I’m sad to say it, but some pediatricians are just not up to date on breastfeeding. I would understand, to some extent, misinformation from say, my general practitioner. I would understand misinformation from my dermatologist. After all, their specialty is not connected to babies per se. I don’t understand misinformation from pediatricians’ offices. (I do have to insert here that my childrens’ pediatrician is wonderful and I picked her because she is really very breastfeeding ’friendly’.)
Every once in awhile someone will pop up in the forums or send me a PM saying that their doctor doesn’t think the baby is gaining enough weight and that the mother must supplement her breast milk with formula. Hey, they even have the charts to show poor mom that the baby is well behind the curve and needs those extra calories.
The Truth About Weight Charts
A study, published today in Britain, showed how inaccurate weight charts can really hurt a breastfeeding mother. Weight charts used in pediatrician’s offices are based on formula fed infants and are 30 years old. Formula fed infants tend to gain more weight than breastfed infants. . .especially at first. This tends to show breastfed babies as being under weight.
Has that ever happened to you–you went to the pediatrician’s office thinking the baby was fine to be told that the baby is underweight and needs to gain more weight? Many offices recommend that you supplement with formula. It is often suggested that maybe you don’t have enough milk. However, supplementing with formula will sabotage your breastfeeding efforts.
Your baby really has a weight problem when. . .
It is normal for babies to lose weight in the hospital and it is not really a concern unless there are other signs that he might not be getting enough. The tell tale sign that your baby is not getting enough is if he doesn’t have enough wet diapers. Your baby should have at least 6 to 10 wet diapers a day. Generally he should have at least one bowl movement a day although more bowl movements are common and normal. Your baby should gain at least ½ ounce per day.
If your pediatrician suggests that you supplement due to slow weight gain, try checking your baby’s weight on a chart designed for breastfeeding babies.
If your baby is really slow to gain weight and you want to keep breastfeeding, it is more beneficial to the breastfeeding relationship to nurse more often. This will have the affect of both building your supply and giving your baby the nutrition he needs.