Weight loss in babies is something that worries a lot of moms. I realized this after a conversation with a friend of mine.
My friend and I had a chitchat as she came to our native village for attending her cousin’s marriage. The moment I attended the call, she started pouring her heart over the comments of cousins and relatives made about her baby.
She had been subjected to a variety of comments ranging from “Your baby looks so small and tiny” to “Don’t you feed your baby well, she looks like a feather”. But then this one was ultimate comment – “We asked you to start ragi and other solids from her 28th day onwards, And you didn’t listen to us right? Now your baby is suffering. Look at her weight now !”
Like any other mom, she was quite pissed off, and asked me what was wrong with her relatives and whether her baby was underweight. I laughed and comforted her by telling her that, “As long as your daughter is healthy , active and achieves the milestones according to her age, there was nothing to worry” . She was relieved but hurt by the sarcastic comments made by her family.
I am sure many of you have been subjected to this.
The comments made by the elders and other ‘experienced’ moms can send us down a spiral of self doubt.
This post gives you the 12 Reasons for weight loss in babies, plus the solutions!!
12 Reasons for weight loss in babies:
People (even me) love chubby babies. Let’s be honest here – the whole chubby cheeked dollopy baby attracts everyone’s attention!
But according to WHO, such babies are often prone to heart ailments, cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity in the future. So if your baby is lean, slender and doesn’t have that rolls of fat on her cheeks, tummy and bums, thank your stars !!
#1. Activeness of your baby
As long as your baby is healthy and active , there is nothing to be worried about weight . Certain babies are super-active, so their metabolic rate would be high and starts losing weight due to the activities and fussy food intake. If he is gasping or panting for breath post crawling or walking, he needs more energy, so consult his paediatrician.
#2. Worm infection
Worms can affect your baby’s weight! Worms in baby’s intestine prevent the absorption of nutrients from the food provided. Check with your paed for the possibility of worm infection , he will prescribe medicines to get rid of worm problems, there by helping your baby to put on proper weight.
#4. Long gap between meals
Refrain from keeping a long gap between 2 meals of baby. Ideally a baby should be fed simple and small meals/ snacks every 3-4 hours. If you feel that feeding the child a heavy meal after a long break will help, let me tell you, it does not.
#5. Breastfeed/ water given all the time
#6. High intake of fiber rich foods
Avoid too much of high fiber foods like whole grain pasta , brown rice etc, the fibers in it can fill up your little one’s tummy for long and thereby his food intake would be reduced
#7. No variety in foods offered to the child
Certain babies spit out the food offered , cause they don’t like the taste or they are fed up of the same food given everyday . You can refer to the month wise food charts to get an idea of various meal options
#8. Poor/ no absorption of nutrients
This can be fixed by adding high calorie foods like Kerala banana, sweet potato, cheese , full cream milk , butter, peanuts, ghee, eggs etc as part of your baby’s daily intake . But that doesn’t mean you have to force chocolate milk or high calorie chocolates everyday.
Note: If your child isn’t gaining weight despite eating a balanced, calorie dense diet, let your child’s doctor know.
#9. Weight loss due to high metabolism
Babies do tend to lose their weight once their activities increase. Generally they lose weight once they start walking /crawling. This is nothing to be worries about. Just modify their meals accordingly. If you aren’t sure about how and what to feed them, you can have a look at our food charts.
#10. Loss of weight due to illnesses
You may notice a dip in weight after a bout of fever,cough, cold or HFMD. This again is not something to be worried about. Kids generally don’t eat enough when they are down with some illness. It should get better after they get better.
#11. Weight loss post weaning
Some babies lose weight after weaning. His / her food should be well balanced with whole cream milk, water , fruits , veggies and cereals.
#12. Not getting enough hindmilk
If your child is exclusively breastfed, then the child not getting enough of the calorie and fat rich hindmilk could cause a lack of weight gain. You can avoid this by letting the child have enough time on one side so that they get the hind milk too.
When should the weight loss be a cause for concern?
We spoke about the reasons why your baby’s weight has dropped. But what if it something else? What if the weight loss is something that requires a trip to the paediatrician?
Does your child have any of the following symptoms-
- Increased/ decreased urination
- Excessive thirst
- Lack of appetite
- Constant stomach aches
- Bloody stools or presence of mucous in stool
Note: In some kids refusal to eat is not due to lack of appetite but due to the presence of mouth ulcers. Another reason could be a tongue tie or fatigue arising due to over use of pacifiers.
If your child has any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you should get your him/her tested to rule out any issues.
Also make sure you don’t miss any of the routine check-ups. During these check-ups the doctor will be able to see if the child has achieved the required weight according to his/her age and height.
But the most important thing that I would like to share with you is that you should not compare/ set unrealistic weight expectations for your child. Do not let the weight alone be a yardstick for his/her health.
Hope you are relieved now after reading the 12 Reasons for weight loss in babies . See your baby playing , cuddle him and treasure each and every moment with him / her . Throw that “my baby is underweight ” and your relatives comments out of the window 🙂 Chill Maadi !!