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Slow weight gain - help! (long, sorry!)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all

My son Alex is just over 4 months. He's never been a big baby but has always gained weight steadily - until the last month or so. He's now gaining about 4 oz every two weeks, and isn't keeping up with his 'growth curve'. He's 12lbs11oz at the moment. He's generally a happy and active baby. He is mainly breastfed, though he does get one bottle of formula a day. The clinic is pushing me to start weaning, which I really do not want to do unless absolutely necessary. He isn't showing any signs of being hungry after feeds - and sleeps 8-9 hours a night and I don't want to mess with that! Anyhow, I'm going back next week to check weight and chat to a breastfeeding counsellor for advice, and in the meantime I'm going to try and feed him more often. He normally has about 5-6 breastfeeds (plus his bottle) lasting 30-45 minutes each. So anyhow, to my questions!

1. Would you be concerned about his growth? Obviously I want to make sure he is healthy, but I hate to be fixated on growth charts!

2. Do you think I could have a supply problem? He seems happy after feeds but does ssquirm a lot during feeds, usually towards the end.

3. He loves to suck his thumb, fingers, fist, etc! He will often spit me out and shove his fist in and suck happily on that - I usually wait a few minutes to see if he wants me back, but often he just seems happy with his fist so I assume he isn't hungry anymore. Do you think he might still be hungry or that somehow all his thumb/fist sucking is interfering with his wanting to feed?

4. His poo is often a green sludge. Might that be related?

5. Lately he has gone from being able to stay up happily for about 2 hours to getting really tired after about an hour. He only naps for short periods - 30-45 minutes, but he does sleep well at night. Could this be related?

6. I know having a bottle of formula a day means he isn't getting the same benefits of being fully breastfeed, but the clinic is saying that because of this I should start him on solids sooner rather than later. The guidance they follow means they support exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months (that's just *so* big of them) but since he gets some formula he falls into the formula fed group and should have solids earlier. If he was hungry or interested in food, I'd give it to him, but he just isn't - so do I need to?

Thanks so much if you've managed to read this far and for any advice!

Charmaine
post #2 of 6
Someone more knowledgeable than me is sure to reply, but in the meantime I have two thoughts for you :

1. Your milk supply is at its greatest in the very early morning hours, around 3-5 a.m. If you can wake him up for a feeding then, and if he will nurse for a little while, he would get a lot of milk from ya. Just a thought.

2. solids - regarding solids, NO he does NOT need to start solids now. Even formula fed babies generally speaking should not start solids until 6 months per AAP recommendations (used to 4-6 months, now it's 6 months). Your baby does NOT need solids and in fact, even when he does start them, they are a supplement, his primary nutrition will come from formula.

I'm continually frustrated that doctors have not updated their views on starting solids and its role in infant nutrition.
post #3 of 6
have you considered having a nurse-in? That is where you spend a few days (say, a weekend) in bed doing nothing but nursing your baby. Have someone else bring you food and water, and get up only to go to the bathroom.

That one bottle of formula just might have created a supply problem. That happened to me, though I had to supplement because my baby was unable to nurse. Giving formula hurt my supply, so I had to give more formula, which hurt my supply even more, and on and on it goes. If your baby has a good latch and a strong suck, the best thing you can do is nurse your baby longer and more often. Keep switching sides until he just will not latch back on anymore.

It would probably be a really good idea to get some help from a professional IBCLC.

Trust your instincts, some babies only gain in huge spurts, slowing way down in-between. If he is acting normal, pooping and wetting diapers, and you don't have any warning bells going off in your head, he's likely just fine.
Also, make sure that when you have him weighed, that he is naked and that you use the exact same scale every time.
post #4 of 6
i think green poop can indicate a problem with not getting enough hindmilk? hopefully another mama here with more knowledge can explain more. check out www.kellymom.com it has good info too.
post #5 of 6
Don't wait. Go see a good lactation consultant now. My baby also has slow weight gain and my first pediatrician did not recommend I see a lactation consultant. My second ped. was concerned about weight gain and recommended I start giving solids at 6 months. Her weight started to go up.

I just went to see a lactation consultant and sure enough, my supply is a little low. I'm going to do what I can now but at my stage I probably won't be able to get it up a lot. However, at 4 months you probably can get it up. The lactation consultant can tell you for sure if the baby is getting enough at a feeding, as they will weight him/her before and after. They also have great information.

Call you local La Leche League leader. She will know *good* lactation consultants in your area. The first one I went to at 1 month was horrible (referral from now ex-pediatrician). The second one is great.

I wish someone had recommended I see a LC earlier. Now I feel totall guilty and depressed over not having been able to provide for my DD all these months and not really realizing it.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all your suggestions! I've just had a really good read of the kellymom site and got some good ideas from that as well. I'm going to up our feeds, have a nurse-in (sounds like a lovely idea to me!) and get in touch with the local LLL person. I think my boy must know that my milk is at its fattiest and yummiest in the early hours, since he woke up at 4 this morning for a feed! Clever boy. I have a question about green poop and hindmilk, but I think I'll ask that in another thread to make sure it doesn't get lost!

Thanks again - you guys are great! (I've been lurking here for ages - glad I finally posted!)

Charmaine
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