Last updated on November 27th, 2023 at 09:00 pm
A baby that is exclusively breastfed may have weight growth that is more sluggish than it should be. It’s possible that the mother isn’t producing enough milk, that the infant can’t obtain enough milk from the breast, or that the baby has a medical condition that prevents them from doing so.
Their healthcare physician should evaluate any incident of inadequate weight growth in their infant. A licenced lactation consultant may often be of assistance in these situations. The following is a list of some standard advice for treating inadequate weight growth in a baby who is being breastfed.
Does your baby need to gain weight?
If you are concerned that your infant is not gaining weight, you should first make an appointment with your child’s physician and, if possible, a lactation consultant who is board certified. They can work with you to compare your child’s development to typical growth charts and chart where your child falls on the scale.
Make sure they are referring to the new growth charts published by the World Health Organization Trusted Source (2006) since these charts have been updated to include the development trends of breastfed infants.
These are the charts that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for children aged 0 to 2 years old that doctors in the United States use. They will help you feel less anxious about the situation. Every infant is one of a kind, yet they all need to stick to their development curve.
Expectations for your baby’s weight increase and nutrition during their first year
● 0 and 3 months
Expectations for growth: From birth to three months, you may anticipate that your baby will grow between half an inch and one inch (about 1.5 to 2.5 cm) every month. They will generally put on around 140 to 200 grammes of weight (about 5 to 7 ounces) every week. Indeed, this is the reason why baby onesies don’t survive very long.
When it comes to feeding your baby, you should plan on doing so every two to three hours if breastfeeding your child.
For the first few days, you should plan on giving your newborn one to two ounces of infant formula every two to three hours if you are using a formula to feed your child. As your child’s stomach expands and can hold more formula at each feeding, the time between feedings will increase to between three and four hours.
● Three to seven months
As your baby gets closer to the 3-month mark, their rate of weight gain will begin to slow down a little bit. On average, you should anticipate a gain of around 4 ounces each week (110 grams). Your child will most likely have gained twice as much weight by the time they are five months old, which is the ideal time to celebrate this milestone.
Expectations for feeding: Although some newborns may be interested in solid food as early as four months, the standard recommendation is to wait until the six-month mark before introducing it to your child. Despite what you may have heard about beginning with fruit puree, meat is a better option. You may learn more about it here.
● 7 to 12 months
Expectations for your baby’s growth: They grow roughly 3 to 5 ounces (85 to 140 grammes) weekly. That comes to almost 900 grammes (two pounds) every month. Your child will most likely have trebled their birth weight by reaching their first birthday, which you will celebrate with them.
Expectations around feeding: You now have a small visitor sitting at the table with you at mealtimes. Offer your infant finger foods so they can feed themselves, and you’ll both have more fun (and more time to enjoy your meal). Observe for anything that might cause choking or suffocation!
Your infant should continue consuming most of their calories from drinking until the end of their first year, regardless of whether you are nursing or using formula.
The Causes Behind slow Weight Gain
Your infant could not receive enough breast milk for various reasons, so they might not gain weight as expected. Your primary care physician or a trained lactation consultant may assist you in determining the cause of the problem and providing solutions.
1. Poor Latch
Your infant may easily take breast milk from your breast if you have a good latch, which prevents them from becoming exhausted and frustrated. If your infant is not latching on properly or is just latching on to your nipple, then they will not be able to extract as much breast milk as they should.
2. Breastfeeding only
During the first six to eight weeks of your newborn’s life, you should breastfeed them at a frequency of at least once every two to four hours. If they want to nurse more often, you should put them back to the breast.
3. Concise Periods Spent Breastfeeding
You should breastfeed newborns for 8 to 10 minutes on each side. As your kid ages, they won’t need as much time spent nursing to get the necessary amount of breast milk. During the first few weeks of your baby’s life, you should focus on keeping them awake and actively sucking for as long as possible.
4. Ache or Discomfort
If your infant is suffering from discomfort due to a birth injury or an illness like thrush in her mouth, it is possible that they are not nursing as effectively and are, therefore, not gaining weight as quickly.
5. Delayed Supply of Breast Milk
Some moms may have a delay at the beginning of breast milk production, which may manifest as either a sluggish start or a delayed start altogether. Some moms suffer from a chronically low milk supply, which may result from several factors.
These causes may operate alone or in conjunction with one another to lower the milk a child gets when breastfed. You may often straightforwardly address a poor milk supply.
