I Supplemented My Starving Baby When My Hospital IBCLC’s, Doctor and WIC Counselor Told Me Not To

By Kristen, Fed is Best Mom and Advocate

My son was born weighing 7 lb 5 oz. Within his first week he lost 11% of his body weight. Babies at Risk; Loss of 10% Birth Weight  By week three we had been to approximately 7 weigh-ins and saw 3 lactation consultations. I had two lactation consultants texting me around the clock, day and night to ensure I was successful at breastfeeding. My lactation consultants were aware that I had a breast reduction several years ago that impacted my supply with my first baby. She lost a pound in her first week of life but at that hospital, the doctor had me supplement my baby immediately.  Babies At Risk; History of Breastfeeding Failure 

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 Babies At Risk Stanford Medicine Breast Surgery : Many women with breast reduction report they were not well informed about the risks of under-production, and therefore anticipate they will be able to exclusively breastfeed. They typically feel their milk “come in” and can easily express small volumes. Due to the disruption of the collecting system, it is the exceptional mother who can exclusively breastfeed. This may be a risk for any mother with peri-areolar incisions. Mothers should be encouraged and taught proactive measures to maximize production, and yet be provided realistic expectations, close follow-up and clear indications of inadequate milk intake.  

At his three week weigh in, he had actually started to LOSE weight and he was 7 ounces below his birth weight.

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Nonetheless, my lactation consultants and my doctor were still “not concerned and wanted me to continue doing what I was doing.” I went home and cried because I KNEW I was starving my baby. The amount of pressure they were placing on me to successfully breastfeed made it near impossible to make that first bottle, but I did it! I bravely continued to breastfeed and supplement him with formula at every feeding.

Kristen contacted the Fed Is Best Foundation page and asked for help.  At this point, she feared supplementing her baby.  She did not have any other options to find a new physician for her baby because she lives in a rural area with limited healthcare access.  After a comprehensive assessment, Kristen was producing one-third of the required breast milk for her baby. Kristen wanted to continue breastfeeding and together we prioritized breastfeeding with adequate formula supplementation for optimal nutritional intake for her baby.  

At his one month appointment he weighed 7 lb 9 oz. He gained 11 ounces in one week!! He has been so much more alert and content since supplementing. He even breastfeeds better most of the time. I just simply COULD NOT produce enough despite all my efforts! I was hesitant and embarrassed to tell my doctor I was supplementing at this last weigh in. After seeing that he gained 11 ounces in a week, she still thinks it was due to breastfeeding and wants me to “cut back” on the formula now! They did want me to try a prescription to increase supply…but one major side effect was depression. I had postpartum [depression] with my first child, and didn’t want to risk depression just to increase my milk.

The WIC lactation consultant who I spoke to that same day, told me after listening to me cry that I had to go with my gut. But she repeatedly told me she cannot recommend formula supplementation and ensured several times that I wouldn’t go and tell anyone that she was suggesting it in any way. I feel like she was afraid to lose her job or something.

I am now a firm believer in “fed is best”. Nobody wanted me to be successful at breastfeeding more than I did. It was heartbreaking to feel like I was failing while trying my absolute hardest. The happiness that I felt at that weigh-in was so worth it.  It took everything in me to go against my doctor and other “support team”, but I went home and began formula supplementation.

My baby at 5 weeks old and weigh-in day! Two weeks ago (prior to any formula supplementation) my baby weighed  6 lb 13.5 oz. After two weeks of combo feeding he is weighing in at 8 lbs 6 oz! A whole pound (and an ounce) over birth weight!

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My baby and I are much happier and healthier because I advocated for us despite negligent and wrong medical advice. Thank you for advocating for mamas who are facing this same struggle!!


The Fed Is Best Foundation has a private support group for families who are struggling to feed their babies. Kristen is supported there with over a thousand other families.  Please contact us if you need help, have a story you want to share or want to volunteer with our Foundation team.  Contact us

We’ve created a FREE feeding plan template to assist you in setting goals for your little one, by understanding your baby’s needs based on their birth statistics and what options you have (but may not know to ask). Using this guide, you will be able to judge how best to hit your feeding targets, and be able to clearly inform your medical team what you would like to do if problems arise during the course of feeding. Downloadable and Free Infant Feeding Plan 

Are you a health care professional who wants to connect with other practicing providers and nurses?  We have a private group of health care professionals that are working together and welcome you to join.  Please contact us: Contact us

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About us   

The Fed Is Best Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer organization of parents, patient advocates and health professionals who study the scientific literature on infant feeding and real-life infant feeding experiences of mothers through clinical practice and social media connections. We seek to provide information on the safest, most brain-protective methods for breastfeeding, mixed-feeding, formula-feeding, pumped-milk-feeding and tube-feeding mothers and families to prevent complications to babies that have become too common in today’s “Breast is Best” world.

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