Feeding FAQ: 3-4 months – Breast Feeding

My 3 month daughter’s weight gain is low, she feeds less, and does not like a bottle

My 3-month-old daughter has been on Gina’s schedule since 2 weeks. She is generally a contented baby and sleeps well. I have 2 problems: the first relates to her low weight gain at about 4.7oz per week. She rarely seems hungry – even after sleeping through from 11pm to 6.30am. Since 12 weeks, she’s beginning to take shorter feeds on the breast (10mins) rather than in the past when it was closer to 15-20mins. She often seems uncomfortable and fussy during the feed (after 5 minutes) I have tried splitting the feed as well as giving the breast 15-20mins later in order to increase her intake, but she is often reluctant and doesn’t take any or only a little more (5 minutes on breast). Since I’m breastfeeding, I don’t know how much she is taking but suspect it could be between 2-3oz (this is the amount I get after expressing one breast). At 5 feeds a day, this level of milk intake is very concerning! The second problem I’m facing is getting her to take the bottle; I have tried introducing it since the 3rd week. Initially she did not seem to know how to “suck” as the milk would just flow out of her mouth. Now she can take no more than 2oz of expressed milk per feed from it and I have to be out of sight. I am not sure if this is because she is not keen on the bottle (and she could have fed more on the breast), or if this is the amount she is really contented with. In any case, I am really worried about her daily intake which I am certain is too low.

After 3 months many breast-fed babies “speed up” considerably and spend far less time at the breast. But they also can be more easily distracted and more interested in looking around rather than feeding.

Try to feed your daughter in a quiet room with no external noise such as radios and lots of conversation. Her weight gain is low, but if steady, it may be down to her metabolism to gain less than the “average” baby. Have you discussed these concerns with your doctor or health visitor?

When you express, it is unlikely you will express as much as your daughter can extract from your breast. Although it appears a small amount, she is probably taking more than that at a feed. Ideally, at her weight she should be having about 5ozs at a feed and is probably taking nearer to 4ozs.

Making her feeds more spaced apart, as you already have been doing, is a good idea as you can see she is taking a little more. In the extra 5 minutes that she is feeding, she will be taking quite a bit more milk.

Getting her used to a bottle will take time. It is not at all unusual for a baby to take a bottle from someone other than the mother. She associates you with breast feeding so sees no need to feed from a bottle held by you. This will get better as she becomes more adept at sucking. Once she readily accepts a bottle from someone else, then you can begin to offer them yourself.

The movements needed to suck from a bottle are different from the breast where the baby “laps” at the milk. At present the Baby BFree bottles are the only ones where the action needed to obtain the milk is as close as possible to breast feeding. It maybe worth obtaining one and seeing if you have any more success. From your notes it seems she is on a 6-12mth teat which may be too fast for her. If she is being overwhelmed by too fast a flow, she may just give up taking a feed. As her stomach is being filled too fast, she is feeling full before she has taken enough. Try a slower flow and see if she is better able to cope with taking more. Splitting a bottle feed into two halves could also help. Give her 2-3 ozs and then a break of 20 minutes before offering the last 2 ozs. Letting her sit in her chair inbetween could help her feel more settled.