How to Increase Baby Weight – 11 Tips to Reduce the Panic
“You look weak, why don’t you eat properly?”
Haven’t you heard this every time you meet your mother?
Mothers always worry about their child’s health. I am a new mother, I had my son four months back and I am no different. Just like her, I worry about my child’s health relentlessly. Every doctor’s visit has me in a panic because I feel he isn’t gaining weight like he’s supposed to. I am always on a hunt to find advice on the ‘what’s and how’s’ of baby weight gain but I am often disappointed with lack of good advice on the topic.
A while back, I took it upon myself to find the ‘real’ weight-gain-mantra for the tiny tots and here I am sharing few pearls of the wisdom thus gathered.
So, here are few suggestion and some knowledge that will diminish misconception and will reduce your concern about increasing your baby’s weight:
Tip 1: Accept that there will be wait fluctuations
Medically, a newborn baby weighing less than 2.5 kgs is considered to be underweight. Plus, the child is bound to lose a few grams right after birth which he will put back on within 10 days. Weight fluctuation is normal, but as a mother, it’s may leave you in worry.
These are the times when new moms tend to go overboard. They start adding unnecessary supplements or would feed the child more than it’s recommended. Such unhealthy habits may lead to diseases which may cause weight loss. Consult your doctor and come to an acceptance. Find your normal!
Tip 2: Take care of yourself along with the baby
For the first 6 months, the mother’s milk will be the only source of food to the child. So, if your lactation cycle is irregular or if the milk production is not enough, the baby’s diet will remain incomplete. The child will lose weight and often this reason may go unnoticed.
Stress is a huge factor that can hinder milk secretion. Your diet may also play a role. Consider having lactation inducing food like carrots, papaya, milk, basal leaf, apricots, poppy seeds and so on. Also, it really helps to keep yourself well hydrated at all times.
Tip 3: Make sure you are nursing the child properly
This will always be tricky to understand, irrespective of your child’s age. But things are easier in case she is still breastfeeding. Doctors suggest that you must let the baby decide when she wants to switch. Let her feed as long as she wants and when she’s done, she will automatically pull away. That’s your cue to switch.
Once full, she will sleep for a solid 2-3 hours. There will be times when she will fall asleep before the switch. In such cases, let her and try feeding when she wakes up. Avoid feeding her against her will.
Tip 4: Infection control is primary
Infection is the most common reason why babies lose weight and you must take extra precaution to keep the child safe. A newborn’s immune system is at its lowest during the early years and almost anything can trigger an infection. Proper vaccinations at the right time are necessary, but there are small steps that you must follow otherwise as well.
Sanitise your hands up to your elbows every time you touch your baby. Avoid touching anything else during the feeding process. Also, restrict your contact to her wrist level as her whole palm may go into her mouth while playing or during teething. Doctors recommend direct breastfeeding at all times as you can’t always fully sterilize the bottles.
Tip 5: Do not rush solid food
I still remember how eager I was to start feeding something solid to my son and I understand how many moms would feel the same on this subject. As explained by my pediatrician, hurrying this will cause digestive problems which ultimately lead to weight-loss. Your baby will tell you when he is ready for solid food. He will start showing interest in whatever you are having and this is when you introduce him to solids.
When the time is right you can give lentil soup or pureed vegetables to the baby. At six months I had started giving mashed banana and boiled potato to my son and he really liked both. Do season the food to let the child acquire the taste and never force solids on the baby. You do not want your child to catch unwanted diarrhea which will bring down her weight at an alarming rate.
Tip 6: Keep a tab on what they eat
And just because the baby started with solids doesn’t mean you can give him anything in any form. Be extra careful with weight gaining food like rice and nuts, start with limited quantity and gradually increase with age. Whole wheat bread and butter are also good options when the baby approaches 1 year.
Then move on to dry fruits, mangoes, pumpkin, bananas, and others. These contain essential vitamins which help in restoring weight. Even soya beans and chickpea can help.
Tip 7: Maintain a healthy environment
The temperature at which the baby stays will affect her feeding habits which, in turn, affect her weight. Dress your baby up according to the weather, and not your parental instincts.
Use cotton attire at all times to ensure she is comfortable. Use the extra blanket only when it’s required. Do not overdress the baby as this may cause irritation which will affect the baby’s feeding habit.
Tip 8: Stay close to your baby
Motherhood is a never-ending job. You must stay close to your baby because the prolactin hormone is the main agent that produces a mother’s milk and proximity to the baby ensures a sufficient amount is released. Physical contact, the baby’s smell, and even her sight will help produce enough milk.
These ensure appropriate milk ejection as well. The baby will feed properly and never go hungry. You may also consider learning some breast stimulation exercises which helps easy flow.
Tip 9: Learn how to carry your baby
The kangaroo position where you hold your baby upright in between your breasts. Doctors recommend at least 2-3 hours of skin contact between the mother and the child which helps both their metabolisms. The vertical position helps the baby to digest better and gain weight.
You can also consult your physician and pick up some baby massage techniques. This again will enhance digestion and increase her food intake. Her whole system will work fine and she will remain in her right weight range.
Tip 10: Check the number of her dirty diapers
A well-fed baby will wet his diapers at least 6-8 times a day. This is a healthy sign and ensures that he is getting his fill with milk. Anything less will lead to weight loss and water is not a supplement to make him urinate more. It must happen with the mother’s milk.
Plus, do not let the wetness to spread at any moment as this may lead to cold and cough. Frequent sickness causes loss of appetite and will result in weight loss. Stock up your diapers and avoid using cloth as substitutes especially at sleep time.
Tip 11: Maintain a proper timing of feeding
A breastfeeding baby may require feeding at least 8 to 10 times a day. But do not feed her before 2 hours of the last session. She will generally take 5 to 10 minutes to fill her tummy and will doze off almost immediately. Any time extra is not a good sign which is a signal for digestion issues.
As she grows up, she will take in much more milk and the frequency of feeding will reduce. Even when solids start and your baby is having 5-6 meals a day, check the amount of time she is taking to eat. A well-fed toddler will go hungry at the right time and will eat without any fuss.
And there you go
Before I conclude let me congratulate you for embarking on this unique journey. I understand how difficult these initial years are and the first child is bound to make you nervous. The best advice would be to trust your instincts and take care of your precious with the mother’s heart. Consult a doctor if you feel the need and enjoy this valuable time. Don’t panic if she loses weight. There’s always a way to get it back.