Infant Feeding Problems
adults, children have varying appetites, depending on mood, health and general
inclination. Nevertheless, there are certain problems which are characteristic
of many newborn babies
and others which affect children at different ages and which can be readily
addressed by the parents.
With both breast and
bottle feeding, problems often arise during the first six weeks. The usual
reason for this is that both the mother and the baby are new to the process and
need time to learn how to do it.
If your baby is having difficulty attaching to breast, ask a midwife to help
you. The size of your breasts is not important—even tiny breasts will make
enough milk for your baby. Sometimes, engorgement – when the milk ‘comes in’ on
about the third day after birth—can make it difficult for the baby to take the
breast. Your midwife will show you how to express a little milk to make the
breast rather softer and easier for the baby.
It’s important to make sure the baby is ‘latched on’ to your breast
correctly. Her mouth needs to be wide open, with her tongue forward, so she can
take the breast into her mouth without making you sore. She can do this best if
you hold her chest to chest with you, with her body across yours so she has no
need to turn her head to feed.
Whenever your baby sucks, she stimulates the breast to ‘let down’ the milk
that’s stored there. The other response made by your body is to make more milk.
So the more your Baby feeds, the more milk you’ll make. If you ever feel you
aren’t making enough, get an experienced person to check your baby’s position at
the breast, to make sure she can get a good feed, and ‘tell’ your breasts to
make more. You may also need to feed more often for a while, to increase the
production. Don’t take your baby off the breast before she wants to come off.
‘Demand feeding’ is nature’s way of making sure you make enough milk to match
your baby’s growth needs.
Soreness is almost always caused by poor positioning. Which needs to be
corrected before healing can take place. Occasionally, thrush is a cause of sore
nipples. Your doctor will need to prescribe something for your nipples, and your
baby’s mouth, to eradicate the problem.
It’s not a gook idea to introduce bottles of formula while breast-feeding is
getting established. Your baby may get used to sucking from a teat, and become
confused when offered the breast again, which needs a rather different sucking
technique. Bottles will reduce baby’s appetite for the breast, which will reduce
the stimulation your breasts need in order to make enough milk.
Babies vary in appetite, enjoyment of food, intensity of hunger
and focus on eating — as opposed to playing and interacting with
you. By watching your baby closely, you'll come to understand his or
her eating habits and recognize when they're disrupted. Don't worry
about how much, how often and how regularly your baby eats. As long
as he or she grows normally and spends more time contented than
fussy, you can assume that you're meeting your baby's basic
If you are bottle feeding using powdered formula, observe scrupulously the
sterilization routine and always follow the direction on the packet. After you
have made up the feed and warmed it to the right temperature, make sure that the
bottle is kept at an angle during feeding which prevents the baby from sucking
Possetting or regurgitating is when a small amount of food is returned on
bringing up wind or between feeds. It should not cause concern and may indicate
that a little too much feed is being offered.
This can occur when your baby has not been correctly winded, or if he has
been sucking from a teat with too small a hole, or has gulped down a feed too
quickly. These causes can easily be remedied, but if the vomiting persists or if
vomiting even occurs between feeds, you should consult your doctor.
In small babies, feeding problems result if the baby has a cold and cannot
breathe properly – he will not be able to suck and breathe through his mouth at
the same time. In this instance, your doctor may recommend nose drops to clear
the nose. While the baby is having difficulty sucking, feed him small amounts
Milk is enough on its own for a baby’s growth until the age of four to six
months. Your doctor or health visitor will help you decide when your baby needs
to begin solid foods. Pureed fruit or vegetables are good first foods. You can
also give branded baby rice. Mix the foods with your baby’s usual formula, with
expressed breast milk, or with boiled, cooled water.
Manufactured baby foods are fine, although, as long as you stick to simple
foods without added sugar or salt, a portion of your own meal, mashed, sieved or
blended, will be fine. Making your own baby food will also be cheaper in the
by offering your baby small tasters of solid food to be sucked off the end of a
spoon. Simple fruit or vegetable purees are good initial choices. Offer him one
food at a time and give him the same thing for a few meals in a row. This way,
you will find out whether your child has any allergies to any specific foods.
You will find out, too, your baby’s early likes and dislikes.
Good first foods to try are sweet ripe fruit, in particular apple, pear and
banana, and cooked vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips or peas. Baby
cereals are also popular as they are quite bland and taste similar to milk.
Rice-or oat-based cereals are safer to start with than wheat-based ones as wheat
can occasionally cause allergic reactions.
Most babies take to solids quite happily, but if yours shows no interest, it
is best not to insist. A crying and hungry baby will almost certainly reject
solid food, and forcing the issue will make matters worse. If this happens, it
is best to wait a few days before trying again. Keep feeding times relaxed and
happy, so that your baby will associate food with fun and pleasure.
There is no need to worry if your baby shows no interest in bay food while
other babies of the same age enjoy being spoon fed. As long as your baby is
thriving, all is well, and he will take to solids when he is ready and in his
own good time.