What to About Breastfed Baby Not Gaining Weight?

A Breastfed Baby Not Gaining Weight or struggles to acquire weight. It is such that the baby gains zero weight or does not gain adequately to fit as per the growth curve. All babies are different, and so is their pace of growth.

The growth for most babies is easy and fast after birth. However, some babies fail to gain weight speedily, though their appetite is healthy. It is a matter of concern when a baby does not gain weight or lacks weight gain. It may cause problems such as behavioral concerns, developmental delays, and difficulty fighting infections. 

Growth in a baby is apparent through their weight gain. With growth problems, babies fail to thrive. The monitors of the pediatrician show the weight during the checkup visits. The three reasons for not gaining weight are the baby is not taking sufficient calories, burning many calories, or not absorbing calories.

Typical weight gain for breastfed babies

An average baby breastfed doubles in 3 to 4 months its birth weight. Almost by the first birthday, the breastfed baby on an average has around 2.5 to 3 times of birth weight.

The typical weight gain in breastfed babies is during 0 to 4 months showing an average of growth per week as 170 grams or 5-7 ounces. Later, between 4 to 6 months, the weight gains average changes to 4-5 ounces or 113-142 grams a week, and between 6 – 12 months, it is 57-113 grams or 2-4 ounces a week. It is time the baby also takes solid foods.

In the initial few days, the colostrum amount is in small quantity produced by mothers. It is adequate to meet the needs of the baby until the baby relies on breastfeeding. In the first five days, after birth, the newborn loses birth weight around 7%.

The breastfed babies post-delivery should be above or at birthweight in 2 weeks. In case your baby is a premature or sick baby, it may lose extra weight initially. Likewise, regaining the birth weight may take a longer time. If there is a delay in regaining in two weeks the birth weight, make sure you are producing sufficient Milk, and the baby is taking it.

Breastfed Baby Not Gaining Weight problems and solutions

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A natural way of breastfeeding is that mothers produce breast milk and feed their babies. Your baby learns to breastfeed, and mothers learn latching the baby to their breast. Sometimes there is breastfeeding problem such as:

1. Cracked or sore nipples.

Your breast nipples may get sore that your baby is unable to breastfeed. Your breast and nipple area is in the mouth of your baby. The nipple should be over the baby’s tongue and rest on the soft spot in their mouth. But, if your nipple is not back, it gets rubbed and becomes sore that nipples break.

Treating sore nipples: Watch your breastfeeding or ask your midwife to watch. It will help in improving the attachment with your baby while breastfeeding. Human milk aids healing and fight infection. Using a nipple cream or a few drops of breast milk after each feed on the area is enough to cure. You can use nipple creams, but be careful so that your baby is safe. Avoid using nipple shields.

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2. Bad Latch hold

A bad latch hold is the first to nail down. It is the key to keep your baby well-fed and also to ramp up milk production. Your baby requires a good latch so that your breast nipple and the area surrounding the nipple is on hold. Only then do the milk ducts begin to flow as it compresses. 

If a baby latches correctly, the baby’s nose tip and chin touch your breast, and the baby’s lips are out like a fish. Your baby will be rhythmic in the suckling pattern with a suck-swallow-breath pattern.

Bad latch hold symptoms: Nipple pains because your baby does not gum the areola. It is chewing the nipple. If you listen to clicking noises, it is an indication that your baby is sucking the nipple, and the latching is not proper. The baby is sometimes eager to suck that it grabs any breast part and sucks even if it does not receive any milk, thereby leaves bruises. The other signs include chewing, baby fussing, gaping and rooting, or turning red.

Fixing bad latch hold: With practice, it will become perfect. You will get into the proper breastfeeding position and compress areola between fingers. You may stimulate the reflex by tickling your baby’s cheek. It will make your baby open mouth wide and bring baby right to your breast. Your baby will latch on, hold mouth covering the areola and the nipple. While her nose and chin touch your breast, and lip are outward flaying.

