Tips To Handle An Underweight Baby

Author: Dr. Nishant Bansal MBBS, Fellowship in Neonatology (IAP), DCH, DNB

Consultant – Neonatologist at Motherhood Hospital, Noida

When it comes to the weight of a newborn, every mother wants her baby to be healthy, unlike underweight children that are a point of concern for them.

Quick fact: Low birth weight contributes to 60 to 80 percent of neonatal deaths worldwide.

Low birth weight: Usually, low birth weight is primarily due to the premature delivery in which the weight of the baby is likely to be less than 2.5 kg, so it becomes significant to handle such cases with profound supervision. The neonatal intensive care unit is the place where care and protection is given to low birth weight or preterm babies. Motherhood Hospital has one of the best infant baby care hospitals specializing in rendering the best service for the baby that satisfies the caring notion of parents.

Underweight baby vs Normal baby 

When a child is born underweight, that makes every mother worrisome. But how do you differentiate between a normal baby and an underweight baby? There are some differences that must be highlighted to understand the concept where the steps for treatment will follow.

An underweight baby usually weighs less than 2.5 kg unlike a normal baby that weighs in between 2.5 kg and 3.5 kg, and is physically smaller than a normal one.

While some underweight babies can be healthy, some are exposed to serious health problems that require treatment. Premature delivery is one of the common causes attributed to low birth weight of the baby as most of the normal babies are born at a right time, unlike a premature birth. A baby is considered premature when it is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy while as a normal baby is born between 37 weeks to 41 weeks.

Treatment for underweight babies 

Here are some treatments that underweight babies might receive –

The underweight baby may be born with complications and the doctor might try to treat the child by feeding it through a tube. They might also use an IV or an intravenous line to feed the child to give the necessary nutrition. It is significant for the concerned mother to visit the best maternity hospitals that have a specialized neonatal intensive care unit.

Tips to handle an underweight baby

If the underweight baby does not need any special care from the doctors, you, as a mother can follow the following tips to give the best nourishment to your underweight baby.

  • Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is the best nourishment for any baby. If your baby is underweight, focus on making a schedule. You must breastfeed your baby quite often, following a strict routine to ensure feeding from time to time. It is ideal if you can breastfeed your precious little one after every two to three hours. Do not feed your little one anything other than breast milk as it contains much needed nutrition that promotes the growth as well as immunity to the baby.
  • Massage your baby: Massage is good for all newborns. Underweight babies can also benefit from regular massages. Oil massages can help your baby gain weight at a consistent and steady pace. For the first few months, you can consider massaging your baby yourself for better results.
  • Skin-to-skin contact: Skin-to-skin contact with your baby or ‘kangaroo care’ is proven to help your baby . Kangaroo care or skin-to-skin contact with your baby has multiple benefits such as maintaining the baby’s warmth, and regulating the baby’s heartbeat and breathing rates as well. Skin-to-skin contact also helps the baby get healthy sleep and the right nutrition from breast milk.
  • Seek support and help: If your baby is still underweight after trying all the tips to handle its low weight, it might be more serious. It is best if you seek the right help from the right doctors to receive the best underweight treatment for your precious little one.

At Motherhood Hospitals, we have a team of experienced super specialists backed by the latest in infrastructure and facilities. We have the best Neonatal specialists in sector48, Noida. Our Neonatology Department has expert neonatologists, paediatricians, paediatric surgeons, and nurses that are trained in new-born care.

Do take an appointment with the top Neonatal hospital in Chennai, Alwarpet. Meet our doctors, who will do the necessary investigations, identify the problem, and suggest the most appropriate treatment, enabling you to lead an active life.

If you wish to get in touch with Dr. Nishtant Bansal, please book your appointment here.

What foods to avoid while breastfeeding?

You may have just discovered that you might be pregnant. You are already feeling the excitement. And congratulations on starting one of the best phases of your life. However, your diet in pregnancy and breastfeeding influences your baby’s health in various ways. Breastfeeding care is also one of the most important subjects in postpartum health. The pre-pregnancy period gives you ample time to decide on the right diet and healthy lifestyle choices. 

Healthy breastfeeding diet – what does it mean?

A healthy pregnancy diet or breastfeeding diet doesn’t just mean eating for two. The facts may contradict a few beliefs prevailing today. The onset of the 3rd month of pregnancy implies that you just need an extra 200-300 kcal per day in addition to your diet before pregnancy. A healthy diet involves a mixture of various food items that satiate your nutritional requirements. Add lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils with a small amount of dairy and meat if and as needed. 

What are the foods to avoid while breastfeeding?

While dietary essentials and multivitamins prescribed by your obstetrician/dietician are important, you should avoid certain foods and lifestyle habits while breastfeeding

Below are the foods to avoid while breastfeeding:

  • Fish with high mercury:

The consumption of fish high in mercury level or other foods with mercury may affect breastfeeding. Breast milk with high mercury levels may interfere with your baby’s neurological development. If your obstetrician asks you to avoid seafood, avoid it strictly. If you love to eat fish or seafood, make sure that you don’t exceed two portions a week. 

