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apparently the little dude is "underweight" at 2 months old! he was fine before! ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:15 (thirteen years ago) link


Seriously! Is he underweight according to the bog standard growth chart or the breastfeeding one? (assuming that your good lady wife is still giving him the good stuff)? The one in the red book is not based on breastfed babies but for formula fed ones.

Does he have plenty of wet nappies? Is he happy and alert? Does he seem well enough in himself? That's the only thing you need to worry about. Neither you nor your other half are exactly stocky, so why would they expect your little man to be?

You know, you don't HAVE to get him weighed.... Health visitors are the most infuriating beings on this planet (maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much...) who are totally out of touch with breastfeeding and new research into bringing up babies.

http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/growth/index.html for some great links. Kellymom's a great site for info on breastfed babies (and other stuff as well)

Vicky, Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:39 (thirteen years ago) link


and what, Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:40 (thirteen years ago) link

The thing that really gets me about the charts, is that it's all based on percentiles. For babies to be on the 99th percentile automatically means that others will be on the 1% line. How many percentiles are they saying that he's dropped, for it to be claimed that he's underweight?

Vicky, Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:41 (thirteen years ago) link

he's been on a particular growth line in the red book for six weeks or so, and now he's pretty below that line - so it's relative to his prior growth, not to any external standard

thanks for the link - i will read up

my boss told me that his son lost weight around the 2-3 month mark and then got it all back, he says that's common apparently but no one told him!

yeah all other signs are normal, i mean he cries and fusses at night for i guess like an hour and in the morning for like 1/2 hr, but he goes to sleep great - everything's basically been the same

one thing is, his eyes look a little tired these days.. not sure if that means anything tho

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:54 (thirteen years ago) link

and oh yeah - it's still the good stuff

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:55 (thirteen years ago) link

he is snacking a bit less in the middle of the night, which we're psyched about for obvious reasons but maybe it's like.. he's missing a meal???

deep down i think that you're right to not stress and basically ignore this

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:56 (thirteen years ago) link

I think this is pretty common. My nieces and nephews all went through this when they were babies, and now they're all tall, healthy kids.

Nicolars (Nicole), Wednesday, 18 February 2009 18:46 (thirteen years ago) link

Has he lost weight or just not gained? Could be a growth spurt is coming.

Oh Why, Sports Coat? (Dr. Superman), Wednesday, 18 February 2009 21:20 (thirteen years ago) link

Vicky is completely OTM here. As long as he is fed on demand and has no problems feeding, and is pooing and weeing and doing all the other normal baby stuff, I would really not worry.

Meg (Meg Busset), Wednesday, 18 February 2009 22:04 (thirteen years ago) link

his eyes look a little tired these days.. not sure if that means anything tho

Is he getting enough naps during the day? Howie could only manage 90 mins (sometimes less) awake at this age before needing a kip.

Meg (Meg Busset), Wednesday, 18 February 2009 22:06 (thirteen years ago) link

As Vicky says. Here they do stress it's completely normal to be "underweight" when mommy BFs. Here they were going to make a second chart (for breastfed babies).

Nathalie (stevienixed), Thursday, 19 February 2009 10:30 (thirteen years ago) link

Everyone OTM and I really don't think you should worry. One thing - tired-looking/shadowed eyes can sometimes mean they're dehydrated but I would think that highly unlikely at this age and breastfeeding.

Archel, Thursday, 19 February 2009 10:57 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah all else is normal and he gets food when he wants it. we have determined not to stress about it unless we notice some kind of significant change in his steez

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 19 February 2009 15:12 (thirteen years ago) link

A friend's doctor said: If your baby has full diapers, drools, cries tears, you're probably doing alright. Sometimes they start to gain less weight or drop a bit of weight, when they start moving (like crawling,...).

Don't fret. But I know that's easier said than done!

