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How to Make a Baby Gain Weight Fast: A Complete Guide

How to Make a Baby Gain Weight Fast-A Complete Guide

If you’re a first-time mom wondering how you can help your baby gain weight faster, you’re in luck. In this guide, I’ll give you a few tips and tricks to safely promote weight gain for your baby. 

I’ll be discussing several weight gain tips for premature and breastfeeding babies, how much your baby should weigh at a given age, and other related topics.

Let’s dive right into it!

How to Make a Premature Baby Gain Weight Fast

How to Make a Premature Baby Gain Weight Fast

Most babies gain weight during the later part of the third trimester. Therefore, if your baby was born prematurely, there’s a HIGH CHANCE that they might be underweight.

This may worry you as a new parent, but it’s not as bad as it seems. A baby being small doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unhealthy.

Massage Your Baby Regularly

Spending time with and caressing your little one is fun and fulfilling. But what if I told you that could also help them grow? Giving them a massage during your bonding time can actually help them gain weight!

Regular oil massages can help your baby have better lipid absorption through the skin. It also positively affects metabolism, lowers the risk of infections, and promotes mental development.

In addition, massages for constipated babies help give them relief and promote regular bowel movement (because pooping during sleep is normal for young babies!).

For a premature baby, stick to using olive oil when massaging them. Avoid synthetic oils because the skin may not absorb them, and it might sometimes cause your little one to develop rashes.

Spread some olive oil on your hands and rub them together to warm them up. Then, gently massage the oil into your baby’s skin for around 15 minutes.

Increase Skin Contact With Your Baby

Increased skin contact has lots of benefits for premature babies. It creates a closer bond between you and your child, keeps them warm, and regulates their heartbeat.

Regular skin contact helps babies sleep well and even makes breastfeeding much easier

It actually helps the baby get used to moving their head toward the mother’s nipples for feeding time, which is a valuable tool if you’re trying to get them to gain weight!

How to Make a Baby Gain Weight Fast While Breastfeeding

How to Make a Baby Gain Weight Fast While Breastfeeding

Aside from the tips to help promote weight gain in premature babies, here are a few general tips you can follow when breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding Often

The safest and fastest way to help them gain weight is by breastfeeding them MORE OFTEN. 

Most moms only breastfeed when their baby expresses hunger.

However, for premature babies still in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), you must feed them every two to three hours.

You might also need to breastfeed your baby throughout the night

If you have difficulty producing breast milk, consider donor milk or incorporate foods that can help you produce more milk naturally, like beans, dairy, and eggs.

Monitor Your Own Meals

This step goes hand-in-hand with breastfeeding your baby more often. You’ll want your baby to get a lot of crucial nutrients they need to gain weight.

You will thus need to eat the proper mix of foods to produce the best nutrition in your breast milk for your baby.

You should regularly be eating barley, fennel, fenugreek seeds, whole grains like oats, and papaya. These superfoods help promote high-quality, nutrient-rich breast milk.

Avoid taking in food and drinks that are anti-lactogenic, such as peppermint, parsley, and any alcoholic beverages.

How to Make an Older Baby Gain Weight Quickly

How to Make an Older Baby Gain Weight Quickly

You can help your slightly older baby (older than six months) gain weight in ways that are different from newborns.

This is because your baby will most likely eat solids already at this age, as this is the start of their move from only drinking baby formula or breast milk to eating solid food.

Best Food for 1-Year-Old Baby to Gain Weight

Adding healthy fats is one of the ways to help your older baby gain weight. Olive oil and avocados are two great sources of healthy omega-3 fats.

Meats with more calories are another great option. Pork, chicken legs, and ground turkey are some foods that can add many calories to your baby’s diet.

Adding full-fat dairy products like grated cheese to baby food or giving your little one baby-safe full-fat yogurt are great options too. Just don’t get the ones high in sugar.

Fruits like baby bananas, pears, and avocados are also great options for your baby. While they’re loaded with calories, they’re not too high in sugar content.

NOTE: You must refer to a baby feeding chart or a preemie feeding chart to ensure you keep your baby safe as you expand their diet.

Vitamins and Supplements

Yes, you read that right. Vitamins and supplements aren’t just for older children and adults; there are also baby-specific ones that can help in the weight-gain process.

While most babies have sufficient iron stores in their bodies in the first four months after birth, it will soon run out. This is because breast milk doesn’t have much iron in it.

Baby formulas, meanwhile, have iron, other nutrients, and vitamins that your baby needs to grow healthy. You can add food supplements for babies to their solid food, too.

For example, some parents give their babies prebiotics or vitamin D drops to complement the nutritional value of meals.

Scheduled Mealtimes

When a baby is younger than six months, you’ll usually feed them whenever they get hungry. However, the 6-month mark is a good time for them to start mindfully eating.

