. If the child is not progressing as per expectations, this is known as “failure to thrive” by health care providers.
While some babies who are not thriving as they should be may appear quite well, and nothing may seem amiss, others may appear pale, miserable and lethargic. In infants it is most often poor feeding techniques that are to blame for babies not thriving as they should be. For older children other factors such as lack of emotional well being or problems at home may underlie the failure to thrive.
A failure to thrive can be indicated by the baby not growing and gaining weight as per schedule.
Problems that could occur with breast feeding
Though breastfeeding is obviously best for the child there could be certain problems here. Firstly there is the problem of a proper latch – while some babies seem pre-programmed from the womb to suckle effortlessly, others seem to be unable to figure out breast feeding on their own.
An improper latch on to the breast may mean that the baby is only chewing the nipple and is not able to draw the milk out. So the mother needs to ensure that the baby takes the whole aureole into the mouth.
Secondly there is no way of knowing how much a baby has actually consumed even if the baby stays at the breast for long periods of time. The baby may be sucking not because of the nourishment he gets but because of the fact that it soothes and comforts him.
Parents could get some indication of whether the mother is producing enough breast milk to sustain baby’s proper development if the baby is having sufficient number of wet diapers a day (the rule of thumb is at least 8 wet diapers a day).
Problems that could occur with bottle feeding
If a bottle fed baby is not gaining weight as he should be, check to see if the formula you’re preparing is not too dilute. Secondly check to see that the hole in the bottle’s teat is big enough for the baby to draw enough formula and fast enough.
If the baby is still failing to thrive other causes should be investigated – is the baby anemic, are there any gut infections or other diseases, or congenital problems that prevent proper absorption of food?