my breastfed baby is under weight?

Lena - posted on 01/15/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )




i just took my son to the doctor today for his 9 month check up to find out he is way under weight 16.3 lbs witch is 3% in percentile the doctor wants to see him back in a month to check his weight again!!! i still breastfeed but am worried hes not getting enough!!! what should i do i really dont want to do formula!!! i want to breastfeed atleast till he is 1??? any suggestions on how to help him gain weight so can continue feeding him his mommas milk i need to fatten him up!!


Minnie - posted on 01/15/2010




It can be really disconcerting when our babies' doctors tell us something might be wrong. Especially since doctors are supposed to be knowledgeable about the subject! I can definitely relate to that feeling when I went through this with my first.

Both of my girls are very thin- in the first percentile for weight for their age. My nearly four year old is 26lb and my 15 month old is 17lb. But they are healthy, smart, active little girls. I never changed how I nursed them, never went to formula, and I am letting my second self-wean. I weaned my first at 12 months and I can tell you she definitely never bulked up despite not nursing anymore. Ounce for ounce, breastmilk is more caloric than most solids, and definitely better than formula.

It may help to know that the charts your doctor uses are based on formula-fed babies, which don't grow at the same rate that breastfed infants do. Breastmilk is the natural and expected form of nutrition for your baby- what his body is designed to use to grow optimally. Breastfed infants grow as they're intended to.

Just because your little one is in the third percentile doesn't mean he's unhealthy. And a baby in the 97th percentile doesn't mean he's healthier. The percentile shows a range of weights for babies- someone has to be at the top, someone has to be at the bottom.

If he's happy and healthy, meeting his milestones and you're feeding him on demand and not substituting breastmilk with solids- he's likely just fine. He doesn't need to be 'fattened up.' Doctors like to see everyone meet an average, but life isn't that way. We all come in different shapes and sizes.

Hannah - posted on 01/15/2010




mine was the same way, but from 4 months. Since yours is 9 months, start him on some solids in addition to BF-ing. What I do is BF till I'm empty, then offer solids til he's full.

Stephanie - posted on 01/18/2010




:) my twins hovered between -10% and 10% for the first 3 years of their lives. At 3 they finally hit 50% on the charts. :) Smile and nod to the doctor and continue nursing. :) that was my mother's advice back then, and I still think it's good advice now.

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I hate those percentile charts. I think there are so many other factors that come into play when it comes to your baby's size and many doctors don't even consider them. Were you or your baby's father small babies/are you small people? Does your baby look skinny and malnourished or just small? Is he energetic and happy or does he have low energy? I think you should maybe get a second opinion (perhaps from a lactation consultant or someone who you know is pro-breastfeeding) if your doctor suggests formula. Some things that you could add to your babies diet to help him put on a little weight in a healthy manor could be avocados, high fat yogurt, and cottage cheese. You could eat more of these types of food too. And don't forget to drink lots of water. In the end though, if you feel that your son is healthy (and really, you know best) then I think you should trust your gut. There is nothing wrong with being small (unless of course there is some underlying condition that formula wouldn't help anyways!). We are humans and we come in all shapes and sizes. Why do doctors feel the need to fit all babies into the same mold? It's silly.

Lise - posted on 01/20/2010




Check out the growth charts for breastfed babies:

Make sure the latch is good, too. My LO nursed ALL THE TIME but still lost weight due to her latch. Fixed that, and now she's a chubby little thing!

But also don't worry if the baby is low on the charts as long as he is still growing.


View replies by

Sonymom - posted on 03/09/2015




How did you manage with your baby being underweight? What did you do?

Michelle - posted on 01/20/2010




Something the dr's wont tell you is that growth charts are made for formula fed babies who are statistically heavier. my daughter has always been in the lower percentiles on those weight charts as well. my dr told me that as long as she is eating well and happy then she is fine. it also dont help that she is really active.

Sarah - posted on 01/19/2010




Has your baby started any solids yet or do you just breast feed?
my son was a little under wieght at about the same age and my ped just told me to maybe increase his intake of solids and come back in a month and that worked. he gained 2 pounds by the time he went back.

Tammy - posted on 01/19/2010




My son is also was an exclusively bf baby (until he started solids) and has also been lightweight, he was 6lb 13oz at birth and now he is 6 1/2 mo and is in the 10th percentile of weight atm. I dont even bother to worry about it because he is very healthy, happy and loves his food.

Monica - posted on 01/17/2010




Don't worry about your baby's weight. As long as he is healthy. You must remember that those charts indicate the "norm", which is mostly bottle babies and bottle babies are overfed most of the time. A breat baby only takes in as much as their bodies need, where bottle babies drink what's in the bottle and the formula is much fattier than breatmilk. Don't let any of it concern you - DON'T fatten him up - fat babies are fat grown-ups. You should breastfed for at least the first 24 months if you want to have a healthy baby. Don't give up on breastfeeding, you are doing the right thing. Hang in there.

Erin - posted on 01/16/2010




Okay, I didn't read anyone's posts, so sorry if i repeat myself. Is your baby continuing to gain weight? If so, that is what matters. My son is 7 months(but 5 weeks early) and he weighs 14 lbs 11 oz. My pediatrician said not to look at percentiles. Percentiles are for "parents" not "pediatricians". The pediatricians only look to see if your baby is growing and developing.

Also, breastfed babies are generally lighter than formula fed babies.

Naomi - posted on 01/15/2010




How much did he weigh when he was born? my son is 16 pounds now at 17.5 months, he was 6'14 at birth so he's on track for tripling his birth wieght by a year. they don't use percentiles in canada, at least I've never gotten that, just the doubling by 6 months and tripling by a year and they say even that is GENERAL. I know a little girl who was 16 pounds at a year and she was 9 at birth I think. no one was worried, her mom was a nurse too. It's true that my son is much smaller than most of his baby friends, breast and bottle fed, it doesn't bother me, I love that he doesn't grow out of his cute clothes so fast and i can gradually adjust to his weight gain and handle carrying him fine. If your son is filling his diapers fine and is active, happy, not dehydrated (a dehydrated baby will not be a happy baby!) and is not losing weight.. there is no problem! if there was, the BEST thing you could do is breastfeed, to make sure he is getting healthy fats vitamins and minerals, not the far inferior stuff they put in formula. keep going!! good luck!

Linzie - posted on 01/15/2010




dont listen to those damn doctors!! they're all nuts. your baby is getting PLENTY of milk. i would for sure be feeding solids around 3 times a day, and maybe some rice cereal if you pump and mix.

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My nephew just turned one and is (I think) 15-16 pounds. As long as he is still growing some, isn't dehydrated, and is active.... don't worry about it.

Andrea - posted on 01/15/2010




Feed more often, and pump after each feeding - if you get something in the pump, feed it to them right after - that will be the hind-milk - the "cheescake" - the fattiest part of the milk - and if you make SURE they are getting that milk all the time - then they should gain weight.

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