Q: My baby is now 4 months old and he has been healthy and cheerful. However, he drinks less milk than usual recently. Is he rejecting milk?
Babies grow quickly in their first 2-3 months. After that, their rate of growth will slow down and their activity level will decrease. As a result, they will also reduce their milk intake, sometimes even take less milk than their first two months. As he will now get full easily, he may turns his head away to show that he already has enough milk. It doesn’t mean that he dislikes milk or refuses the taste. As long as your baby stays active, has normal growth and development, that means he is having adequate nutrition. It should not be a cause of concern to you.
Q: Should I restrain my baby from mouthing objects?
Babies like to explore their surroundings with their senses at this stage; therefore, they like to grasp objects and put them into their mouth. Babies actually start sucking their fingers when they are 2 months old. Their unique way of exploring the world is from touching to mouthing which therefore needs not to be stopped.
Nonetheless, you need to ensure that the toys your baby put into his mouth are safe, having no sharp edges, free of rust and toxic coating, or having no small components. You also have to keep the toys clean too.
Q: Why is my baby always drooling? Is she teething?
Many babies drool heavily at 4 to 6 months old. As it is also the time of teething, so drooling is usually mistaken as the sign of teething.
The heavy drooling at this age be a sign of the maturing digestive system to get ready for solid food. As the babies have not learned how to swallow the salvia, it may end up with lots of salvia drooling from the mouth. In addition, most babies will have their first tooth during their 6 to 10 months of age when they also have swollen gum and heavy drooling. However, this will improve when babies reach 1 year old. Therefore it should not be a cause of concern to you.
What you need to do is wiping your baby’s saliva and replacing a dry bib for her frequently, sometimes a few bibs in a day, to prevent salvia irritating her skin and cause rashes.
However, if your baby has other adverse symptoms apart from drooling, such as swelling of throat, constant coughing, shortness of breath, vomiting and fever, you should take her to the doctor immediately.
Q: It’s amazing to see that my baby is having his first tooth! I am worried however that teething will usually come with fever and diarrhea. Is it true?
Teething will not lead to fever and diarrhea. However, as babies like to chew things when teething, it is more likely for them to get infected. If your baby has fever and has symptoms like running nose, diarrhea or vomiting, you should bring your baby to the doctor immediately.
The following are the common signs of teething:
- Gum swelling
- Itchy gums
These symptoms usually occur around teething and last for about a week. These symptoms will subside after a week unless your baby has his teeth one after another consecutively.
To lessen his teething discomfort, you can give teething biscuits and clean, sturdy teethers for your baby to chew on. You can also massage his gum with your finger. Spending more time playing and interacting with your baby will keep him in a more cheerful mood and reduce his agitation.
Q: What can I do if my baby has constipation?
If your baby has dry and hard stool, it may cause tearing of the anal tissue when the stool passes through the anus, which is very painful. In order to avoid the pain, the baby will refuse bowel opening and the condition will worsen. To improve stool consistency, beware of the following points:
- First, if the baby has just changed to follow-on formula milk, the stool will become harder. Follow-on formula generally has lower whey-to-casein protein ratio than infant formula, which takes longer time to digest. Thus constipation may be easier to occur. Actually, if your baby is feeding well on solid foods, you can continue feeding him with the more easily digestible infant formula.
- Secondly, after introducing solid foods to your baby, you need to make sure that your baby is having enough water, in addition to fruits and vegetables for fibre intake. Mashed apple, pear, broccoli and spinach are good choices.
- If you have tried all the methods mentioned above and your baby’s condition still not improved, or if your baby is having abdominal distension or blood in the stool, you should consult a doctor. Finally, do not use any laxatives or enemas by yourself as these may cause adverse effects to your baby.