Here are some tips for talking to the doctor.
Are feeding times fussy times? If so, it’s important to consult with the doctor. Feeding issues can be addressed with a change in the way you’re feeding your baby — such as adjusting your feeding technique. Other times, you may need to change what you’re feeding your baby, such as switching formulas or altering your diet if you’re breastfeeding. Either way, contacting the doctor should be your first step.
Asking the right questions and anticipating the questions you may be asked will help the doctor assess the situation. To make sure you have the information you need, here are a few helpful tips.
Keep a log about your baby's feeding behaviour.
It’s a good idea to keep notes about your baby’s behaviour before you see the doctor.
Here's some information the doctor will want to know:
- Feeding time: note the brand and type of formula you're using, how much your baby eats at each feeding and the time each feeding starts and stops.
- Behaviours: write down what you notice about your baby during or after feeding such as fussiness, gas, spit-up, prolonged crying, skin rashes, diarrhea or constipation.
- Sleep patterns: note your baby's sleep habits, hours of uninterrupted sleep, number of times he wakes up per night, length and frequency of naps and whether he's fussy before falling asleep.
- Bowel movements: keep track of your baby's bowel movements including the frequency and consistency. Believe it or not, your baby's stools can occasionally reveal a lot about what's going on.
- Daily assessment: at the end of each day, rate your baby's day on a scale of 1 (very good) to 5 (very bad). If it was bad or very bad, look over your notes and highlight the behaviours that especially concern you. We've provided a behaviour log sheet to help you get started.
Once you've recorded your baby's issues, highlight the key points you'd like to discuss with the doctor. (Rank them in order of importance in case you run out of time.) You might want to point out the number of challenging days your baby had in one week. The doctor probably will want to hear about your baby's most severe, recurring behaviour, including how often it occurs and how it affects your baby.
- When he spits up, does it seem to be very painful?
- Does he cry inconsolably for hours, even when being held or entertained?
If there's a family history of allergies, be sure to pass on this information, too. If you've used some soothing techniques, tell the doctor what you've tried. Additionally, if you've done some research about formulas for babies with feeding issues, mention the information you've found. Once in the office, it's easy to get distracted by your baby or get so involved in the discussion that you forget the questions you want to ask. For that reason, it's a good idea to write down the questions so you can be sure to get all the answers you're looking for. We've started a list of questions you may want to ask, and left room for you to add your own.
Some questions you may want to ask your baby's doctor
- How can I tell if my baby has a feeding issue?
- Which behaviours can indicate a milk allergy?
- What can I do when my breastfed baby has fussiness and gas?
- Are there soothing techniques that might help my baby?
- What is the right way to burp my baby?
- How do I know the right amount of formula to feed my baby?
- What are some changes in behaviour that might make my baby feel better?
- How do I safely switch to a different formula?
- How long will it take for my baby to adjust to a formula?
- Will my baby outgrow a feeding issue or should I do something about it now?
- Once I switch formulas, should I expect a change in my baby's bowel movements?