18 Excellent Foods to Help Your Baby Gain Weight Quickly
12 mins read
Food & Nutrition for Baby
As mothers, the nutritional needs of our baby form a big part of our concerns. When it comes to the well-being of your child, ensuring he is getting enough nutrition and growing up according to normal weight guidelines is very important. Most babies will steadily put on weight as they grow up. Their nutritional requirements increase, they demand more food, and they become stronger and healthier. However, some babies do not follow this pattern and find it difficult to gain weight.
There could be a number of reasons why your baby is not gaining weight. It does not always indicate a health problem.
Your baby may not be strong enough to breastfeed sufficiently. Babies often get tired while breastfeeding; so, even though they are hungry, they do not feed sufficiently.
Your baby's appetite may be low. Such babies tend to feed less, and they remain underweight.
Breastmilk may not be enough for your baby's dietary requirements if your supply of breastmilk is insufficient in quantity. Such babies may also need a top feed.
It is advised that babies be given top feed in supplementation to breastmilk only after 6 months of age. However, for some babies, it may be necessary to start sooner, especially if breastmilk is proving insufficient. If you are looking for foods for weight gain in babies, you have come to the right place. But before that, you should know if your baby is gaining weight at the right pace and in the right amount or not.
Average Weight Gain in Babies
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) Standards, your baby's weight gain should be as per the normal weight standards. His weight gain should be as per the pattern mentioned below:
From birth till 6 months of age, your baby should gain 170 to 200 grams of weight each week.
At this rate, the weight of your baby at 6 months of age should be double his birth weight.
From 6 months till one-year of age, your baby should gain around 80 to 140 grams of weight each week.
At this rate, the weight of your baby at one-year of age should be triple his birth weight.
If your baby does not gain weight at this pace, the paediatrician may recommend you to try and feed your baby weight gain food.
Weight Gain in Babies Up to 6 Months of Age
The best foods to help baby gain weight up to 6 months is breastmilk. Breastmilk is a complete food in itself and contains all the necessary nutrients in the right proportion to help your baby grow strong and healthy with each feed. Not only that, breastmilk also gives immunity to your baby thereby improving his capacity to fight diseases.
Having said that, it is important that you take care of your own nutrition during this period, mommy. What you eat will decide how nutritious and wholesome your breastmilk becomes. Make sure your diet is such that it ensures sufficient breastmilk supply for your baby, and also ensure the milk is nutritively complete and fulfilling. In your pursuit to be a good mom, do not forget to take care of your own health! Eat well, and stay fit.
In certain cases, upon proper consultation with your paediatrician, you may need to supplement your breastmilk with baby formula for weight gain. However, breastmilk is the single most best food for baby.
Weight Gain in Babies AFTER 6 Months of Age
While addressing baby weight gain, it is important to focus on healthy weight gain. Weight gain does NOT mean just stocking up on fatty foods. Healthy weight gain should come through muscle gain and only an appropriate amount of fat gain. Hence it is important to include sufficient amount of complex carbohydrates and proteins in the meal of your baby to ensure healthy weight gain.
13 Foods to Help Baby Gain Weight
If you are looking for healthy foods for weight gain in babies, here are some foods that every mom relies on. Start including them in your baby's diet to see results!
Potatoes are one of the best foods for gaining weight. Potatoes contain carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. You can use potato in various dishes. However, start with mashed potatoes and in less quantity.
6 to 8 months - 1-2 tbsp mashed potatoes; 2 to 3 times a week
10 to 12 months - 3-4 tbsp mashed potatoes; 2 to 3 times a week
Tofu is a good source of protein and calcium. It is made from soy milk and is a great weight gain food. Tofu can be sauteed in sesame oil and given to children.
After 8-10 months - 3-4 pieces in the form of finger chips.
Homemade, unsweetened yoghurt is a good source of minerals, especially calcium, vitamins, and healthy fats. Calcium will make your baby's bones strong too. While cow's milk is not suitable for your baby's delicate digestive system, cow's milk in the form of yoghurt is very good for them. However, it is recommended to introduce yoghurt only after the age of 8-months.
