Baby/kids Weight Gain and Food: Part 1

One of the questions all doctors have to answer the parents is regarding the weight of their kids.

Weight is just a number. It is a tool to assess the overall health. But when I say weight is just a number make sure your child is having a healthy weight and strong immune system free of health problems. You can see some babies who have those chubby cheeks and cutie bums are always sick!

Children grow more rapidly than at any other time in life. Proper nutrition especially during the first three years is crucial for a child’s mental and physical development. Research shows that children who stay a healthy weight have less health problems later in life and able to learn better. When you worry about your children weight, first look at you and your partner’s structure when you were younger. Because genes play a major role. If you look at the kids of same age and height you can see some are muscular some are lean and some chubbier that means not all kids have the same body type or develop at the same time.

Weight gain may depend on birth weight also. Babies born prematurely have slow weight gain. If your child is active and is reaching milestones he might be having slow weight gain or decreased appetite.

Children need fats and proteins. Make sure your baby is daily nourished with a balanced diet. The causes of poor weight gain can be:

  • Not consuming an adequate amount of calories or not consuming the right combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
  • Not absorbing an adequate amount of nutrients.
  • Requiring a higher than normal amount of calories.
  • Undiagnosed food allergy or sensitivity.
  • Eating lot of processed food which lead to less appetite.

 

For babies less than 1 year Breast milk provides all nutrients if mother is well nourished. When starting on solids gives them maximum variety of tastes offer your baby a range of nutritious foods from your family meals. Let them discover different textures and experiment with feeding themselves. This can help them eating well in later years.

For toddlers since this is the period of fast growing right combination of carbohydrate fat, vitamins, minerals and protein is essential .For fussy eaters /picky eaters’ calorie and variety is the key. If they are eating even 1 or 2 spoon it should be full of nutrients and high calorie. Try to encourage smaller, more frequent meals with foods that have lots of nutrients instead of those ice creams, chocolates which are fad diet. Try to avoid feeding your child over-sized portions. A good rule of thumb is let your child decide how much they want.

In the next article I am going to list the food which helps in gaining weight according to the calories.
So next time when people ask about your kid’s weight, even I get the question about my son’s weight, don’t fret. Instead see how well you can nourish your baby and build his immune system.

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I'm Dr Shahana

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