One thing that parents say they like about bottle feeding is that they can tell how much milk their baby is getting. Yet, the ability to recognise how much milk a baby takes can become a source of concern if he doesn’t take as much as expected.
Parents understandably worry when they suspect their baby is not drinking enough. In most cases they worry needlessly. Their baby is consuming enough milk for healthy growth. However, in a small percentage of cases it is necessary for parents to take appropriate steps to remedy a problem that prevents their baby from consuming sufficient quantities of milk.
Below is a list of common reasons why a baby might not drink as much milk as expected.
My baby is not drinking enough milk: Reasons for baby not drinking as much as you expect
An unrealistic expectation about the volume of milk an individual baby needs is a major reason why babies don’t drink as much as parents or health professionals expect.
Your baby might not consume the amount recommended on the side of the formula can. He might not drink the average amount of milk quoted by your healthcare provider for a baby of his age and size. This does not necessarily mean anything is wrong.
Each baby is an individual. Babies come in different sizes and shapes. They grow at different rates because their growth potential differs. Their metabolic rate (how quickly they burn energy) also differs.
Other reasons include:
- Snack feeding pattern
- Excessive night feeds
- Milk additives: Adding cereal, oils or carbohydrates to the formula or increasing the concentration of the milk will increase the energy content of the milk. High energy feeds often result in a baby taking smaller volumes.
- Solids given before bottle feeds can decrease a baby’s appetite for milk
- Too much solid foods. Some babies prefer eating solids compared to drinking formula. However, this does not necessarily provide a balanced diet
My baby is not drinking enough milk: What to do
- Check for signs of illness. If you notice any unusual signs like fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, irritability, rashes, coughing, breathing difficulties, or infrequent wet nappies, have baby examined by a doctor.
- Check for signs that baby is well nourished. If he appears well nourished he’s probably drinking enough formula.
- View our article ‘How much formula does baby need’ to check formula requirements.
- When feeding, look at your baby and not the bottle. Respond appropriately to his feeding cues. Stop when he wants to stop and don’t try to force him to continue.
- Cease solids if your baby is younger than six months of age.
- Offer solids 10-15 minutes after bottle feeds and not before or between feeds. Limit the amount of solids you offer your baby until milk intake improves.
- Don’t compare your baby to others who are different owing to their genetic make-up and growth pattern.
This article was republished with permission from KidSpot.