This will teach them to have healthy eating habits that they’ll carry through adulthood. They’ll be less likely to over or undereat if you teach them right.

Don’t forget their afternoon merienda or snacks in between meals. Babies’ small stomachs can’t hold much but empty out pretty quickly!

Additionally, ensure you have your burping techniques down to help them digest without issues.

How Much Should a Baby Weigh?

How Much Should a Baby Weigh?

According to the World Health Organization and USA’s CDC, newborn babies should weigh about 3.4 kg for female babies and around 3.5 kg for male babies.

When they turn six and a half months old, they grow to 7.5 kg for female babies and an average of 8.2 kg for male babies.

Finally, when they’re a little over a year old, female babies should weigh around 9.7 kg, while male babies should weigh around 10.5 kg.

It’s important to note that these are averages, and many factors can cause minor deviations in weight. A slightly under or overweight baby isn’t cause for concern.

Why is My Baby Not Gaining Weight?

There are three main reasons why your baby might not be gaining weight. They’re not taking in enough calories, absorbing calories, or burning too many calories.

Newborn infants should take around 1.5 ounces or 43 grams/mL of baby formula every three hours. It may explain why they’re not gaining weight if they’re not getting this amount.

Celiac disease, food allergies, and diarrhea affect the small intestine’s ability to absorb food too. Your baby might be eating enough, but they won’t be able to absorb it well.

In addition, some babies born prematurely, have heart abnormalities, or have difficulty breathing might consume more calories than they’re taking in.

If you’re worried that your baby might have a condition, I recommend setting up an appointment with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible.

How to Tell if Your Baby Needs to Gain Weight

How to Tell if Your Baby Needs to Gain Weight

The easiest way to tell if your little one needs to gain weight is by weighing them regularly, at least once or twice a month.

You’ll also want to get an infant growth chart to accurately monitor and see if your child is growing at the appropriate weight, depending on their size and age.

The infant growth chart usually includes length and weight measurements from birth to 24 months. Other charts also include head circumference measurements, too.

Best Foods for a Baby to Gain Weight

Best Foods for a Baby to Gain Weight

It’s worrisome for many parents that their little ones are not gaining weight like other kids. 

If you think your baby needs to gain more weight than they are at the moment, you can try adding several calorie-rich foods to their diet, including:

  • Olive oil – Contrary to protein and carbohydrates, which only have at least four calories per gram, the plant-based fat you can get from olive oil is nine calories per gram. So, drizzling some oil into your baby’s puree will surely give them a good calorie boost. 
  • Nut butter – Peanut, almond, and cashew butter are nutrient-dense and full of healthy fats that can help increase your baby’s calorie count. 
  • Whole milk – It’s highly recommended to introduce whole milk to babies between 1 and 2 years old to encourage weight gain. Before they turn 1, parents can also start introducing full-fat dairy products to the diet. 
  • Avocado – This is known to be a high-fat fruit, so it’s no wonder it can help boost your baby’s calorie intake. It contains a healthy fatty acid called monounsaturated oleic acid, which is good for a child’s mental and physical growth. 
  • Bananas – 100 grams of bananas contain approximately 105 calories. Hence, it’s ideal for your baby’s weight gain. It’s also loaded with vitamins A, C, D, and K, and B vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.
  • Cheese – This is an excellent source of calories since every 50 grams of cheese equates to 2 full glasses of milk worth. It’s best to start adding grated cheese to your homemade baby food.
  • Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a good source of soluble dietary fiber, which can help promote the growth of good bacteria in your little one’s stomach. It also provides nutrients like zinc and iron.
  • Full-fat yogurt – 6 oz. of yogurt contains protein (15 grams) and calories (165). You can easily make snacks and baby food with full-fat yogurt.

Baby Food Chart for Weight Gain for Babies 6-9 Months

Baby Food Chart for Weight Gain for Babies 6-9 Months

For babies under six months old, breast or formula milk will suffice for hydration and their daily nutrient intake, especially if you haven’t introduced solid foods yet. 

However, upon reaching the 6-month mark, most babies are ready to eat solids. 

With this, their diet and routine will change as you incorporate other foods into their usual milk sustenance. 

You can start by introducing pureed or mashed fruits and vegetables to your baby and feeding them every 3 to 4 hours

Once they’re acquainted with these easy-to-eat meals, you can include finger foods alongside purees to introduce other textures and taste to their palette. 

At 6-9 months old, some of the foods you can give them to help with weight gain are: 

  • Oatmeal
  • Avocado
  • Nut butter
  • Eggs
  • Banana
  • Pear

Plus other foods, including:

  • White rice
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potato

You can also let them eat more fruits, veggies, and other sources of protein at nine months old, like:

  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Chicken
  • Citrus fruits
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans

How NOT To Help Your Baby Gain Weight

To help your baby gain weight, you must avoid habits that do not help achieve this goal. 