Nathalie (stevienixed), Thursday, 19 February 2009 16:51 (thirteen years ago) link

not weight-related, but fret-o-rama: as I was rocking my 73-day-old to sleep last night, I noticed a weird bluish thing behind her ear. I touched it gently and it felt crusty and swollen. Nearly in a panic, I showed my wife, who rolled her eyes and said "It's just fluff from her blanket with spit-up mixed in."

Oh Why, Sports Coat? (Dr. Superman), Thursday, 19 February 2009 18:48 (thirteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

uuuuuurgh we just had our second consecutive weight gain of only 100 g (and it was even lower before these two weeks), meaning A, who was born at 3.56kg is only 3.7kg now at 5 1/2 weeks. We had our six week checkup yesterday and the doctor took one look at the weight numbers and, without any further questions or checks of the baby, told us to start supplementing breast milk with formula. She then proceeded to check the baby and found her perfectly healthy in every (other?) way.

She advised us to see the health visitor on the way out for advice on which formula to use, and we told said health visitor the details (she's peeing and pooping regularly, feeding every three hours during the day, four at night, actively awake during the day, only really crying when she's hungry or got gas cramps, etc.) and she basically told us to chill out, don't worry, why don't you buy formula but wait and see before you use it, different babies grow and different rates, you guys are both skinny, etc.

And this, of course, confirmed our instincts--which are that we'd like to avoid formula....but 100g/week *is* quite small, maybe she's just gotten used to a 'reduced' amount of breast milk and can take a whole lot more food if offered? We've got no interest in starving the little one, you know? If she needs it, christ, of course we'll give her more food! It's just, once you go down that road, you start producing less milk, no?

f f murray abraham (G00blar), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 09:15 (thirteen years ago) link

and so my wife wants to try to get an appointment today with a private pediatrician to get another opinion, and I'm all for getting another view, but there's a voice in my head that says: We just had a checkup and she's fine! We're just gonna get another (and an expensive) confusing voice telling us it's ultimately up to us! We're not rich people--what's wrong with the NHS??

But then, of course, I quickly reproach myself: It's your kid goddamn it, get another opinion. What, are you trying to save a little money or what? khgjftyd sxdfgdfhg

f f murray abraham (G00blar), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 09:21 (thirteen years ago) link

Yes, you are right -- mixed feeding is the beginning of the end of breastfeeding in 99.9% of cases.

Have you spoken to a breastfeeding counsellor -- La Leche League, the NCT or the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers all have volunteers who can advise (numbers are all here -- http://www.howbreastfeedingworks.com/. They are generally a lot more knowledgable than GPs about breastfeeding.

Of course there is nothing wrong with formula as such but I would hate to see someone needlessly stop breastfeeding due to shit advice. To be honest with my second child I won't be bothering getting them weighed at all unless I have specific concerns. But I know how hard it is when you want to do the right thing.

Meg (Meg Busset), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 11:27 (thirteen years ago) link

Also I wouldn't expect a private paed to know anything more than a GP about breastfeeding to be honest.

Meg (Meg Busset), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 11:28 (thirteen years ago) link

(Sorry to keep banging on...)

To illustrate a little of some GPs' ignorance of BF, I was told when Howie had a vomiting bug around 5 months old to stop breastfeeding and give him Ribena instead. Ribena, ffs!

Meg (Meg Busset), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 11:29 (thirteen years ago) link

Jesus. Yes, I think I'll call La Leche or somesuch later today, if I can somehow find a minute. We're now off to the private Dr to pay £££ for *15 minutes* of this big shot's time.

f f murray abraham (G00blar), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 11:47 (thirteen years ago) link

I would imagine that if your baby *does* need to top up, a first step could be for your wife to try expressing between feeds and offer that in a bottle.

