Should I Be Worried About My Baby’s Weight?
My baby boy is six months old and he’s only in the fifth percentile for weight. Over the past month, our family has been very busy with my three other children and my baby started sleeping in his own room and sleeping through the night. I did start solid foods with plums and carrots. Can you suggest other foods to start with and should I be worried about baby’s weight?
Steps to Take if Baby Seems to be Under Weight
1. Discuss Baby’s Weight at Six-month Checkup
First, discuss your concerns in your baby’s six-month checkup. If his baby’s weight percentile has dropped, then it could be due to insufficient nutrition. Or, it could simply be your baby’s genetic body type – if either you or your husband were lean as youngsters, and if several of your other kiddos are lean. Try the following time-tested ways to increase your baby’s level of nutrition. (I have used them with our own children and as a lactation consultant in Dr. Bill’s pediatric practice.)
2. Feed more nutrient-dense foods
Avocado is the top nutrient-dense fruit, meaning it is the highest fruit in fat and protein, and it is the perfect starter food for babies. Also, around seven months, introduce mashed (or pureed) poached wild salmon. You can find more info on introducing solid foods on our website, here.
3. Readjust your nursing times with your baby
The scenario you mentioned is very common when there is a lot of change in schedule, which commonly happens in a large family. When babies start sleeping through the night, especially in their own room, while on the surface it may sound restful for you, it is one of the common causes of babies not getting enough breast milk. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in a mother’s bedroom for at least a year. Going too long between feedings may be one reason why your baby is not getting enough nutrition.
4. Enjoy nap-nursing
Around six months of age, many babies get so busy with all the goings on in the family and enjoying their own playtime that they often don’t feed as often as they should. Try nap-nursing twice during the day. Snuggle in bed with your baby at times when you’re the most tired, say 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Snuggling close to mom in a dark, quiet room without lots of distractions reminds baby of those beautiful early months when he used to nurse a lot. Not only are you likely to find your baby’s weight increases, but your milk supply will also get a boost so you’re less likely to need to supplement with infant formula. Baby then learns to relish this beautiful one-on-one time with mom again and oftentimes they up the vigor and frequency of feeding.
5. Journal your progress
Keep a log of the changes you make, for example, note the nap-nursing times each day, and if baby can sleep in your room, note any extra feedings at night. Keep track of how baby likes the avocado and other solids but try not to have the solid foods take the place of breastfeeding. Your breast milk is still the best food for your baby at six months. Also, log the number of poopy diapers. If the number increases, that’s often a sign that baby is now getting more nutrition and you’re on the right track.
Martha Sears, RN
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”