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Newborn Not Gaining Weight

  1. #9
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hong Kong

    Dear Bzee,

    It is true that babies are born with a fat reserve to see them through the first few days but this reserve doesn’t last two months. All babies loose weight in the first days of life. We are looking for about a 7% lost before the milk supply starts to increase and the baby gains weight. We are also looking for the baby to have regained its birth weight around the third week of life.

    When talking about weight gain it is important to work everything out from the lowest weight of the baby and not the birth weight. As if the baby lost more than we expect it will of course take longer for the baby to regain it.

    So after your milk starts to increase (usually between the 3rd and 5th day after birth) from the lowest weight we are expecting a gain of at least 20 grams a day, or an average of 170 grams per week.

    It sounds from the details you’ve given that your baby has stopped loosing weight and started to gain weight but not managed to gain the amounts we are looking for. This means that your baby is getting enough to maintain his weight but not increase it much.

    In these cases the baby is often sleepy because he is trying to use little energy and sleeping is the best way to do this. So we need to give the baby more milk so that he has the energy to drink more.

    If you want to continue breastfeeding three things are important:
    1) feed the baby more milk
    2) protect and build up your milk supply
    3) fix the problem

    As the baby gets more milk he will become stronger and able to work harder to get the milk from the breast. I would seriously consider using an alternative method to the bottle to give your baby this milk. A mother above suggested the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) from Medela.

    I personally prefer the lactation aid that Dr. Jack Newman uses. He has a handout and a video on his web site at (Scroll down until you find the heading At-Breast Supplementer)

    I use an infant feeding tube FG/CH5(17mm) 105cm for this. I buy mine from the hospital and just put the other end into an open bottle. You can use the tube from the SNS but I find it a little short.

    The big advantage of using the lactation aid is that the baby is still feeding at the breast and is willing to keep sucking when your flow begins to slow down. This means that the baby sends your body the signal to increase your supply.

    Because your baby has got tired sucking at the breast he has stopped sucking when your flow slowed down. Over time this has sent the signal to your breasts that only the first five minutes of flow is needed instead of longer.

    In order to increase your milk supply we need to tell your breasts that more flow is required. The way to do this is to get the baby to feed (or pump) on an empty breast. It is the continued stimulation on the empty breast that tells your body to make more.

    This means either pumping or hand expressing as well as directly breastfeeding. Most recommendations are to pump after you have feed the baby.
    Empty the breast as thoroughly as possible at each session. To ensure that the pump removes an optimum amount of milk from the breast, keep pumping for 2-5 minutes after the last drops of milk. Use breast massage prior to pumping, and massage and compressions during pumping to better empty the breasts and increase pumping output.
    but I don't think it matters when you do it so long as you can fit it into your day but keep going for 3-5 minutes after the last drops of milk (stimulation to the empty breast).

    Aim to pump at least 8 times every 24 hours including at night (10 times would be better). Don’t worry about the amount you get each time. It will be low to begin with. But keep pumping at least 8 times a day for 4 to 5 days and I promise you will see an increase. The body takes a couple of days to react to the signal of more stimulation – so this increase won’t be immediate.

    I also suggest that you contact a lactation consultant or LLL leader to review your latching on technique. She will also be able to show you how easy it is to use the lactation aid. And be able to show you when your baby is drinking and when just sucking for comfort at the breast.

    Best wishes,

    La Leche League Leader

  2. #10
    capital is offline Banned
    Join Date
    May 2004

    What a scary situation. I have to say that breast maybe the best option when you can make milk, but if you can't make milk the bottom line is baby needs to eat and grow and thrive. The # of wet diapers does not really mean anything after the first few days. that is showing you that the mature milk is coming in and baby is drinking. 6 wet diaper now at a month old means baby is getting enough milk to be hydrated, that is it, it gives no indication that baby is getting enough milk to gain weight. You can tell whether or not bayb is eating enough by their weight gain, babies should have regained any weight they lost by 14 days, and many will regain it sooner than that. I can seee where it may be confusing that baby sleeps a lot, as don't all babies sleep? Here, the way to tell the difference is does your baby's sleep interfer with good feeding. If your baby is too sleepy to feed, then that is not normal and very likely due to low energy. It is a downward spiral, baby is too weak to eat, therefore doesn't feed well, therefore you make less milk, so on and so on.

    Most people can produce milk but there are siutation where people do not produce enough, especially hormone related disorders, but other reasons as well. I would recommend seeing a lactation specialist, you can have a blood test done to see what your hormone levels are like, that can indicate whether you can produce milk or not. You can also take medication to increase milk suppy, not sure if it is available in HK. To maximize your chances of BF or partially BF I would have to agree with what LLLsarah said. Good luck. It sounds like you are doing the very best you can with the information you had.

    Last edited by capital; 04-13-2008 at 10:15 AM.

  3. #11
    noc is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    When my baby was first born, she was very small too. She always seemed hungry, always eating… And she would get cry and get hungry almost as soon as I put her down. It was really frustrating and I spent most of my time nursing or trying to nurse her.

    What really helped me was Mother’s Milk Tea… it increased my milk supply and when feeding I could see that my baby was taking in more, and filling up better. She also started to last longer between feeds... And the weight gain became really significant.

    Pumping also helped alot. I pumped before feeds, so that I could have see how much milk my body was producing and also make sure my baby got the fatty hind milk. I also woke up my baby and/or pumped in the middle of the night, because this also helps stimulate milk producing hormones.

    Doing all of that, she went up from 3% (1st month) to 10% (2nd month) to 25-50% and jumped to 75% now!

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