3. Not enough feeding sessions

People returning to work after delivery are mostly away for a long time from their baby. Thus, it is important to identify ways to handle pumping and breastfeeding to suit you both. You can stock expressed Milk before you start to work, and pump regularly so that you can prevent discomfort, maintain milk supply, and ensure your baby receives Milk in plenty.

If your workplace has fixed hours, you can yet breastfeed your baby directly after and before work, as well in the night. Yet there are problems when you cannot give enough feeding sessions.

Solutions to feeding: Try double pumping. Halve the expression time and consider double pumping. It gives more Milk than expressing in turns from each breast. Milk has higher calorie and fat content. Try to express as often you feed your baby. It helps to maintain the milk supply. In this way, you can avoid discomfort and decrease the blocked ducts, engorgement, and mastitis risk.

Put a kit together such that it includes milk storage bags, a breast pump, and a pumping bra, to take to work. Use a cooler bag to transport expressed Milk in and give your baby after work.

Know your rights. There are countries offering women the privilege to pump their breast milk and to store at work. Ensure that your employer has essential logistics and expressing facilities before you return to work with your employer. Knowing it helps to decide if you have to continue working here or not.

4. Poor nursing

A viable option for a mother is breastfeeding their baby. Breastmilk is a wonderful source of nutrition. It provides vitamins, protein, fat, and antibodies to boost the immune system of the baby. The healthcare professionals also recommend breastfeeding for six months until they introduce other foods from outside.

Breastfeeding is natural, yet as challenges of poor nursing. The hindrances may become a source of guilt or anxiety to new mothers. The breasts become heavy and full in the initial few weeks of nursing. However, if you experience discomfort after some time and your breasts are hard and uncomfortable, it is engorgement.

Poor Nursing is engorgement. It is painful, and the engorgement is when the milk removal from the breast is inadequate. The key reason is poor nursing. It may be that your baby does not feed long enough and often, for whatever reasons. Or, your breasts overflow with Milk.

The solution to poor nursing: A baby requires 8 to 12 times a day nursing and both breasts. You cannot skip feedings and must nurse day and night your child. Ensure your baby latches well and empties the breast milk.

At work, frequent nursing is impossible. So express Milk between feeding using a breast pump or manually. Place a warm compress or shower on your breasts to promote milk flow. You are using a warm compress, even while nursing is helpful. You may follow it with a cold compress. Suppose you find that the engorgement is severe. In that case, the warmth aggravates the situation, so try cool compress as you try expressing the Milk.

5. Poor supply of Milk

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Poor supply of Milk is a common reason for moms to stop breastfeeding. If you supplement your baby with formula or widen between feeds the time, means keeping your newborn away from nursing. If you do so, your breasts do not produce enough Milk. Women with medical complaints such as thyroid disease are unable to produce enough Milk.

How to treat the poor supply of Milk: If your pediatrician gets to understand your baby is not getting sufficient Milk, he will refer you to a lactation consultant. The consultant will watch your breastfeed and also check the baby’s latch hold. You can also try feeding more often so that milk production gets stimulated. Ensure you are feeding on demand your baby, and not as per any timetable or schedule. Also, pump Milk between feeding as it stimulates more production of Milk.

Another issue of poor supply of breast milk is the milk-ejection reflex. If your baby chokes or sputters a lot while you are feeding, it means your breast is release at once too much Milk. 

The solution is to use your fingers or hand to slow the milk flow. You can unlatch your baby, allowing the excess flow to a cloth, and try side position for feeding. 

Too little milk supply is problematic as new babies must be fed 24 hours around 8 to 12 times. Your breasts are softer after feeding. Your baby also gains weight only if it is feeding properly. If not, your baby does not gain weight.  

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Watch out for these risk factors.

