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If a breastfed baby is underweight, should you supplement formula?

My DD is 9 months and has always been in the lower percentile with every weigh-in at doctors' visits. I'm so proud to be breastfeeding my first baby and would love to at least make it to a year. My DD actually eats a lot throughout the day. The doctor is completely supportive of my decision to breastfeed, I just wonder if I am being selfish to strictly breastfeed or should I supplement formula?
* I pump about 4-6 oz*

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:13 PM on May. 6, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Answers (9)
  • In your daughters case I think it's fine that she is only breastfed. As long as the Dr has no concerns and she is growing like she should (only small) it's no big deal. I don't think you need to add formula to her diet... you could try adding other high fat foods like avocado if you want her to gain more weight.
    But if a baby is having a lot of trouble and not getting enough or something and is losing weight or not growing well then formula should be used IMO

    Answer by AmiJanell at 11:19 PM on May. 6, 2009

  • In most cases all you need to do is add 1 or 2 more breastfeeding sessions in to increase milk intake an weight gain. If you are going to supplement with bottles, why not pump and supplement with your own milk?

    If she is always in the lower percentile it is very likely that she is just small. Someone has to be in the 5th percentile! It is very common for breastfed babies to be on the chubby side in the first few months and then slim down in the second half of the first year. BF babies tend to be leaner than FF babies.

    Is she happy and healthy and meeting all of her milestones? Are you letting her nurse as much as she wants to? If so she is probably fine the way she is!

    Check out "Is my older baby getting enough milk?" at

    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 11:37 PM on May. 6, 2009

  • There is no reason to supplement. My DS fell of the chart at his 6 month visit. The doctor talked him self red in the face about me needing to give my baby "Carnation instant breakfast". I would never give my baby that crap. I have since switched to formula (he got breastmilk in bottle for the first 7 months) and he is eating solids like a champ..and you know what he is still small. His 9 month check up is next week and I already know that the doctor is gonna be talking himself red in the face. I am small so it doesn't suprise me that he is small. He will probably be small through most of his childhood..and then hopefully shoot up and end up being around the same height as his father rather than short like I.

    Answer by mag12305cmg at 11:42 PM on May. 6, 2009

  • Underweight says who? As long as the baby is healthy, and not LOSING weight, and having the appropriate amount of diapers, you need to do nothing. Additionally, pump output means nothing at all.

    Answer by Krysta622 at 11:57 PM on May. 6, 2009

  • Nope. Remember the charts mean nothing for your baby. Leave things as they are.

    Answer by gdiamante at 12:43 AM on May. 7, 2009

  • No!! My daughter has also always been in the 5th percentile, never had a drop of formula! She's HEALTHY, and has no need to be fat. Those growth charts are based on formula fed babies, who tend to be much bigger. Being in the lower percentiles does not mean your child is underweight.

    As long as your baby has plenty of wet and poopy diapers, your good to go. Dont worry about supplementing. Your doing your baby a favor by NOT supplementing. Keep up the good work!

    Answer by kate_jocelyn at 1:43 AM on May. 7, 2009

  • Check with your mom and your mother-in-law, and you will probably find that you or your spouse or both were also small.
    As long as your baby is developing normally, don't worry.

    Answer by rkoloms at 4:58 AM on May. 7, 2009

  • She's old enough to start eating solids, why not start adding those into her diet.

    Answer by SabbyMommy at 6:07 AM on May. 7, 2009

  • Being in the lower percentiles does not mean she is underweight. My son has hoverd right around 10% his whole life and he is 4 years old now. He was exclusively breastfed until we introduced solids at about 10 months old and nursed utnil he was 18 months and i was pregnant again.

    My doc said as long as they stay within plus or minus 10% of the percentile they were born in they are fine. Make sure you are looking at the WHO charts for breastfed babies too because formula and breastfed baby gain differently.

    Answer by aeneva at 7:40 AM on May. 7, 2009

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