Nurturing a newborn is not a mean feat as they can give you sleepless nights through multiple feeding sessions. Little ones are often demanding, and it seems they are constantly hungry. Things can get even more challenging if you have an autistic baby who refuses to feed because of their health condition. Expect a tough time with a fussy infant because they are hungry and upset yet do not cooperate with you. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with a fussy newborn, and seasoned moms rely on them. Here is a mommy’s guide for feeding an autistic little one.
Understand the signs
The most crucial step is to recognize that you have a problem at hand. You can start by understanding the signs that show up early. Fussy feeders refuse to breastfeed, have problems with bottles, and continue troubling you as you introduce them to solid foods. Autism makes things even harder to deal with. Even worse, they seem to cry all the time because hunger makes them cranky and lethargic. The baby may not gain weight due to undernourishment.
Autism is hard to establish in newborns, but awareness and early intervention help. If you notice these signs in your newborn, start early by training them to breastfeed. Establish skin-to-skin contact and soothe the baby by singing or talking softly. Consider changing positions until you find the most comfortable one for yourself and the infant. You may even seek your partner’s help to support you in holding and soothing the little one. Early training takes you a long way in dealing with a fussy baby.
Transition smoothly to bottle-feeding
The next step is to facilitate a smooth transition to bottle-feeding. You may want to do it sooner rather than later if breastfeeding does not work for you. Check the Best Baby Bottles in the market and handpick the one you like. Look for features like a design with easy-grip, non-toxic material, and easy-to-read quantity markings. Training the autistic infant with bottle-feeding may take some time, but you will never have to worry about an empty tummy once the little one develops the skill.
Experiment with textures as you go
The next stage involves introducing your little one to solid foods. It is perhaps the hardest if you have a picky eater with autistic attributes. But you can ease the journey by experimenting with textures as you go. Start with wet foods because these are easy to feed, and most babies like them. Gradually, move to finger foods that the little one can hold and chew as long as they want. Try to understand the infant’s food preferences and choose accordingly.
As a rule, never force-feed a baby at any stage. Little ones have tiny tummies that get full sooner than you imagine. If the child refuses to eat or drink milk, stop there and then. Steer clear of force-feeding because it will only add to the tension and discomfort, and the baby may end up being even fussier. If you are concerned about long gaps, consult a specialist for guidance.
Feeding your autistic baby should be on top of your childcare checklist as it affects growth and moods. Start early, follow a schedule, and make mealtimes fun for the child.