8 to 10 months – 2 tbsp; 2 to 3 times a week
10 to 12 months – 4 tbsp; 3 to 4 times a week
Dates are rich in calories and foster weight gain in children. Dates can be added as a sweetening agent in foods.
After 10 months - mash and add it to the foods.
Egg yolk – the yellow part of an egg – is an excellent weight gain food for babies as it is a very rich source of Class 1 proteins. The best way to serve your baby egg yolk is: boil the egg, isolate the yolk, mash it in a little bit of water and make a consistent paste. This kind of paste can be added to any puree or homemade baby food. Make sure you never serve eggs that are not properly cooked or raw; they can be harmful to the baby.
6 to 9 months – 1 tbsp (divided in two meals); 2 to 3 times a week
10 to 12 months – 1 full egg yolk (divided in two meals); 2 to 3 times a week
WATCH: Try These 2 Egg Recipes for Babies
Try these 2 egg recipes for babies who are 9-months-old:
1st Method: a. Boil an egg in water till water comes to a boil and keep boiling for 10 minutes. b. Put the egg in cold water, let it cool and then deshell it. c. Separate egg white and egg yolk, and mash the egg yolk with a fork. Thin it with water, formula, or breastmilk and serve it to your baby.
2nd Method: a. Take 1 egg and separate egg white and egg yolk. b. Beat the egg yolk with a fork. c. Take a pan, pour some coconut oil in it, and add egg yolk. Cook well on both the sides and give it your baby.
Ghee, or clarified butter should be a part of your baby's diet as it one of the best weight gain foods for babies. It can be included in different recipes. Ghee is extremely good for the human body and it is one ingredient that helps babies gain healthy weight. Breastmilk has a good amount of fats. Most babies lose weight when they switch to top feeds because their fat intake goes down. Ghee is the best way to make up for this.
6 to 9 months – half to 1 tbsp (divided in two meals); 3 to 4 times a week
10 to 12 months – 1 to 1.5 tbsp (divided in three meals); every day
7. Almond Milk
Kids love nuts and almond is one healthy nut. Almond milk is full of nutrition, devoid of cholesterol, and is a healthy choice for gaining weight.
After 12 months of age - 1-2 tbsp (Soak 1 portion of almond in 4 portions of water for about 8-10 hours, later grind and give).
8. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fibre, Vitamins like A, C, and B6, and minerals like magnesium and potassium, and are also very low on saturated fats. This makes them an ideal baby weight gain food. Sweet potatoes can be given to children in the form of chips, halwa, puree, etc. For babies, try our sweet potato kheer recipe.
6 to 9 months – 1 to 2 tbsp; 2 to 3 times a week
10 to 12 months – 3 to 4 tbsp; 2 to 3 times a week
Pulses are the powerhouse of nutrients. They are rich in proteins, calories, calcium, and iron, and you won’t need to look further to treat weight issues in kids. Moong dal is rich in carbohydrates and fats and works wonders for weight problems. Urad dal and moong dal are easy to digest and hence are healthy foods for weight gain in babies. Even tuar dal can be given, but it is best to serve it during lunch.
After 8 months – In the form of Dal and Rice.
10. Nuts and Dry Fruits
Almonds are obviously good for brain development as well as weight gain too. Other than almonds, cashews and pistachios also help in fat gain, which is not necessarily a healthy thing. Walnuts, on the other hand, will give your baby all the good and essential fats, and will also boost cognitive development. The best way to include nuts in your baby's diet is: roast and grind them into a powder, and use this powder in his meals.
Dry fruits like dates, figs, raisins, apricots, prunes, etc. can also be served in a similar fashion. You may even puree the dry fruits by adding a little warm water (such a paste should be consumed immediately, or within 24 hours with refrigeration). Alternately, you can make dry fruit laddoos for easy storage; break a laddoo in warm milk and serve it to your baby.