  • Peanuts:

It’s best to avoid peanuts if your family has a history of allergies to peanuts. The allergens in the peanuts might progress into the production of breastmilk. They may hamper your baby’s health. As a result, the baby may suffer from various health issues. The disorders may include hives or rashes and at times, cough with wheezing. Even a small consumption of peanuts ends up complicating the production and nutritional value of your breastmilk. 

  • Alcohol:

Never drink alcohol in pregnancy. Even occasional drinking is forbidden in certain cases. Alcohol tends to cross the placenta and hamper your baby’s growth in various ways. It may create physical, mental or growth issues in babies. Most obstetricians will forbid you from drinking alcohol the day you conceive. Avoiding alcohol while breastfeeding is as important as avoiding it throughout pregnancy.  

  • Citrus fruits:

Citrus fruits are known to give a sense of relaxation. They are perhaps the best source of Vitamin C. But they can interfere with your baby’s tummy as they are acidic. Babies have an amateur gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it’s hard for their gastrointestinal tract to digest the acidic components. Babies may develop rashes and start spitting up after you breastfeed them. Although grapefruits and oranges can be fussy during breastfeeding, you won’t have to remove them from your diet. If you think you are prone to their adverse effects, opt for the other vitamin-C rich fruits. You may consider including pineapples or mangoes in your diet. 

  • Broccoli:

Broccoli is a vegetable that offers dozens of health benefits. But if you are to breastfeed your munchkin, avoid Broccoli. If you will breastfeed your baby after consuming Broccoli, your baby may develop flatulence or gassiness. Even onions, cauliflower, cabbage and cucumber cause flatulence. It’s best to avoid or restrict them while you breastfeed your baby. 

  • Coffee:

The various ways caffeine impacts the foetus are under scientific scrutiny. The amount of caffeine in coffee is double the amount in cocoa, colas and tea. Try to limit your coffee intake or abstain from it throughout your breastfeeding phase. Some portion of caffeine from the coffee you regularly consume may end up in your breast milk. Insomnia and irritability are the two main signs that caffeine in your breastmilk is affecting your child’s health. Caffeine may cause other detrimental effects. It may include a decrease in the levels of haemoglobin. Caffeine hampers the iron content in the milk interfering with the baby’s overall nutrition. 

  • Chocolate:

Chocolate, tea and coffee have a common feature. They stimulate the brain. They are the stimulants that uplift your mood. Chocolate is a rich source of Theobromine. Theobromine is known for an effect similar to caffeine. You might be a chocoholic. But it’s time now to take a break. If you are breastfeeding, restrict the occasions you prefer chocolate or chocolate drinks on. Analyse the way your baby behaves if you breastfeed your baby after enjoying your favourite chocolate. If you see irritation and crankiness in your baby, it’s a likely sign that chocolate traces in your breastmilk are affecting your baby. The erratic and grumpy behaviour of your baby becomes more evident if you consume over 750 mg of Theobromine every day. It may cause insomnia in the mother as well. 

  • Peppermint:

Herbs are known to cure old ailments. They act as a remedy when you have almost no other alternative around. They are helpful specifically if you are allergic to certain medications. But when the herbs like peppermint are taken in large doses, they may interfere with the production of breastmilk. The mothers who are lactating should always avoid peppermint. 

  • Garlic:

Breastmilk is vulnerable to various dietary habits and lifestyle choices. The smell of garlic may interfere with the smell of breastmilk. If your baby develops apathy or discomfort while nursing, it’s likely that your baby dislikes the breastmilk. Many babies start frowning when they encounter the smell of garlic. It’s better to avoid garlic when you are breastfeeding. 

  • Dairy products:

Food intolerances and food allergies are growing nowadays due to various reasons. Some babies may develop intolerance to cow milk. Allergens may enter breast milk if the mother is lactating and consuming dairy products in high quantity. Stop consuming dairy products temporarily if you see your baby developing an allergic reaction after you breastfeed your baby. Skin allergies, eczema and insomnia may follow if your baby is allergic to the breastmilk with traces of dairy products. Replace high-fat dairy products with something like organic food products or toned milk. 

10 tips to combat parental burnout

Parental burnout still manifests as a social taboo. The restless and frustrated parents find it hard to cope with low energy levels and the overall experience involving helplessness. Being a parent brings every wonder of the universe to your doorstep. But at the same time, it may leave many parents exhausted. Being able to experience composure and ecstasy is important to curb parental burnout. 

What is Parental Burnout? How does it manifest?

Both professional and housebound parents are likely to develop parental burnout. Being a woman is one of the common risk factors for parental burnout. Being in a part-time job, being jobless and carrying a college degree are few other factors contributing to parental burnout. Occupational inflexibility plays a crucial role in increasing parental burnout. 

