It can get nerve-wracking when you’re feeding your little one, and they’re not drinking as much milk as you’d expect. I’ve been there.
When asking yourself, “why is my 2-month-old baby drinking less milk?” Consider whether they get as much milk as they require or an unhealthy deduction. If it’s the latter, something has to be done, and I’ll go over this with you in this article.
So, let’s dive in!
There are a lot of general expectations when it comes to babies and their feeding. This becomes especially daunting if your friend happens to have a 2-month-old who is drinking more than your baby.
First things first, unless you saw a doctor for your baby, there’s a chance that those feeding expectations may not apply to your 2-month-old. Every baby is different, so you shouldn’t expect them to consume the same food.
It could be that your expectations are too high, and your baby is eating just fine. However, I suggest you call your doctor to ensure this is the case.
I’ve told you that your baby may be feeding just fine, but I understand that it’s not easy to tell if you should be worried.
Your little munchkin may be underfed. Underfeeding occurs when a baby cannot ingest enough milk to meet its growth and energy needs.
Luckily for us parents, some physical signs and behaviors indicate that your little one is underfed. I have arranged them for you in the table below. Demands regular feeds
|Well fed||Underfed||Severely Malnourished|
|Feeding behavior||I. Baby regularly demand food. However, some babies may be patient enough to wait for their next feeding time. II. Baby looks satisfied after feeding time and makes a fuss if you try to feed them more||I. The baby demands food much earlier than expected. II. Baby appears unsatisfied after each meal but may still make a fuss if you try to feed them more.||I. Baby does not demand food, i.e., crying due to hunger. Ii. Baby sucks nipple weakly Iii. Baby falls asleep before finishing feeding.|
|Number of wet diapers||Five or more||Four or fewer||Four or less|
|Bowel motions||I. Normal frequency which ranges from 3 times a day to once in 3 days. II. Soft, loose, or paste consistency Note that there are other reasons for constipation in a well-fed baby||I. Infrequent, that is, once in 3 days or even longer. II. Dry, hard pebbly stools. III. Increased risk of constipation||I. Infrequent II. Constipated stools|
|Energy levels||Active, alert and energetic||Not very active, but alert||Lethargic|
|Sleep||Sleeps well||Has trouble falling and staying asleep due to hunger||Sleeps for long periods and difficult to awaken|
|Interest||Baby shows curiosity and interest in surroundings||Displays brief periods on interest when entertained||I. Uninterested II. Wants to sleep|
|Mood||Baby seems content between feeds except when bored.||I. Baby is restless or irritable due to hunger II. Baby demands constant attention.||Lethargic|
This table will give you a good headstart on whether your baby is underfed. The next thing you’ll want to do is find out what’s causing your baby not to eat enough to meet its nutritional needs.
There are quite a few reasons why your 2-month-old may not be consuming enough milk, and if you want to help them, you need to find these causes first. It’ll take a little observation on your part, but you should be able to narrow down the reason from this list.
You can also refer to this video on babies eating less than expected by Intermountain Healthcare.
If your baby is too tired, they will likely be unable to wake for night feeds or even feed effectively in the day. It is possible for you to mistake your baby’s signs of tiredness for hunger and when this happens they may become overtired.
Also, if your little one has picked up a sleep association habit– that is, relying on something or someone’s support to stay asleep–they may not get enough sleep. Even some of your baby’s medications may make them too sleepy, such as medicines to treat colic.
In a nutshell, once your little one gets too tired, they are not going to be able to feed effectively.
Baby has a poor appetite
Another reason your 2 months may be eating less is that they have a poor appetite. Now, if your baby is ill then that could be causing the poor appetite or the lack of appetite may indicate an illness.
Trying to make your baby stick to a feeding schedule and eat at predetermined times may negatively affect their appetite. This is because their hunger cues will die down when they cannot eat when they feel this hunger.
Lastly, ensure you’re not introducing solids at this time – 2 months. This can alter your baby’s diet and make them take much less milk than they need. A good time to start incorporating solids will be between 4-6 months of age.
This may seem odd, but there are some instances where a baby rejects feeding. This is likely because feeding is unpleasant or painful for them, so they’d rather stay away from it completely.
Your baby may refuse food due to a feeding aversion or a sensory processing disorder. If you suspect this, I recommend calling your dictor immediately for advice on what steps to take.
In some instances, your baby may have a healthy appetite and be capable of feeding, yet they are underfed. This could be due to your baby unable to access the milk they are being fed.
If your little one is not positioned properly, they may be unable to suck and swallow food. This is regardless of whether they are breast or bottle-fed.
Also a bottle-fed baby may find it difficult if their bottle or feeding equipment is faulty. Or perhapd your little one is unable to latch unto the nipple of the bottle (or your breasts).
A lot of factors can affect a baby’s ability to suck such as prematurity or conditions like Down syndrome. (1)
A structural problem is usually a physical abnormality affecting their sucking ability. Examples include a cleft palate or tongue tie.
While a functional problem is not as easily detectable as a structural one. The baby may be unable to suck properly due to neurological impairment, nerve compression or damage occurring during birth or an absence of sucking reflex.
Now that you have identified why your baby is drinking less milk it’s time to fix the situation. Since your baby is very young, here are two things you’ll want to do as your first steps in getting your 2-month-old to feed more and better.
At just 2 months, breast milk and formula should be all your little one is fed as it will provide all their nutritional needs. Some babies will eat more than others at this age and some will just be content with less.
Now every baby is different but you can refer to and follow this expected feeding schedule for two-month-olds.
- 2-month-olds may consume 4 to 5 ounces of breastmilk or formula in every three to four hours daily. (2)
So, you can slowly get your little one acclimated to this feeding schedule and see if it helps.
In some cases, it may be that your little one is eating less because of the formula they are being fed. Ideally, a 2-month-old child should be fed on solely breast milk but if for any reason this is not possible you’ll want to check their formula.
Perhaps, your little one is not a fan of cow’s milk or soy milk. Consult your doctor when changing your baby’s feed to confirm if there’s any need for a change in the first place.
As I mentioned earlier, your baby eating less may be an indication of something serious like an illness. Most times this reduced food consumption will be accompanied by other symptoms of an illness.
I recommend going to see the doctor as soon as you suspect any illness. When it comes to babies, its always better safe than sorry.
- Try feeding your 2 month old between scheduled feeding times or long intervals.
- Check with your doctor how much milk your little one should be getting
- Feed your baby on demand and try as much as possible to respond to their feeding cues.
- Do not feed your baby solids until 6 moths at the very least.
- Avoid comparing your baby’s eating habits, growth and development with other babies. They are all different.
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep in your arms. Let them get drowsy but fall asleep on their own so tis doesnt become a struggle at feeding times. (3)
If we’re being honest, almost everything causes us to worry when it comes to our little ones and that’s valid. If you suspect that your little one is eating less than expected, try to make sure your expectations are not too high before taking any action.
As a first step, make some adjustments to their feeding schedule and see how it goes. If nothing changes, then it’s time to ring the doctor.
Have you ever experienced low milk intake in your baby? At what age did this happen? I would love to hear your stories. Just leave them in the comments section.
- John Hopkins Medicine. Difficulty With Latching On or Sucking https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/difficulty-with-latching-on-or-sucking
- Maria Masters, (2021, Mar 24). What To Expect. Nutrional Needs Of Babies: the First 12 Months https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/feeding-baby/nutritional-needs-of-babies/#0-6
- WebMD Editorial Contributors, (2021, Jun 6). Grow by WebMD. Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nighttime#091e9c5e8022675d-2-4