Finding out your child is a failure to thrive baby can be difficult to hear and face. Hopefully your bundle of joy is meeting his milestones and is an energetic ball of fun. If the doctor says your baby has failure to thrive though, it’s important to take it seriously. A poorly nourished baby lacks the nutrients needed for brain development as well as growth.
How can you help your Failure to Thrive baby gain weight?
Now that you know your baby isn’t growing as well as she should, there are a few things you can do to help her gain weight.
If you have an older baby it’s important to give her high calorie foods and calorie boost whenever possible. By doing this you will be able to maximize the amount of calories while continuing to offer close to the same volume of food.
If your baby is younger than 12 months it gets a little trickier. If you are breastfeeding you may begin pumping to see how much you are producing. If you’re not producing 24 to 32 ounces per day, the solution may be as simple as supplementing with formula or working to produce more milk.
If your baby drinks formula and tolerates it well you may want to speak to your doctor increasing the caloric density of the formula to help your failure to thrive infant. This means you will add powder to make it greater than 20 calories per ounce. Your pediatrician can give you directions on how much to add in order to increase the calories. Formulas are commonly concentrated to 22, 24 or 27 calories per ounce, but your pediatrician will tell you how to make it and how many calories it has.
If your failure to thrive infant isn’t tolerating his current formula, consider changing it to something with a different type of protein or fat, or one that is more broken down, such as Elecare. Consult with your child’s doctor before switching to ensure it is appropriate. If you can find a formula your baby tolerates well she will not vomit as much and should gain weight.
Many babies and children with FTT also have gastroesophageal reflux or gastroparesis. Parents often find once medicated and treated, the child who previously refused food or formula will now take it more easily, and the one who had projectile vomiting many times a day stops vomiting and starts gaining more weight faster. making the once failure to thrive baby a well nourished chunky monkey!
Of course there are instances when FTT is due to an underlying disorder. If is likely your physician is already thinking about this and will recommend tests your baby should take to rule out any problems. Although this is nerve wracking, the sooner you find out what the problem is the sooner she can get treatment and begin gaining weight.