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When most people hear one talk of weight problems, they only think of problems such as obesity. However, being underweight is also another epidemic that greatly affects babies. If your baby is slender or petite, it does not necessarily mean that your baby is underweight.
Immediately after birth, your baby is more delicate than ever. During this time, babies lose a few ounces but this should not worry you as they regain the weight in 10- 12 days. Right after birth, a baby can only feed on breast-milk or formula.
However, if the baby seems to be having an allergic reaction, look out for what you are feeding on or the type of formula you are feeding the baby.
At this age, the baby should be nursed frequently in intervals of two to three hours. When you do this, your child should steadily add some weight weekly. If this is not happening then it is advisable that you visit a practitioner or a lactation expert.
The weight of a breastfeeding baby can only be maintained through frequent nursing with enough breast-milk. If you plan on pumping, you must ensure that the breast pump you purchase is one that can adequately express milk, so do yourself the favor and buy a proper one from the start.
Moving on, while evaluating your baby’s patterns of growth, it is of essence that you put into consideration various factors. These factors include the following:
- Length of the baby: During the first six months after birth, the baby grows half an inch monthly.
- The circumference of the baby’s head: during the first six months, the circumference of the head should be half an inch and quarter an inch monthly when the baby is between 6-12 months.
- Family lineage: If the baby comes from a family that has tall and thin people, then there are high odds that your little one will also have the same physical features.
- Development: You also need to check on whether your baby is smoothly transitioning through all developmental milestones or not.
Causes of low weight gain in breastfeeding babies
- Poor nursing management where the baby is having a very low-calorie intake.
- Low milk intake; Lookout on the number of dirty diapers daily because if your little one is not taking in enough milk, then the number of diapers will be less than six indicating that the amount of milk the baby is taking is low.
- Low breastfeeding frequency.
- Poor latching and transfer of milk.
- Health issues interfering with weight gain, for example, urinary tract infections, anemia, thrush etc.
Tips for gaining weight in a nursing baby
- Stop or reduce your baby’s intake of solid foods more if your baby is below the age of 6 months. Breastmilk has more nutrients and calories than solid foods.
- Sleep close to your baby; this triggers the prolactin hormone which in turn increases the frequency of breastfeeding.
- Massage your little one; studies have proven that massaging your baby can fasten the process of digestion and therefore lead to weight gain.
Weight gain for weaning babies
The weight of a weaning baby, on the other hand, can be maintained through the adoption of healthy eating habits such as eating a well-balanced diet. This diet should include both breast-milk or formula and solid foods. Introduction of solids should wait until the little one is at least 4 months, but it is better if moms waited for the baby to get to 6 months so as to be sure that the little one will not experience any problems in their digestive system.
However, if your baby is underweight, then you might need to look out for health, dietary or even emotional problems.
On the off chance that you are concerned about your child’s inability to gain weight, you may need to consult a pediatrician. If your child is found to have no medical problems then you will be urged to try out some healthy eating habits; feed your baby with foods that are loaded with both nutrients and calories. These foods will eventually help your baby’s body build a healthy immune system and strong bones.
Some of the foods that would aid your baby’s weight gain journey after introducing solids include,
- Proteins such as nut butter, eggs, beans, cheese, hummus, yogurt and full-fat milk.
- Carbohydrates such as Brown-bread- whole wheat loaf, hot cereal, pasta, mashed potatoes.
- Fats such as seeds, nuts, and avocados.
Along with feeding the above foods to your little one, you ought to make mealtimes fun, pleasant and something your baby looks forward to. A mom can encourage the baby’s interest in various foods by actively involving the baby in the shopping, planning, and preparation of meals.
Also, if your little one is a picky eater and probably does not like trying out new dishes, the doctor may advise you to give them high-calorie drinks as a supplement. However, make certain that your child’s stomach does not fill up on these drinks so that they are able to eat properly during mealtimes.
If after doing all this your child still remains to be underweight, keep working with the pediatrician to diagnose any underlying health problems. However, you need to be patient and stick to the proper snack and meal plans and with time, your child’s body will have a proper weight and height balance.