I’ve had a heap of little 6-8 month old babies recently whose weight has slowed down.
It depends on how much as to what you do about it. We know that a failure to thrive is classified as crossing two major percentile lines on the graph in your child’s health record book.
An example of a major centile is the 25th or the 50th.
We also know that it is normal for weight to slow a little bit as baby is getting very active and it is hard to sometimes meet their calorific needs. They may have been unwell or teething around this age as well. All these things will have an impact.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s weight it’s always good to have a check up with your doctor, GP or Paediatrician to make sure there isn’t an underlying health condition that may have caused it. This is classed as organic failure to thrive and needs very careful monitoring.
An inorganic cause is failure to thrive in the absence of active disease. In this blog I’m looking at inorganic failure to thrive or slowed weight gain.
There are several things we need to look at before we jump into solution mode.
Is your baby on solids at 6 months?
- Do they prefer baby led weaning or are purees the go with your bubba? Sometimes a mix of puree and finger food works best for mum and baby. It gives baby the control they need and mum is happy because she can see how much food baby is getting. Some babies really dislike being fed and this can lead to poor weight gain. See my info on baby lead weaning at https://www.nurtureparenting.com.au/?s=baby+led+weaning+videos+oscar+and+liam
- Are they having enough solids? They need to feed to appetite and by that I mean feed them or let them feed until they turn their heads away and reject any further food by clamping their mouth shut. A normal length of time for a baby to eat solids is 30 minutes (some may be quite happy up to the hour mark).
- Are they having a balance of carbs, protein and veggies? A third of each is ideal to maximise brain growth and calorie needs.
- Are they on enough iron rich foods? The NHMRC recommends that pureed meat (or vegetarian equivalent e.g. lentils) should be one of the first foods a baby eats after six months of age. See my blogs on iron and the baby’s diet at https://www.nurtureparenting.com.au/?s=iron+deficiency
- Are they on too many milk feeds? A normal amount is three to four feeds a day. They don’t need night time feeds after six months of age, so a baby having many night feeds can miss out on the calories and nutrition they now need for maximum brain growth and development.
A few solutions to increasing solid food intake for your baby
- Try baby led weaning/finger foods. By giving baby control back again they may eat up to 25% more food. Give them a spoon at seven to nine months, again control is key to success.
- Try and give food before milk feeds. Wait half an hour to an hour to give the milk feed.
- Don’t force feed.
- Let them play with their food and explore.
- Feed to appetite. Wait until they turn their head away or clench their mouth shut. Offer an extra serve of food if this hasn’t happened.
- Dairy has double the calories of carbs so try and add dairy into each meal e.g. cream, butter, yoghurt, cheese (mild cheddar or a mild swiss cheese like gruyere or parmesan), Here’s a helpful fact sheet from Sydney Children’s Hospital Network on high energy eating for Infants and toddlers: https://www.schn.health.nsw.gov.au/parents-and-carers/fact-sheets/food-high-energy-eating-for-infants-toddlers
- Offer five smaller meals a day rather than three big meals or offer three meals and two snacks, mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
- Offer interesting meals with plenty of flavour. Miss Abigail loves spaghetti bolognaise with Italian herbs in a red wine and tomato sauce with freshly grated parmesan!
- Try and wean baby off the night feeds.
And most important, don’t worry, it’ll all come together. Babies don’t willingly starve themselves no matter what it looks like.
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