Meg (Meg Busset), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 11:51 (thirteen years ago) link

Our first child was really small at birth and was slow to gain weight. The doctor & health visitor kept worrying us about his growth rates and how he was in the bottom x percentile etc and (being new parents) we were really concerned. I remember my Mum saying that if he was eating properly and healthy in every other way we shouldn't worry about his weight & growth unless he was obviously malnourished or wasn't growing at all. She was spot on. He's now nearly 10, as tall as most of his classmates, and still skinny as a rake.

Our second child ate & grew at an average rate but we weren't concerned at all and were only getting him weighed because it was the done thing. With our daughter we haven't even bothered with weighing her since she was a couple of months old. She eats ok and looks fine and a growth chart won't change that.

the innermost wee guy (onimo), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 12:22 (thirteen years ago) link

good luck w/the big shot g00blar - i know how worrying this can be, regardless of the number of people telling you it's probably fine

that said, it IS probably fine, because everything else sounds like it's on the up and up. if she's eating and pooping and all those other things, then dude - healthy baby girl! if she was crying all the time, or sick, or something then yeah, but..

we've decided to stop weighing our little guy at all for at least another six weeks just cause we don't want the anxiety

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 17 March 2009 16:41 (thirteen years ago) link

We've been supplementing breastfeeding with formula since nearly the beginning, after a significant weight loss the first ten days. Only now, at 14 wks, does it look like my wife's milk supply (which has never been that high) is tapering off. Even if the breastfeeding hasn't been the be-all/end-all of our daughter's nutritional intake, it seems to remain an important and comforting ritual for both my ladies.

Formula happens. Before Lil was born we were dead set against it, aghast at the idea of it. But it turns out we needed it. And our little girl is healthy and happy (sometimes).

Oh Why, Sports Coat? (Dr. Superman), Tuesday, 17 March 2009 23:19 (thirteen years ago) link

I'd second Meg's advice to get your wife to express if you want to try supplementing then you can supplement with that. Has the added advantage that you can build up a freezer stash that will let you go out to the movies etc. later, or let her go out shopping for the afternoon and you can stay home with the baby.

Vicky, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 08:51 (thirteen years ago) link

Yes, you are right -- mixed feeding is the beginning of the end of breastfeeding in 99.9% of cases.

I'm sorry but I totally disagree with this statement. I know plenty of cases where women have mixed feedings and it has not hindered their supply at all. Actually I have yet to hear about this. Of course it will lessen, but it'll go down to the amount needed. What is a "risk" is that the mother will quit, not due to lessened milk supply, but because bottle feeding is "easier." (Working and breastfeeding is hard work.) I am not against La Leche League, but they do instill some feeling of guilt when women decide to bottle feed. I tried mixed feedings but Ophelia didn't like it one bit. FIrst bottle was taken... second one was refused. Roffle.
That said, I'd wait a while with bottle feeding. How far under the curve is the baby hanging? My colleague also BF and her baby was at the bottom end but she never really bothered with formula. In fact BF exclusively until six months. Here they say that unless they do a dramatic drop then there's no need to worry.

Good luck! Follow your heart and gut feeling. If your baby needs something extra, why would you deny it? Health and growth is the most important thing to consider.

the tip of the tongue taking a trip tralalala (stevienixed), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 09:16 (thirteen years ago) link

There are several potential problems with mixed feeding:

baby is lazy and prefers the bottle, breast feeds drop probably unwittingly and supply dwindles at the same time as demand increases as baby gets older

Demand increases but bottles are increased rather than BFs

Often with mixed feeding breastmilk is expressed and given in bottles as that's what baby prefers, but pumps are not as efficient as babies at getting milk out and supply dwindles that way.

The thing with supplementing - for every oz baby gets from forumla your breasts produce an oz less. So you supplement with forumla on top of breastmilk, but soon your breasts produce that much less - so you end up with baby eating the same, it's just that some of it is now formula... That's why pumping and supplementing works better - the breasts produce more milk, rather than less.

I'm not saying that successful mixed feeding will not work, but that it can be very challenging and a lot of time and thought needs to go into doing it successfully. Form my personal experience mixed feeding has led to paranoia about supply and the formula gradually takes over as time goes on.