Even though it happens less often, poor breast milk production may be caused by several medical conditions. If your milk production is inferior, it may still be possible to boost it, although doing so will be more challenging. A medical professional is required to provide treatment for it and ongoing monitoring.
How to Assist with Your Infant’s Weight Gain
Talk to your child’s physician if you have any worries or concerns about the weight your baby is gaining. Before making any changes to your baby’s food to boost weight growth, it is essential to do a thorough medical evaluation to rule out any potential causes of worry.
However, as your infant begins eating solid foods, you’ll want to ensure that its diet contains a sufficient amount of nutritious fats. You may promote a healthy weight increase in your baby by incorporating these high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods in their meals, but only if your paediatrician gives you the go-ahead.
- Examine the Latch
Check to see if your infant is successfully gaining access to your breasts. You may get assistance by asking your family physician, a lactation consultant, or a local breastfeeding support group. They will be able to watch your kid and decide what, if any, adjustments are necessary.
- Regularly suckle your infant.
Breastfeed your child every two to three hours or whenever you see that they are displaying indications of hunger. Do not follow the routine of formula-fed babies, and feed your infant every three to four hours. This schedule is not appropriate for breastfed babies. Breastfed infants need more frequent feedings because breast milk is easier to digest than formula.
- Avoid Pacifiers
If you choose to give your infant a pacifier rather than allow them to nurse, it will reduce their breast milk intake. A pacifier might make your child sleepy, which means that if they do come to the breast, they might not feed as well as they did before. If you wish to provide the pacifier after your baby is successfully nursing and gaining weight, you may do so at this point.
- Keep baby awake
You should do your best to keep your baby actively nursing for at least twenty minutes at each feeding. If you have a baby that tends to fall asleep quickly, you may try to wake them up by tickling their feet, switching nursing positions, changing their diapers, burping them, or using the switch nursing method.
If the paediatrician caring for your child recommends it, you may be required to give your child extra feedings of breast milk that has been expressed via pumping or infant formula. You can also use a breast pump to separate your foremilk and hindmilk. Because it is heavier in fat and calories than breastmilk, hindmilk may assist your infant in gaining more weight.
- Talk to doctor
First and foremost, talk to your physician. It is the single most critical action you can take to guarantee that your baby will grow a healthy weight safely. Your kid’s physician will work with you to develop a strategy adapted to meet your child’s requirements.
- Consume more calories
Try to consume more calories. An extra 300–500 calories per day are required for most infants to achieve appropriate weight growth rates. You can accomplish it by giving the infant an additional feeding, increasing the amount of food given during the existing feedings, or supplementing the infant’s diet with breast milk or formula.
- Consume more nutrients
It is necessary to consume more nutrients. In addition to the calories they consume, infants also require adequate amounts of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals to develop normally. Make sure that your child’s diet is balanced and that it contains all of the nutrients that are necessary for growth.
- Get your infant to be more active.
During each day, you should extend the time your kid is awake and aware since this is when they are most likely to consume food.
If you have a fussy infant who sleeps more than usual or has difficulty latching onto the breast or bottle, try using an over-the-counter remedy to help them become more alert and interested in eating. It can help if your infant sleeps more than usual or has difficulty latching onto the breast or bottle.
- Give your baby enough sleep.
Improve both the length and the quality of your sleep. It is essential to ensure that your baby is getting enough rest, as overtired babies have trouble gaining weight.
If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough sleep, try to create an environment that encourages them to sleep for extended periods. It may include blackout curtains, a white noise generator, or reduced daily activity.
- Broaden the dietary experiences of your child.
Babies who are allowed to sample a variety of meals beginning at a young age are more likely to develop an interest in exploring new experiences as they age. You should ensure that your kid consumes various nutritious meals, including fruits and vegetables, as part of their diet.
- Thicken the dish.
Because infants’ digestive systems are not developed enough to handle variety, it is recommended that you give your baby the same thing at each feeding during the first few months. There will be less pain and less chance of choking on it.
- Monitor baby weight
Increase the frequency of your doctor’s checkups and the monitoring of your weight. Once you have begun to increase the amount of food your baby consumes, you should monitor their weight growth at each check-up session with the physician.
Be careful to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible if you have any difficulties along the road, such as a sluggish weight growth rate or resistance to feeding.
- Engage your baby in activities
Raise the number of activities your infant engages in. During each day, you should extend the time your kid is awake and aware since this is when they are most likely to consume food.
