Baby Weight Gain: An Update on Mae

First of all, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who helped and encouraged me so much when I posted “High Goals, Low Expectations.” I just wanted to give you all a quick update on how it is all going.

When I found out that Mae wasn’t gaining weight like she should, I immediately asked several people what they did in this situation, and how they increased their milk supply. I had so many people give me great ideas, and I did all of them.

Tongue and Lip Ties

I know this is a common problem with baby weight gain that has nothing to do with your milk supply and several people suggested this to me. I did not have Mae rechecked, but when she was a few days old I saw a lactation consultant because we were having a lot of trouble with breastfeeding. She checked Mae and determined that she did not have any ties, but she did give me a nipple shield to help her latch because she was so small and having trouble latching.

I had started trying to wean her off of the shield, but once I knew about her weight I stopped because I just wanted her to eat however she wanted to! However, lately she has been fussing at the shield and eating without it…so maybe she’s weaning herself off of it! She still wants it sometimes, and I’m just doing whatever she wants so she will eat.

Hydration

So many people told me to start drinking a ton of water! I feel like it is always a goal of mine to drink more water, and I’ll do it for a few days, then forget again. I just don’t get thirsty that often! However, once I started intentionally drinking more (I have a quart mason jar I keep with me so I don’t have to refill it so often) I find that I really am thirsty. I don’t know how much water I drink now, but I would guess that I refill my mason jar 3-4 times a day.

Eating

We lived with my parents for 4 weeks after Mae was born because we closed on our house two days before she was born and we spent that time to repaint, redo floors, and take our time to move everything in. While I was with them I never forgot to eat because Mama always kept the house well stocked with food, and there were several people around me who were always willing to fix my lunch or get me a snack (or hold Mae while I did it myself).

When we moved to our house I often forgot to eat, or I just couldn’t do much myself (and we were still building up our stock of food because we started with nothing! Mama was the first person to suggest I make sure I eat little snacks throughout the day to keep up my supply, and she bought me some crackers and lara bars for quick snacks I could grab. I try to be a lot more intentional about fixing food whenever Mae is happy so I can grab it later.

My favorite healthy snacks are lara bars, apples or bananas and peanut butter, peanut butter toast, homemade granola, and muffins or banana bread.

Lactation Foods

In addition to just making sure I was eating enough, I also added in several lactation foods. I already eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning (I have for years; it is my absolute favorite!), but now I add chia seeds, flax seeds, or brewer’s yeast, or sometimes all three! Whenever I make banana bread or any type of muffins I add some combination of these ingredients, as well as oats or oat flour. I often but almond butter in my oatmeal and I put almonds in my granola. I also avoid too much caffeine (I drink 1-2 cups of coffee made with half caffeinated, half decaf), peppermint, and sage.

Supplements

I bought some fenugreek capsules at Walmart and began taking two capsules three times a day. I definitely noticed an increase in my supply, but Mae got to wear she would fuss and not eat, and I think it changed the taste of my milk (it changed the smell of me for sure!). I backed off to 1 capsule three times a day and she eats great now. I still smell a little off, but it’s just like maple syrup so it’s not a bad smell.

My cousin who works at a health food store recommended goat’s rue, so I began taking that as well. She said it was okay to take along with the fenugreek, so I have been taking both.

Pumping

A lot of people also said to pump a lot to stimulate myself to make more milk. The first few days I stayed at Mama and Daddy’s house so I could just focus on feeding and pumping all. day. long. I gave Mae whatever milk I pumped when I had gotten a couple ounces. I only had a manual pump, but a kind friend is letting me use her electric one. I ordered some new parts and I am loving it! It is much easier than the manual one, and I still pump almost every morning because that’s when I’m fullest.

Block Feeding

A couple of people recommended this practice to me, and it involves feeding your baby on both sides, then on the first side again to ensure she gets the hind milk. I don’t do this every time, but I do it at least a couple times a day and I can tell Mae is emptying me, and hopefully she is also getting plenty of hind milk.

The Results:

Mae had a weight check a week after her initial appointment. After doing all of these things, she had gained six ounces in a week! Our pediatrician was so pleased, told me to keep it all up, and to come back in a couple weeks just to make sure everything was going well.

Last week she had her second weight check and she now weighs 8 pounds, 3 ounces! She has regained her curve on the growth chart and all is going well.

I am continuing all these things and feeding a lot, and I pray she will continue to grow and develop!

Again, I am so thankful for everyone who gave me ideas and encouraged me when I was discouraged. If I have to supplement at some point in the future it will still be okay, but for now I am thankful that we can continue exclusively breastfeeding.

A Helpful Resource:

kellymom.com is a great website for information on breastfeeding, including for problems with weight gain and low supply. I like referring to her site for any questions I have because she is not “extreme”(I told Mama she is not a “freak out” blogger) and she backs up everything with a lot of research. I can’t vouch for everything on the site, but what I’ve read so far is very helpful. Much thanks to my wonderful sister-in-love for introducing me to the site!