On reaching a hundred days old and beyond, a mother would observe that the milk intake and feeding in general of the baby might be making a d different turn. Mothers should remember that the fourth month of growth might be the feeding transition month for the child; that is the month the baby starts taking supplementary food if he is physiologically qualified. Mothers should also note this is the period that they are extremely vigilant and extremely smart, for the good of their baby’s nutritional value.
What Is the Proper Quantity of Milk Intake by Four-Month Old Babies?
Although the baby can be given supplementary food at this stage, there is a certain amount of milk intake that is very necessary for development in the child. Mothers and guardians should note that once the giving of supplement food begins, the amount of milk would not be as much as before; although it would still be in range with the measurements of other months.
The appropriate measurement of milk intake for a four-month-old baby is 700-800 ml of milk per day. If the baby’s milk intake falls within this range, the baby is still good to go. However, if the level of milk intake falls below this measurement, the mother is to investigate to know the cause of low milk intake in the baby.
If there is no cause and the bowel movements of the baby are normal, the mother is to check the eight of the baby to make sure he is not lacking nutrients. If all these are positive, the mother is not to be bothered as the baby is healthy and is just in his anti-milk period.
How Do I Know When The Milk Intake Is Low?
Most times, a good number of mothers do not notice low milk intake until it gets to two weeks. If the cause of the low milk intake is a sickness, then this would be very bad timing as the sickness might have aggravated. Every mother is to be very vigilant of the following signs:
The baby is seen to be very dull. This is because the baby does not have much energy due to the small amount of milk taken. It is also noticed that the baby would sleep longer than usual.
Low weight gain
If the milk intake is low, the mother would also notice that the baby gains weight slower than expected. The normal weight gain per week is 5.5-8.5 ounces or 155-240 grams per week. The mother can wait for 10- 14 days after noticing this; if after the wait the baby has not gotten back his birth weight, she should find a solution.
Low stooling and pale urine
Another way to identify low milk intake is if the baby does not stool as much as before. The mother should also check the urine of the baby if it is normal, or very pale. If it is pale, that is another indication of low milk intake. Another indicator is reddish-brown or brick red dust found in the diaper of the baby. This emboldens the fact that the baby has a low milk intake.
Little feeding time
This is the most common indicator. If the baby takes a very little amount of time to sleep other than before, a suspicion might arise (which is duly permitted). Sometimes the baby would just drink small and sleep off. This should be an indicator of other indicators.
Why Do Four-month Old Babies Take Less Amount of Milk?
In the fourth month of the growth of a baby, the child is expected to start taking complementary foods. This alone is a very major reason for low milk intake in a four-month-old baby. However, only a very few things can lead to a baby having a low milk intake.
One of the reasons for low milk intake in a four-month-old baby is development. As a child grows, his hearing and visual region seem to have improved development. This can cause a major distraction feeding.
Although it is quite frustrating, the mother should know that at four months, the baby is not that ‘weak and always eager-to-drink-milk’ baby. The child would have a change in appetite as he would crave new flavors, reach out to eat what he sees other people eating. It is very normal and should be handled smartly.
Also, the baby can have an anti-milk period which is very expected. This anti-milk period is a roll-over from the third month of a tired liver and kidney. In this period, the baby takes a break from drinking milk because the livers and kidneys have overworked. Although this is very normal and expected, if it stays for too long, it becomes abnormal.
The normal length of time for the anti-milk period is one month; therefore if the baby has very low milk intake from the third month till almost the fifth month, it is no more normal. At this point when it is tagged ‘abnormal’, it is no more an anti-milk period, but it has a different cause which should be investigated early enough to prevent growth retardation.
What Should Be Done If a Four-month Old Has Low Milk Intake?
Although it is non-negotiable, mothers are not to be bothered when a child has low milk intake at this stage of growth. This is because it is very normal on so many levels except when sickness is involved. However, the following can be done if a four-month-old baby has a low milk intake:
Check the baby for any symptoms of sickness
If a four-month-old has a low milk intake, this is the very first thing to check for. Since babies of four-month do not yet have a developed oratory region, knowing what is causing discomfort in the child would require a highly investigative mind.
You can watch out for sickness by examining the baby’s urine and feces. You can also observe the baby while he is sleeping. Check for constipation, as it is the major reason behind less amount of milk intake. Also, check for cold and fever while the child is asleep. If the child seems to be sick, treatment should be given immediately as possible to prevent a nutritional value decline in the baby.
Introduce supplementary foods early
According to specialists, the best timing to introduce supplementary foods is at six months. However, most babies show many physiological signs like sitting upright without aid, stretching their neck perfectly, reaching out for adult food, and seem very interested in adult food. If the mother noticed the baby’s low milk intake with no sickness involved, then the baby might be in his no-milk period.
This no-milk period can last for too long and therefore supplement foods should be added on time to keep the baby’s nutrient composition in check. Supplementary foods should be added gradually; from thin paste to thick, from small forms to medium then big, from very soft to moderate, then to hard. Some supplementary foods include egg yolk, fruit puree, vegetable puree, etc.
Note that not all kinds of supplementary food can be given at the beginning; there are rules on the kinds of food giving at a particular stage of growth. These rules depend on the level of development of the digestive system of the baby. If a mother decides to start giving supplementary foods, she should consult a pediatrician first; most especially if the baby has other health issues.
Do not panic
Every mother should be comforted that although the baby’s intake of milk is low, the baby is taking enough milk that will supply enough amount of nutrients for sufficient growth. Also watch, if the baby is always in high spirits and not dull there is almost no need to bother about the level of milk intake by the child. If the baby also seems to be growing more intelligible day by day, then it means that the child surely has the required nutrients for growth and development.
Do not coerce the baby to drink more
No matter the challenge encountered while training a child, most especially at this stage, forcing the child is the worst thing to do as a guardian. Some parents might try to sneak up and fed the baby while he is fast asleep, which is very wrong.
The baby can choke which can be quite serious. Babies that are fed with this erroneous method tend to have tooth decay when they start developing teeth. If this strategy wants to be used, it should be done when the baby is dizzy (partially awake), and can make the swallowing reflex yield.
Low milk intake in four-month-old babies is very much normal and expected. Note that giving supplementary food does not necessarily lead to low milk intake but other factors. If the anti-milk period lasts for very long, the mother should introduce supplementary food early enough. This period is indeed a frustrating and tiresome one for mothers, but they should always include strategies for their advantage at this stage.