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Signs Your Baby Is Underfed

Whether you’re taking care of a newborn or a toddler, one of the top priorities you have during this stage of life is often making sure that your little bundle of joy is getting enough milk from you. When your baby is well-fed, he or she gets all the essential nutrients needed for a comprehensive, and healthy growth. Hence, understanding the signals that your baby may be underfed would be helpful for you to make adjustments along the way. Here are some of the signs that you can keep an eye on: 

Your Baby Seems Lethargic

One of the most apparent signs that your baby is underfed is that they always seemed tired. This may be due to the fact that your little darling is not getting enough nutrition to stay energised and support their growth. On top of other key nutrients such as Vitamin A, B, C, your baby needs sufficient protein from your milk to support their growth, such as muscle development and tissue growth. 

If your baby is constantly underfed, it may result in muscle wasting. Muscle wasting is a condition that impacts the development of your baby’s muscles by causing your baby’s muscles to break down and degenerate. Since strong, healthy muscles are important to help your baby move, lack of nutritions would negatively impact their muscle growth and impede their movements. Hence, it is important to recognise this symptom as soon as possible because it may slow your baby’s growth and cause them to miss out on significant growth milestones, such as sitting up, crawling, walking and running. 

Your Baby Constantly Roots or Open Mouths

If your baby constantly keeps their mouth open when they see food or open it when their cheek is brushed or stimulated, that means they are still hungry. Rooting is a natural phenomenon among babies, it’s their way of looking for food. Some of the signs or physical cues you should heed when your baby is rooting is that they will turn their head towards the food, move closer towards the food, signal for the food with sounds or hands, or put their hand in the mouth. Some babies also show excitement when they see food by clenching their small cute fists. So pay attention to these cues, your baby might be telling you that he or she needs more milk!

Your Baby is Losing Weight

Losing weight after birth is common for babies. Hence, you should not be too worried if your baby experiences weight loss. Most babies lose around 5 to 10 percent of their total weight in the first few days of their life. This happens because after childbirth your baby has lost the amniotic fluid weight retained from the womb. Hence, their weight decreases compared to their initial weight in your womb. This condition generally resolves itself as your baby will quickly gain their initial weight in the womb after only two weeks. 

That said, your baby’s weight should generally be the double of their initial weight by the time they reach six months old. If your baby’s actual weight is a lot lighter than this, the chances are they are underfed. Be more mindful of your child’s physical or audio cues. The most obvious cue is crying if your baby reacted positively by rooting or being excited at the sight of food.

Your Baby’s Weight Gain is Slow

Baby’s Weight Gain is Slow

Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of your baby being underfed is that they are gaining weight very slowly. Having thin arms or limbs is normal for every baby, even healthy babies have them at some point too. However, you might need to be more vigilant if their limbs or legs are still skinny as they grow. Consult your local doctor or health experts so that you can accurately determine whether your baby is underfed or they are just small framed.

Tips That May Help

If your baby is experiencing any of the signs mentioned above, these home remedies may help. Should you notice the situation is not improving, be sure to consult a trusted health expert or a professional lactation consultant as soon as possible.

  • Breastfeed or Bottle-feed Longer

If your baby seems unsatisfied after each feed, try feeding your baby a little longer, and let your baby control the pace of feeding. They will naturally latch off when they are full and satisfied.

  • Massage Your Breast

Sometimes, your baby might be dissatisfied after breastfeeding due to the slow milk flow. Breast engorgement and blocked ducts could be the culprits behind this. Just as these breastfeeding issues are uncomfortable for you, they can be frustrating for your baby too as they have to suck harder and longer to get milk from you. To ease this issue, we would recommend MumChecked for your convenience! They have plenty of options for lactation massager, breastfeeding and pumping essentials that can help boost breast milk flow. Feel free to browse through!

  • Maintain a Lactation-Boosting Diet

Producing enough breast milk for your baby is one of the most fundamental solutions to help them be properly nourished. To boost your breast milk supply, you can have foods that can help you produce more breast milk! The good news is, not only do these foods  help increase your breast milk supply, but they also enrich the nutritional quality of your breast milk. To clear your doubts on what to eat when breastfeeding, some of the best food you can have are as follows.

– Food to Boost Your Milk Supply: Fennel seeds, fenugreek, green papaya, moringa oleifera, ginger and garlic.

– Food to Boost Your Milk Nutritional Content: Pork liver, pumpkin, dark leafy greens, salmon, tomatoes.

ReLacto offers you the hassle-free way to have nourishing and milk-boosting daily lactation meals, all guided by our in-house dietitian to ensure you get a healthy balance of essential nutrients in every meal. On top of serving you over 100 lactation-friendly and healing dishes, every meal is served with a unique lactation drink every week. Discover our full menu by clicking the “Menu” button at the top right corner of this page!

In conclusion, paying attention to your baby’s cues before, during and after their feeding sessions helps you in making sure that they are getting enough nutrition to develop. With the right approach and solutions, your baby will be able to experience healthy and happy growth.


  • ReLacto

    We are a team behind the leading lactation meal provider and we believe proper nutrition during breastfeeding is not just something to be experienced, but also worth learning about. On top of preparing nutritious meals for mothers, we’re passionate about researching and sharing useful information on nutrition for lactation and recovery, and occasionally tips on baby weaning through our blogs.