Anyone else have a breastfed "underweight" baby?

Julie - posted on 09/11/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )




Hey ladies---I'm looking for some reassurance/similar experiences here...

My 15-week-old (just over 3 months) just was weighed this week and apparently he is "underweight." This appointment was with WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and they are a little concerned about a slow weight gain.

Andrew was born a month early as a result of medically-necessary induction. He was not ready and had some difficulties at first, therefore necessitating staying in the NICU for 2 weeks. It was a difficult time.

When he was born he weighed 6 lbs 10 oz, and from the beginning he had an NG tube, feeding him high-calorie (for preemies) formula and any milk/colostrum I could pump (my milk took over a week to come in, and even then it trickled...pumping every 2-4 hours). When he was discharged he was weighed again at his Pediatrician's office, showing him to be in the 20th percentile for weight.

The next time he was weighed, about a month later, he had dropped to the 10th. The dr. felt at the time that perhaps his post-hospital weight was not an accurate measure of his weight gain, as the formula he had for 2 weeks "inflated" his weight gain in a way that breastmilk would not. So, at the time, he said "let's just wait until he's 4 months" and then we would see if he maintained the 10th percentile growth pattern.

Now, at 3.5 months, he is apparently below 10th, but I am confused/a little upset: he was a month early--doesn't that factor in at all? Aren't EBF babies measured on a different chart than formula-fed?

Sorry for the long post--I just want some reassurance or to see if anyone else is out there with a similar story.

Oh--for the record, he has many wet diapers all day, he's happy, he's meeting milestones just fine, he is very long, and other than appearing slim, he's very vigorous and active and curious.




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[deleted account]

Yes there are different percentile charts. Unfortunately, WIC is quick to give out formula instead of encouraging breastfeeding. Make sure to ask if they are using the correct chart. Use your instincts. Some babies are just small and they do just fine. How much does he weigh now? At my baby's 4 month check up she was 13lbs 13 oz. My friends baby (who is formula fed) weighed 17 lbs 6 oz. HUGE difference!

Colette - posted on 09/11/2009




My baby boy was born 6 weeks early also for medical necessary reasons. He was born 5lb5oz on teh 75th centile & was fed by tube for the first few weeks until we could get breastfeeding going. He gained weight very slowly & gradually dropped to the 2nd centile when he was 8 weeks old. At that point I discovered a breastfeeding support group & he put on weight in line with the 2nd centile line and then gradually crept up to the 9th centile by 5months. At his last weigh-in he had only gained 2oz in 2 weeks, my health visitor said she wasn't concerned though & said it might just be a plateau but might be a good time to start introducing solids (we were only one week off being 6 months anyway). My son is so much lighter than all his baby friends (even ones born 3 months later than him!) however he is very happy, contented little boy who is alert and enjoying life. I think too much emphasis is put on weight and not enough on what a child is like - we are encouraging babies to be fatter than they need to be. Look at how your baby acts & responds and go by that rather than always looking at the charts. You know your child better than anyone. Don't worry. :-D

Minnie - posted on 09/11/2009




I was an 'underweight' baby. My siblings were. Both of my girls are in less than the 1st percentile, but we all started at birth in the 50th. It's genetics. We're all thin people. My husband is thin.

But the doctors hate it. The nurses hate it. They think that I am doing something wrong, so I don't take my girls to the doctor save for immunizations or unless it's a really high fever.

Of course his earliness is a factor. It's probably also genetics. And what doctors don't understand is that an excluisvely breastfed baby will grow as he's supposed to. The growth charts used are based on formula-fed infants.

If he's active, and isn't actualy LOSING weight (drop in percentile doesn't necessarily mean weight loss, usually it just means a slow in weight gain), and isn't behind in his development- he's fine.

Just wanted to add- you aren't scheduling his nursing sessions, not attempting to hold him off of nursing with a pacifier, correct? Because those actions can indeed lead to failure to thrive.

Brenda - posted on 09/11/2009




My son is now 11 months- he was not a preemie, but was EBF until 6 months. He dropped from the 25th to 5th percentile for height and weight between his 6 month and 9 month checkup, but our Dr. was not overly concerned because his parents are small (especially his mom).

EBF are measured on a different chart- if you know your son's measurements, you can find one online and look for yourself (try It sounds like your son is happy and healthy, but I would listen what WIC has to say in case that changes.

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