Posted by: Admin | November 9, 2012

Answers to the questions asked on the Nov 7th, 2012 radio show – Question no 1


This response is in answer to a question that was asked on the November 7th, 2012 Breastfeeding Week radio call-in show Eyou Dipajimoon on CBC North. I wanted to give a more complete answer. You can also listen to the show on:

http://www.cbc.ca/eyoudipajimoon/

Should I give an artificial baby milk supplement to my baby if he has not regained his birth weight by 1 or 2 weeks of age?

Babies usually regain their birth weight by 2 weeks of age. They rarely regain it by 1 week of age so it is absolutely not recommended to supplement your breastfed baby if he has not regained his birth weight after 1 week.

Babies have extra weight when they are born because they have a lot of water in their body. They lose this water the first few days after birth. This is why they lose weight before they start gaining. Also, a baby will not gain weight when his mother’s milk has not “come in”. In the first few days after birth, the baby receives a breastmilk called colostrum. This milk is very rich and the mother produces the exact quantity the baby needs for the first days, but the milk supply increases a lot more between the 3rd and 5th day after birth. This is what we call the milk “coming in”. This is also when babies start to gain more weight. If the baby latches on to the breast well and there are no difficulties, he will regain his birth weight by 2 weeks of age but, if things are a little difficult, e.g. if the mother or the baby are having a hard time with breastfeeding, some babies have a little more trouble putting on weight. It does not mean that the mother cannot breastfeed or that the baby is in trouble. It tells us that maybe the baby is not latching on well or maybe he would need to breastfeed more often.

The first thing to do if a baby is not gaining weight well once the milk has “come in” is to observe the baby breastfeeding to see if he is latching on well and able to take the milk he needs from the breast. Sometimes, a small change in position or latch will make a big difference. If the latch is ok, the baby needs to be at the breast more often. Sometimes, we think it is a good idea to let the mother sleep all night to get a good night’s rest. This is not a good idea. It is actually very important for the mother to breastfeed her baby during the night. Other people can help the mother by changing the baby’s diaper, rocking the baby, and helping out in other ways while she stays in bed. This way she can fall back to sleep easily and get the rest she needs.

It is important to know that breastfed babies need to breastfeed from 8 to 12 times per 24 hours and that night breastfeeds are important in the first 6 weeks. This will ensure that the baby will gain from 125 to 250 g per week from the 1st week to 3 months of age. Don’t forget that you need to count the weight gain from your baby’s lowest weight (taking into consideration the weight he lost in the days after birth) and that you need to weigh him always with the same scale, at around the same time, and always without his clothes and diaper. Also, do not weight your baby daily. His weight gain pattern is not regular and it will make you worry for nothing. Weighing your baby once a week is ok or, if he needs to be checked closely, once every 3 days.

No mother is required to have a scale! You can monitor your baby’s well being simply by counting his wet diapers and stools! For the first 5 days after birth: 1 wet diaper per day of life and at least 1 stool per day that will turn from black to brownish to yellow. Once the milk has “come in”, your baby needs 6 to 8 wet diapers and 2-3 stools per 24 hours (for the first 6 weeks). This will tell you he is getting enough breastmilk to grow well. If your baby does not have enough wet diapers or stools, increase the number of times you breastfeed him and have a nurse or a CHR observe a breastfeed to see if there are some little changes that would help your baby gain more weight.

Finally, if you are concnerned your baby really has a problem with his weight gain, consult a nurse or a CHR. They will be able to help you!

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