If you have a fussy newborn who sleeps more than usual or has difficulties latching onto the breast or bottle, consider using an over-the-counter medication to help them become more aware and interested in feeding. It may alleviate some of the symptoms associated with these conditions.
- Vitamins and supplements
Since breast milk contains very little iron, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfed babies be given an iron supplement at four months (1 mg of iron for every kilo of body weight). It is because most babies are born with sufficient iron stores in their bodies to last them for the first four months of life.
Babies who are given formula get an adequate amount of iron. It is also an excellent idea to supply many meals high in iron. Consult your child’s physician before giving your infant any vitamins or supplements. Your infant may not need them.
- Arrangements for mealtimes
Remember that your infant is more in touch with their wants than they are with the time throughout the first few months of their existence. If they are hungry, you should give them food. You’ll be able to begin establishing scheduled mealtimes once kids reach a certain age.
After around six months, increasing the amount of structure in one’s eating routine may assist foster good eating habits. At this point, start setting aside time to eat thoughtfully. Because young stomachs can only store so much food, it is essential to plan for snack time in the middle of the morning and the middle of the afternoon.
- Conviviality at mealtimes
Eating more and experimenting with different things is easier when you do it with your family at the table. Turning off your phone and the television will help you concentrate more by reducing the number of distractions around you.
However, you may discover that the most effective strategy for encouraging your kid to consume their food is to tell a tale to them as you prepare their meal.
- Mealtime fun
There is no question about it: when your kid is attending a special event, they may be more willing to consume items they would typically refuse. When the weather is pleasant, you should have supper outside. You should let them run about on the grass to stimulate their appetites.
It is important to remember to introduce new foods one at a time and to plan a range of meals to encourage people to try new tastes. Make pressure-free taste tests easier by preparing sampling platters with dipping sauces and little bites.
Don’t allow the fact that they turned down the meal to stop you from trying anything new. It may take up to ten times before your baby chooses to try it. Trusted Source
Foods that you may use to help a baby put on weight
Listed below are some of the healthy foods that can help a baby to put on weight:
1. Olive oil
Compared to the four calories in a gramme of protein or carbohydrates, the plant-based fat present in olive oil provides around nine calories per gramme of plant-based fat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil if you want to give the pureed veggies a little kick.
2. Nut butter
It is now recommended by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology that infants as young as six months old start eating nuts to help reduce the risk of developing food allergies in the future.
Nuts are not only loaded with healthy fats and contain a high concentration of beneficial nutrients. It is recommended by Castle that you mix some peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter into your infant’s morning porridge.
3. Whole milk
It should go without saying that the next phase should consist of giving a newborn either breast milk or formula to consume during their first year of life. If you want your infant to gain weight between the ages of 1 and 2, give them whole milk. You may give other full-fat dairy products to children less than one-year-old.
Avocados are an excellent option for infants who have just begun transitioning from pureed to solid meals due to their smooth texture and subdued taste. Some commercially prepared baby meals, such as Beech-Nut Naturals Pineapple, Pear & Avocado jar, even combine avocados with other fruits before being sold to consumers.
Regarding the number of calories they contain, different kinds of fruit have different profiles. Bananas contain much higher content than other fruits, such as melons, apples, or strawberries. In addition to that, they are a rich source of potassium and fibre.
This traditional dish of the Mediterranean region has a silky texture, making it suitable for usage in a home with young children. It is high in protein and fibre (thanks to chickpeas) and contains heart-healthy fat (from olive oil).
You may help your kid develop a lifelong fondness for cheese by introducing it to them early in the form of shredded cheeses added to purees or full-fat cottage cheese mashed and served.
l The addition of oatmeal cereal to any baby food puree makes the dish more filling and adds essential elements like iron and zinc.
Pear The calorie content of pears, like that of bananas, is much greater than that of other types of fruit. If you don’t like opening a jar of the pureed type, you may mash up a ripe pear with a fork by steaming the pear first.
9. Full-fat yoghurt
Choose yoghurts with total fat designed exclusively for newborns, and stay away from yoghurts loaded with sugar.
You excellently provide the fundamentals for your kid to develop a robust and healthy physique. Check to see if you are maintaining the same level of self-care that you are giving others.
Your healthy self-care will leave an impression on your growing kid, and as they become more self-aware, they will mimic the behaviours you model for them. Congratulations, you’ve paved the way for a successful life for them.