I’ve got a baby who isn’t gaining weight

baby who isn't gaining weight

I’m a relaxed kind of parent, mostly. But twins throw up new challenges. One of those challenges is a baby who isn’t gaining weight. It’s not a challenge I’ve faced before. I tend to have chunky boy babies, rolls for days.

I had a hunch Miss R was rather light. The girl’s had their 4 month weigh in and my hunch was right. Miss R, who has always been the smaller twin, hasn’t kept up her weight gain. She weighed 5.53kg, dropping from the 25th to 10th percentile. Miss C was 300g bigger at birth and it’d stayed roughly like that for the first two months. But now the difference is 700g!

I’ll take Miss R back to be weighed in a month. That gives me a month to fatten her up. I’ll be embracing the challenge, but I need Miss R to get on board! I’d love her to gain 400g. It seems like a reasonable amount to me.

I was very grateful that the doctor didn’t directly compare the twins. He really stuck to looking at Miss R’s medical history. I probably compared them much more than he did! There was also no question about me breastfeeding, which was a relief!

baby who isn't gaining weight

To be completely honest, Miss R’s slow weight gain has given my confidence a beating. Both girls are fully breastfeed. Maybe I only have enough milk for one and a half babies? Maybe I should be supplementing Miss R’s feeds with formula? Easier said than done given she won’t take a bottle of expressed breastmilk. Not only that but the best way to build my supply is to keep on boobin.

Miss R is my first good day sleeper, hooray! But that means she doesn’t have as many feeds as her sister. My babies have always cat napped so I’m loathe to wake the baby that actually naps. There’s a theory that babies grow while they sleep. But I tend to be of the view that the more you eat the more you grow!

Miss R is my first baby to take a dummy. That’s been fabulous as it settles her while I deal with the noisier Miss C. I don’t think it’s impacted my supply but maybe she’d be chubbier if she used me as a human dummy, like her four siblings have! Instead of popping the dummy back in when she cries, I’m going to offer her the breast.

The other challenge is that someone, often Miss C, needs attention, and Miss R’s feeds get cut short. I’ve tried ignoring Miss C and letting Miss R feed but she’s distressed by her sister’s crying and often joins in. The best feeds are at night when she’s the only little night owl awake and the house is quiet.

It’s possible I’m overthinking this, but I worry that if I feed Miss R more I’m somehow stealing milk from Miss C. I’m hoping it doesn’t work like that. I’m sure the body knows how to produce the amount of milk required. Supply and demand and all that jazz. But still, what if I fatten one up and the other one’s weight gain slows? See, this twin thing is messing with my usually calm mind!

Lots of mum’s of multiples seem to experience one twin, often twin b, being slower to gain weight and smaller than their twin. I’m reminding myself that they’re two individuals, which means naturally they’ll grow at different rates. Miss R is actually 1cm longer than Miss C. But when you’ve had others babies who’ve been nice and chunky, you question what you’re doing wrong. The flip side is, I know I can breastfeed successfully and I’m not giving up without giving it a red hot go. Of course, Miss R is never going to be huge with her genetics!

We’ll be back to the doctor to weigh Miss R in a month. The twins will be almost six months and soon to start solids. I can’t believe it! In the meantime, hot tips on getting a chubby baby?

27 thoughts on “I’ve got a baby who isn’t gaining weight

  1. What a stressful thing! I would definitely suggest offer breast before dummy to help top up. You could try expressing milk for top up feeds using a cup or supply line while BF (though they’re fiddly) but when will you have time to express! There’s all the diet things like oats for breakfast and special teas (I can send you a link to a lady who makes a great BF tea if you like) but you’re right- it’s supply and demand and breastfeeding is the ultimate supply builder. Would a sling be useful? One that you can BF in so she has constant access while being worn?

    1. Thanks for all that advice Amy. You’re right about having no time to express. I’m eating more oats and I do have a tea that I ought to try. The challenge with wearing her is that she’s a great sleeper in her bed and the other twin is more reluctant to sleep and spends more time being worn. I’m looking into twin slings but I haven’t seen any yet that would work for feeding in too. I’ll keep it in mind though.

  2. How stressful for you. Hoping things improve this month. I have no experience with twins but had 3 under 3 but my breast feeding days were over 15 years ago and never that successful.

    1. I’m crossing my fingers that she’s heavier in a month. Strangely it hadn’t occurred to me before but I have three under three too.

  3. What gorgeous girls you have. I know lots of women with twins and one who had the same issue. I don’t know how you feed but she had a boob per twin – so the same twin always fed off the same boob. She was advised to do this and she actually had supply which matched the feeds/demands of her girls. I agree that babies grow when they are asleep but also if they aren’t getting enough then they are sleepier – so hard to tell with babies isn’t it. I hope she has just been going on her own path and will put on more weight this month.

