How to Overcome Newborn Slow Weight Gain

I had my first daughter and had a ton of issues breastfeeding. What I thought should be so ‘natural’ just didn’t workout and I ended up pumping and topping up with formula for 4 months, eventually switching exclusively to formula, you can read more about that HERE.

This time I swore it would be different, but when jaundice crept in again and she kept losing weight I knew I was in trouble. She was so tired and has a tongue tie, so as a result she wasn’t emptying my milk properly. My supply started to suffer and she wasn’t gaining the minimum amount of accepted weight gain for the week. She took over a month to get back to her birthweight. I was very stubborn with my midwives and refused to supplement, because she was content and gaining 4oz (instead of 5oz) I felt confident we could fix it without hurting my milk supply even more.

I researched and tried everything to avoid taking domperidone (I have family history of heart issues) and supplementing. I ended up being able to exclusively breast feed and get the doctors off of my back about low weight gain using these supplements and methods.

Here are the methods I used build my supply and get my baby gaining weight.

1. Pump : I think this one is obvious, but if you have low milk supply then pumping is essential. Especially if your baby is tired and not removing milk effectively! Or if they favour one side over the other. Pumping can get strenuous so I would pump whatever breast she wasn’t drinking from. If I had time (rarely) I would pump for max 10 minutes after a feed. I rented the Medela symphony (hospital grade) pump from London Drugs for the first 2 months and then used the swing linked above. There’s also a single swing breast pump linked here. After she was 2.5 months I stopped pumping altogether.

2. Sunflower Lecithin : Due to her slow weight gain, I was referred to a paediatrician. She was gaining 16grams a day and the doctor wanted her at at least 20. I noticed that the fat content (hindmilk) in the bottles was just a slim layer on the top and I read that Sunflower Lecithin (or soy lecithin but I’m not a huge fan of soy) would make the milk more ‘slippery’ and as a result the baby would get more hindmilk. More on that HERE. Honestly, I’m not sure how much it helped since I’m doing so many other things, but she has hit 26 grams a day. I take 4 pills spread out per day.

3. Brewers yeast : this stuff works amazingly well! It’s one of the last galactagogues I’ve tried and it gave me the same ‘full’ feeling as the blessed thistle. I take 2tbsp per day and I add it to San Pellegrino. Full disclosure, it tastes awful, especially if you don’t like beer! I’ve gotten used to the taste but if you’re not a beer lover I would suggest using it in cookies or pill form. Cookies make me pack on the pounds so I avoid them 🙂 do not put it in oatmeal!!

4. Blessed Thistle : the first time I took this I realized what it meant to be ‘full’ of milk. It worked almost instantly and didn’t give me any side effects. I take 3 pills 3x daily.

5. Oats : I have oats for lunch everyday. You can find my recipe HERE. I do think it makes a difference and it is so cheap and easy!

6. Milkaplenty : I bought this when I had my first daughter because my naturopath recommended it. If you have thyroid issues, this is a great tincture because it doesn’t have Fenugreek in it. Using it on its own I didn’t see any difference, however results may differ from person to person. I take 1 dropper full 3x daily.

7. Protein : I ended up increasing my protein intake by eating more meat and pumpkin seeds. I realized I wasn’t getting the recommended 65grams a day and so now I make sure to have protein with every meal!

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