How to Get your Infant to Gain Weight

Just 2 weeks ago I went to my son’s 9 month checkup. He’s a very healthy, active and happy baby, but the doc said he’s not keeping up with the growth rates he should. He started of in the 80+ percentiles and he’s down into the 40’s for some now. I told him he eats like a cow, still drinks 28oz of breast milk a day so what gives? Well, as I mentioned before.. I have an active baby. Since 5 months old, he hasn’t stopped moving. The only times he’s ever still is nap time and overnight. Even then, I’ve nicknamed him Ninja Baby because of all the different places we find him in his crib. The boy is a mover and a shaker and his weight gain is clearly showing that. His calories in versus calories out is every dieters dream.

My pediatrician recommended a few points I wanted to share with you today if you sit in the same dilemma.

Food for Play vs. Food for Eating
There are many blogs and articles out that state “food under 1 is just for fun”, but my holistic pediatrician disagrees.  He states that food play between 6-9 months is totally fine, where as 9-12 months, they should really start intaking more and playing less. At the 9-12 month age range, their mobility is really starting to take off so their caloric intake needs to follow suit or they will end up plateauing with weigh gain. One question I had for him was how much should my baby be drinking of milk at this stage. He said, your babies milk intake will go down over time, but if their weight gain is not quite correlated, don’t worry about lessening it just yet. Between the 9-12 months they will start to lean more towards food instead of their bottles, now that may be right at 9 months whereas others make the transition closer to 12 months. Some (like mine) may need some extra convincing.. I have a milk man who loves his bottle so the transition may be slower for us that others – but don’t push it!

Introducing Nourishing Food
If you’ve ready my bio then you know I love the book Nourishing Traditions. Well, there’s another amazon book with a breakdown of nourishing food for infants called Super Nutrition for babies. It breaks down food introduction month by month and gives insight to nourishing food that is typically left out from our children’s modern day diets. Besides just recipes, it talks about a child’s diet, why certain foods should be introduced and even breaks down what produce to buy organic vs conventional if you need to be money conscious at the market. I highly recommend this book in general but especially for low weight gain children since traditional diets are high in fat.

Example Bottle & Meal Schedule
I pretty much break up my son’s entire awake time to always be eating solids or drinking milk every couple of hours.
7am – 7oz Bottle
8:30am – Morning Snack
11am – 5/6oz Bottle
1230pm – Meal
3pm – 5/6oz Bottle
5pm – Meal
615pm – 7oz Bottle
Anytime in the mix, I also feed and give hims snacks as necessary. He likes to share a lot of food I’m eating and I don’t ever tell him know. If your child looks interested, let them experience food (in line with safe and appropriate foods under 1*)

Load up On High Fat Foods
Now is not the time to skimp on calories and fat – your babies needs them to thrive and remain satiated until their next meal or bottle. If you’re little one is having trouble gaining or keeping weight, it’s incredibly easy to fill normal food with sustenance. You can add organic, cold pressed olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee straight to any puree. I also make sure to incorporate avocado and proteins with ever meal. Yea it might seem gross to puree chicken and other meat, but if they won’t eat it shredded, there’s no better way to get it in their diet. No matter what I’m making in the kitchen, I just add a tablespoon or more of a highly quality fat to his dish and I can see the difference in mood as we go throughout the day. Instead of barely making it to his next feeding, sometimes we realize it’s past bottle time and he hasn’t shown an ounce of hunger.

Now, you might be thinking, great – let me just squirt some oil on top of my child’s food.. yuck. But really, let’s have fun with it. There are so many wonderful aspects of produce and beans incorporated into diet that can make this transition really easy. I love to give my son a morning smoothie that’s made up of antioxidant filled berries but that doesn’t mean I need to throw it to the way-side. Now I just add a full avocado to the mix so I know there is the fat aspect in the smoothie. Same with meals, you don’t need to completely alter your food making, when I cook a butternut squash, I coat it in olive oil and proceed to add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the actual puree. Here’s a recent meal I made with wonderful detoxifying ingredients that has fat to pack the punch. I also started incorporating lentils which are high in protein along with spinach into meals for the added nutritional value.

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Butternut Squash & Lentils

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut oil

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half from top to bottom and scoop out all the seeds. Place on a baking pan at coat in olive oil on all sides.  Place face down, with skin side up and fill the baking sheet with 1/4″ of water. Pop into oven for approximately 40 minutes or until skin is easily pierced with a fork.

Then prepare the lentils on the stove. I put mine in a small saucepan with 1 cup water and bring to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes.

Once lentils are finished cooking, drain most of the water, reserving some in case the puree is too thick and pour lentils into a blender. Also toss in the coconut oil to let melt over the warm lentils. Set aside until butternut squash has finished cooking.

When squash is done, remove from oven and careful flip over each half. Scoop out the squash and toss into the blender with the lentils. Puree together to your child’s consistency level, adding in any reserved water as necessary by the 1/4 cup to thin out the puree if necessary.

I store all my purees in glass jars, since many plastic containers contain BPA and even if they claim to be free of contaminants, plastic breaks down over time. You can easily invest a small amount in jelly jars for easy and safe food storage. I get mine in bulk straight from Amazon.

-Essentially a Mom

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