Worried about the baby’s low birth weight? here are a few tips
The normal weight of a child is between 2.5 and 3.5 kg. If the weight is slightly over 3.5 kg, it is also considered normal. If your baby weighs less than 2.5 kg, they are said to have a low birth weight. This is something that can happen to premature babies. If your baby was born prematurely, her situation is different from babies born between 37 and 42 weeks.
What Are the Causes of Low Birth Weight Infants?
There are many reasons why a baby can be born with a low birth weight. This could be hereditary or due to the premature birth of the baby, a medical problem, a problem with the placenta, or high blood pressure, which may have slowed down your baby’s development. Other problems such as difficulty breathing, also called respiratory distress syndrome, increased risk of infection, low blood sugar and feeding problems, and difficulty staying warm are responsible for the low birth weight of the baby. child.
Multiple pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, nutritional deficiencies or birth defects are other causes of low birth weight.
How to tell the difference between prematurity and low birth weight
Children born before the 37th week of pregnancy are considered premature. The growth and development of these babies may not be complete and they usually have a low birth weight. Low birth weight or small for gestational age babies are babies born at term after the 37th week of pregnancy but weighing less than 2,500 g. Premature birth is the leading cause of low birth weight newborns. At birth, the baby’s weight is an important factor to consider in treating the low birth weight and growing baby.
Here are some tips for increasing baby’s birth weight–
Breastfeed your child
Breast milk is the most nutritious food for a premature baby. This not only provides the ideal balance of essential nutrients, but also aids in the growth of immunity, the maturity of your baby’s gut, and the improvement of his strength. Feed your baby at a set time rather than depending on hunger cues alone. You may need to feed your baby every 2-3 hours.
Write down your own meals
Because breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby, you need to eat well in order to produce nutritious breast milk. Eat enough protein as well as healthy fats. Getting enough calcium and iron is essential. Barley, fennel, fenugreek seeds, leafy vegetables, whole grains like oats and papaya are some foods that can help you increase the quality and quantity of your breast milk. Avoid anti-lactogenic foods like peppermint, tobacco and also alcohol.
Massage your child
The absorption of lipids takes place through the skin; thus, regular oil massages can help your child gain weight regularly. They also improve your baby’s metabolism, behavior, and mental development. Apply a small amount of the oil to your hands and rub them together to warm them along with the oil before massaging it into your baby’s skin.
Skin to skin contact
The benefits of skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo mothering, between the baby and you and your partner are abundant. It strengthens the bond between the child and the parents, keeps the baby warm, regulates the heartbeat and the respiratory rate, promotes good sleep and facilitates breastfeeding. In many cases, skin-to-skin contact between the infant and the mother causes the baby to move to the mother’s nipples and effectively cling to the feed.
However, if your baby is born with a low birth weight, he can reach all of his developmental levels and grow into a healthy baby with proper medical care. But, if your baby is not gaining weight after trying the tips mentioned, you should consult your baby’s pediatrician. The best way to monitor your baby’s weight gain is to weigh him regularly. If your child is not gaining weight as quickly as you want, the doctor may recommend supplements and a different feeding schedule.
(The author is a consultant neonatologist and pediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Banashankari, Bangalore.)
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