March 15, 2018

How to Help Your Baby Gain Weight

This post was sponsored by Philips Avent as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I shared pretty in-depth information in Oliver's 7 month update how he was having trouble gaining weight. I was shocked because I had no idea. He seemed like he was nursing well and was doing well on solids, but it just wasn't enough for him. When we went to Oliver's 6-month doctor's appointment, I found out that he only gained 1 oz. in two months. I felt horrible and like a failure as a mom. From that moment on, the next couple of months became all about feeding Oliver as my #1 priority to help him to gain weight. 

This picture pains me to look at it because it was taken right before Oliver's appointment when we found out that he wasn't gaining weight and I feel a ton of guilt about it- still. He was always so happy so we had no idea.
He was only 13 lbs. 13.5 oz., which was the 4th percentile for weight when he was always in the 25th percentile. The doctor was concerned about this quick drop in percentiles. We had to go back to the doctor 2 weeks after we found out about his weight gain issues. I was very concerned around this time and went to the doctor after 10 days and found out that Oliver gained 14 ounces in 10 days!! Four days later, we went in for his real appointment and found out that he had gained 20 ounces total in those 14 days. The doctor said keep doing what I'm doing to help him gain weight.

At 9 months old, Oliver was to to the 10th percentile for weight and was gaining well. He was about 17 lbs. at 9 months old which I was happy with and so was our pediatrician. He is currently 11 months old and doing great.

What We Did to Help Our Baby Gain Weight:

Increase nursing sessions 

We increased nursing sessions from every 3 hours to about every 2 hours if baby was awake- if he wasn't, every 3 hours. This was just for the first couple of weeks to help increase my milk supply and to help him gain weight quickly.

Up the amount of solids given

We went from one solid foods meal to three immediately. This was a couple of weeks after 6 months old. Some of the foods that we gave right away at 6 1/2 months were: baby oatmeal mixed with breast milk, cashew butter and peanut butter, avocado, egg yolks, whole milk yogurt. I did a concoction of at least one of these foods each meal along with a veggie most meals (squash, peas, kale, etc.). Oliver took to that very well and enjoyed the extra food. We also added in vitamin D supplements and omega-3 supplements daily.

Mom, I love beets!
Around 7 1/2 months old, we began giving Oliver most foods that we eat including soups, soft vegetables, shredded or very finely diced meats, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain breads with butter for extra fat, all fruits, beans, sweet potatoes and more.

He is currently 9 months old and eating 3 solid meals a day plus a snack some days, 4 nursing sessions (often cut short by distraction and disinterest) and 1 pumped bottle a day. Oliver pretty much eats what we do, unless it is salty, hard or spicy. He has an excellent appetite. While he is not nursing as much as I would like him to, I know he is getting a lot of calories and nutrients from solid foods. 

Big sister loves to help too!

Give a pumped bottle or formula

From when our kids are newborns until 4-5 months old, I pump a bottle first thing in the morning and then my husband feeds the baby that bottle anywhere from 9 PM-11 PM. We dropped this feeding for Oliver after he was about 5 months old and apparently, he needed the extra calories. To help him gain weight, Troy started feeding Oliver a pumped bottle again around 9:15 PM. I wanted to avoid formula if possible and we were able to help Oliver gain weight without it. I was not against formula at this point because I wanted to help my baby in any way that was necessary.

We like the Philips Avent Natural bottles, which Oliver takes well. These bottles make feeding baby easy. They have a new ultra soft nipple that mimics the feel of the breast and can be combined with breastfeeding. It helps to reduce colic and discomfort by venting air away from baby's tummy.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats take 5 minutes of prep time the night before and you will have a delicious breakfast ready to go in the morning!
These Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats are perfect because they have oats and flax to help increase milk supply and are nutrient dense.

Make sure mom is eating enough + taking supplements

If you are nursing, you need to make sure that you are eating enough. I do not think that this was ever a problem for me but I increased my food intake just in case. I focused on eating protein and healthy fat rich foods, taking fenugreek supplements 3x per day to help increase milk supply, drinking a tea to help with lactation, drinking more water and pumping again in the morning. It was an exhausting few weeks but of course, I would do anything for my son.

Mom, I just want to play all day!

Help reduce distractions

Since a little before 8 months old, Oliver has been quite distracted when nursing cutting his sessions short and making me worried that he is not getting enough. I was able to pump a decent amount and freeze it before all of this happened and defrost some as needed. Sometimes, we give an extra pumped bottle during the day as well.

To reduce distractions, I asked my mom friends for tips and here is what they told me: go to a quiet, dark room, feed right after naps and sleep when baby is still a little bit tired, nurse before giving oral foods and more. Luckily, around 10 months old, he became less distracted.

Understand that genetics play a role

Something that I was not quite understanding was the role of genetics in weight gain. I was expecting Oliver to get back up to the 25th percentile when the doctor believes that this lower percentile is his normal. Troy and I are both slim and were definitely slim as kids. This is normal for our family. Look at your family genetics and understand the role that they play in what size your kids may be.

Everything is going really well for us right now and I just wanted to share our experience for any parents going through the same thing wondering how to help your baby.

Consult your doctor and a dietitian if needed for help with weight gain for your baby. I am a dietitian and used some of what I learned in school for weight gain for Oliver. All opinions are my own.

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