Is your baby underweight? Is he not chubby like all the other babies out here? Is your baby refusing food? How much quantity of food should be given? If yes, then you are on the correct blog to know what to do in all three scenarios. In this article, I will explain to you in detail why all these occur and how to overcome them based on my personal experience. We parents are so much concerned about our children’s health that we try our best to give everything to our baby in every way possible. When it comes to health issues, we become nurses and doctors all by ourselves and try to solve the issue on our own, by researching it through the Internet or by asking elders about it. Though you might be 100 percent sure about the issue and solution, it’s always safe to consult your pediatrician once before you take any action.
Why Babies are Underweight?
There are many reasons why babies under 6 months of age don’t gain weight:-
Babies get all their nutrition from breastmilk or formula milk until six months of age and will continue to get tiit ll yotheytop breastfeeding at the age of 1.5 or 2 years. Solids are not recommended before 6 months of age by doctors. But if your baby is showing signs to eat solids at the age of 4 to 5 months, you can start solids after consulting your doctor. Babies gain a healthy weight when they are breastfed or formula-fed as they get all the correct nutrients from the mother and the formula powder. If still, your baby is underweight when then you have to check out some things regarding your baby’s feeding sessions:-
1. Feeding Position:- Make sure that your baby is lactating the milk properly from the breast. Some babies may sleep for longer hours without waking up in between for feeds. If your baby also does the same then it’s important to wake him up after every 2 hours and offer breastmilk or formula milk. Keep the baby in an upright position while feeding. Give the correct amount of formula milk to your baby after consulting your pediatrician about which formula powder is the best for your baby. Babies need starting from 5ml to 180 ml of formula milk from 1 to 6 months of age. 6 to 8 feeds can be given in a day.
2. Feeding Quantity:- If your baby is a newborn, you have to feed him every 2 hours. 15 minutes on one breast and 15 minutes on the other breasts. If your baby is older, then feed him on demand. Your baby will give you signs that he is hungry and wants milk by crying, getting irritated, putting his fingers in his mouth, opening his mouth when your breast is close to him, and sleeping.
Don’t take out the breast from your baby’s mouth after some time. Wait till he falls asleep or leaves your breast on his own. He will fall asleep or leave your breast if he is full. Burp your baby after every feed and in between feeds. It helps in relieving colic in babies which causes gas and making the stomach full.
3. Mother Not Producing Enough Breastmilk:- Some women may not produce enough breast milk. Babies start to cry when they latch on your breast and don’t get enough milk after a few minutes. At this time you have to improve your diet with nutritious foods like lentils, milk, garlic, chickpeas, fennel seeds, flax seeds, whole grains, methi leaves, dry fruits, and cumin seeds.
After trying these home remedies to increase your milk supply, your milk production will increase. If it doesn’t increase then you have to consult your doctor. They will either tell you to give formula milk in between feeds or give medicines that increase your milk supply.
There are many reasons why babies having solid foods don’t gain weight:-
1. Not having the correct quantity of food:- It’s very important to give the correct quantity of food according to your baby’s age. You can check the food charts of all ages at the end of this post to know how much quantity of food you should give to your baby. Your baby will give you signs if he is full by refusing to eat. Stop it if he is full otherwise h,e may vomit all the extra food you fed him and become cranky.
2. Not eating nutritious food:- You should include fresh fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet regularly. Avoid giving packaged foods or chocolates and biscuits. At snack time don’t give him heavy snacks like milk biscuits, oats, cornflakes, chocos, etc. Fruits, milkshakes, kheer, curd, and buttermilk are the best options for snack time. For meals, you can add a variety of combinations like kikhichdicarrot potato puree, curd rice, moon dal, dosa, roti, etc.
