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Underweight baby so give them baby food?

Hi, my daughter's pediatrician has suggested we give her baby food because she has lost weight and is underweight for her age.

She's 4 1/2 months old. She already gets cereal once a day because of this. She only eats 4oz about every 3-4 hours.

Anyways, has anyone else ever heard of this? I know this age is considered too young for baby food, but has anyone else started their son or daughter on baby food this young? If so, how often did you feed them it? Our doctor said to do it three times a day.



Asked by eab001 at 8:56 AM on Dec. 16, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 4 (35 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (59)
  • I'm confused by your docs suggestions too. The formula is higher in calories. In my research with the AAP they pretty much state that many docs are not highly trained in nutrition. I would ask another doc (maybe a younger doc in the same practice). All I can think of to get some extra fat on her is mashing up avocados with formula. Everything else just has less calories than the formula.


    Answer by Anonymous at 11:16 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • she's not to young for baby food, if she accepts a spoon, then she's old enough to start trying new foods. You can give her cereal more than once a day, and mix it in with her formula or breast milk.

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 9:41 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • Baby foods are lower calorie and pretty devoid of much - a better option, if she's formula fed, would be to mix it up a little stronger than the can suggests - an extra 1/4-1/2 scoop of formula per 2 oz of water - it gets more calories in them without introducing things that can have a negative impact on their formula intake. If she's breastfed, use formula to mix the cereal - but if you're feeding cereal 3 times a day she'll likely not take as much breast or bottle, which is backwards of what she needs right now. Honestly, your doctor sounds cracked - when 2 of my kids were losing weight at the breast (even with a major oversupply) our doc suggested supplementing with a little formula - I mixed it into pumped breastmilk and it worked wonders!

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:07 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • She accepts the spoon, she'll even pig out when she's fed by the spoon. She's formula fed... I can't mix more formula in her bottle because we're actually having to dilute it with an extra 1/2 ounce of water because she has severe constipation problems. But they're also going to try taking her off Soy formula so maybe then I'll be able to add extra formula instead of diluting it... thanks for the idea!

    Answer by eab001 at 10:11 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • I agree baby food does not contain a lot of calories. I would try to feed her every three hours or even add cereal at every feeding.

    Answer by pagirl71 at 10:51 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • also if your ff I know that enfantmil makes a formula for preemies and low birthweight baby that has slightly more calories in it than regular formula. Don't recall the name but it's in a yellowish label. My child that had GERD was on it.

    Answer by pagirl71 at 10:52 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • Don't give rice cereal to increase calories. It's devoid of natural nutrition and has 1/8th the caloric content per weight of formula. Even high caloric natural foods like avacado and butter do not have the nutritional quality or caloric equivalents of formula. AND rice cereal is going to make the constipation 10x worse. So would avacado or banana. Peaches, prunes, etc. are much better options.

    A better option is to try to up formula. How often do you OFFER bottles? What formulas have you tried? (have you tried organic soy? It's sweeter and so babies like it better) What nipple/bottle do you use? Have you tried a wide-neck bottle, a faster-flow nipple than you use or maybe try going back to a slower flow if maybe the faster flow is introducing too much air? How much do you burp?

    And STOP diluting her formula. If I were you, I'd STOP diluting the formula - go organic - wideneck - and give prunes & peaches

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:56 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • Unless you're not diluting it. How do -make- the formula? The correct way is to put the water (say 6 oz) and then add a level, unpacked scoop for every 2 oz of water, so 3 level scoops. If you're putting the formula in the bottle first you're already making it stronger than necessary and perhaps just need to feed more often.

    But I'm curious how much you dilute. This could be the source of all of the weight issues besides not feeding often enough. And if she's not waking - why not start waking her up once? Like if she goes to bed at 8 and doesn't wake up - wake her up at 11 and give her a bottle. And if she's every 3 hours, try offering every 2 1/2.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:01 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • She is too young for baby food (and cereal, by the way) Solid food is not for nutrition in the first year, its more for learning and experimentation. I'd stop ALL solids and just give baby more breast milk or formula (both of which have more vitamins and calories than any food you'd be able to get her to eat) Your doctor should not be recommending solids at this stage. THe World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, UNICEF, the US Department of Health and Human Services and many other health organizations say NO SOLIDS BEFORE 6 MONTHS. Your doctor is giving you outdated advice.

     Check out this article and all it's references for more info:



    Answer by PhilsBabyMama at 11:02 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • The constipation problem you say your daughter has is made worse (if not actually caused ) by giving her cereal. There is a TON of iron in formula already, and then the cereal is packed with it, too. Sounds like you are overloading her with it.

    I still don't understand why your doctor wouldn't tell you to cut out the cereal instead of watering down the formula (which in turn waters down the vitamins and calories she should be getting). That is probably why your baby is underweight. Does your doc know you're watering down the formula and that there is a problem with constipation?


    Answer by PhilsBabyMama at 11:08 AM on Dec. 16, 2009