Things to keep in mind if the new-born baby is under-weight

 Things to keep in mind if the new-born baby is under-weight

Dr Hari Balasubramanian

In India, the concerns of underweight newborns are significant because of various factors such as poverty, lack of access to proper healthcare facilities, and inadequate maternal nutrition. Babies born with low birth weight are more prone to health issues like impaired growth and development, weakened immune systems, and an increased risk of infections. Additionally, underweight newborns often face challenges in breastfeeding and may struggle to be healthy without proper support and care.
As per a report, about 30-40 per cent of infants are born with low birth weights. The consequences of being born underweight can have long-lasting effects on a child’s health and development, increasing their vulnerability to infections, cognitive impairments, and chronic diseases later in life. Efforts are being made by government organizations and NGOs to address this issue through interventions aimed at improving maternal health, promoting breastfeeding practices, and ensuring access to essential healthcare services for pregnant women.

Action required
It is a concerning and challenging situation for parents when a newborn baby is underweight. It is important to approach this delicate issue with care and attention to make sure the well-being of the baby. It is important for healthcare professionals in India to address concerns by providing adequate prenatal care for expecting mothers, ensuring proper nutrition during pregnancy, and promoting breastfeeding practices. The key here is to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that will help your baby succeed and reach a healthy weight. This may involve monitoring their feeding habits, making sure they’re getting enough nutrients, and possibly even introducing supplements if needed. Also, parents need to remember, every baby is different, so what works for one may not work for another. So, they need to stay informed, positive, and need to trust that with the right support and care, their little one will grow big and strong in no time.

Importance of monitoring baby’s food habit
It is essential to monitor a baby’s weight and growth in cases of underweight newborns regularly is essential for several reasons. This helps healthcare providers track the baby’s progress and make necessary interventions if needed. It helps to make sure that the baby is developing and growing at a healthy rate. If there are any concerns or issues with their growth, catching them early on can lead to quicker intervention and treatment. Additionally, monitoring weight and growth can help identify any underlying health conditions or nutritional deficiencies that may impact the baby’s development. Parents and healthcare providers can also make informed decisions about feeding schedules, diet modifications, and overall care practices to improve the baby’s growth and well-being by keeping track of these measurements. Overall, consistent monitoring of a baby’s weight and growth is key in promoting their health and ensuring they are thriving as they should be.

Nutritious Feeding
Babies who are underweight need all the extra nutrients and calories they can get to help them gain and reach a healthy weight. This means feeding them nutrient-dense foods like breast milk or formula, as well as introducing solids at the appropriate age. Nutritious feeding not only helps with weight gain but also supports overall growth and development, including brain development. It’s important to work closely with your pediatrician or healthcare provider to create a feeding plan that meets your baby’s specific needs.

Creating a Supportive Environment
Parents need to understand and make sure a calm and nurturing environment for the baby can contribute to their overall well-being and aid in weight gain. Limiting stressors and disturbances can help the baby thrive. Also, engaging in skin-to-skin contact with the baby can promote bonding and aid in regulating the baby’s body temperature and promoting weight gain.

Caring for an underweight newborn requires patience, attention, and a proactive approach. Parents can support their baby’s growth and development effectively by following these key considerations and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals.

Dr Hari Balasubramanian is Consultant
Neonatologist at Surya Hospital, Mumbai


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