Newborn weight problems breastfeeding
First Time Mum's Chat podcast


123: How An Obsession With Newborn Weight Can Lead to Problems Breastfeeding

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Disclaimer – This podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please contact a medical practitioner if you are concerned and have any medical issue.

This week, I’m talking with J’Nel Metherell who is a lactation consultant located in the UK about how the  obsession with newborn weight can lead to problems breastfeeding.

I was drawn to speak with J’Nel after reading a post she had written on Instagram about an obsession with newborn weight. I could tell immediately that she had hit on a troublesome area because her post had plenty of comments from young mothers who clearly identified with its contents in their birthing journeys. The post was titled “What’s wrong with taking the baby’s weight at birth?” and in it J’nel talks about why “having blinkers on” and solely relying on the newborn weight often leads to decisions being made which cause both mums and babies unnecessary stress, setting them on a path that can lead to problems breastfeeding as well as other difficulties.

The whole birthing process is often very stressful and many of the mums I speak with find the hospital maternity environments very confronting and overwhelming. It’s important to ensure you stand your ground and know what you want, to ensure their staff don’t walk all over you.

Remember, this is the start of your parenting journey and you need to do all you can to get off to the right start! When your little one is first born and getting used to their new surroundings, the last thing they need is to be weighed. The newborn weight also fails to take into consideration factors that may inflate their weight initially and a more accurate picture could be obtained by waiting just 12 hours or so. Unfortunately the “get everything done all at once” mentality that applies to many maternity environments cannot accommodate such thinking or logic.

One of J’Nel’s biggest issues with a newborn weight obsession is that this number often becomes the single biggest marker of how feeding will look just 3 days after their birth! Decisions are then often made on whether breastfeeding will be “allowed” without the need for supplemental milk which leads to problems breastfeeding and other milk supply problems. This anxiety can lead to difficulties including mums losing confidence in their breastfeeding ability.

During our chat, you’ll hear J’Nel talk about:-

  • How a lot of frontline staff that are supporting you when you have your baby are out of their depth when it comes to feeding which they don’t have the skills to support you with.
  • Why you need to be assertive and ideally have someone who can support you and act as an advocate where necessary to ensure your wishes are carried out.
  • Why you need to ensure that you detail your wishes in your birth plan including your desire to breastfeed your baby if that’s your aim. The bottom line is don’t assume anything.

And much more…

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Read Episode Transcript Here

About J’Nel Metherell

J'Nel Metherell

J’Nel Metherell is a mother of 3 amazing children who have led her on a journey to passionately support other families in the early years of parenting, so that they might have the positive experience they deserve to have!

J’Nel is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with skill for supporting mothers and babies experiencing the most complex feeding issues. She is also a Craniosacral Therapist offering bodywork therapy for babies who are unsettled, expressing with colic and reflux and poor attachment to the breast/bottle, and women postpartum who need a bit of support to re-regulate the body during the huge transition that parenting brings.

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