Does a syrup to increase appetite in babies work?
Does your baby have a poor appetite and low weight? Syrup to increase appetite in babies can seem like an easy fix to this problem, but here’s what you should know before giving it to your child.
Parents of underweight kids often worry themselves over whether their child’s weight is a symptom of poor health and nutrition. It’s important to remember that weight is not the sole signifier of a baby’s overall health. A more accurate measure is to see if your baby’s weight is showing an increase over a few months instead of a dip. In some cases, if a baby is showing a distinct lack of appetite and refusing to eat properly (check out this blog for high-calorie foods for weight gain), parents might be tempted to turn towards appetite stimulants to help their baby eat more. But before doing this, it’s important to understand the underlying reasons behind a lack of appetite in babies and what the effects of syrup to increase appetite in babies are.
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Causes of low appetite in children
Low appetite is not always a sign of a problem in your baby or young child. Understanding the possible causes will help your doctor know if a syrup for increasing hunger is the best choice to make.
1. Medical reasons
If your child has been ill, they can suddenly lose their appetite. This is because the after-effects of prescribed medication can impact the digestive tract and affect their sense of taste. In such cases, your pediatrician might recommend vitamin drops to increase hunger in babies and supplement the nutrients they are not getting. Babies between the age of six months and five years are often given vitamin A, C and D drops. These drops increase hunger in babies particularly if they are underweight since their diet will not give them enough of the nutrients they need. You can consult with your pediatrician if you feel your child will benefit from them. It is not advisable to get over the counter appetite stimulants and use them without the guidance of a paediatrician.
2. Zinc deficiency
Zinc is a baby appetite stimulant. It is responsible for the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the baby’s stomach. It also triggers the appetite by making the baby feel hungry. If your baby has a zinc deficiency then it could be the cause of low appetite. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics as well as WHO has approved the administration of zinc, particularly when the baby has a bad bout of diarrhoea. A normal dosage of 29mg of zinc per day is a safe dosage for babies 6 months and older, but make sure you consult with your pediatrician first.
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3. Slowdown in growth
Infants feed voraciously until they are about 4 to 5 months old. After this, parents should expect a normal drop in appetite. This is because growth begins to slow down and so the energy needed is also less. So if everything else is normal and your baby doesn’t appear to be malnourished, then there is no need to worry or look for a syrup for increasing hunger. Also, remember that your baby needs to feel hungry to eat. Ensure there is a 4-hour gap between meals and you don’t fill them up on liquids in between. If your baby’s food chart includes cereals like rice and wheat, they might not feel hungry soon as these complex carbs take longer to digest.
When is a syrup to increase appetite in babies necessary?
A paediatrician will recommend a supplement to increase appetite only as a last resort. Since a loss in appetite is usually a side-effect of an underlying condition rather than a symptom by itself, it’s more important to identify the root cause. Once other conditions like an illness or nutrient deficiency has been resolved, a baby’s appetite usually returns to normal on its own. It is only in very specific cases that your pediatrician will recommend a syrup to increase appetite. This is done only if your baby shows signs of malnourishment, weakness or stunted growth because of their loss in appetite.
Commonly prescribed syrups to increase appetite in babies
Your pediatrician might prescribe an appetite stimulant. Commonly prescribed syrups for increasing hunger in babies include:
1. Fish oil capsules
Fish oil capsules are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are a safe treatment for low appetite in babies. If your baby is very young, then your pediatrician might prescribe fish oil in the liquid form as capsules will be difficult for them to ingest.
2. Zinc supplements
Since a zinc deficiency is often the root cause behind a loss in appetite in babies, supplementing their diet with zinc can clear up the problem. Zinc sulphate syrup might be prescribed to treat this issue and increase your baby’s appetite.
Vitamin B1 is also known as thiamine. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause a loss of appetite and weight loss in babies. If your baby is deficient in it, your paediatrician might prescribe thiamine drops to increase baby appetite.
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Dietary changes to increase appetite in babies
Apart from supplemental drops to increase appetite, there are many natural ways that you can use. Feeding your child probiotics can be a great way to increase their appetite and improve their overall digestive health. The introduction of healthy bacteria in their gut can rebalance the gut flora and act as an appetite stimulant. Healthy probiotic foods like yogurt are a safe and easy way to feed probiotics to your baby.
Children need to be exposed to a wide variety of healthy food and a poor appetite might prevent them from trying new foods. However, it is important to let your paediatrician decide on whether or not a syrup to increase appetite in babies is necessary. For expert advice on improving your baby’s nutrition, download the mfine app and book an instant consultation with your city’s top pediatricians.