Goodness, the emotion that the BF/Formula debate creates!

I'm with Meg, I'm not anti-forumla, I only wish that people could get correct advice so that they've been able to give breastfeeding a fair shot before they supplement/stop.

Vicky, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 10:33 (thirteen years ago) link

Hey thanks for all the response, folks! This stuff is indeed fraught. So we ended up going to the private pediatrician yesterday, and it was really reassuring. An older (arrogant) (American) doctor heard us out, checked Alice over, and told us in no uncertain terms to ignore whatever the GP told us. We should keep doing what we're doing. She's a healthy baby, has enough subcutaneous fat (why didn't the GP check for this?), feeds regularly, cries and sucks strongly, is in no danger of malnutrition or dehydration, so why use formula? He spent most of the expensive appointment making bad jokes, to show how confident and not-worried he was. We came out feeling almost vindicated, with regained confidence, ready to stick to our plan, etc.

But then (and now I'm just venting) (and this, of course, just shows how difficult these decisions are, because we obviously have no interest in our baby not growing as much as she should, and we're sooo tired and emotionally spent all the time anyway) today we've flown to M0ntenegr0, Alice's first big trip, to spend some time with my in-laws, as well as get UK visas for both K and A. And of course, Alice has been totally overstimulated, hasn't really slept since the morning, has been on a weird feeding schedule (lots of feeds on the plane to avoid ear pain), so naturally she's been *really* cranky this evening. And my not-calm-at-the-best-of-times in-laws seem to think that every time the baby cries it means she's in horrible pain and/or is starving to death, and before I know it, my mother-in-law has nipped out to the shops and bought three brands of formula.

GRRRRRRRRR. Anyway: it's ok. It's ok it's ok it's ok. It obviously wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if we gave the baby a bottle and K gets 3 or 4 hours off in which she can sleep, recover, and have enough time for her breasts to fill up for a proper feed again. In fact it would be great for her to get that time off--she's insanely exhausted of course. So it'll be fine. If we use a bottle tonight, or some other night, it's fine. But I just really don't want to be the sort of parent who's so easily led into the trap of hysteria and overreaction. We've got a healthy baby. And yes, even healthy babies are supposed to cry and be fussy and yes, sometimes even after a feed.

f f murray abraham (G00blar), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:33 (thirteen years ago) link

Uh sorry, I got a little carried away. I should probably take a nap (which, thankfully, is what K and A are doing now, let's hope it lasts).

f f murray abraham (G00blar), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:35 (thirteen years ago) link

Oh crikey -- ignore the MIL!

Hope you got your nap :)

Meg (Meg Busset), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 23:27 (thirteen years ago) link

dude.. my MIL and FIL are french and they are also convinced that any crying is indicative of some deep-seated problem. they swear up and down that when my wife was a baby she "never cried". wtf is wrong with people?? babies cry! that's one of the main things they do!!!

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:28 (thirteen years ago) link

People forget. In fact we're probably programmed to suppress the memories, for our own sanity.

Archel, Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:34 (thirteen years ago) link

Tracer Hand truth-bombing.

f f murray abraham (G00blar), Thursday, 19 March 2009 12:40 (thirteen years ago) link

baby is lazy and prefers the bottle, breast feeds drop probably unwittingly and supply dwindles at the same time as demand increases as baby gets older

Problem is that people forget that there's a time frame: You have to wait a couple of weeks and only BF exclusively to avoid this problem. But you also have to introduce it before a certain time because they'll refuse the bottle.

Goodness, the emotion that the BF/Formula debate creates!

