[Updated: July 2017]
Are you worried that your baby is not gaining weight?
Do you think that your baby is not gaining weight as per the growth chart?
Is your baby underweight or malnourished as per its pediatric?
Are you looking for foods which can help your baby to gain weight?
Super rich foods like milk, yoghurt, desi ghee, sweet potato, meat are consider as weight gain foods in babies and toddlers.
A newborn usually regain its birth weight by the time it is 14 days old. And doubles its birth weight in 3-4 months. You can expect your baby to triple its birth weight by about 1 year of age.
Does your baby have a good appetite, reaching all the milestones and looks active but still underweight or not gaining proper weight?
Well, answer to all these questions is given below in this article.
I too had weight gain issues with my son in his second year. In the first year, he was touching all the milestones before time. I was happy that I am taking good care of my son. But in his second year, he started to lose weight, which was really hurting me from inside. Whenever someone met us, they always asked questions regarding my son’s weight.
“What has happened to your child? Why your son is getting weak?”
It was really disturbing for me and I was irritated with the same question being asked several times and the explanation process.
Inside me, I was feeling that someone is questioning on my parenting and care. And, I started to ask myself that being a full-time mom, am I able to take a good care of my child. Am I being a good mom and bla bla bla..
Then, we met a senior retired doctor from a renowned hospital and I asked him the same question. He was very calm and replied very softly that people are always there to pin point the other person’s faults or weakness. You don’t have to take it seriously. Always admire your child and other’s child as well. Children are always cute, no matter, even when they have the running nose 🙂
After that, I always tried to put my focus on my son’s immunity. Throughout this journey, I understood that healthy eating and healthy habits are essential to grow a healthy baby.
So, Mommies, don’t worry much about the weight gain issue in your babies.
If your baby is active, eating healthy food and has strong immunity system then, it is healthy.
Baby’s growth and baby’s weight are two different things. Child’s weight is one part of its overall growth but it is not the only measuring criteria to check the child’s development.
Baby’s weight gain issue is very common these days, every other mom has certain concerns regarding their baby’s growth.
“If your baby is getting sufficient milk then he will have 6 to 8 wet diapers in a day. There should be 3 or more stools per 24 hours.”
Following are few checkpoints for mothers of the babies that are below 6 months of age. If your baby is completely on breastfeed then ask the questions written below from yourself to identify your baby’s weight gain problems.
- You might have some issues with nursing. Do you think, your baby is latching correctly and he is taking sufficient calories from breastmilk?
- If your baby is getting sufficient milk then he will have 6 to 8 wet diapers in a day. There should be 3 or more stools per 24 hours. As the baby gets older, stools may occur less often and may even skip a number of days if your baby is completely on breastfeed.
- Do you think that your milk supply is sufficient?
- How often you nurse your baby and for how long?
- Does your baby looks active and appears satisfied after feeding?
Below given questions are applicable if your baby has started taking solid or semi-solid foods.
- Do you offer three main meals, two snack breaks and two times the milk to your child in its daily schedule?
- Do you think, your baby is eating properly during mealtime?
And, the main question, which is now coming to your mind, is “How my child will gain weight?”
Let’s talk about the healthy foods which can help your baby to gain weight and have proper development.
Foods for below 6 months baby to gain weight
For babies, below 6 months of age, sufficient breast milk is the only way to gain weight. Breastmilk is the most nutritious, healthy, balanced and superfood for your baby to gain weight. Breastmilk provides the child with all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions. Breastmilk can be easily digested, so your baby will rarely have constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach problems.
If your baby has sufficient breast milk supply, it will help it to gain weight. It is the perfect food for your baby.
It is always recommended to keep your newborn only on breastmilk until he/she is six months old. And, after the six months, you can start with the semi-solid and solid foods along with breast milk.
Consult your doctor or lactation experts if you have any nursing issues.
Foods for 6 to 9 months baby to weight gain
Bananas is an excellent source of natural energy, a single banana provides 100+ calories. Bananas are high in carbohydrates, potassium, dietary fibre, Vitamins C and B6.
Bananas are the `quick energy providers and are easy to grab and eat. It makes easy to feed your baby while you are traveling or outside your home. Just carry 1-2 bananas and give it to your child to eat. You can start introducing the banana to your baby after six months of age. You can try banana in smoothies, shakes, cakes or puddings.
#3 Desi Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Ghee is a clarified form of butter having high nutritional value. Desi Ghee is one of the best food source for weight gain in babies. You can start introducing the ghee in your baby’s food after 8 months. Like, you can start with adding few drops of ghee while preparing khichdi for your child and increasing the quantity as per the requirement.
As fat content in ghee is really high so please be moderate in its usage for your baby. You can make ghee from milk at home also. Just add a little amount of ghee to dal, porridge, chapati, paratha or sabzi for your baby.
