67 answers

Underweight 4 Mo. Old Baby

My baby is now 4 months old. At her check up last week, she was 15 percentile for weight and 95 percentile for height. (long & lean like her mom!) At the 2 month check up she was at 25 percentile for weight. So, the DR is a bit concerned. We take her back in 1 month for a weight check. If she does not put on 1 pound by then, we will need to supplement with formula. Baby is progressing well developmentally, she is happy and sleeps well at night. I feel sad at even the thought of having to supplement with formula. I know that it is not the end of the world, but I just feel frustrated. Has anybody else been down this road before? Any advice? How can I fatten up my baby? How do I boost my milk supply?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow! I am so touched with all the responses the came back. I can not believe how many people shared their thoughts about low weight and breastfeeding. Thanks so much! I have a lot to think about now. Mostly, it is nice to know that there is support out there. Thank you!

Featured Answers

Hi K.
Not to worry. Here's my story...My daughter was born at 10pound 3 ounces and perfectly healthy (she looked like a 2 month old at birth!). At the age of 2 years she was only at 18pounds. The Dr. was a bit concerned but since she was healthy he said just to keep an eye on her growth and not be concerned about it. She is now 25 years old, has 2 little boys. Her oldest is long and lean and a baseball player at the age of 8. He is very active and eats well. The other is 2 and is average in weight and eats like a horse! Kids grow at their own pace. Feed her well, watch her and enjoy her. They GROW up much too fast!

1 mom found this helpful

I too had a problem with my son gaining weight, and I had to supplement with formula. You can still get the connection of breast feeding. I would feed my son for about 30 minutes on the breast, and then give him however much formula he needed to feel full. He started gaining weight and has done great!

Blessed Be.

Hi K.,
I didnt experience this personally, but my little sis has a 4 month old and when she was 2 months old her weight was low (she was breastfed..not that that has anything to do with it) but she needed to put on some weight so the doctor recommended supplementing her milk with a little bit of rice cereal. Just a bit. She has picked up weight, and is now about at the 50% and she will be 5 months this weekend. There were no weird side effects or constipation or anything funny that happened to her baby Simone and she is just as happy and active as any other baby. So dont stress, she'll be alright! Good Luck. T.

More Answers


I have been down this road with both my children. I am a small woman and their dad is a big man. I looked back at both of our growing phases (heard from my parents and his) and it appears that my children are growing the same way that I did. I was small, never would grow either up or in weight. The doctors tried to tell my mom that she should supplement formula or even steroids to boost my system. I truely believe that this is a horrid thing to do.

If your child continues to gain in height, but not in weight, the only time I would worry is if they are sick or lagging behind in any learning area/developmental area.

I am a paralegal, not a doctor, but I've seen it time and again where one parent is either long and lean (my husband and son) and the other is short (me and my daughter). My whole family stood behind me when I decided that my opinion was stronger and more important regarding my child because I see these kids on a daily basis. Not that I think any less of my pediatrician, but remember, just like attorneys, doctors just practice medicine.

It is entirely up to you, but someones opinion, whether professional or not is always accepted. However, I have my own thoughts on what I will and won't do concerning my children and anything else in life. Back to the subject on hand, when my doctor told me that Austin was too little and to supplement formula, I was heart broken because I thought I wasn't producing enough. The same thing happened to me when I had Taylor. The thruth is, they gain weight at their own rate.

Please don't think of me too forward, but to increase your milk supply, eat lots of grains, fruit, vege's, chicken, and keep taking a pre-natal vitamin of some sort to keep the nutrients for both of you. Also, drink lots of juices, milk, water (especially), and get enough rest. If you have to cut out some activities, then do so. My motto for all mothers is "If you won't take care of yourself, how can you care for others?" I have seen this time and again, and that is why I chose that motto.

If you don't want to supplement formula, then at 4 months old, you can typically put a little baby cereal (1 teaspoon)in your baby's bottle and try that for a few months. Also, at 4 months old, I was already introducing soft baby foods to my kiddos. My oldest, Austin had tons of teeth by 4 months, and my Taylor was in the same spot you all are in with the weight issue. I took the advice from my best friend rather than my doctor because she has 4 beautiful girls and they are all healthy and growing into puberty right now.

I really wish you the best. I hope that this advice helped you and that you will take heed to some of the advice, but if you don't, just like I said earlier, everyone has an opinion, so you can take it or leave it like I do.

Just remember, you are their mom and you see more of them than the doctors do. The doctors have a guideline they follow, but you as the mom have the best role in the world because you get to see them grow strong, even if their growth does take longer than the charts say it should.

Keep your head up, you're a great mom.

