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Breastfeeding: Your First 6 Months

Beth S.
BETH S.
Lactation Consultant
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New to the whole breastfeeding thing? Feeling overwhelmed? We hear you. Get the personalized advice you've been searching for—guaranteed. Led by Tinyhood Lactation Consultant, Beth Sanders.

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BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Growth curve
MOLLY, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

How much attention should I pay to the weight growth curve/percentiles, and how do I know that my daughter is gaining weight appropriately? My 10 week old bounces around between the 30th and 40th percentiles. I take her to a lactation support group each week and weigh her on the hospital-grade scale. My pediatrician seems satisfied with her growth, but I worry when she drops from a higher percentile to a lower one. There are a couple reasons I’d like to make sure she’s gaining appropriately: firstly, she is a very slow eater (45-75mins/feed) and the lactation consultant suggested I cut her off after 15mins/side IF she is gaining well. Also, we have just started trying to have Dad give her a bottle of expressed milk as her last feed- she will only eat 1oz and then fussed and refuses it, but then she goes to bed much more easily than when I put her down (which requires nursing her for more than an hour). I’m not sure whether it’s ok for her to have such a small feed and if this could further affect weight, or if she will naturally just make up the difference during other nursing sessions.

Beth
BETH

Hi Molly,
It sounds like your baby is gaining well, even though she is bouncing around between the 30 and 40th percentiles. That is a very healthy place to be, and the bouncing around isn't significant. A steady loss of percentile might be a concern if it continues, but at this point, things sound good, especially given that your pediatrician is satisfied with your baby's health. The main things to pay attention to are how she's eating, what's going on in her diaper, steady weight gain, and your breast health. Sounds like everything is going well.
However, I agree with the lactation consultant that you see at the support group. Getting those feeds down to 30 minutes or less is a great idea.
Try these tips to shorten meal times while still giving lots of milk:
Massage breasts gently before feeding her, and hand express a little to get the milk flowing before she starts.
Use gentle breast compressions while she is nursing, especially when she slows down, loses interest, or falls asleep.
Switch sides often, when she slows down, loses interest, or falls asleep, go ahead and switch sides.
Don't allow a feeding to go more than 30 minutes total.
As far as the bottle feeding, it sounds to me like she is satisfied with the smaller feeding and she rests well after it, no worries! She is telling you that she is getting plenty throughout the day, and a little snack before bed is making her happy.
You're doing a great job. I encourage you to trust your baby and your body, and keep up the good work!
Beth

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Latching
MORGANN, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

My daughter is three weeks old and I’m worried she isn’t getting enough milk when I breastfeed. She will suck for 45 minutes then wake up 15 minutes later and act like she is still hungry. When I pump and give her a bottle, she will finish in 10 minutes and sleep soundly until the next feeding. When I pump I get about an ounce for each boob, sometimes more. Is this a latching or lactation problem? Any advice on how to fix it?

Beth
BETH

Hi Morgann,
Thanks for reaching out!
Try these tips to shorten her feeding time while getting her to take more milk:
Massage breasts gently before feeding her, and hand express a little to get the milk flowing before she starts.
Use gentle breast compressions while she is nursing, especially when she slows down, loses interest, or falls asleep.
Switch sides often, when she slows down, loses interest, or falls asleep, go ahead and switch sides.
Don't allow a feeding to go more than 30 minutes total.

It sounds like you are making plenty of milk. If she is gaining weight and having lots of diapers, she may be getting enough milk, but it would be good to get those feedings under 45 minutes and maybe she can go longer between feeds. Supplementing with a bottle on occasion is a great idea. Keep up the good work!
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions
Beth