    1. Thanks Michelle. I’ve assigned the girls to a breast each and will see how that goes! It is a fine line between a simple sleepy baby and one that is sleepy because they don’t feed enough and are too sleepy to wake up! Thankfully I never have to wake her to feed, so I’m pretty sure she’s fine.

  4. Keep doing what your doing mumma. My friends
    Twin B was always the smallest now at 8
    She is way bigger than twin A. Go you feeding one is a challenge but two you are superwoman x

    1. You are very kind Melissa. I’m sure they’ll have growth spurts at different times. It’ll be interesting to see if my little twin b every catches her regular sized sister!

  5. That must be so difficult for you. I am glad you have a supportive Doctor, that is so important. I sucked at breastfeeding, plenty of milk but little or no substance. Both my kids went backwards really quickly and the bottle was the only choice. Didn’t stop me from trying everything I could get my hands on to make it better, but for me it just didn’t work. Now they are much older 20 and 15, and really healthy despite what I felt like was a failing on my behalf at the time.
    I hope things improve for you, be kind on yourself xxx

  6. Oh dear C, I felt all of your worry then as I too would be overthinking & wanting it to be right. My tips? Havent had twins but I do see and understand that YOU are doing so much to be the best mum ever to your 5 darlings. This is a suggestion & I think it may be something i recall from decades ago. If you were prepared, however you & Mr W organise it, to have some quieter stay home periods where the 2 girls are who you need to attend to & feed Miss R on demand & keep yourself well-hydrated & fed, the point being (nothing wrong with your milk or supply) but concentrating your mothering on the little ladies for pockets of time each day so there is nothing else to do but that.. just in the short-term. I too would want to be interacting with all the kids & cooking & taking them out because you love it so much but maybe, just maybe a few quieter times over this next month may assist.
    I wish there was more i could do to help but am sending all my love and kind wishes to you!
    PS again, you are a wonderful & inclusive mum xxxxx

  7. Your doing a wonderful job Claire. All babies are different and maybe Miss R is right where she is meant to be. All my babies sat around the 10-25 centile and they are all thriving 😙

  8. Oh my they are SO CUTE! I am so jelly I never had twins. I really wanted twins…
    Would you be worried about the smaller babe if she weren’t a twin? I ask because here weight may just be her weight.
    Other than that, one of my boys was tiny (still is at 10), and he progressed much the same pattern throughout but he was diagnosed at 3-4 with a lifelong allergy to dairy protein. He still cannot take it. He was a very skinny baby but the diagnosis took years to make sadly. It has affected his growth. He’s pretty much got my build anyway. (Poor kid!)
    Hope she fattens up for you but she looks pretty happy to me!

  9. Welcome to twin mum life hey?!? So many things to think about that you would never have worried about with just one bub. Stay positive, you will get there. Xoxo

  10. Mate, I have no advice but it looks like you have already had some great tips in response to this post here and on Facebook. Your girls both look happy and healthy and I’m sure they will be fine. Doesn’t stop us from worrying though, does it? x

  11. I have no kids and can’t give advice but it sounds like if your doctor was seriously worried, they’d have said something. Sounds like for now it’s just something to note and see how it goes.

  12. I can see why you’re concerned! I’d feel exactly the same way. My daughter was less hungry and slimmer than all of my sons. They were just big booby lovin boys! Also, having a twin the exact same age to compare to is a situation most of us don’t experience. Good luck Claire, you’re killing it, mumma. X

    1. Thank you Bron! My boys were all boob obsessed too. The comparison thing is tricky but I must stop doing it, it’s not at all helpful.

  13. Those girls of yours are so incredibly cute! It must be such a challenge, not to compare the two of them. The thing that came to my mind, is that those growth charts are not always comforting. Some of our precious little people are going to be on the bottom end, and that’s just perfectly fine. It’s always good to get things checked out to make sure, though. I hope things go well over the next month and that you see some progress.

  14. Oh that’s stressful. Your girls are beautiful, gorgeous individuals. I’d take your doctors lead on this one and try to stop worrying (as much us mums can even do that!). You are doing an amazing job.

    1. Yes, I must remember they are their own little individuals! I’m doing my best not to worry, my gut feeling is she’s just a petite kid.

  15. Wow, I can’t believe your little girls are almost 6 months old already! I don’t have any real advice as I don’t have twins and never really mastered breastfeeding due to low milk supply, but maybe this is just the size your baby girl is meant to be if she is otherwise happy and healthy? It sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job! #teamIBOT

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