When your baby is first born, nothing they do is commonplace. From cooing to eating to pooping, it's all a learning process for both of you. More than that, it doesn't matter if you're a first-time mom or mom of six, each baby is unique and they all have their quirks. It might be easy to pass off a baby who nurses for a long time or one who burps or spits up a lot as a normal part of that baby's personality, but it might not be. Here are eight red flags that your newborn isn't eating enough because you might miss them.
When you notice a red flag, that's something that needs to be diagnosed and treated right away. Early intervention in the case of feeding can save lives. Sometimes it is something as simple as a latch issue or supply, but occasionally more serious concerns like reflux or an anatomical problem can be present which prevent your child from taking in enough nutrition to sustain them and promote healthy growth. It's really scary to think about, but absolutely crucial to keep in mind as your baby begins to grow. The failure to thrive — the condition in which children do not take in enough calories, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians — is very dangerous and can lead to lifelong complications. So keep these red flags in mind.
1. A Lot of Spitting Up
While some children do spit up pretty frequently, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it should not cause the baby discomfort, and should not be projectile or discolored. It should be milk colored and no more than a few tablespoons. Heavy vomiting in babies puts them at risk for organic failure to thrive, noted Johns Hopkins.
2. They Nurse For a Long Time
According to the website for Dr. Sears, babies who nurse for a prolonged amount of time at each feeding are likely not receiving the amount of food they require at the breast. While that amount of time varies, longer rates than normal or feeding periods where the breast remains the same level of fullness is a red flag.
3. Not Enough Wet Or Dirty Diapers
According to Kelly Mom, there should be six wet diapers and three to four dirty diapers per day by day four of your child's life. Yes, it's a lot of diapers, but it's completely normal. Below that level is a concern.
4. Not Gaining Weight
5. Your Milk Is A No-Show
This seems pretty straight forward, but according to Kids Health, it might be tricky to notice if you had good colostrum but it's not transitioning to milk. Keep an eye on it. If you're not feeling full breasts or a let-down, you might not be producing enough.
6. Your Baby Is Extremely Fussy At Meal Times
This often doesn't mean anything — babies get fussy — however, if your baby is supremely angry before, during, and after nursing or having a bottle, they might have reflux or there might be a latch problem that's leaving them wanting, according to Kelly Mom.
7. Baby Is Refusing Your Breast Or Letting Milk Drain Out Of Their Mouth
Sometimes, an anatomical issue will make swallowing painful for your baby. They might refuse to latch, or suck at your nipple and then let the milk fall out of their mouths, according to the website for Dr. Sears. This can, and does, prevent babies from getting enough nutrition.
8. Your Breasts Never Empty
It might be that you just produce a metric ton of milk, but it should still be considered, noted Dr Jay Gordon's website. It can signal a swallowing or latching issue — or even infection.
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