Ragi is a very nutritious and healthy millet. Ragi is also known as finger millet, ‘Nachni’. It is one of the best weight gaining food. Ragi is rich in calcium, protein, iron, dietary fiber, Vitamins B1, B2 and other minerals, which are required for your baby’s development.
Ragi is easily digestible by the baby. It is advised to include ragi in the diet of your child. For babies, you can prepare ragi cereal or porridge.For toddlers, you can prepare ragi porridge, ragi dosa, ragi idlis, ragi roti, ragi ladoos, ragi cake and cookies.
#5 Whole cream yogurt
Whole cream yogurt is a healthy option for children to gain weight. Yogurt provides required amount of fat and nutritious calories that help your baby to gain weight. It is also a rich source of calcium, vitamins, and minerals.
Yogurt is easy to digest for your child. It helps to improve the immune system and work as a remedy in loose motions and gastric troubles.
Most of the pediatricians recommend to start introducing yogurt to the babies after 7-8 months of age.
Please note that you should avoid the cow’s milk for your baby before one year of age.
Your baby’s tummy cannot digest the high levels of protein present in cow’s milk. But in case of yogurt, it is a fermented milk product. During this fermentation process, bacteria present in curd break down milk protein and make it easy to digest by your baby’s tummy.
Please avoid buying flavored yogurts available in the market as they have high sugar content in them.
You can prepare curd rice, smoothies and buttermilk for your child. You can also try the fruit-flavored curd for your child.
Oats are rich in fiber and dietary nutrients and are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, thiamine and phosphorous. Oats are easy to digest for the babies and prevent constipation and inconsistent bowel movements. It can be a healthy breakfast option for your child to gain weight.
You can prepare oats porridge, oats pancakes, dosa, oats kheer and oats cookies.
For making oats pancakes and dosa, you just need to make ground oatmeal by grinding oats in the food processor.
Starchy foods like potatoes are rich in carbohydrates. Potatoes are a good source of vitamins like C and B6, minerals like phosphorus, manganese and are low in calories.
Add potatoes, rice and other starchy foods to your baby’s diet. Potato makes an excellent first food for babies. Potatoes are mashable, easy to digest and the least allergenic food.
In Indian cuisine, potatoes are used in variety of foods, especially in vegetables and curries. So it’s very easy to introduce the potatoes in your child’s diet.
Potatoes are usually kid’s favourite as a vegetable and snack. Children love to eat it without any fuss.
My son loves to eat french fries and it is known as the finger food for kids. But, avoid giving the market frozen potato fries because it has too many preservatives.
#8 Sweet Potatoes (Shakarkandi)
You can introduce sweet potato as a very first food to your 6 months baby. Sweet potato is one of the most nutritious foods, easy to mash and digest. Also, it is healthy and tasty.
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. Also, they are a good source of potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, phosphorus and are low in saturated fat.
Sweet potatoes can be given to your baby as boiled and mashed. You can also prepare sweet potato with milk, sweet potato khichdi, sweet potato pancakes, soups and halwa (for toddlers).
Pulses are high in calories and help your baby to gain healthy weight. For your 6+ months baby, you can start moong dal soup or dal ka pani as their first food.
Moong dal and urad dal are easy in digestion and are a really healthy option for your child. Pulses are rich in nutrients, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Pulses are low in fat and high in fibre.
You can introduce dals in multiple forms to your child’s food. Dal khichdi, dal soup, dal chilla, dal halwa.
You can use urad dal to prepare dal, dosa and idli as well.
Avocados are rich in healthy fat and dietary fibre. They also provide essential minerals and vitamins. You can give avocado to your baby after 6 months of age.
Start with the avocado puree or mashed avocado for babies. For kids, you can add avocado in shakes, smoothies and desserts like ice creams.
It’s a combination of pulses, rice and ghee, which provides protein, carbohydrates, fat, fibre, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Khichdi is a one-bowl meal that has a perfect balance of nutrients.
You can start feeding your baby khichdi after 6 months of age. Perfect blend of pulses, rice and ghee make it a healthy choice to feed your baby.
Foods for 10 to 12 months baby to weight gain
Eggs are high in protein, saturated fat and are packed with minerals and vitamin A and B12. Eggs are a healthy option for your child’s growth and development. Egg is a good source of choline, which helps to regulate the nervous system and brain.
You should consult your doctor before introducing egg to your child before 1 year of age. Start with egg yolk (yellow part) when your baby is 10 months old and give the white part of an egg only when the baby completes one year of its age.
Sometimes, child may have egg allergies’ reactions. In such cases, consult your doctor immediately.
It is believed that an egg a day keeps supplementary Vitamin away.
You can prepare boiled egg, scrambled egg, egg omlette, egg rice or french toast for your child to have.
Fat is a very important and essential part for your baby’s physical development. Your child’s growth and brain development are supported by a high-fat diet. Butter is one of the richest sources of fat. Butter provides the necessary fat, cholesterol, Vitamin A and essential fatty acids. You must stick to unsalted butter for your baby.