Those showing signs of parental burnout develop exhaustion and deep-seated depression. Various other symptoms may add to the complexity of the burnout. The symptoms may include withdrawal or emotional detachment from your partner or children. Experiencing parental burnout leads to a loss of efficacy as a parent. Those with the symptoms may treat their kids apathetically. Parental burnout is similar to workplace burnout in various ways. Both include loss of productivity, lack of comfort and lethargy as the prevalent signs. 

The right technique to cope with parental burnout starts with your ideology. Ask more senior parents about the idea of perfect parenting.

Below are the reasons or factors that predispose you to parental burnout.

  1. Being attentive to a fault:

Being always there with and for your kids is bad for both of you. You cope with a great deal of occupational ongoing fatigue. When you overextend yourself for your kids, you restrict their ability to learn. Leaving kids alone helps them handle the situations alone and develop experimental ideas. Let them be the critical thinkers of the 21st century. Let them learn to take decisions on their own. The more you extend support for your kids, the more you make them dependent. It increases your workload thereby adding more to the burnout.

2. Failure to give yourself space you are worth:

Personal space is something all of us are worthy of. Lack of personal space adds to the ongoing irritability. We feel murky and short-tempered when we are tired or perturbed by certain occurrences in life. When we get to deal with our children in a grumpy mood, we yell at them. Such situations confirm that it’s hard to take care of others in the event of low personal space. We should give ourselves space and try making a difference to the tedium and bustle around. 

3. Faith in the illusionary ideas:

All of us feel excited to enjoy parenthood. We try to continue the same level of excitement as time passes by. But the reality may soon detect us and change the way we practice parenthood. Being a parent brings wonders of joy but not without a price. The experience as a parent demands a hefty sum of emotional and physical dedication. When you fall short as a parent, you may consider blaming yourself for having no conscience. Many parentS end up feeling guilty for spending money, time and resources on themselves. They feel they should have spent everything on their kids. What ultimately overrides them is a sense of alienation and lack of enjoyment. 

4. Loneliness:

Parenting is perhaps the sweetest combination of hard work and smart work. But being without support in your quest for parenthood can be tricky and groggy. If you have no support, you may feel exhausted and demotivated. 

5. Pursuing perfectionism as a hobby:

Parental burnout shows that you are trying your best. Check how you can strategize yourself. Start verifying how you go about in your course of achievements. Being overwhelmed and exhausted during parental burnout is common.?˜

10 tips to combat parental burnout:

  1. Add more to your expertise:

We tend to accumulate skills and toolkits while growing into a parent. We acquired a few skills from our parents. It’s the right time to use those nuggets of wisdom. If you are an active follower of social media, you may have even adopted skills from modern media. You may consider experimenting with the availabilities and find new approaches. You may find some forums and counselling sessions online. It’s important to realize is change is unavoidable and the law of time. Some changes may start and complete immediately. A few other changes, however, may take longer than we expect. Such changes are a process. Your ideology and analytical approaches will always support you and your expertise as a parent. 

2. Exercise:

The health benefits of regular exercise are irreplaceable. Exercise betters both physical and mental health. It’s known to release good hormones and facilitate feelings of composure and completeness.

3.  Communicate yourself better and effectively:

It’s never too late to let go of the sense of alienation and loneliness. Do it as you did when you expressed your ecstasy for the first time. Communicate your sentiments when you are around your next of kin or best buddies. Share your fears and dubious sentiments. Seek help from all who care for you and your role as a parent. 

4. Stop comparing yourself to other parents:

The comparison may often call for criticism and lack of composure. Everyone is born with different personality and personality traits. The aggregates that make you different from the others may help you shine as a parent. Comparing yourself to others, on the contrary, adds to a lack of composure. Examine yourself every day and find out how you made difference in the present day. It will help you evolve and better your parenting skills. 

5. Adopt all that you find workable in the current scenario:

Nobody is perfect. But every one of us has the superior right to practice the perfect lifestyle. Include the perfect lifestyle practices that allow the parent in you to mature and transform. Don’t worry about what people say or think about you.

6. It’s all about being compassionate:

Being compassionate is important. And being compassionate towards everyone including you is a positive trait. Recognise that irritability and criticism go hand-in-hand. More is the compassion in you, better will be the self-esteem.

7. Practice mindfulness:

Mindfulness adds to your composure. It brings you face-to-face with every affirmative side of you. It allows you to reconnect to everything that made you a responsible human being. When anger and anxiety override you, symptoms like fast breathing make you uncomfortable. But mindfulness allows you to be awake and stay alert.

8. Find space for yourself:

Schedule your favourite activities. Go for a short walk. Enjoy a cool bath. Visit your close friend and enjoy the free time. 

9. Avoid setting rules in a fit of rage:

Don’t give feedback to your children in a fit of rage. Relax for a while.

10. Set boundaries:

Set boundaries to the additional responsibilities you take. Make sure you regularly engage yourself with your kids during weekends.