The Emphasis on Baby’s Weight and Breastfeeding

June 6, 2016

The second week of Little M’s life has continued to be something of a rollercoaster, although now, writing at the end of it, it feels as though things have settled down and we are on something more of an even keel. However, that could just be because we haven’t seen a medical professional since Thursday! I feel like the whole week has revolved around breastfeeding and Little M’s weight.

I wrote last week about Little M’s weight loss and how breastfeeding didn’t start well for me. Well, I’ve stuck with the expressing and I’m so proud that so far I’ve got to Little M’s due date with her being exclusively breast fed, which was my original goal when I decided that breastfeeding wasn’t for me.

At this point, I actually feel quite comfortable about continuing to express, but I’ve felt quite up and down about it all, not least because of the worry of whether Little M was going to put on weight and how long I was spending hooked up to the pump like a Holstein-Friesian.

Anyway, the rollercoaster of the past week. It turned out when the midwife came to weigh Little M on Monday that the one who’d come on Saturday (and pleasingly told us M had gained weight) actually had a set of faulty scales, so it was unlikely that M had gained weight at all. Sure enough, when they popped her on the scales, she’d only maintained her 8% weight loss from the previous week.

Cue me having a bit of a meltdown as we’d been feeling really positive about how Little M had been feeding since following the three-hour feeding plan. But apparently she wasn’t taking enough and we had to feed her more. The midwife at this stage suggested that we feed her every 2.5 hours and, if she didn’t appear to want any more milk, to leave the bottle in her mouth as it would drain down into her throat and she’d have no choice but to swallow it.

You want me to force feed her?



Well, predictably, that went well and we ended up at the GP the following day as by that point M was completely refusing to feed and wasn’t even waking when I stripped her off and changed her nappy. All very worrying.

Of course, by the time we were in the doctor’s office Little M was alert and even took a good feed in front of her. Relief. The doctor listened to what we had to say and told us that her advice (at risk of pissing off the midwife; yes she used those exact words, yes I loved her in that moment) was to go back to what was working and she was sure that M’s feeding would pick up at some point.

So off we went home and back to feeding Little M every three hours. On Wednesday the Health Visitor turned up and was absolutely lovely. She was hugely supportive and gave evidence-based advice (my favourite kind) about how to go about formula feeding when the time comes. At this point I was feeling quite low about expressing but still couldn’t bear the thought of trying to get M to latch. I was spending 30 minutes every three hours hooked up to the pump, producing just enough to keep just ahead of Little M’s feeding needs. It was tiring and demoralising.

The Health Visitor suggested I come along to a local breastfeeding café – she insisted that I am breastfeeding even though M hasn’t latched to my boob since day four. It made me feel much less guilty about the fact that I am expressing. This was helped further by the midwife’s visit on Thursday – Little M had gained weight! Hurrah! She still wasn’t at birth weight, but they don’t expect that until day 14 anyway, so we’re heading in the right direction.

I’m really worried about formula feeding – Will I mix it right? Will it make her ill? Can we afford it? It’s made me think more about breastfeeding and whether I should give it another go. I’m planning to go to the breastfeeding café on Monday and will see what the Health Visitors there say. I’ve been told that it’s probably too late to try to get Little M to latch now as she’s used to sucking from the bottle. This makes me feel guilty for not trying harder. Added to that the father-in-law asked me today when I’m going to start ‘feeding the baby properly’. I noticed he waited until hubby had gone to make a cup of tea and won’t share my response.

After the Health Visitor left, I resolved to try harder to make my breast milk last for as long as possible. I’ve looked more into expressing and @pumpingmummy on Twitter was hugely helpful and pointed me in the direction of this video. Using this technique I’ve managed to reduce my pumping time to 10 minutes every three hours instead of thirty, and increased my yield to boot! We’re now at the point where we’re running out of room in the fridge and I’ve ordered some breast milk storage bags so that we can freeze some breast milk too.

My only reservation now is how I can possibly express when out and about as I’m still tied to the pump every few hours. I suppose this is the next hurdle to navigate and I’ll have to do some more research as I know there are others who have managed to exclusively breast feed their baby via expressing. If you have any answers or know where I can find them, please leave me a comment!

baby's weight, baby weight loss, breastfeeding, expressing, expressing breast milk, trouble latching a baby, breastfed baby, bottlefed baby, formula fed baby


22 responses to “The Emphasis on Baby’s Weight and Breastfeeding”

  1. Emma says:

    You sound like you have been on a complete rollercoaster and I understand your anguish and the feeling of guilt (although unwarranted!). With Oldest I had almost identical problems and my midwife kept insisting I force feed her and that I keep trying to breastfeed her, even though it clearly wasn’t working. I should have listened to my instinct and bottle fed because we ended up in hospital. It was only after that stay that I put my foot down and told the midwife that I would be doing what made my daughter happy. You sound like you are doing a fantastic job, you are doing everything you can to get your baby to feed and you realise how your baby likes to feed. Ignore the FIL or maybe suggest he gives it try if he is such an expert 😉 Hang on in there lovely you are doing great #marvmondays

    • Jules says:

      Thank you. I’m sorry you had a bad experience but it just shows that ‘mother knows best’ has something to it.

