The neighbour says, “Isn’t your daughter too short and tiny for her age?”
The aunt says, “Bring her to my home. I will make her chubby in no time.”
The MIL says, “In our days we used to spend a lot of time behind our kids. Their health was our main concern. We had 5 to 6 kids, all healthy, and these days girls are crying for only one or two!”
The husband asks, “Are you feeding him enough? I see you are becoming big and he is becoming small!”
The friend says, “Why don’t you try that multigrain powder?”
And after hearing all this, deep inside, you question yourself – are you a good mother? You may reply to all this logically but somewhere inside, the soft, loving mother in you is worried…
Our baby’s weight is an indicator of his overall growth and development. This is why paediatricians also instruct us to track his weight closely and report any abnormalities or sudden loss of weight. However, sometimes, weight gain in babies may just be slow for absolutely normal reasons that are nothing to worry about! As a mother, I have found from experience that there are some situations when babies don’t gain weight and this is totally okay. So, before worrying ourselves sick and trying multigrain, organic food, etc., we should find out if one of these reasons is behind the slow weight gain.
Situations/Reasons That Slow Down Your Baby’s Weight Gain
1. Your Baby Is Active For His Age
Is your child very active for his age? If he is now mobile, does he engage in jumping/walking/running for a long time? Seemingly, he never gets tired! If this is the case, don’t worry. Your little one is probably using up all his food for playing and the other activities he is performing, rather than storing it as fats and becoming plump. This is a healthy sign and nothing to worry about. Remember, an active baby is a healthy baby even if his weight gain seems to be slow.
2. Your Baby Needs De-Worming
This may seem like a scary situations; imagine, your baby could actually be having worms! However, this is a fairly common problem in children especially once they start crawling. Most of the time, kids tend to get their hands dirty and put them in their mouth. So, worms always have access to their stomach. You may give your kids as healthy food as possible, and the child may also eat them. But then worm gets all the nutrients instead of your child.
Check if your baby also suffers from nausea, vomiting, or tummy ache. These are signs of a worm infection. A simple solution is to consider deworming once in 6 months. After deworming, your child should gain weight normally. Consult your paediatrician for this.
Does your baby also shows signs of a stomach infection or is struggling with weight gain? Sometimes, expert help is required to solve the problem.
Tune in on Apr 13 to our All Day Q &A Session with Charmi Gala, Nutritionist, to get expert answers to all your questions!
3. Genetics Is Playing a Role
Genetics plays a vital role in deciding how your little one looks, including his overall body type and weight! Check if anyone in your family has also experienced this: they eat anything, anytime, anywhere, but are still thin and never put on weight. If you find someone like that, it is probably this gene that your little darling has also got!
4. Your Baby Is Drinking Too Much Water
Does your child drink more water? Kids living near tropics tend to be thirstier and always fill their stomach with liquids. This makes them less hungry and hence they don’t eat well enough to gain weight. While drinking water is a good habit, try to regulate it in a manner that doesn’t affect your baby’s meals.
5. There Is a Long Gap Between Meals
As a thumbrule, babies and toddlers need to eat/feed at least once in three hours. If there is too much gap, the body will start using the reserves and the child will not gain weight. It is best to not give too much gap between meals.
6. Your Baby is Consuming Too Much Fibre
Does your little one consume too many fibre-rich foods such as spinach, oats and beans? High intake of fibre can sometimes fill the stomach without providing enough nutrition for weight gain. Although fibre is good for health, and helps keep digestion in order, it should be taken in moderation, especially when it comes to babies and toddlers.
7. It is Crawling or Walking Time
I am sure many of us moms must have observed this, and it is entirely normal. Babies tend to lose weight once they start crawling or walking. After all, so much energy is used up in showing off these new skills! This is not something to worry about. Just increase their food intake and the variety, and weight gain will be restored.
8. Fever or Seasonal Infection Is Affecting Weight Gain
Sometimes, kids don’t gain weight when they are down with fever, cold or cough. These are common problems in babies as their immunity is still low. If we just help our babies recover from the sickness, and build their immunity, their weight gain will be back to normal. A good way to do this is to maintain high hygiene standards at home by insisting on hand-washing.
9. Your Baby Is Not Getting Enough Hind Milk
If you are breastfeeding your baby, the breastmilk is the best food ever for healthy weight gain. However, some breastfed babies who don’t get enough hind milk could become underweight. Hind milk simply refers to the milk at the end of a feeding, which has higher fat content than the milk at the beginning of the feeding (or foremilk).
This can be resolved simply by making the baby drink from the previous breast while starting a new feed so that entire milk is sucked out.
10. Your Baby Needs More Protein
Finally, check if your child is getting enough protein in his meals. We assume that fats are required for weight gain. However, we must try and give our child more protein-rich food rather than fats. Fats do make kids fat, but protein is what is needed for body building. If your child has been introduced to solid foods, you can try feeding him pulses, eggs and dairy products.
When To See The Paediatrician
If none of the above reasons apply to your child but he/she is still not gaining weight, you need to consult a paediatrician. Probably, there are some problems with food digestion or absorption, which require professional help to sort out.
If the weight loss in your baby is accompanied with any of the following, it is cause for concern. Go to the doctor immediately.
• Increased/ decreased urination
• Excessive thirst
• Lack of appetite
• Constant stomach aches
• Bloody stools or presence of mucus in stool
Note: Before confirming lack of appetite just check your baby’s mouth for ulcers. Sometimes it may happen that a mouth ulcer may prevent him from eating, which to us may look like lack of appetite. If the child eats well after the ulcer is cured, then there is no reason to worry.
Ultimately, we must endeavour to give our child a balanced diet no matter what. This is the most important factor for gaining weight in a healthy manner. Once the child gets older he will understand what is important. As parents, we must refrain from giving unhealthy food like candies or fast food. That is the worst thing you can do to your child.
No matter how much your kids drain your patience or throw tantrums or drive you crazy, give them healthy food. Let’s be strong in that so our children grow up with clean eating habits and excellent health.
Picture Via Shutterstock