Low weight gain and supplement feedings

Our daughter Jacqueline was born March 12, 2015 weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces. It was an unmedicated, uncomplicated birth and she nursed within minutes of joining us. She was healthy and present. She lost 5 ounces during her first 10 days and had only regained to 7 pounds 2 ounces at her five week check up. I nurse her on demand day and night she loves to suckle and to be attached and she does swallow, she also loves snoozing while she nurses.

At 3 weeks postpartum a small bump I had on my left breast right above the nipple grew into a 7cm by 5cm mass. We had ultra sound and it was diagnosed as a complicated cyst, we had the cyst drained and biopsied. They took out 35cc of fluid but by the following day it had refilled. Jacqueline had an extremely hard time latching onto the left side since the mass developed directly behind and on top of the nipple. She nursed 90-% from right breast. I have constantly offered her the left breast and she sometimes did manages to grab it for a few seconds. We had tried the nipple shield to no avail and I had tried to pump it to keep the milk flowing. I manage about 2 oz per day from the left side.
I have successful breastfed our three daughters 100% until introducing some baby foods at 51/2 – 6 months and continued to breastfeed with baby food until around or over a year. Jacqueline is our fourth daughter and we would have loved to have her 100% breastfeed as well.
At her nine week weighed she was exactly 8 pounds.

We had met with her pediatrician, lactation consultants, le leche person, OB, and homeopathic dr and they suggested we start supplementing her with a few ounces of formula a day.
We had her evaluated by them to see if she is tongue tied but no one seemed to think she was. She is enthusiastic nurser. She spent on average 18 hours a day on the Breast.
After more reading and research we received a link to a lactation consultant in NYC from my sister. Her website had a helpful step by step instructions to seeing if your baby is tongue tied and was a real break through for us – Jacqueline had five out of the seven symptoms outlined on her website.
We were fortunate to get an appointment with a leading expert on tongue tie in Albany NY, Dr Kotlow. On May 13th we went to meet with him. She was diagnosed with severe upper lip and tongue tie . Dr Kotlow performed the laser surgery to her upper lip and tongue. He was extremely informative, helpful and supportive. We have been performing the required stretches three times a day and her latch and suction had greatly improved.
Jacqueline had her follow up weigh in May 19th and weighted in at 8 pounds 2 ounces
May 26th we had a weigh in where she was just under 8 pounds 4 ounces. We decided to start supplementing her with homemade formula. I got the recipe from the Weston Price Foundation. It breaks my heart in no small way to feel as though I am failing her by not being able to supply her the breast milk she needs. But at 21/2 months she needs to gain more then 2 ounces per week.

I made my first batch of formula May 27th. We also got an SNS system to drip feed her during nursing. I guess no matter how successful past breastfeeding a have been its never a guarantee it will be easy for each child!

Making the homemade formula was fairly simple and manageable! I bought the products needed from http://www.radiantlifecatalog.com.

I wrote each measurement onto the ingredient label so I wouldn’t need to reference the recipe each time for the measurements. I made a shelf space available in my cabinet for all the non perishable items to be stored together and a small door shelf in the fridge for the perishable items. This way they are readily available for me to pull out and use. I only needed measuring cup, measuring spoons, pot, spatula and blender.
I must say it actually tastes yummy! She has been getting a few ounces per day through the SNS feedings. It’s slow going but we are hoping the few extra calories give her the little boost she needs.

I want to say I am in no way a chart or percentile parent- those numbers have never meant much to me with our three older daughters. However when the red line doesn’t even reach a growth line and remains so unmoved each visit it becomes unsettling. Each time someone comments on how tiny she is I think is it because she is a newborn or because she is tiny!
She is otherwise healthy, engaging and alert. She even started rolling over during her tummy time.
I do not think there is a right way to parent. My husband and I came to our plan after days and weeks of conversations, research and dr consults. We decided on formula supplementing. Even writing that makes me feel a bit destroyed. I feel a lot of stigma about formula or switching to it- mostly from self inflicted pressure to solely breastfeed. Jacqueline is 100% breastfed, hours and hours a day but she does receive a calorie boost from her supplement feeds.
The SNS feeds were going slowly and I was not able to get that many ounces in to her but a slow drip was being given. I was is in no way a graceful feeder, it’s was very tricky thing for me to do. She constantly pushed it aside and pulled it out. I do not know how moms can mange it in public.
I read so much about breastfeeding and formula feeding but not very much information is available about supplementing or SNS feedings. We were slowly getting into the swing of it (2-3 ounces per day) . Thanks in no small part to my husband and friends support.
On May 31 she stopped excepting SNS feeds- and she would not take a bottle! Not from John, friends or from me. However she was still gaining- slowly but gaining. She is now 2″inches longer then her birth length and weighs in at 8 pounds 13 ounces! Not huge but a positive increase.
We are still monitoring her closing and feeding her on demand 24/7 my milk supply has increased and she is getting stronger so she is able to nurse the left breast.
I found that changing my diet and tweaking it really helped with my supply as well as her getting a stronger suction once she had healed from her Laser Surgery.
She is absolutely delicious and developing fantastically.