As a loving parent, you always want to make sure your baby is growing healthy and strong. One important aspect of their development is ensuring they gain weight at an appropriate rate.
Your baby’s nutritional needs vary as they grow, and incorporating certain foods in their diet can benefit their overall well-being.
We’ll share some top picks that can easily be included in your little one’s meals, fitting seamlessly into both of your daily routines.
Get ready to discover tasty options that can promote healthy weight gain in your precious little one.
Understanding Baby Weight Gain
Normal Weight Gain for Babies
From birth to 3 months, babies generally grow 1/2 to 1 inch (1.5 to 2.5 cm) per month and gain around 5 to 7 ounces (140 to 200 grams) per week.
Between 4 to 6 months, weight gain is typically around 4 to 7 ounces (110 to 200 grams) per week, allowing most infants to double their birth weight during this period.
For babies aged 6 to 18 months, the average weight gain is around 3 to 5 ounces (85 to 140 grams) per week
Between 3 and 6 months, babies’ weight gain slows down to about 105 to 147 grams (4 to 5 ounces) per week, while between 6 and 12 months, the growth rate is around 70 to 91 grams (2½ to 3 ounces) per week.
8 Foods for Baby Weight Gain
Breast milk is an amazing source of nutrients for your baby and is essential for promoting healthy growth.
To increase your baby’s weight, try to include these foods in your diet, as they can enhance the richness of your breast milk:
- Avocado: Rich in healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins, this superfood can boost your milk’s calorie and nutrient content.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios deliver essential fatty acids that can increase the creaminess of your milk.
- Oats: Full of fiber, iron, and other vital nutrients, oats can increase your milk production and improve its quality.
- Fish: Seek out salmon, tuna, and sardines filled with omega-3 fatty acids that help contribute to your baby’s brain development.
Remember, eating a balanced and wholesome diet is key to providing your baby with nutritious breast milk.
Pair these foods with regular hydration and rest for the best results. Your baby will thrive on your healthy breast milk, encouraging growth and weight gain over time.
Avocados are an excellent food for babies looking to gain some healthy weight. This fruit is rich in essential nutrients, loaded with beneficial fats, vitamins, and minerals that support growth and development.
You can introduce avocado to your baby by mashing it and serving it as a puree, or mixing it with other fruits or vegetables for a tasty and nutritious meal.
Bananas are a fantastic food option to help increase your baby’s weight. Packed with essential nutrients, they provide energy and promote healthy development.
- Rich in calories: Bananas contain around 89 calories per 100 grams, making them an energy-dense fruit.
- Easily digestive: Bananas are easy on your baby’s stomach, making them an ideal food for weight gain.
- High in vitamins and minerals: Bananas are an excellent source of essential vitamins like vitamin C, B6, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
How to include bananas in your baby’s diet:
- Serve mashed bananas as a simple and delicious snack
- Mix mashed banana with rice, oatmeal, or yogurt for a nutritious meal
- Blend banana along with other fruits to create a yummy fruit puree
- Slice ripe bananas and offer them as finger food to your baby (make sure to choose soft and ripe bananas)
Potatoes are a great addition to your baby’s diet, as they can contribute to healthy weight gain. They are rich in carbohydrates, which provide energy, and contain essential vitamins and minerals.
Here are some tips on how to include potatoes in your baby’s meals:
- Mashed potatoes: Begin by introducing your baby to mashed potatoes, ensuring they are cooked well and have a smooth, lump-free texture. Add breast milk or formula to achieve the desired consistency and make it easy for your little one to swallow.
- Potato bites: As your baby grows and starts to eat finger foods, you can offer them small, bite-sized pieces of cooked potatoes. Ensure that the potato is cooked until soft to avoid any choking hazard.
- Mix with other veggies: Combine mashed potatoes with other nutrient-dense vegetables, like carrots, peas, or sweet potatoes for a healthy and tasty meal. Doing this not only adds nutrition but also exposes your baby to various flavors.
Particularly… Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another great option to help a baby gain weight and most babies love them.
They’re a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins, including vitamin A, which supports healthy vision and the immune system.
Introduce sweet potatoes to your baby’s diet by steaming or roasting them and mashing them into a soft texture. You could also blend them with other vegetables or meats for a delicious, weight-gaining meal.
Grains and Legumes
Incorporating whole grains into your baby’s diet can contribute to healthy weight gain. Grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa are rich in nutrients and provide ample energy.
Be mindful of age-appropriate foods when introducing grains to your baby.
For example, start with baby cereal or baby oatmeal that can be mixed with breast milk, formula, or water. As your baby matures, you can explore other grain options and textures.
Including protein-rich legumes in your baby’s diet can aid in healthy weight gain as well.
