(BPT) - As a new parent, you want to make sure everything is right from the moment your baby is born. Your baby's feeding habits have a profound impact on his or her growth and development, but what do you do when your baby always seems to fuss and cry during feeding times?
'Infant feeding is about more than just sustenance; it can also play a critical role in determining an infant's quality of life," explains Dr. Jenifer Lightdale, MD, MPH, division chief, pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center. 'It may be concerning to have a baby who is upset or does not seem to enjoy feeding, and it may be important to pay special attention to your baby's feeding habits. A few minor adjustments can make all the difference.'
If feeding times tend to result in an unhappy baby, here are a few of Dr. Lightdale's suggestions for fussy feeding relief:
Better interpret the signs of hunger. It's important to understand the behavior cues linked to your baby's hunger. These signs and signals may differ depending on your baby's developmental stage. Under the age of six months, most babies are at an oral stage of development, meaning they love to suck. They may have a sucking reflex when tired, bored, upset or uncomfortable. One approach to avoid overfeeding your baby is to create and stick to a schedule.
Adapt to a feeding pattern. Babies often create their own feeding patterns. Some may be perfectly content with a few feedings per day, but others may develop a snacking habit where they prefer to be fed more frequently, like every hour or two. If this is too tiresome or if you want to schedule feeds, encourage your baby to drink as much formula as possible in a 45 minute span. Stop as soon as he or she does not want any more. Extend the time between feeds gradually and your baby will begin to get used to added time between feedings and will take larger amounts of formula.
Find the right formula. Consider that your baby may have special needs when it comes to feeding and digestion. 'It is not uncommon for infants with developing digestive systems to have difficulty tolerating certain proteins in their diets, which can lead to fussiness, gas, and crying,' says Dr. Lightdale. 'Tolerance issues can result in a less than ideal feeding experience for both the baby and the parent.' Parents should know there are a number of dietary changes, as well as specialized infant formula options, like Bloom & Blossom Ultra Gentle Formula, which can help address protein sensitivities in infants.
Avoid feeding aversions. If your baby consistently finds feeding to be unpleasant, he or she may develop a feeding aversion. If this seems to be the case, try to identify the cause. Feeding aversions may be made worse by a number of medical conditions, including acid reflux and food allergies, as well as other sources of physical discomfort related to feeding. For this reason, it is important that you never force-feed your infant.
Invest in the right feeding equipment. One of the most important parts of feeding equipment is the nipple. Make sure the nipple you're using is the right size and speed for your baby's size, age and sucking ability. Your baby will have difficulty feeding if the nipple is too short, long, fast or slow for his or her current developmental stage.
Follow these tips for a smoother feeding process and a happy, healthy baby. For more information and help feeding fussy babies, visit: www.ultragentleformula.com.