Newborn infants take breast milk or formula around 1.5 to 2 ounces every 3 hours. Premature infants require more calories than normal-weight babies. It is difficult to feed some babies as they have vomiting with feeds or reflux complaints. Some have trouble swallowing, or some cannot stay awake for feeds.

There are many risk factors. Children consume sufficient calories but do not gain weight. Such children face trouble in absorbing food. Even certain intestinal issues such as diarrhea and food allergies, or Celiac disease, keep the babies from feeding on Milk.

Lastly, some children having breathing difficulty, born early, or have heart abnormalities. Such newborns require extra calories to gain weight. Keep a watch out to identify risk factors.

1. Premature babies are at risk.

Premature babies

Premature is when the babies are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy completion. The premature sub-categories are based on extreme patterns, such as babies are born less than 28 weeks. Even as preterm between 28 to 32 weeks.

Premature babies mostly have chronic health issues. There is a need for constant hospital care in comparison to other full-term infants. Asthma, infections, and feeding problems persist or are likely to develop. The premature infants are at risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Premature babies at birth have health problems and also may have an intellectual and developmental disability for the long-term.

2. Jaundice causes weight issues.

The newborns in the initial period experience weight loss. It is normal, and most newborns develop dehydration. As a simple complication, they Can develop jaundice, and it happens due to bilirubin existing in the blood. It is the common reason that prolongs the hospital admission for any newborn.

It is normal for babies to have some jaundice as they are born, affecting their face and eyes. It is nothing to worry about. It appears on the second or third day of the baby after its birth. It is known as physiological jaundice. Even if jaundice occurs, mothers need not stop breastfeeding.

3. Babies can have reflux.

baby reflux

Reflux in babies occurs when the food backs up. It happens when it comes back from the stomach of a baby. It is also known as gastroesophageal reflux. It is seen in all the babies and becomes less as babies grow older. With the reflux, the baby spits up the Milk. There is a need to resolve the reflux in babies.

Feeding changes help resolve the baby’s reflux:

  • After feed or formula feed, burp your baby.
  • Add rice cereal to the bottle of breastmilk or formula of your baby
  • Hold your baby for 30 minutes upright after feedings.
  • Avoid overfeeding

5. Neurological problems

Neurological problems relate to the brain, spine, and nerve diseases. Several factors are causing neurological problems, and it passes to a child from parents. It may happen to premature children or if a baby’s delivery is difficult.

There are neurological disorders in a variety. The symptoms are abnormal movements, fussiness, body temperature changes, muscle tone changes, low level of consciousness, fast changes in a tense soft spot and head size, and difficulty in feeding.

6. Infections

Most newborns infections are due to bacteria, and some are due to viruses. The infection symptoms in newborns are that they do not gain weight. They are poor at feeding, sleep excessively, high irritability, change in behavior, and rapid breathing. The infection in your newborn is curable with antibiotics, or special care is through IV fluids.

The newborn baby’s immune system is weak. It is the reason that breastfeeding is important to give the baby antibodies to fight infection. Breastfed infants are stronger and face fewer infections in comparison to bottle-fed babies. Newborn babies developing infection get sick fast and are unable to gain weight. Thus, there is a need for quick treatment.

Learn More About Healthy Growth For Babies

Always Give Attention

Most moms supply breast milk to their babies. As long as the newborn is breastfeeding, there are signs of mothers having sufficient breast milk. Breastfeeding the baby often is enough to show signs of Breastfed Baby Not Gaining Weight. Do not brood over unwanted things or allow fear to undermine your confidence in not having enough Milk.

In case you find something is not okay, do not feel embarrassed or afraid to ask your doctor. Check with a breastfeeding support group, speak to a lactation consultant or other mothers. Keep your mind at ease, and allow your body to promote breast milk as a healthy supply.

As long as your newborn baby is healthy, happy, and growing, there is nothing to worry about your milk supply. Consult your lactation consultant or the baby’s doctor if something is bothering you. They will resolve your issues and clarify your doubts.

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