Are you worried that your six-month-old has not gained adequate weight? Do you wonder what complementary food to give her? Here are some weight gain foods you can try.
By Priya Kathpal
One-year-old Aahana is underweight for babies her age and her mother, Reshmika is worried about the little one's health. Reshmika consulted the family physician to find out why her baby was not gaining weight adequately. She feared that it could be due to underlying illness. To her surprise, the doctor said Aahana’s health was perfectly fine and suggested some changes in the child's diet.
Babies gain weight gradually as they grow. But, at some point, weight gain slows down or stabilises. This usually happens when the baby starts to crawl and is more interested in exploring her surroundings than having food. Most babies lose weight initially after birth and get back to their birth weight in the first 8–10 days. Many babies go through brief periods when they lose a little weight. This is not unusual.
When a baby does not gain adequate weight in the first three months, then it could be a cause for worry. It is a good idea to consult your child's paediatrician and check why your baby is not gaining weight.
Ideally, in the first three months, a baby should gain, on an average, 100–175g a week. But it is important to understand that each baby will have her own pace of weight gain. This does not mean that one baby is healthier than the other. One good way of assessing how your baby is growing, is to use a growth chart. This will tell you what percentile your baby is at. For example, if your six-month-old baby is at the 80th percentile for weight, it means that 80 per cent of six-month-old babies are of the same weight as your little one.
As your little one starts getting more active and exploring her surroundings, a slight dip in her weight is natural. A good marker in weight gain is to check if your baby has doubled the birth weight by the sixth month and tripled it by the first year. Your baby's paediatrician will mark your baby's progress during the routine examinations and will be able to ascertain if there are any issues, based on the exams.
It’s important to look at weight in alignment with other parameters like milestones, immunity, the health of the baby, etc. However, there are some foods you can give the baby to ensure a good weight gain.
Note: The World Health Organization recommends that an infant must be exclusively breastfed for the first six months after birth.
Although the above list is good to be offered to babies every day, it’s important to make sure they consume a variety of foods that are local and seasonal, for a healthy body.
The author is a nutritionist and founder at Nutrify.
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