Weight Gain in Your Breastfed Baby

by Shari Criso, RN, CNM, IBCLC

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

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One very common concern that comes up frequently for breastfeeding moms and dads is that their breastfed baby is not gaining weight fast enough, or as quick as other babies. This often happens when parents take the baby to the pediatrician and the pediatrician says that the baby’s just not gaining fast enough. They will use a growth chart, plot your baby’s weight on the growth chart, and then say your baby needs to be growing faster!

As you can imagine, this can be very concerning for a breastfeeding mom, because you’re thinking, ”do I need to supplement?”…”am I just not making enough?”

What I want to talk about here are normal growth patterns of breastfed babies.

Unfortunately, because we have so few exclusively breastfed babies in this country (and this really is the case, that there aren’t that many babies that are being breastfed for an entire year) their weights are being compared to formula fed infants that often grow and gain faster and weigh more, especially in the second half of the first year.

So what is a normal weight gain for a breastfed babies?

Typically breastfed babies will gain faster in the first 4 months of life. Typically somewhere around 4-8 oz or 5-7 oz a week on average, is the amount that a breastfed baby will gain.

evenflo February

When I say average, what I mean is that they won’t ALWAYS gain that amount every single week or consistently, so weighing them every week will actually be a problem. They will have growth spurts, and gain more weight some weeks and less weight other weeks. Typically this is somewhere between 5-7 oz per week, for the first 4 months, on average…and then around 4-6 months you’ll start to see this weight gain drop to about 4-6 oz per week, and then from 6-12 months, 2-4 oz per week is the average norm for breastfed babies. Remember, this is just basic standard or average, it does not mean ALL babies are going to follow the same patterns.

It’s important to watch your baby’s cues and take into account other things like your size – smaller parents, smaller baby; are they reaching all their milestones, are they hydrated, are they peeing, are they pooping, are they smiling, are they doing as expected developmentally – these are all important factors to consider in making sure your baby is healthy…not just are they gaining weight! Are they gaining length, is their head circumference growing as well?

Another very important thing to keep in mind is and to understand are the growth charts themselves.  This comes up with my clients all the time! Some pediatricians are using the incorrect growth charts to measure and plot your babies weight gain. What you should be asking is, “are you using the WHO growth charts for breastfed babies?” Many of these charts being used in these offices are charts that are based on formula fed infants. The older CDC charts actually measured breastfed babies against formula fed infants, and we know that this is not accurate. So you want to be sure that your office is using the WHO charts to make sure that they are plotting it correctly.

The other thing to do is to notice that just because a baby is at the third percentile, does not mean that your baby is not within normal parameters. Your baby does not have to be at the 50th percentile or the 90th percentile!

A baby that is at the 3rd or 5th percentile for weight is just as healthy as a baby who is at the 70, 80 or 90 growth percentile. These are the normal ranges, and what you really want to keep an eye on is that your baby is staying consistent in their growth. That is really what will tell you the difference. I’m going to post some links here so you’ll have those growth charts, and if for some reason your doctor is not using them, you’ll have access to them to bring them with you and have them use that chart to help plot your baby’s growth.

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Have you been concerned about your baby’s growth? Does your child’s doctor use the correct charts?

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Shari Criso 2016

 For over 23 years, Shari Criso has been a Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, nationally recognized parenting educator, entrepreneur, and most importantly, loving wife and proud mother of two amazing breastfed daughters. See the entire library of Shari’s My Baby Experts Video Program here.
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Four Things I Wish I Had Known About Storing Pumped Breastmilk

Pumping isn’t a small task, it can be a huge part of our lives as mothers and take a lot of work. Any tips and tricks to make it easier and ensure that not one precious drop of our liquid gold is lost can go a long way in helping moms reach their feeding goals. The Leaky Boob got together with Evenflo Feeding and came up with four tips we wish we had known about pumping and storing breastmilk when we first got started in our infant feeding journeys. For more on safe-handling and storage guideline protocols, go here.

