than 60ml. I heard about this waking up the baby every 3-4 hours, but we never did it. If Ethan was sleeping, I never woke him up. I think as long as your little one now is putting on weight and she is happy and healthy I wouldn't wake her up. Also, I think it's up to you wether you want to add formula or not.  I think you should just follow your instincts as a mom Big Smile

  • My experience has always bern that if they are steadily gaining weight and staying on their line then everything is fine. If I were you id be trusting my instincts and sticking to my guns.

  • Hi, I didn't bf but had similar issues with E - she was on the 25th centile line from birth and had always followed it. When she was very little was putting on about 4/5oz a week average which the mw and hv felt wasn't enough. They had me waking her every 2.5 hours to feed (including at night which i swear is the reason she's such a poor sleeper) until they felt she'd put enough on ( but she still never left the 25th line so not sure how they figured that out!) a while I go I took her to clinic and they commented on how her weight followed the line exactly and how it was brilliant and you didn't get very many babies at all that were so to the line! Don't know what all the fuss was about then! Even now she's a bit of a grazer and a little an often girl! Just stick to your guns - your her mummy and you know your baby best! x

  • Yes, I had a very similar story. My daughter was born weighing on the 50th percentile, fell off to the bottom of the charts and failed to gain back her birth weight until she was 5 weeks old. She was feeding well and seemed happy but just didn't gain. The GP was happy, the HV was advising formula top ups at a very early age. We did eventually introduce formula but she hit a growth spurt (that's what that sucking is, don't assume that its just 'comfort' its important for increasing your milk supply).

    I had a very easy going baby and continued to mixed feed until stopping BF at 10 months. Its possible to do both. Keep going with the BF. I used to replace a couple of feeds a day with FF and also the last feed before bed (so I could get an early night) but did all the night feeds with BF. She eventually moved back onto the 25th line again.

    She's now 7 years old and is still on the 25th line for height and weight. Not gaining can be a problem but as your baby is now gaining, I would not worry too much. You can mix feed successfully if you want.

    Sorry this is a bit garbled as I am at work.

  • Thank you for all your experiences!! I can see now that every baby is different & will gain in their own way, following whichever line suits them.  All my friends babies are a lot bigger than R & gain a lot each week so I've been struggling to understand why R doesn't gain much.  But these babies did follow the line they started on.

    I am going to trust my instincts & not top up even more.  I will continue giving formula before bed as R seems to settle better & whenever I feel she needs it.  Last night I thought i'd see if she woke without me waking her & she didn't, R slept from 11-7, surely if she was hungry she would wake up.  I then fed her for 30mins then she slept again from 7.30-9.30, she is now feeding again at 10am.

    We are at the doctors on Wednesday for Rs injections I think I will mention her weight to the doctor & hopefully she will agree with me & I can pass this onto the hv.

  • A was and still is a slow gainer byt more or less tracks her line. I don't think she ever put on more than 4oz a week, and I never topped up. If you are happy with how baby is (seems satisfied after a feed, steadily gaining, happy enough baby), then follow your instincts and carry on as you are. Sounds like you're doing a great job :)

  • Similar experience here - N was born at 8lb 6oz (75th centile) and is now 14lb 7oz at 7 months, tracking just above the 9th centile. I've had lots of pretty dire advice about topping up with EBM from the HV and have been to the GP at their suggestion - he's not worried as she's healthy, happy and meeting all her milestones. The main thing is that baby is gaining weight fairly consistently and tracking a line, plenty of wet and dirty nappies and feeding well. Trust your instincts and carry on as it sounds like she is doing just fine - the whole point of the centiles is that someone will be on the lower line, just as someone will be on the highest, not all babies are 'average.'

  • In fact my SIL's sister had her first son the same time as I had my daughter. There were problems as he was jaundiced and a couple of weeks early. They were weighing him every day, causing much stress. Baby number two was born 3 years later. They told her that they no longer weigh babies in the first 6 weeks (after the birth weight) as constant weighing was stressing mums out! So there are different ways of doing it.

    Babies can't all follow the same line as all the lines show the normal weight gain for a range of babies. And baby boys gain weight quicker than baby girls. The lines on their growth charts are different to those for girls. So don't compare your girl with a friend's boy.

  • I don't know how much advice has changed in 3 years, but I was under the impression that in general BF babies don't gain weight as fast as FF babies. The growth chart in the red books don't take into account differences between types of feeding (EBF/EFF and mixed), so to see you child dropping percentiles is a worry but can also be a red herring. If your GP is happy with baby, and baby is content then I'd say you are doing a brilliant job already. I had real worries with C's weight when he was small (though he was never actually "small" having been born weighing nearly 10lb!). HVs seemed weight obsessed. I really wish I hadn't been caused such unnecessary worry at the time.

    Kellymom explains it well here kellymom.com/.../growthcharts

    Also if you are worried there are some great tips on increasing baby's weight gain here kellymom.com/.../weight-gain_increase

  • Thank you!! My hv is always concerned about R's weight gain & suggests topping up but then always tells me a story about her children who followed the 0.4 percentile & other babies that did.  I'm thinking maybe she is just following protocol.  I'm going to continue feeding on demand & topping up when I feel I need to & as long as R gains 4oz a week I will be happy with that as it seems to be her pattern.  If this changes, if R loses weight or doesn't gain I will then consider more top ups.

    Thanks for the charts, R looks like she is almost in the 9th percentile on here which is good news & I will def try some of the tips on increasing weight gain.

    Feeling a lot more positive about her weight gain now thanks!

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