Hah. Sorry if I seemed to rag on you both. I really don't want to but I know from (personal) experience how emotional it is. With Elisabeth I had the experience of breastfeeding so quickly settled in it, but with Ophelia I was in such turmoil as it was extremely painful (popping painkillers like mad). I felt sooooo guilty even thinking of supplementing. I never did though. I'm a martyr as my husband would say. haha It was so paiful, even my clothes/bra hurt my nipples. :-((((

the tip of the tongue taking a trip tralalala (stevienixed), Thursday, 19 March 2009 15:10 (thirteen years ago) link

From a personal level I too know how difficult it can be. Hell I ended up in A&E when Aidan was about 6 weeks with an abscess in my left boob after a really bad case of mastitis. The only reason I didn't need surgery was because it was right at the surface of the skin and was easily drained.

I think that's why I've gotten so keyed up about it - if I'd had the support I'd needed I'd have known that there was a serious problem with his latch on that side and I'd have had help sorting it out. Instead I was told that pain wasn't unusual and I was feeling so crap and in pain from the latch that I failed to notice that I'd got mastitis! It's all about managing expectations and having the support available.

Vicky, Thursday, 19 March 2009 15:37 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

we took the baby in for her six-month checkup and she had only gained one pound since her four-month appointment. moved from the 25th percentile for weight to the 10th percentile. mostly i'm not too worried because she's energetic and happy and is doing good on all the developmental milestones. but it's hard not to worry at all. the doc said we should go ahead and start supplementing nursing with solid foods (which we had been talking about anyways) and see if that helps her bulk up some more by eight months.

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 2 February 2011 14:56 (eleven years ago) link

Damn these wretched weigh-ins for making people fret. I'm sure she is absolutely fine. Have fun with weaning though :)

Meg (Meg Busset), Wednesday, 2 February 2011 23:47 (eleven years ago) link

No food is as calorific as breastmilk, so she's not going to fatten up on solids. It's hard not to worry when it seems to be going against medical 'advice' but if you weren't worried before the checkup then I'd take it all with a pinch of salt. For a start, what weight chart was he/she using? weight increase is very different for breastfed infants than it is for formula fed ones, it's very normal for them to slow down around the 6 month mark. http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/growth/growthcharts.html

Sorry, rant over! Go ahead and start solids, it's fun! But don't be surprised if it doesn't pile the weight on!

Vicky, Thursday, 3 February 2011 14:56 (eleven years ago) link

yeah, I guess the idea is we're supplementing with solids, not weaning, so she's still getting about the same amount of breastmilk, plus a small amount of solids. that chart has her at mean -2.5, so I don't know what percentile that is, but I'll bring that up with the pediatrician next time we meet. like I said, I'm not that worried, as she seems good physically and developmentally

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 3 February 2011 15:02 (eleven years ago) link

ahhh, in the uk we refer to the introduction of solids as weaning, as it's a gradual transition. As soon as you introduce solids the milk intake decreases. In the US, as you know, weaning is intentionally withdrawing milk.

Vicky, Thursday, 3 February 2011 15:53 (eleven years ago) link


congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 3 February 2011 15:55 (eleven years ago) link

I didn't know that! Sorry for confusion.

Do US babies get a lot more frequent weighing, medical check-ups etc? Over here you don't see a paed unless your kid is ill, took me months to get to see one for Howie's eczema.

Meg (Meg Busset), Thursday, 3 February 2011 20:19 (eleven years ago) link

I don't know what the normal is, I think we had one-month, two-month, four-month, and six-month checkups. Next one was supposed to be nine months, but we're going in for a weigh-in at eight months to see if she's moving up at all.

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 3 February 2011 20:24 (eleven years ago) link

Crikey. Here you get an eight-week check-up but after that it's completely voluntary, I went loads with Howie as I didn't know better but hardly bothered with Archie.

Meg (Meg Busset), Thursday, 3 February 2011 20:30 (eleven years ago) link

"I don't know what the normal is, I think we had one-month, two-month, four-month, and six-month checkups."

It's two weeks, two month, four month, six month here for my medical group.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Thursday, 3 February 2011 20:55 (eleven years ago) link

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