A baby’s birth is a significant milestone in the lives of the parents. They would do everything they could to ensure that their child grows well and develops properly. It is also very difficult to choose which are the best foods for a baby or to know the healthy foods for weight gain in toddlers. Parents always keep a check on the milestones that the baby should achieve as per their age and gender. Since there are many types of foods, selecting the most nutritious one is not easy. Doctors advise that baby’s diet must have food of different colors and textures so that proper nutrition can be given. Does this also help to make a child gain weight fast (6-7 times)?
Many parents introduce fruits, vegetables, and dry fruits at early stages to give maximum nutrient value to the baby or high-calorie foods for weight gain in toddlers. Yet as per experts, babies do eat well but do not show adequate weight. This is a cause of concern for parents, and they think what can I give my child to gain weight or what can my child eat to gain weight?
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Though there is nothing to worry about as some babies have a high metabolic rate and have the tendency to burn their calories faster. It thus becomes important for parents to offer them food that has more minerals and vitamins. If not supplemented well with adequate nutrition it can lead to malnutrition, fatigue, irritation, and will result in a slow development of the baby. A diet rich in nutrition on the other hand will help them with proper weight gain and growth.
5 Reasons Your Toddler Is Not Gaining Weight
If the baby is not showing weight gain as per his eating habits, it is better to get the baby checked by a doctor as they need to assess if it is a cause of concern. The diagnosis of the doctor or the reasons for the toddler not gaining weight can be assessed by the following heads:
- The weight of the baby has dropped to the third percentile
- The BMI or body mass index is low, or the weight is below 20%
- The baby’s weight dropped to a further two percentiles from the last check-up
All the above-mentioned heads show that the baby is not gaining adequate weight and some reasons could be:
1. Feeding issues
If the baby is not fed well or not getting a sufficient quantity of milk, the baby will not show proper weight gain. This further could be due to latching issues or insufficient production of milk. Thus, talking to a lactation expert will help in improving the quality of the feeding session and also answer other queries related to milk and its production.
2. Already existing medical issues
The baby might not also be gaining weight due to a pre-existing issue. The baby could be having latching issues due to the inverted nipple of the mother making it difficult for the baby to get enough milk or the baby is not being fed in the correct position and the baby requires more quantity of milk. All these issues need to be discussed with the doctor so that the feeding cycles are smooth and yield better results.
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3. Not getting enough calories
It is important for the baby to get good calories but if the baby is too sleepy, they won’t get enough calories resulting in less weight gain.
4. Not able to absorb and digest what they eat
It is often seen by experts that babies take good quantities of milk yet have vomiting issues, food allergies, gluten allergy, etc which do not allow the food to get absorbed leading to improper weight gain.
5. The failure to thrive
The babies grow at different rates depending on the genes they have so if the parents are slim, the kids will also show the same growth pattern. But in case the child is not only slender but not able to reach the developmental milestones as per their age, it is a cause of concern and should be shown to a doctor immediately for diagnosis.
13 Common Foods for Weight Gain in Toddler
As the baby grows, it starts becoming choosy and fussy with food. It is a herculean task to feed them as they take maximum time to eat. On top of that pricky eaters worsen up the situation of the parents, as one has to keep offering them variety. Unless the food is of their taste, they refuse to eat it. In order to offer the required nutrient value, it is important to give them food that offers them healthy growth and keeps them active.
Few tips or the top foods for weight gain in toddlers which offer good health and nutritional value are discussed as below:
1. Breast milk
Undoubtedly breast milk is of the utmost importance for the baby as it contains antibodies that strengthen the immune system of the baby. It is important that the baby gets breastfed for 6 months to a year for good health, weight gain, and maximum nutrition. The mother needs to have a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins to enhance her milk supply. The feeding mother should also have a powder made from fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek, and dill leaves with Desi Ghee.
Related Reading: How To Eat Fenugreek Seeds To Increase Breast Milk Supply?
2. Cereals/ boiled vegetables (7 months and above)
When the baby is 7 months old, foods like cereals and fruit purees can be given. Dalia for the babies is one good option. As the baby grows, cornflakes soaked in milk should be offered. Apart from this, chapati or any stuffed Paratha with Ghee, cut into bite-sized pieces can be given. For people who eat non-veg, when the baby is one year old, small pieces of chicken can be given as well.