Here our 4 of our favorite tips:

Evenflo breastmilk storage bag adaptors

Evenflo breastmilk storage bag adaptors

Evenflo breastmilk storage bag adaptors

Evenflo breastmilk storage bag adaptors

That 4th tip inspired the new Evenflo Breastmilk Storage Bag Adaptors which fit most standard pumps. Save time and clean up by pumping directly into your breastmilk storage bag. Having a reliable way to skip a step in your pumping can be a sanity saver. Check out the Evenflo breastmilk storage bag adaptors to simplify your breastfeeding and pumping journey.

 

 

To help you reach your feeding goals, we’re giving away 50 pair of these newly released adaptors! We’re partnering with Evenflo Feeding to support you in your journey, #LetLoveFlo.

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For a chance to win your own set of Evenflo Breastmilk Storage Bag Pump Adaptors,, use the widget below:

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Evenflo: Attaching shame to breastfeeding should NEVER be funny.

by Star Rodriguez

My former in-laws are fantastic people.  They are absolutely lovely, and I still maintain a positive relationship with them, despite being divorced from their son.

They were also very uncertain about breastfeeding.

My ex mother in law was a teen mother in the seventies, when there was little breastfeeding support and absolutely no support for teen mothers.  My ex father in law and his family are incredibly conservative folk with standards of modesty that are as high as they go in most of the United States.  My former sister in law nursed her first for a brief time and then stopped, choosing to not attempt with the second.  So when I had my first, there was no precedent for exclusively breastfeeding.

During the entire time I nursed my daughter, male members of the family left the room rather than be near an exposed boob.  In certain areas, I was asked to cover up (politely, I will add.)  My mother in law lamented once or twice that she never got to feed the baby.

Still, I stuck to my guns, nursing my baby on demand, anywhere that we were.  If we were at someone’s home and they wanted me to cover up, I respected their wishes, despite disagreeing that it was necessary.  My husband became a staunch supporter of breastfeeding, and if someone said something that he thought hinted at criticism, he would start recounting benefits of breastfeeding and risks of formula feeding.  When we did have some nursing issues, and I had to work to overcome them, my in-laws had become so used to breastfeeding that they were staunch supporters in my struggle to make it all work out.   For you to know what a 180 that was, you should know that when I told my mother in law in the beginning that I was nursing – and on demand – she asked me how she would possibly be able to have my daughter stay overnight with her.  This was at a few days old, and, yes, she absolutely meant In the not too distant future.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I heard about this Evenflo ad that everyone was up in arms about.  Let me first say that Evenflo has the distinct displeasure of being the worst reviewed pump company with my clients.  They constantly report things like breaking pumps, bad customer service, pain, and an inability to get milk out.  These can all significantly affect a breastfeeding relationship.  In one case, a mother using an Evenflo pump had some pretty awful nipple damage from a malfunctioning pump.  Despite the fact that their pumps were terrible, I would recommend other, decent Evenflo products like I was their marketing division, since they were one of the few WHO Code compliant companies.  (What’s the WHO code?  Here’s the official document of the World Health Organization’s Code of ethics for marketing breastmilk substitutes, another explaining it in more detail (last 2 pages are summary) and the wikipedia article on the code.)

Evenflo has since decided to abandon the WHO Code in favor of more marketing, and one of the results is this advertisement that mocks breastfeeding in public, depicting uncomfortable and pushy in-laws who claim that breastfeeding means no one else can feed and thus bond with the baby, and includes an awkward scene after the mom pumps (We wanted to be able to share the video with you but after a strong backlash it appears to have been pulled but not after millions had already viewed it.)

There are so many terrible things about this ad.  The bullying, stereotypical in-laws.  The dad who won’t speak up.  The implication that breast size is tied to milk making capacity (it isn’t.)  How long the mother in law implies that breastfeeding takes.  The idea that bonding can only come from feeding. The horrified face of the father in law after drinking the breastmilk-laced coffee.  Listen, I like low-brow humor, and even I was disgusted by this.  In fact, when I showed my husband it (who does not take violations of the Code or breastfeeding stuff as seriously as I do) he said, “Really?  Is that a joke?  They’re trying to sell pumps with that?  But it makes breastfeeding and breastmilk look terrible and disgusting!”