Although dry fruits are common baby weight gain foods, it is recommended to introduce nuts and dry fruits only after the age of 8-months.
8 to 10 months – 1 tbsp in a day (in a single meal, or divided in two meals); 3 to 4 times a week
10 to 12 months - 1 tbsp in a day (in a single meal, or divided in two meals); every day
11. Whole Wheat:
Whole wheat is rich in dietary fibre, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins. Whole wheat can be used to make chapatis or in the form of porridge. Whole wheat works as a slow weight gain agent but is surely a healthy way for gaining weight.
After 11 months - Small phulkas (chapati without oil)
Pumpkin is a rich source of calories, vitamins, and antioxidants. It also aids in weight gain in babies. Although your kids will be fussy about eating it, try some creative ways to introduce it to your child. You can either give it in the form of a puree or as finger food.
After 6 months – 4 - 5 sticks (Steamed pumpkin as finger food).
13. Finger Millet (Ragi):
Ragi is rich in protein, fibre, and vitamin B1, B2, and B6. It is one of the best foods to promote weight gain in babies. It also strengthens teeth and bones. Ragi porridge is very tasty and will be liked by your children. You can also introduce ragi to kids in the form of ragi dosa, ragi kheer, ragi chapatis, and of course ragi cookies. Just keep in mind the quantities to be given to your baby. Serving:
After 6 months - 1-2 tbsp in the form of porridge.
Fruits That Help in Weight Gain in Babies
Along with foods, even fruits can be given to babies after 7 months of age. Here are some fruits that you can include in your child's diet plan, as these fruits certainly promote weight gain in babies. Fruits are naturally sweet, so you don't have to bother about giving him extra sugar. Your baby will simply relish eating fruits. Try and include these fruits in your baby's diet:
Sapodilla known as chikoo in India tops the list of favourite fruits among kids because it is a dose of sweetness. Chikoo contains sugar in abundance and boosts weight gain. It also aids in digestion and good for the respiratory system.
The king of fruits is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B-6. It also is a good source of minerals and proteins. To feed a mango to your baby, mash it. Your baby will have a healthy weight.
Papaya is a great fruit and can is effective in treating weight problems in toddlers. Papaya is a good source of sugar and hence aids weight gain. Papaya can be mashed and given to babies.
Avocado, being rich in monosaturated fats, calories, and dietary fibre, is good for underweight babies. Introduce it in the form of puree.
Banana is the most common 'first fruit' that is introduced in a baby's diet. Rich in potassium, bananas will help your baby gain skeletal weight. They also serve as a good and natural laxative. It is advised to feed babies bananas in the first half of the day because sometimes bananas can give your baby a cold, especially during winters. Bananas can be served in the form of a puree or uncooked mashed.
When introducing foods to babies, certain important things that should be considered are often ignored. We consulted Mrs Varsha Satyan, a lactation counsellor from Chennai, who guided us about the 'serving' of the foods mentioned above and shared some useful insights on introducing foods to a baby, which are as follows:
3-Day-Wait Rule: When introducing new foods to a baby, always follow the 3-day-wait rule. Don’t introduce new foods every other day, instead wait for 3 days. You can also observe if he shows any possible signs of indigestion or allergy.
Solids After Breastfeeding: When giving solids to your baby, she recommended to first breastfeed the baby and then feed solid foods after half an hour or so.
Retain the Natural Taste: Another thing when giving solids to your baby is to try retaining the natural taste of a food. Do not add sugar and salt to it as it will help a child understand what he likes.
Choice Differs: Lastly, what you must remember is that each and every child is unique and so are their choices. Some may want to have more than the recommended serving portion and it’s fine as long as they stay healthy.
These were some best foods for kids to gain weight, so try to include these foods in your baby's diet. But, give them in moderation. Also, remember not to force feed your child. Give your baby more of what he likes to eat – as long as its healthy, and within the recommended serving suggestion. So, Bon appetite!