Here are a few legumes to consider:
- Lentils: Rich in protein, fiber, and iron, lentils can be easily cooked and mashed. Combine them with rice or pureed vegetables for a tasty meal.
- Chickpeas: Blend cooked chickpeas into a smooth paste to make hummus. You can also add pureed chickpeas to veggie purees for an added nutritional boost.
- Black beans: These protein-packed legumes are a great source of antioxidants. Mash cooked black beans and mix them into meat or veggie dishes.
- Green peas: Boil or steam green peas and mash them to create a tasty and smooth side dish. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Kidney beans: Cooked and pureed kidney beans can be combined with other purees to create a nutrient-dense dish.
Remember to introduce legumes to your baby’s diet slowly, starting with small quantities and gradually increasing servings as needed.
Dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and whole milk can provide essential nutrients for your baby’s growth and weight gain.
Keep in mind that babies under 12 months should not be given cow’s milk as their main drink, but small amounts can be safely introduced in the form of yogurt or soft cheese.
With a variety of protein, fat, and calcium, dairy products can contribute to your baby’s weight gain while also supporting bone and overall health.
Desi Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is an excellent food to help increase your baby’s weight. It is a traditional and nutritious ingredient that provides healthy fats, essential for your little one’s development.
Here’s how adding desi ghee to your baby’s diet can benefit them:
- Rich in calories: Desi ghee is calorie-dense, which means that even small amounts can provide significant energy for your baby’s growth and overall well-being.
- High-quality fats: It contains good quality saturated fats that support brain development and promote healthy weight gain in babies.
- Easily digestible: Desi ghee has a unique property that makes it easy for your baby’s delicate digestive system to process.
- Boosts immunity: It contains vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are essential for building a strong immune system.
To incorporate desi ghee into your baby’s diet, you can:
- Add a small teaspoon to their rice, mashed vegetables, or porridge.
- Use it as a cooking medium for their meals, replacing regular oil or butter.
- Mix it with their soups or stews to enhance the flavor and provide extra nourishment.
Meal Ideas for Weight Gain
When looking to help your baby gain weight, it’s important to include nutritious, high-calorie foods in their meals and snacks.
High-Calorie Snack Ideas
For quick and easy high-calorie snack ideas, consider incorporating the following items:
- Avocado: Rich in healthy fats and calories, mash some avocado and spread it on whole-wheat toast or add it to a puree.
- Cheese: Choose full-fat cheese varieties to boost the calorie content. You can add cheese slices to sandwiches or melt it onto cooked vegetables.
- Oatmeal: Can be a great snack if prepared with whole milk and sweetened with natural sources like honey or fresh fruit.
- Eggs: Scrambled or boiled eggs are an excellent snack option packed with both protein and healthy fats.
When planning dinner, consider the following high-calorie meal suggestions:
- Dark Meat Chicken: Opt for dark meat cuts like chicken thighs to provide more calories and fat content than white meat. Serve it with some brown rice and mixed vegetables for a balanced meal.
- Whole wheat pasta dishes: Prepare a dish with whole wheat pasta, cooked veggies, and a high-calorie sauce like an Alfredo or a cheese-based sauce.
- Beans and lentils: These plant-based protein sources can be included in dinners such as casseroles, stews, and soups, providing suitable extra calories for your baby.
- Fish: Choose fatty fish options like salmon or sardines to incorporate beneficial omega-3 fatty acids into your baby’s diet, helping them gain weight while improving brain development. Serve fish with whole grains and vegetables for a nutritious meal.
By incorporating these nutrient-dense, high-calorie foods, you can create appealing and delicious meals that will help your baby gain weight in a healthy manner.
Remember to always consult with your pediatrician for personalized advice on your child’s nutritional needs.
When to Consult a Doctor
It’s essential to track your baby’s growth and development, especially during the initial months.
Understanding the changes in their weight gain patterns will help you identify if there’s a concern that the baby is not gaining enough weight. Here are some signs that it might be time to consult a doctor.
If your baby is under 6 months and putting on less weight than average, it is necessary to discuss with a healthcare provider because at this point, most of their calories come from breastmilk or formula.
Additionally, if your baby doesn’t gain about 0.67 ounces per day (20g/day) between 3 and 6 months of age, it’s essential to consult a doctor.
Another sign that warrants a doctor’s intervention is if your baby doesn’t regain their birth weight by 10 to 14 days after birth.
A dramatic drop in the rate of growth (weight, length, or head circumference) from your baby’s previous curve should also alert you to seek medical guidance.
Keep in mind that pediatricians and dietitians use weight-to-length measurements for children from birth to age 2.
After age 2, they reference the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) growth charts, which consider factors like weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) for age.
Remember, it’s important to consult your baby’s healthcare provider if you’re concerned about their weight gain, growth, or general health as they can provide personalized guidance and suggestions.