Wondering how to help baby gain weight while breastfeeding? Find out the best ways and foods to help your baby gain weight in this article.
Universally, all mothers tend to worry about every little thing that concerns the health of their babies. For a new mother, taking care of her baby is fraught with doubts, stress, and fears. Once a breastfeeding routine is fixed, the next worry a mother has is whether her baby is adequately gaining weight. It is normal for your newborn to lose weight and then gain weight initially. Your baby can lose up to 10% of his weight in the first five days after birth.
This mostly happens because your baby loses fluids after birth and is yet to fall into a good breastfeeding routine. Once he learns to nurse effectively, your baby will start gaining weight consistently.
Factors that determine your baby’s weight gain:
Though there are standard height and weight charts available to check your baby’s progress, your baby may often neither match them nor your expectations. Some factors determine your baby’s weight gain. Weight gain depends on the genetic constitution of the baby’s parents. If you and your husband have a lean build, your baby could have a similar gene.
Sometimes, if breastmilk production is not adequate or if your baby is not able to nurse effectively, your baby may not be able to gain optimum weight. The hindmilk is richer in fats, and if your baby is not able to latch on correctly, he will be unable to get its benefits. Some congenital disabilities like cleft lip or tongue tie can also hinder your baby from feeding adequately. However, if, despite ruling out every reason your baby seems to be underweight, it is better to consult your doctor to rule out any other illness.
The optimum weight gain at different ages are:
- 0-3 Months – Gain of 175g-210g per week
- 5 Months – Weight should be twice the birth weight
- 6-12 Months – 400g Gain per month
- 1 Year – Thrice the weight at the time of birth
- 2 Year – Four times the birth weight
- 3 Year – Five times the birth weight
There may be minor fluctuations in your baby’s weight because of poor feeding technique or minor illnesses. Babies are prone to frequent infections. Hence, they may lose weight when they are ill. If you have major concerns about your baby’s weight, your doctor can reassure or advise you depending on his observations.
How to Help Baby Gain Weight while Breastfeeding
Breastfeed your baby often and make sure s/he is nursing effectively.
Do not introduce the pacifier habit to your baby till he is feeding well and gaining weight normally. If your baby is sleepy and misses feeds, make sure to wake and feed them. If you have poor milk supply, try increasing your breastmilk by feeding your baby often or pumping out milk regularly with a breast pump and eating a good nutritious diet. There are some herbal teas and foods available which can increase the production of breastmilk. If your baby is unable to latch on properly to feed on the milk, you can pump out the hindmilk and feed him from a medicine cup. Also, allow your baby to nurse at one breast till s/he is full.
This will also ensure s/he gets to feed on the richer hindmilk. If your doctor advises supplementing your breastmilk with infant formula, then take his advice. Having frequent skin to skin contact with your baby, giving him daily massages helps you bond with your baby. These activities are effective in improving weight gain. When your baby is six months old, you can start them on easy to digest solids. These foods complement breastmilk and will help them to gain weight faster.
You can give him/her purées of fruits like bananas, pears, apples, and peaches. Eggs, cooked rice and cereals, sweet potatoes, and dairy products can help the baby put on weight.
Medical experts advise mothers to focus more on whether their baby is active, in sound health, and able to reach all the critical milestones. If your baby is normal in all other aspects of his growth, then you can avoid stressing over his weight.