Tips for parents with babies who have difficulty with feeding

April 14, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Announcements
  • Pay attention to your baby’s behavioral “cues” to know whether they are in the best state to be fed orally (awake, alert, hungry). Common cues that your baby is hungry include opening their mouth/rooting, sucking harder on their pacifier, putting their hands to their mouth, stirring around more, and smacking their lips.
  • It is important not to wait until they are crying or agitated, because this leads to an uncomfortable and negative feeding experience.
  • Just as important, stop feeding your baby when they show cues that they are done feeding, such as pulling away from the breast or bottle, getting tired or falling asleep. It is important not to overlook physical issues that make eating more uncomfortable so that you can prevent your baby from making a connection between eating, stress and discomfort.
  • Common issues such as reflux or constipation, or even allergies or intolerances, can quickly lead to feeding problems if they are not addressed right away.
  • You know your baby the best! Always ask your pediatrician if you are concerned that your baby is uncomfortable before, during, or after feeds. 
  • If your baby is not able to eat enough to gain weight or meet their nutritional needs, they may need a feeding tube temporarily while physical issues are addressed. This is okay! It is not a failure on your part, and it does not mean they will need it for a long time. It gives you the safety net allowing you to feed your baby by mouth only when it is a positive experience.
  • Understanding your baby’s cues, and using a feeding tube when necessary, can take the pressure off of you to have to push your baby to eat more than they feel comfortable eating. It protects your baby’s relationship with the breast and bottle so that they can eat fully by mouth when they are physically ready and feel more comfortable.