  2. Moipone says:

    Mommy dont stress too much it will come to you, we often a lot about simple things just follow the instructions and i am sure you will mix it right #MarvMondays

  3. Becky Lyons says:

    Well done on the pumping so far and building a stockpile. I have so much respect for pumping mummies as its hard work!
    I’m exclusively pumping at the moment and have been doing it for about 14 weeks now. It is a struggle to maintain, especially having a pump in the night, although the latest I now pump is between 12-1am as sleep is hard to come by! I regularly think I want to try formula and then if my supply dips even the littlest bit I panic as I realise I don’t actually want to stop!
    I vary my pumping so that I can leave the house for a couple of hours and make sure I pump before I leave to take a freshly expressed bottle in my bag so no messing about with heating up while out. This is working for me at the moment but can’t envisage a full day out anytime soon. Will be great to follow your journey.

    • Jules says:

      It’s the day out that I want to achieve! But happy getting out and about for a few hours at the moment x

  4. Lucy says:

    Sorry you have been having such a tough time of it, but you are doing an amazing job. Can’t believe your FIL said that! Try not to feel guilty, whatever you do that feeds her is what is best for her, so just stick with your instinct and what is best for you two. Hugs xxx

  5. Rachel says:

    My baby girl went from 8 lb 11oz to 8lb 2oz in that first week because my milk didn’t come in for 5 days! Those were the worst 5 days ever. I even tried giving her a bit of formula but she would not take a bottle. 17 weeks later she still won’t take a bottle but will happily drink out a little beaker now when I pump some milk off. I m still mostly exclusively breast feeding. But every mum should do what they feel comfortable with.. Xx

    • Jules says:

      It’s just so stressful isn’t it? I’ve still not given Little M any formula but I know the day will come one day. x

  6. Kaye says:

    It’s such a difficult one. I feel so guilty that A was so good with BFing and I gave up after 3 months (and immediately regretted it) but sadly that was due to my naivety and a lack of support. It sounds like you’re doing as much as you possibly can which is all we can do as Mummy’s. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    • Jules says:

      I agree. I’m already regretting not persevering, but at the time it was just all too overwhelming and, as you say, unfortunately I don’t think I had the right support at that time. I’ve resolved to keep pumping for as long as I can! x

  7. Bella says:

    Don’t ever feel guilty! Latching on, expressing or formula – don’t EVER feel guilty! X

  8. Naomi says:

    Oh, I wish there was more support for breastfeeding! Health professionals give all the pressure to BF but little support, and then wonder why BF rates are low!
    Anyway, I’d try to get in touch with an NCT peer supporter – it’s free and she will have much more time to sit with you and teach the baby to latch, if that’s what you want.
    With regard to your supply, in a few weeks, your supply will settle down and you will be able to go for longer without pumping. You could always make sure you’re close to somewhere that has a room for nursing mums (like some shopping centres or Mothercare stores) to be able to express. And whenever you move to formula, know that it is great for your baby and for you too.

    • Jules says:

      Thank you. I spoke to my health visitor about trying to get her to latch again and she thinks that because we’re doing so well expressing and bottle feeding it could cause a setback to try to get her to latch now as it would be difficult and she doesn’t want me to have another meltdown. Which I appreciate! Have resolved to keep pumping for as long as I can.

  9. Savannah says:

    Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine how crazy this roller coaster ride must’ve been. My little boy took nearly a month to get back to birth weight, he was also breastfeeding, and no one really seemed concerned. His doctor kept an eye on him, but said there really was no need to worry. Have you ever heard of an SNS (supplemental nutrition system)? It’s a funny little device to help get baby back to the breast if that’s what you’re interested in. I know you can do it! <3
    I still breastfeed my 14-month-old, and I know the road gets tough. Don't get discouraged, and always do whatever you think is best (: #MarvMondays

    • Jules says:

      Thanks I will take a look. Yep I think all this focus on weight loss and feeding plans has had a negative impact on the breastfeeding.

  10. You sound like you’re doing a fab job. I think it’s really important to remember your own health (physical and mental) when considering your baby feeding options. Whatever you choose has to work for the whole family. I’m looking forward to reading how you get on over the next few weeks. x

  11. I love that Doctor too! I can’t believe anyone (especially a professional) would advise force feeding a baby! I’m glad things are getting better and she’s putting on weight.
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

  12. Oh hon you are doing fantastically I think I would love your doctor too!! We had weight issues they almost didn’t let us out of hospital as my milk hadn’t come in. You are breast feeding. Have you a nursing cover? I’ve had to express while out and about on occasion and do it under a cover. Might get the odd look but no one has ever said anything. maybe go for coffee with Hubby first time and see how it goes? Xx #MarvMondays

    • Jules says:

      I think I’d be too scared to do it ‘out out’ but might consider expressing in the back of the car with a cover over. x

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