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Infant Feeding Problems

Like 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 nutritional needs.


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 in air.


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 more frequently.


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 long run.


Start 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.

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