K. B.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi K.,
If I were you, I'd look for another pediatrician. It's a known fact (that many ped's acknowledge but maybe not yours) that all people (including babies) come in all shapes and sizes. She is probably just a long and lean person, like you said. If she is producing enough wet diapers each day, you can tell she's getting your milk (you have "let downs", you hear her gulping, and generally you can tell she is satisfied when done nursing) then she's doing just fine. I have had six children, whom I have all nursed atleast one full year, your milk is designed for them, supplementing with formula will decrease your milk supply, she may even loose interest in nursing all together if the bottles are giving her a full feeling, she won't try hard enough or will have to try harder because you won't be nursing as often, it's a downward spiral. Have you thought about contacting a lactation consultant? Or the "La Leche League" is a great resource. Look them both up, they are the breastfeeding pro's and will give you lot's of support!
Breastfeeding has soooo many benefits for both you and baby, don't give up! (or give in to the doctor!)
good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Looks like you have gotten a lot of great advice:) I just wanted to say that it never hurts anything to boost your milk supply. As a mom of exclusively breastfed twins I know all about increasing milk! Make sure you're eating and drinking plenty and then after a feeding (which ever one is most convenient) pump with a breast pump. Do this once a day and at first you will get only a tiny bit, but as the days go on you will get more and more. You can add this milk to cereal later in the day or the next day if you think she needs more calories (cereal is good because it adds calories and they don't get hooked on a bottle). When you start getting more than an ounce or two then you know that she's full because plenty of milk is available. If you end up not needing it then you will have extra in the freezer which is nice. It works best to do it right away after feeding - you don't want to take away from her next feeding - you want to make your body think that the pumping is part of the previous feeding. This completely empties your milk and signals your body to make more. When my twins were little I pumped after every feeding like this and that gets fast results, but after a while I found that just 10 minutes of pumping once a day was sufficient. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Different Ped. Dr. will say different things. My son has always been under the 25% for weight and over 75% for height. My reg Dr. has never been concerned, because he's healthy and developing on time. I did see another dr. at urgent care once who felt he was under weight and should be evaluated more closely. I think that he keeps growing taller and it's hard for him to catch up with weight. So I would suggest getting a second opinion before worrying to much.

1 mom found this helpful

I rented a hospital grade pump and pumped every 2 hours after feeding my son. I was then able to look at the ounces that he was eating. I know that there is that issue of nipple confusion, but he had no problem breast feeding as well. My feedings went breast, bottle of breast milk, pump. He gained weight and I was able to continue breast feeding. I also ended up supplementing on the days that my milk was low.
I hope this works for you as it is such an emotional issure.
Take care.

1 mom found this helpful

As a lactation consultant we see this a lot, and it is usually a case of look at the BABY not the CHART. If she is doing well developmentally, she is "long and lean like mom", she is happy and content after feedings, and she is having plenty of diapers, she is very likely FINE. Has she begun moving, scooting, crawling? Has her height increased? Does she use a pacifier (if so, stop and breastfeed more often)? Is she still eating at least 7 or 8 times a day? basically, is the only concern the weight chart??? If that is the ONLY issue, then I would politely inform the doc that she is simply following mom's genetic growth pattern and I would NOT use formula, which comes with its own health hazards and can easily undermine your breastfeeding. There are ways to boost supply, mainly via more frequent feeds and pumping, and possibly herbs based on your full medical profile. My thinking is that as long as baby is eating well and feeling well and acting well she is likely WELL, and doc needs to relax... 15th percentile is still ON the chart, someone has to be there. If you are truly worried, I would get a lactation consult and maybe a second opinion from a different doc. Best wishes to you!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Before you think about formula, please, please call a lactation consultant. They will give you ideas for boosting your milk supply as well as reassure you that your baby's weight is fine. And 95th % for height is great! As a mom of an underweight baby I've spent so many hours worrying about my sons size. He dropped from 25th to 15th and now he is in the 0 %. He has never lost weight, he is just gaining at his own pace! All babies grow differently and often size is determined by your genes. Are there other slender babies in your family? Ask your mom about your own growth patterns. Anyway, I talked to so many different people about my sons weight and the lactation specialists always gave me the best advice - I worked with the women at Beyond Birth in Portland, Oregon and they are awsome. Breast milk is the BEST thing for your baby! Don't be discouraged you are a great mom, and breast feeding is the most loving and healthy way to nurture your baby! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My advice is going to be something that is not easy and that I struggle with myself on a weekly basis. Stop worrying! :-) I have a 3 yr old daughter that still weighs barely a thing. She is the brightest, most energetic child but she just has NO fat on her body. You mentioned that you are thin too. Before having a baby I was quite thin as was my husband. Not all kids are going to fit on the dr.'s charts...although they certainly have a fuss if they don't.
As long as she is alert and her head is in proportion to her body...try not to worry! Easier said than done I know. I hang out with my pediatric nurse quite often and she is constantly telling me the same thing...don't worry. :-) So I'll pass it on to you for what it is worth.
Also not sure if you are interested in natural approaches, but seeing a naturopathic physician would allow you to determine if your baby has food allergies without fussing over charts.
Wishing you the very best of luck on your fun journey as a mother.
Take Care!

1 mom found this helpful

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