Concerned About Your Underweight Newborn? 10 Proven Strategies to Boost Weight
Seeking ways to enhance your low birth weight baby's weight? Here are 10 paramount strategies endorsed by an expert.
The challenge of facilitating weight gain in babies born with low birth weight (LBW) is shared by both parents and medical professionals. Infants born with a weight of less than 5.5 pounds (or 2.5 kg) are prone to heightened health and developmental risks. Although they might exhibit a slower pace of growth, there exist several tried-and-tested methods to foster their weight gain and holistic development.
Navigating Weight Increase for Low Birth Weight Infants: Almost one in five newborns in India is diagnosed with low birth weight. Caloric needs for these infants surpass those of their appropriately gestational age (AGA) counterparts due to their unique growth and developmental requisites. Multiple strategies, which include tailored diets and distinct caregiving techniques, can be employed to cater to this issue.
Below are 10 expert-recommended methods to support weight gain in underweight newborns:
1. Exclusive Breastfeeding: An ideal feeding solution for all infants, breast milk is nutrient-dense and loaded with protective antibodies, providing comprehensive sustenance vital for the baby’s growth.
2. Breast Milk Fortification: Contrary to its title, human milk fortifiers derive from cow's milk and don't contain human milk elements. These fortifiers enhance breastfeeding by supplementing with added calories, proteins, and nutrients.
3. Increased Feedings: Offer smaller, more frequent feedings, catering to a LBW infant's limited stomach volume, facilitating weight gain.
4. Skin-to-Skin Contact: Often termed 'kangaroo care,' routine skin-to-skin bonding with caregivers fosters weight gain, stimulates breastfeeding, and provides the infant with both emotional and physical comfort.
5. Caloric Boosters: For babies not achieving desired weight through breastfeeding alone, calorie enhancers, as suggested by physicians, can be introduced.
6. Consistent Monitoring: Regular health checks to gauge weight, growth, and development can guide interventions and adjustments.
7. Hydrolyzed Protein Formulas: For babies with bovine milk protein digestion challenges, these specially processed formulas can assist in weight gain.
8. Seeking Specialist Input: Collaborate with a seasoned lactation expert or feeding therapist when feeding difficulties arise, either with the mother or the infant.
9. Infection Prevention: Given their vulnerability to infections, ensuring a sanitary environment, practicing exemplary hygiene, and limiting exposure to ill individuals are crucial for LBW infants.
10. Setting Incremental Goals: Instead of aggressive weight gain targets, aiming for gradual, steady growth, in alignment with medical advice, ensures balanced development.
Each underweight infant's journey to a healthy weight is multifaceted, influenced by factors like overall health, birth timing, and specific nutritional needs. Collaborative consultations with healthcare experts are imperative to determine an optimal approach for your child. Always engage with a certified healthcare specialist for any medical guidance or concerns related to your infant's well-being.