3. Refusing to eat:- Sometimes your baby just doesn’t want to eat it as he is busy playing or not in the mood. You can feed him later but feed it. Your baby’s body needs the correct amount of nutrients and minerals to grow. If he doesn’t like to eat what you are feeding, then give him some fruits or nuts or his favorite food. You can make the food attractive and then offer him. Buy some fancy bowls and spoons and glasses, this will help a lot in engaging your child to sit at the dinner table. Make all the food time fun for your baby. Let him have the food with the family. Engage your baby in physical activity. This helps in digestion and your baby will feel hungry and eat well.
4. Have an illness:- If your baby has a fever or cold or any other illness then he may resist eating or drinking anything. It’s very normal and don’t force your baby to eat. Just make sure you give him plenty of liquids and rest. Feed him only when he feels hungry. Buttermilk, fresh homemade juices, curd rice, simple khichdi, idli, upma, and cornflakes are the best options when your baby is not feeling well. It’s ok to give him one of his favorite foods like chocolate and biscuits at this time. During fever, your baby’s weight may decrease a bit but he will go back to his normal weight once he is well.
Weight Gain Foods For Babies Before one year:-
Some babies look thin though they are at their correct weight and some babies look more chubby though they are not overweight. It all depends on the body’s personality and genes from the parents during pregnancy. If your baby is growing healthy, eating, playing, and reaching all the milestones then you shouldn’t worry at all. Before introducing any new food offer the same food for at least three days continuously to check for allergies or any side effects. Let’s check the weight-gaining foods for babies below one year:-
1. Potato and sweet potato:- This is one of the favorite vegetables for elders and children. It tastes so good that we all love it so much and we can prepare much variety of dishes with these vegetables. It contains lots of nutrients and minerals which are essential for the healthy growth of your baby. Sweet potato also known as aloo bakra in India is perfect for babies because of its natural sweetness.
Since your baby is less than one year you have to give solid food in mashed or pureed form for easy digestion. Take a sweet potato or a hard potato without sprouts on them. Boil them completely until they are soft and peel off the skin. You can also steam them in a steamer. This is a better option because boiling can make the food a little bit unhealthy. Mash it with a masher or a fork. Add half a spoonful of ghee and a little bit of ajwain powder and serve it warm. Avoid potatoes when your baby has colic, vomiting, or constipation. If your baby is healthy you can give potato daily or 2 to 3 times a week.
2. Moong, Tuvar, and Urad dal:- Moong daal is very good for digestion and it is very light to the stomach with lots of nutrients in it. It takes less time to cook and is tasty too. Babies love to have it with mashed rice or in puree form. Tuvar dal is a bit heavy and your baby may become full after having just 2 to 3 tablespoons of dal. But it is very good for your baby’s growth. Traditionally tuvar dal is the main dish every day in houses with small children. It has a lot of protein in it. It is a very good option for people who don’t eat Non- Veg. Urad dal is high in calcium, fatty acids, and proteins. With this, you can make different varieties of foods like idli, dosa, vada, uttapam, and even laddoo.
Moong daal and tuvar dal can be cooked in a pressure cooker until they are soft. You can serve it as it is or add a little bit of ghee or ajwain powder. Or you can mix it with mashed rice and serve it warm. You can also make dal kichdi with this which is very nutritious and very tasty. Just add an equal amount of dal and rice along with some vegetables like carrot, cucumber, cauliflower, potato, etc, and cook it in the pressure cooker for 4 to 5 whistles. That’s it! Your baby’s yummy food is ready. Add little ghee to enhance the taste.
3. Ragi Porridge and Curd:- Ragi and curd are a very good option if you want your baby to gain a healthy weight. Ragi has been a healthy immunity builder since the olden days. Many of us don’t eat it due to its taste. It’s very important to have ragi 2 to 3 times a week in winter every day in susummerFor babies who are growing ragi is one of the essential foods to be given in their diet. Since babies don’t know the taste of sugar and salt before one year, they won’t refuse to eat it. Ragi strengthens the muscles, bones, and teeth.
Curd is one of the babies’ favorite foods. They love it so much that some babies only want to have curd and no other solid foods. Because of its smooth and silky texture, it is very easily digestible and yummy too. It’s better to make curd at home than bubuyt from markets as chemicals and preservatives are added to the curd in the markets to preserve it longer.