Butter can be a good option for kids who’re thin. Include butter to your child’s diet in the right amount. Too much intake of butter can also put negative effects on the baby’s health.
Add a teaspoon of butter to your child’s food like in dal, khichdi, porridge and soups to increase the fat content. You can prepare butter sandwich for your child. And, my son loves to eat butter, so, I add some butter in his chapatis like a spool full of butter and he eats it happily. Sometimes, I have to hide butter from him to avoid overeating of it.
#14 Whole Wheat
Whole wheat is rich in dietary fibre, proteins, antioxidants, minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium. Whole wheat can help your child to gain weight. It’s not a quick weight gain food but it is a healthy option to maintain a steady weight gain in children.
It is recommended to introduce wheat to your child after 10 months.
Sometimes, a child might have wheat allergies so, you need to check the allergy symptoms and stop feeding wheat to your child and consult the pediatric if you find any food allergies.
You can introduce whole wheat as cereal, porridge (dalia), pancakes, chapati/roti.
#15 Fruit juices
Juices are the healthy option to include in your child’s daily diet. They are loaded with energy, calories and nutrients. Fruit juices have good amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Fruit juice is a best option for kids who don’t like to eat fruits. You can prepare mixed fruit juice by adding more than one fruit together like, add oranges, pomegranate and pineapple together.
You don’t need to add extra sugar or salt for your baby. You can maintain its sweetness and tanginess by balancing fruits. Like add pomegranate with orange to make a perfect juice.
Fish is loaded with nutrients like proteins, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish is considered as a best source for omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to develop brain. Fish is also the only dietary source of Vitamin D.
Start with low mercury fish for your baby after 8 months of age. Fish is one of the top allergenic foods, so consult with the pediatric before introducing fish.
Foods for 1 to 2 years baby to weight gain
#17 Dairy Milk (Whole cream milk)
Whole cream dairy milk can help your child to gain weight. Milk is a natural source of calcium, protein, essential vitamins and minerals. Include at least two glasses of milk per day to your 1+ year child’s diet.
If your child doesn’t like plain white milk then you can make different shakes like mango shake, strawberry shake, chikoo shake, pineapple shake and a chocolate shake. But, don’t introduce cow’s milk until your child is a year old.
Cheese is a good option for your baby and it is packed with calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin B12 and phosphorus.
You can start giving cheese to your baby at 8 months of age after consulting with the pediatric. Cheese is an ideal food for babies who require a calorie rich diet to gain weight.
You can give cheese as Finger Food. Take a small piece of cheese, cut it into small pieces and give it to your baby as a snack. Such snacks develop baby’s eating habits by picking up the food himself and eating it.
You can offer cheese to your child having the dairy intolerance. The milk protein is largely broken down in cheese so it can be tolerated so people having dairy products allergies can tolerate it.
You can also prepare a cheese sandwich for your toddler.
#19 Virgin Olive oil
Olive oil is a fat obtained by processing the whole olives and when the oil is processed without any chemical treatment then it’s called the virgin olive oil. Olive oil contains good fatty acids, which help your child to gain weight. It also contains the high amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Always prefer to cook baby’s food in olive oil rather than other vegetable oils.
Olive oil is also good for skin; it helps to make your child’s skin smooth, shiny, and healthy.
#20 Dry fruits & Seeds
Dry fruits like almonds, cashews, walnuts, raisins, pistachios, dried apricots, peaches and seeds like sesame seeds, pumpkins seeds, flax seeds contain healthy fat which can help your child to gain weight.
You can add dried fruits in cereals, porridges, milkshakes, desserts and seeds to breads, salads, and snacks. You can prepare mix dry fruits powder to add in milk. It will increase flavor and nutritive value of milk.
You can prepare healthy ladoo having dried fruits and seeds for your kids.
If you are a non- vegetarian then meat can be a good option for gaining weight. It contains the essential amino acids, fat, protein, iron, zinc and selenium.
Red meat provides an easily absorbed form of iron for your baby. Make sure you introduce meat to your child’s diet firstly at home and that too with the home made meat.
Some suggestions for parents
- The weight of your baby depends upon the genetic constitution of parents. So, do consider it also.
- If your child is active, healthy and taking a proper diet but its weight is still not increasing then don’t worry.
- If you think that a chubby baby is a healthy baby then you are wrong. Sometimes, chubby babies are more inactive, which can be an issue with their growth.
- Always focus on a healthy diet rather than the high-fat foods.
- Set mealtime and snack times fixed for your child.
- Don’t feed in between the mealtime.
- Promote your child to do the physical activities, which can help to increase child’s appetite.
- Always make the mealtimes pleasant and not rushed as this will make the mealtime fun for the child and he/she will eat the food more happily, which will ultimately add to the baby’s growth.
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