I work with women every day.  Women who want to breastfeed, but…  They can’t trust that their baby is getting enough.  They can’t get over societal-induced fears of public breastfeeding.  They can’t believe that their bodies can produce something that is superior to science.  And so when I watch things like this, I cringe.  You see, I was that girl.  And I had an in-law experience that could have turned bad.  We conquered it with positivity, but if I had not had a good support group and encouragement, that might not have been the case.  And so this ad disgusts me and fills me full of rage.  Who are you, Evenflo, to tell a mom to hide in the bedroom and pump instead of standing up for herself?  Who are you to undermine someone’s confidence and call it fun and games?

There is one silver lining to this terrible ad, though.  In my time on Evenflo Baby’s Twitter and Facebook and in comments on articles about this, I have seen both breast and formula feeding women standing up and calling this ad horrible.  That warms my heart.  Moms have it hard, no matter how they are feeding their baby.  Seeing the Mommy Wars put aside to focus on something that does a disservice to women as a whole is pretty awesome.

Evenflo has issued a half-apology PR statement on their Facebook and Twitter that reads, “We hear you. We appreciate how passionate you are. We are equally passionate and fully support all moms and the personal choices they make everyday.”  The video remained up until this morning.  But while this particular video is currently unavailable, the rest in the “savvy parents” series are similarly demeaning and damaging.  You can view those here.  In fact, check out their webisode of how to survive 3am feedings.  It’s served up with an (un)healthy side of parental stupidity, sexism (towards men- too stupid to deal with bottles), and really, really bad breastfeeding practices (giving even a bottle of expressed breastmilk at night could lesson a mom’s night milk making, crucial to supply!) not to mention what mother wouldn’t be in tears over all the spilled expressed breast milk!

Please join me and the countless others in letting Evenflo know that this isn’t ok.  Companies do listen to feedback, especially negative feedback.  Their Facebook and Twitter are both open for commenting, and I urge you to do so.  Let’s let Evenflo know that savvy parenting looks much different than they think.

 

Editors note:

I shared this on Facebook and I’ll share it here.  The problem I have with this video is that it perpetuates this idea that breastfeeding is weird, gross, awkward and prevents others bonding with the baby.  All myths and all ones willingly encouraged by a society that undervalues breastfeeding and dismisses the women that breastfeed. 

The commercial is obviously campy, it’s over the top, overacted, and ridiculous. Obviously intended to be funny.  However, even with recognizing those aspects it plants the idea that a mom should just run off to a room to pump to spare anyone the discomfort of seeing her breastfeed and give into the demands of someone that feels it is their right to feed her baby as well.  If a woman wants to pump and let others feed her baby a bottle of her milk, fine, her choice. If she feels forced to pump by harassing individuals it’s another matter entirely. This commercial, in all it’s camped up attempts at humor, gives onlookers “permission” to say to a breastfeeding mom “why can’t you just go pump so someone else can feed the baby” or “you should bring a bottle of pumped milk so you don’t have to breastfeed in public.”  Or worse like “you can’t do that here.”

Anything communicating that breastfeeding is wrong, gross, or something a woman should feel awkward and ashamed about just isn’t funny. Just like I will never find racist or sexist humor funny, I will never find humor that attempts to shame breastfeeding moms funny.  Period. ~Jessica

 

 Star is a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  She sat the IBCLC  exam for the first time this summer, and is anxiously awaiting the end of October.   She also sits on the breastfeeding task force in her town, is helping her  community’s Early Head Start redefine their breastfeeding support, and is the  driving force behind a local breastfeeding campaign.  In the remainder of her free  time, she chases around her nursling and preschooler.
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