3. Fruits (6 months)
Fruits offer healthy nutrition so mango, bananas, Chickoo, and custard apple can be great choices to be given to a baby who is six months or more. The fruits can even be added to shakes, smoothies, or custard. Apart from that, dry fruits can even be powdered and added with curd. Research shows that bananas offer carbohydrates and energy and have 89 calories per 100 grams.
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Vegetables are important not only for weight gain but also to offer fiber to the toddler and prevent constipation and other digestive issues which could obstruct weight gain.
5. Eggs (1 year)
An excellent source of protein is by adding an egg to the diet of the baby. The eggs can be given in the form of an omelet, fried eggs, or even boiled. It can even be added to pancakes, as a filler, or while making puddings. Eggs should be given to the baby only when the child is a year old as it is safe. If willing to give before, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Omega 3 acids are found in abundance in fish, and it is highly beneficial for hormone production and the development of the brain1. Fish are even rich in vitamins and proteins and other poultry products are rich in vitamin B6 and B12, phosphorus, and magnesium. Chicken can be added to rice or curry or can be given as a soup as well.
7. Paneer & cheese
Paneer can be prepared at home with whole milk, and can be given as finger food, added to make sandwiches and Parathas. Cheese can be given to the child for healthy fat, and it is also calcium-rich and can be added to pasta, sandwiches, or simply can be eaten as a slice for good nutritional value and taste.
8. Dried fruits and nuts (after 1 year)
Parents often wonder, when can they give dry fruits to their babies, especially because nuts are ideal for snacks and are also energy boosters. They help with the child’s growth. It is good to include dates, raisins, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and apricots in the breakfast of the child. To prevent choking hazards, grind the nuts before giving them. Nuts help in balancing nutrition and keeping one full. The nuts should always be given after consulting with a doctor as they are known to cause allergies if given before the child is a year old.
9. Avocados (from 6 months)
Avocados are rich in calories and fat and it is an ideal choice to be given to toddlers. It helps with adequate weight gain, is good with dips, soups, spreads, sauces, and smoothies. Since it has a soft texture, it is liked by kids.
10. Ragi (from 7 months)
This food is commonly found in India and offered to babies who are seven months and above. A great choice for weight gain. As the baby grows, you can start giving Ragi Dosa, Ragi pancake, etc. This can be made in the form of porridge and then boiled in water along with Ghee and jaggery, which helps with weight gain for toddlers.
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11. Starchy vegetables
Starchy vegetables like sweet potato and potato are rich in healthy fat, an excellent source of carbohydrates and energy and can be mashed and eaten with cheese. It is an excellent nutritious food that meets the energy requirements of toddlers. Sweet potatoes are rich in sugar and beta-carotene and when mashed they taste good with cheese, milk, or even in a simple form. It increases calorie intake and helps with weight gain.
12. Peanut butter (1 year)
Peanut butter is a kid-friendly and highly nutritious food but can cause allergies so it is advisable to consult the doctor before introducing it to the diet of the child the peanut butter has high oil and fat content, which makes it rich in calories.
Peanut butter can be added in small quantities to soups, biscuits, toasts, fruits, etc. In case the toddler develops an allergy to peanut butter other spreads like that of soya, almond or hazelnut can be tried provided the child shows no allergic reactions.
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A very important constituent of Indian food is Ghee as it helps to increase weight in toddlers and with the digestion process and even offers inner strength. It is advisable to give a teaspoon of Ghee to the baby on a daily basis. It should be given gradually and then increased.
Thus, as a parent, all options are explored to get the best for the baby. Keeping in mind the safe and healthy options parents choose the best for their child. Going through the points above, care can be taken to give foods for weight gain in toddlers in moderation and introduce a balanced diet for the baby to ensure the healthy development of the baby.
As such all vitamins and minerals are essential for weight gain in toddlers but calcium, protein, iron, dietary fiber, Vitamins B2, Vitamin B1, and other minerals are ideal for the healthy growth and development of the toddler.
Multivitamins can be given to a child who is undernourished or underweight as a supplement with other food items. Under a doctor’s supervision, however.
The child can have high-calorie drinks like shakes and smoothies made with yogurt, whole milk, or cream for additional calories.
Peanut butter can be added as well but it is important to wait till the child ends the meal before offering them.