Babies have to be healthy and happy to grow. But sometimes that’s not easy for babies with feeding difficulties, or who are born prematurely. Healthy weight gain is the number one sign of a healthy baby!
Why does gaining weight take longer for premature babies?
It’s not because the parents do anything wrong, it is simply because the baby isn’t ready. It takes time for a baby to develop their organs, get their digestive system working properly, and get strong enough to be able to support their weight! Because premature babies didn’t have time to finish developing these systems in the womb, they will need time for their bodies to catch up before they can start putting on weight.
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Here are 7 ways to make sure that your baby gains weight.
Remember that the key to healthy weight gain is growth and not gaining more than 10% of your baby’s birth weight in a week. The most important thing is to care for your baby and try different feeding techniques until you find one that works.
1. Breastfeeding and bottle feeding
Breast milk is the ideal food for babies. If a mother’s milk supply is low in calories and protein, it can slow down her baby’s growth rate, especially if she’s exclusively breastfeeding.
To see how much your baby gains with different feeding techniques:
• Check the weight at each feeding. If you breastfeed, you can use a scale that measures the difference between feeding #1 and #2.
• Use a breast pump to extract milk on a regular schedule. You can then measure the lactation or milk production and know how much milk is available for your baby.
• Keep track of how much your baby drinks at each feed. For example, if you see that he drinks 150 milliliters of breast milk every time he breastfeeds (450 milliliters per day), you can give him an extra 50 milliliters at each subsequent feeding.
• Try breastmilk from a donor or buy a cow’s milk replacement. This can be used for formula-fed babies to help them increase their milk intake.
• Feed your baby more often, especially if they have low weight gain before 5 months. The extra food intake will support his growth and development.
2. Start with a small amount of new food and increase the amount gradually
If you are adding new food to your baby’s diet, be very careful about how much you give them. Start with a small amount at each meal and increase it gradually. For example, this approach might be required if you have decided to introduce solid foods to breastfed or bottle-fed babies in the first 3 months of life.
3. Introduce new foods
If you are introducing new foods to your baby, begin with the last food that they had and add a new food to that. If the introduction of a single new food does not cause problems, continue adding foods one by one.
4. Try different feeding techniques
Try different feeding techniques, such as cup-feeding or spoon-feeding. Make sure you use an appropriately sized spoon or cup for your child.
5. Hospital formula
If your baby has a low birth weight or is premature, they may need to receive specific formula in the hospital to help them gain weight faster. The amount of formula that the baby should receive daily depends on their weight and gestational age at birth.
6. Offer a bottle of broth or tea
Give your baby breast milk or formula mixed with chicken broth or tea as a supplement. This can increase your baby’s daily intake of calories and protein without feeding him solid food. However, don’t use these as a substitute for breast milk! This can cause diarrhea or vomiting in some babies.
Use cereal as a supplement for breast milk or formula. It is a good idea to offer your baby some cereal from the age of 3 to 6 months because it helps them gain weight very quickly. Cereal with added iron helps babies develop more quickly. When introducing cereals, try to give them in small amounts (about 1/4 of the daily calories) and gradually increase the amount each day until he eats the whole measurement.
There you go! Gaining weight is a very important part of healthy baby development. If you follow these 7 techniques, your baby will grow up healthy and strong.