6 Things To Do When Breastfed Baby Isn’t Gaining Well.

6 Things To Do when your breastfed baby is not gaining well










6 Things To Do When Your Breastfed Baby Isn’t Gaining Well

Save your milk supply and your sanity, even if your breastfed baby isn’t gaining well. I put out a scope a few weeks ago on this topic.  I weighed my daughter and discovered she had only gain 6 ounces (give or take when you consider slight scale differences) in 6 weeks.  I was broken-hearted to discover she wasn’t getting enough. I felt crushed; I thought I was close to getting an EBF relationship, but she was still not getting enough nutrition.

My husband told me to scope about it, what a genius that man is.  It not only got me out of my funk, but maybe it will help another mom.

Without further ado, here are six things you should do, if this happens to you.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself, “I am a good and loving mother.”

When you find out you aren’t meeting your baby’s needs, it can be very easy to blame yourself.  I’ve been doing this for years, it has never helped me get more milk in the bellies of my children.  It has contributed to my postpartum depression.  It also takes the focus off of what I can do for my baby.  It’s easy to make it about yourself, after all you are everything to your baby.  This can leave you feeling that your “everything” is “not enough.”  It is stressful enough to cope, please don’t add shame or guilt to your troubles.  You are a loving mother, and you will do whatever you need to do for your baby.

Only use a trusted resource, to find out what you can do to problem-solve.

KellyMom is a great resource.  La Leche League International is another.  If you are struggling with low milk supply Low Milk Supply is another.  My favorite book for dealing with this problem is The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk by Lisa Marasco and Diana West

Take a quick review of the facts.

It is so easy to jump to the wrong conclusions, so start with the facts. The fact check is important because it would be so easy to jump to “I’m starving her, I’m a failed breastfeeder!”   So in my case the facts were: Urine output is great, bowel movements are perfect, she seems happy, healthy and alert, she gained 6 ounces in 6 weeks. The reality was she showed ONE sign of not getting adequate nutrition: the weight gain being too low. I was diligent and following her cues, but for some reason she didn’t gain.  Facts don’t judge, they just communicate information we can use to make appropriate changes.

Ask yourself, “Is there a problem?”

In my case, yes. She had been gaining an OUNCE a day a once she re-gained birth weight. This tapering off in weight gain indicated a problem,  It was a subtle one, but a problem.  Your issue may be tongue tie, lip tie, improper latch, a breastfeeding management detail that isn’t working, or lower supply.

Make a THOUGHTFUL win-win plan.

Your plan does not have to be long term, it may only need to be short term.  It should include and objective measurement (diapers, weight check, etc) to determine if your intervention worked.  My plan, for one week, I DOUBLED her supplement (5oz per day to 10oz per day) and I set a 3 am alarm to feed her in the middle of the night.  I’m happy to report, in one week she gained 8 ounces, and I’m considering tweaking my win-win solution to keep her gaining while protecting my supply.

Consult with a breastfeeding-friendly professional.

This may be a peer counselor, a LLL leader or an IBCLC.  Not all professionals are breastfeeding friendly.  When I was struggling the first time, I talked to someone who was a guru, but she wasn’t skilled enough to help me with  my problem.  Your emotions should not be written off, feel free to ditch unfriendly “helpers” and seek out the right person.  This time I spoke with a peer counselor who gave me the idea to “change it up for just a week.”  This was SUCH good advice because it wasn’t “well, I guess you have to supplement more FOREVER.”  The next day I called a great IBCLC who asked me all the right questions, it was a 30 minute conversation (not a quiz or a lecture) and in my case, she advised continuing the supplement and a few things to increase the fat content of my breast milk.

Three Things NOT to do:

  1. Do not use doctor Google. There are TOO many opinions and voices out there.  The internet in general will not be able to help you with your specific issues that require specific answers.
  2. Do not put yourself down, not only is it likely inaccurate, it isn’t helpful.
  3. Do not give up, breastfeeding is not an all-or-nothing adventure.  I combination fed my daughter for 9 MONTHS only making approximately 8 ounces a day.  I combination fed my son with the SNS for 9 months (no bottles) and at 26 months he still occasionally nurses for comfort.  I’m BESTfeeding my baby.  Sometimes that is the SNS, sometimes that is bottles, so far I’ve been blessed with donor milk, and I am not going to beat myself up if I ever need to use formula.

Feed your baby, protect your supply if you can, love your baby and love yourself.

Peace dear friend.

Leave a Comment


In the spirit of transparency, this website uses affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase following one of the links I provide, I may receive a commission from that sale. Please know that I recommend only products I believe in and use (or my wish-list items). Being affiliate allows me to produce content for you, free-of-charge, and be a financial blessing to my family. Thank you!