Tips To Boost Your Baby's Appetite
During the early days of a baby, the only concern of a new mom is her baby's appetite, whether she is feeding her baby adequately. Through breastfeeding, she is unaware of the quantity fed to her baby. Most of the issues pertaining to the baby are apparently visible except for the amount of the breast milk intake.
Relax mom!! We are here now to discuss on your baby’s appetite, reasons for lack of appetite and the ways to boost your baby’s appetite.
Mostly, newborns in the first two days may find it difficult to latch, suck, swallow and so on. Gradually, they will learn the art of sucking and turn to be a pro in it.
Why is my baby's appetite low?
Below are the causes of babies having a low appetite
Some well-fed babies around 4 to 5 months would suddenly stop nursing for unknown reasons, which are called breastfeeding strike/nursing strike. It usually lasts for a few days.
Due to fever, cold, cough, ear infection or teething, they may have a loss in appetite.
According to studies, low appetite is linked with low level of Zinc in the body.
Feeding whole grains can make babies feel full for long hours.
Too much of milk
Babies who are fed more of Formula milk or cow’s milk may not have a good appetite.
If your baby is suffering from hard stools and is unable to flush it out completely, she may not feel hungry.
When your baby is fed without a proper gap of 3 to 4 hours, the food may not have been digested completely, leaving your baby to feel full.
You can make feeding a relaxing and enjoyable experience by adapting certain ways to boost your baby’s appetite.
How to boost your baby’s appetite?
Following tips can help you improve your baby's appetite
Flexible feeding schedule
Babies have highly developed internally regulated mechanisms for hunger and thirst. Your baby will indicate her hunger through sucking her thumb and fingers, sticking out her tongue, nuzzling against your breast and slowing crying to express her hunger. Watch her closely and offer your breast or the bottle when she seems interested.
Explore with the environment
Your angel may either enjoy looking at you and interacting while she feeds on, or would prefer dim lights and low sounds. Find out what she prefers the most.
While breast feeding, your baby might fight nursing because she may face difficulty in latching, the position, the direction of the milk stream, the shape of the nipple, etc., you can fix this by holding her in different holds like cradle hold, the clutch or football hold, the cross-over hold, reclining position, etc.
Tummy time with toys is a good physical activity for your baby to enhance her appetite. When she is on the floor to crawl, encourage her by crawling with her and giving her company.
Zinc helps in production of hydrochloric acid that helps in digestion. Wheat bran, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds are excellent for improving the level of Zinc in the body. Try adding these nutrients in smoothies, purees, juices and soups.
Some of the seed spices like ajwain or carom seeds, cumin or jeera seeds, cinnamon, and coriander seeds are wonderful to boost your baby’s appetite.
Limit spitting up and reflux
Spitting (due to regurgitation) is a common occurrence in babies. Frequent spitting up can interfere with your baby’s intake. You can reduce it by following certain simple steps, like:
- Manage the reflux, by feeding her little by little, slowly.
- Hold her upright for half an hour after eating.
- You can also make her sit in a chair.
Develop good eating habits
When you feed her, keep her upright, make her burp regularly, and don’t over feed her. Avoid playing with her immediately after eating, so she has time to digest.
Turn to new foods
If your darling is refusing to taste new and unfamiliar foods, you can make it appear appetising or look like one of her favourite foods and feed her.
Babies of age above 6 months can be served a teaspoon of ginger juice (½ inch grated ginger boiled in a cup of water) first thing in the morning to boost their appetite.
For 8 months and above you can add it in their dishes:
- Asafoetida: Hing or Asafoetida is an anti-flatulent known to boost appetite in your baby. You can use them in baby foods like dhal soup, Khichidi, butter milk, pepper water (rasam).
- Basil or tulsi: 6 to 7 basil or tulsi leaves boiled in a cup of water can improve the digestion process in babies and boost their appetite.
WHO recommends that in developing countries like India, de-worming would benefit the pre-schoolers - age between 2 to 5 years and pregnant women (second and third trimester).
Tips to remember by you about your baby's appetite
- A healthy newborn can have 8 to 12 nursing sessions on an average.
- Formula fed babies can take 14 to 31 ounces of formula in a day.
- Around 6 months, in breast milk and formula milk fed babies, the feedings would gradually drop. Do not worry! You should know your angel has started solid foods. 1 to 2 teaspoons of fruit-purees, boiled and mashed vegetables or cereals is a normal and healthy serving for a 6 to 8 month old.
- You can offer more if your darling opens her mouth but remember not to force her to eat.