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What to do if your baby is underweight?

Few things you can do if your baby is underweight?

It’s always a walk on a tightrope when it comes to deciding what’s good for your baby. You might find yourself at the receiving end of a thousand suggestions on the right supplements to feed your baby. How to know if your infant is in fact healthy?

The plump, chubby look with squishy folds of baby fat is not the only indicator of a healthy baby. Apart from what meets the eye, there are a few other reasons to know whether your baby is really underfed or underweight.

Let’s begin with checking the percentiles. The growth chart issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends is the standard norm to know your baby’s growth rate. The WHO chart determines your infant’s percentile for their age. If you’d rather check it yourself than wait for the next doctor’s appointment, you can find these WHO charts online.

Again, the growth chart is not the end of it.

  •         Remember that the growth rates might differ for breast-fed and formula-fed babies.
  •         The role of genes plays a heavy role in determining your baby’s weight. Consider the genetic factors of the parents before assessing the weight of the baby
  •         If your baby was born premature, the low birth weight might continue for several months longer and might fluctuate during their progress.

Understand that percentiles are not everything when it comes to keeping track of the weight. You might want to take a closer look at the baby’s behaviour and track their developmental milestones.

Signs that your baby might be underfed

What to do if your baby is underweight

Keeping a close watch on the growth rate of your baby is helpful. An active toddler who is crawling, holding up their head, rolling over and exhibiting a general happy temperament is the sign of a healthy baby.

Seek medical attention if your baby shows any of these signs:

  •         Shows no signs of hunger and sucks weakly with bottle or breast
  •         Is never active and shows a listless and lethargic mood
  •         Not producing wet or soiled diapers

Schedule that appointment

If you’re wary about all these concerns, do not wait any longer and schedule that appointment with your paediatrician.

The plenty of suggestions and advice that you read online might get overwhelming.  Trust your paediatrician in your baby’s journey. The physical assessment of the baby by a doctor, in their growing years, is essential and don’t let any online treatment methods compromise it.

Missing nutrients

If your paediatrician finds that the energy intake is low in the case of a breastfeeding baby, they might suggest you to nurse the baby more often or boost your supply through other methods. To increase the number of calories, adding formula powder, liquid concentrate or calorie supplements with pumped breast milk might be recommended. It is also suggested to improve the diet through introducing more feeding or finger foods. Increase the number of feedings for your infants. The typical rate is 8 to 12 per day for babies between 2 to 4 months. All these developments in diet are best undertaken with the supervision of a paediatrician or dietician.

Also note that plant-based milk (eg: soy, almond coconut, etc.) that adults consume are deficient in protein, calcium, vitamin D and other essential nutrients. It is therefore not advisable for infants, except in the case of soy-based formulas for babies. 

It would also help to keep in check the nutrients intake by maintaining a food diary for your infant. 

Besides the diet improvements, also check in with your paediatrician while making changes in the food intake. If in case of any allergies, an expert might know better on what to add or eliminate in your baby’s diet plan because there are risks of undernutrition. 

If you can’t increase the feeding times, try weight-promoting options for your baby with higher-calorie and nutrient-dense foods and snacks. It is also advised to create a relaxed eating routine for your baby that makes mealtimes a fun and pleasant experience. 

Everything said, remember that some toddlers can naturally be thin for genetic reasons. So don’t beat yourself up trying to bulk up your baby. All that matters is that they meet their developmental milestones and are active in temperament. With the right amount of care and love, your little nugget is sure to grow into a healthy and happy kid. 

Have a look at this dad’s lessons he learnt on nutrition for his baby by clicking here!