Babies should regain their birth weight by 2 weeks of age, gaining approximately 150-200g per week. They generally double their birth weight by 6 months & triple their birth weight by 12 months. This is a huge requirement for food for a little one with an immature digestive system.
Breast milk is, of course, the best food for your little one but formula is OK if you can’t breastfeed for any reason. Babies’ stomachs like to be filled then emptied so regular 3-5 hourly feeds are better than demand feeding. There are many other ways to settle your baby between feeds.
- Newborns average 6-12 feeds per day
- At 6-8 weeks they average 5-6 feeds per day
- At 8 weeks 150ml (best) – 180ml per kg per day, but if your baby is still thirsty give them water
- By the time you are ready to give full solids (around 5-6 months), they should be having approximately 600ml milk per day.
If your children are not eating check how much milk they are drinking. Milk fills you up so cut back to a maximum of 600ml /day.
Most formulas are based on cows milk but modified to resemble breast milk. These formulas are generally too rich for an immature digestive system. In addition at 6 months, there is often an onset of problems due to conversion to older formulas. Stay on baby formulas until weening, they don’t need these richer formulas. Do not warm milk (plastic bottles or teats) in the microwave as this alters the plastics & leaches toxins into the milk.
- Do not give cows milk under 12 mths, this delays the onset of allergies
- No soy formulas – the nature of soy is too cold for baby’s digestion & thus rather indigestible
- The formula of choice is Goats milk!
Some babies suffer reflux that can be associated with this immature digestive system. Additionally, hereditary factors, or food sensitivities, or other medical issues can result in the weakening of the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus. For many children, this causes no real problems and may simply be a nuisance until it is outgrown. If it persists despite simple lifestyle measures speak to a health care practitioner.
Some simple solutions include:
- Keep your baby upright for at least 30 minutes after a feed. Using a baby sling will allow you to keep your child upright and avoid baby from slumping while keeping your hands free.
- Try elevating the head of the cot/bassinet by 30 degrees ideally
- Consider using a dummy.
- Avoid vigorous movements or bouncing your baby.
- Change nappy before a feed. Take care to elevate the baby’s head and shoulders. Avoid lifting the legs too high, and turn to the side if possible.
- Avoid any tight clothing around the waist, such as tight nappies, elastic waistbands.
- Avoid overfeeding – if your baby vomits, wait until the next feed rather than feeding them again.
- Offer a spoonful of milk (formula or breastmilk) thickened with ¼ teaspoon of Slippery Elm powder following the feed.
- If breastfeeding, avoid eating foods that can aggravate reflux such as citrus, tomato, fatty foods, spicy foods, chocolate and carbonated drinks.
- Take a daily probiotic if breastfeeding, with a minimum of 8 billion microorganisms and a combination of lactobacillus & bifidobacteria. Additionally, it would be good to give your baby a baby probiotic.
- Some children may suffer from food sensitivities and may need dietary restrictions (or consider an elimination diet). Do this in consultation with a health care practitioner.
If these home remedies are not enough to alleviate the problem see your local Chinese Medicine practitioner as gentle acupuncture/acupressure & safe Chinese herbs are great for strengthening your child’s digestive system.
Tania is available at Ambrosia Health Centre in Randwick for wholistic family health care.