Wt. Loss, Supplementing Formula and Pumping ?? — The Bump
June 2012 Moms

Wt. Loss, Supplementing Formula and Pumping ??

My LO was born weighting  7 lbs 4 oz,  at her at 4 days old she was 6 lbs 8 oz and the doc wanted us to supplement 1 oz of formula after each feeding and get her weight checked the next day.  She gained an amazing 3 oz  (6 lbs 11 oz) over night and we were told to just give her 1-2 oz of formula once a day until her next appointment. At her two week appointment she was down to 6 lbs 7 oz. so the doc wanted me to go back to supplementing 1 oz after each feeding every 2-2 1/2 hours per day and one 3-4 hour stretch at night. 

 The doc thinks her weight loss has come from her being a very sleepy baby and the fact that I really have to work to get her to stay awake during feedings.  I usually can get her to stay awake for 5-10 min per breast but it is definitly a struggle especially at night.  Doctor feels that she might just not be sucking long enough to get the extra few calories per feeding and that pumping after each feeding should send signals to my body to produce enough milk and hopefully cut out the supplements. 

 Has anyone else had similar situation? 

My question is if I can't get her to stay awake for nursing now, what will it matter if I am producing more milk?  When will this little girl be more awake and alert to eat?  Should I maybe try exclusivly pumping, it seems like she stays awake long enough to finish a bottle .


Thanks for the help, just feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated.  Hope my little girl gains weight fast!

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Re: Wt. Loss, Supplementing Formula and Pumping ??

  • What are you doing to keep her awake?  In my birth class, they mentioned that stripping them down to a diaper and applying cold washcloths to the feet will help keep them up.
  • It definitely is concerning that she is under birth weight at 2 wks old. I can say that if you are suplementing at all that you need to pump while she is getting the 1 ounce of formula or right after. She will eventually stay awake longer and when she does she will need that milk. Pump for 10 minutes after nursing, even if its just 3-4 times a day. Even if you dont get any milk, just pump. Any milk you do get then use that instead of the formula. 

    She will have a growth spurt at 3 weeks and if you dont pump now you will be frustrated and so will she when she needs the extra milk.

    Def do a weighed feeding, before and after nursing to see how much she is getting.

    Hang in there.  

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  • I can also say that it sounds like your pedi jumped too quickly to supplement. At 4 days old its normal to be under BW a bit. The supplementing may have created more issues. At 2 wks, yes, she should be at her BW at least. So you obviously need to supplement, but I would focus on pumping a bunch. 

    OH and I promise you, you dont want to pump exclusively...its a biitch.  

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  • We're experiencing exactly the same thing here. My LO was born weighing 9lbs 5oz and went down to 8lbs 8oz. Then in the span of one week he only put on 1oz. We decided to supplement 1oz fomula after each breastfeeding when we saw that he was still hungry whether he nursed for 20 or 50min. That clued me in that his needs are greater than my breasts are providing. So when DH gives him the bottle, I go pump for a minimum of 10 min hoping to increase supply. It was a hard decision to make, but I had to get my ego out of the way and do what is right for LO. Its working. My supply is increasing (he doesn't want the supplement one or two feedings during the day now) and his weight is increasing.

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  • One thing I do at night is change his diaper in the middle of the feeding this helps to wake him up.  Also, you can try pumping one side while your LO is eatting on the other side. This will help you increase your supply and you can use the milk for the supplement if you choose to do so. 
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  • I agree that a session with a lactation consultant would be worth your time. At 3 days old, DS had dropped 9% of his birth weight, and the pedi gave us a referral to an LC and told us to keep breastfeeding and then supplement if necessary. Two days later he had gained no weight, and the only reason they said nothing further was because I was seeing the LC that day. She had me breastfeed for 15 minutes per side, then feed him up to 2 oz. of expressed breastmilk, then pump for 20 minutes on each side. Two days later, DS had gained 4.5 ounces.

    The hour and $57 the LC spent with me working on latch positions was worth every penny, as DS is now at birth weight at 12 days old. Good luck to you.


  • We were in the same situation. LO was 9.5 when he was born, was down to 8.10 when we got home. Then a week later, was only up to 8.11. We were worried. The pedi suggested supplementing with one whole formula bottle per day, but we quickly discovered that LO needed 1 extra oz after each breast-feed. My LO was also a sleepy feeder in the begining. Try stripping her to the diaper and keeping a wet-wipe handy and wipe her back and neck while she eats.

    At his appointment today - LO has gained 17 oz in the past 9 days. We are really proud! Now we're very flexible about what/how he eats. I pump after each feed and combine the "dregs" all day. Sometimes we'll give him an extra oz of breast milk. Sometimes he needs 2 extra oz. He has had a few episodes of cluster feeds too, where he's hungry and eats on and off for hours.

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