Recipe of Ragi:-
Ragi can be given in many forms. You can make a simple ragi porridge or ragi dosa or mix ragi powder with breastmilk or formula. Ragi is available in the market in powder form and whole-grain form. You can purchase any of them. Ragi powder is easy to use as it is already powdered. Ragi whole has to be made into a powder by lightly frying it in a pan for 5 minutes and then grinding it into a powder.
To make ragi porridge, take one cup of cold or room-temperature water in a pan. Add one or two spoons of ragi powder to the water and mix it completely until the ragi dissolve in the water without lumps. Now put the pan on the gas stove and cook it for 5 minutes or until it becomes a smooth paste. Add little ghee on top of it and serve warm.
How to make curd at home:-
- Boil one packet (250 ml) of milk in a pan.
- Let the milk cool down a bit.
- When it is slightly warm add half a tablespoon of curd into the milk and mix.
- Cover it and keep it in a dry and clean place.
- Your card will be ready in 5 hours.
You can feed the baby curd as it is or add fruit purees, dates puree, brown rice, and plain rice to it to make it more nutritious and healthy. Many babies love simple curd.
4. Paneer and Desi Ghee:- Home-made panner and ghee are both dairy products that help in boosting your baby’s immunity and gain a healthy weight. Elders recommend adding ghee to very meal of your baby because of the taste and strength it provides. It gives healthy fat to your baby’s body which is necessary for weight gain. You can add ghee to baby food or add it when making idli, dosa, and upma.
Paneer and ghee can be made at home but it is a time-consuming process. If you have a busy schedule you can buy pure desi ghee and panner in a milk shop or talk to a milk vendor to bring.
With paneer, you can make mashed paneer burji, panner fry, or offer it as it is when your baby is more than 9 months old.
5. Egg and Dry Fruits:- You can start introducing egg yolk to your baby when he turns 7 to 8 months old. Remember only the egg yolk not the white part of the egg. Babies can’t digest the egg white so it’s better to avoid it. You can give egg white when your baby turns one year old. Dry fruits can be given for 8 months in powdered form. Remember egg yolk and dry fruit powder are heavy foods so they must be given in a very small quantity. You can slowly increase the quantity as your baby grows.
Egg yolk can be given in mashed form or pureed form. You can add water or formula milk or breastmilk to make a puree. Egg yolk omcompletean be made or you can mix egg yolk in plain rice and feed your baby. Start by giving one spoon. Check for allergies.
To make dry fruits, take half a cup of almonds, walnuts, pista, and Kaju. Lightly fry them in a pan till they change their color a bit. Cool it down completely and grind it to a fine powder. You can add this powder to baby meals like oats, cornflakes, porridge, and purees. During summer give dry fruit powder once or thrice a week. If you give it regularly it may cause constipation in babies. In winter you can give regularly.
6. Banana and Oats:- Banana has a total of 105 calories in them making them a quick and healthiest snack for kids and folders. They are packed with carbohydrates which help in healthy weight gain. You can give your baby in a mashed form, milkshakes, mix it with curd, fruit custard, or make a fruit salad.
Oats prevent constipation in babies and also in adults. It is one of the healthiest options everyone should have in their diet twice a week. They are a healthy weight gain option for people of all ages. You can start giving oats when your baby turns 7 to 8 months.
Weight Gain Foods For Babies After one year:-
- Paneer Parata.
- Moong dal dosa.
- Idli with ghee or sambar.
- Cheese, ghee, curd, and Butter.
- Ragi milkshake.
- Banana, avocado, pear Milkshake.
- Chana dal soup.
- Mutton, fish, eggs, and chicken.
- Jowar dosa.
- Dry fruits Milkshake.
- Breastmilk or normal cow milk.
- Olive oil.
After one year your baby can have everything and it’s time to start giving cow milk. Check here to know how to introduce cow milk to babies.
Baby Food charts:-