One thing I’d like to emphasize is putting TOO MUCH PRESSURE on your baby to eat. We may not be aware of it, but pressuring comes in different forms, which include:

  • making airplane or train choo-choo train motions to encourage them to open their mouths and take in the food;
  • distracting the baby before shoving in a spoonful of food so they can’t complain; and
  • requiring the child to finish a number of bites or spoonfuls.

We sometimes think these are harmless habits because we only want our little ones to eat. I know you have good intentions, but it’s not the proper way of addressing the problem. 

Pressure tactics most often boomerang as they’re not as sustainable as we think they are in the long run.

When your baby feels pressured to eat, they tend to resist and refuse to take a bite from their meal. 

They may also need relief from reflux, so be sure this is addressed appropriately, along with any weight issues.

Hence, it’s better to positively encourage your little one to love the food they eat. Take things one step at a time until your baby can enjoy their meals without worries.

Other Tips to Help Baby Gain Weight

Other Tips to Help Baby Gain Weight

Instead of investing in harmful habits to make your little ones gain weight, here are some tips that might be helpful:

  • Add more fat – As previously mentioned, we need to increase our little one’s calorie intake to help with weight gain, and one way of doing so is adding more healthy fat to their diet. Try looking for recipes utilizing high-fat and high-calorie foods for your baby. 
  • Introduce purees – Purees are easier to eat, especially if your young one has just started learning to eat solids. It’s highly suggested to incorporate purees alongside finger foods.
  • Get started with finger foods – Finger foods are a great way to introduce new textures to your baby. It helps them know the food they eat more, and they can slowly adapt to eating more solids. 
  • Use breast or formula milk – While experts recommend introducing water to 6-month-olds, we can’t deny that water lacks calories. This is why it’s still better for underweight babies to hydrate with breast or formula milk most of the time.
  • Reduce dietary fiber – For babies trying to gain weight, it’s best to lean on refined grains, like white rice, white bread, and regular pasta than whole grains. 
  • Add another meal – If your baby gets acquainted with solids even more, and you can add another meal or snack to their everyday routine, do it! You can introduce small portions every now and then so they won’t feel pressured to eat all of it. 
  • Find out food allergies or intolerances – Allergies or intolerances might interfere with your baby’s digestion and ability to absorb food properly. In turn, it can also disrupt their physical growth. That’s why it’s worth getting your baby checked by experts.  
  • Consult a dietician – Every child’s nutritional needs differs. So, if you want a targeted diet to help with your baby’s weight gain, it’s best to consult with a dietician for more tailored advice. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

At this point, you might already have the answers to most of your questions. But I decided to answer more in the FAQs section for additional information.

Can Medicines Make Babies Fat?

Certain medications can promote weight gain. However, it is not recommended by experts to use medicine to increase your baby’s appetite. 

Consult with your pedia or dietician first to know about the natural ways of promoting weight gain for your little one. 

If your baby is diagnosed with conditions that interfere with their physical growth, your doctor will recommend specific treatments to address their health concerns.

How Many Times a Day Should I Breastfeed My Baby?

The number of times you need to feed your baby depends on their age and routine. But here are general guidelines you can follow:

  • Newborn – every 2 to 3 hours or 8 to 12 times within 24 hours. During the first 2 days, your baby only needs half an ounce of milk, which will eventually increase to 1 or 2 ounces in the next few days and by 2 ounces every two weeks. 
  • 2 months – 4 to 5 ounces of milk every 3 to 4 hours.
  • 4 months – 4 to 6 ounces of milk every 3 to 4 hours. 
  • 6 months – up to 8 ounces of milk every 4 to 5 hours. 

Conclusion

I understand parents’ frustration when they see their little ones not gaining enough weight like the other kids. 

However, we must recognize that several factors affect a baby’s physical growth. 

We can do many things to make our young ones fall in love with what they eat to help them gain more weight.

But remember to encourage them positively and avoid unhealthy eating habits that might backfire and cause your baby to eat less. 

I hope this guide helps in your baby’s weight gain journey, and I wish you the best of luck!

Sky Bustillo
Sky Bustillo

Hi, I’m Sky!
As a Filipina in her mid-20s, a sister to young ones, and a tita to my nieces and nephews, I somehow share the same sentiment as other parents. I have a growing aspiration of becoming a mom someday!
But there also comes a worry that you won’t be able to give the best to your children, especially with the food they eat, the products they use, and the new habits and hobbies we introduce to them.
Your kid’s safety and welfare are your top priority, that’s why I always make it to a point to learn from the stories and experiences of other moms.
It’s a delight to share what I learned and know to help the moms close to my heart, and this time, I’m writing to relay advice to you from the insights of other moms and my experience around kids, too.
I’d love to be a part of your journey, and I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for you and your young one!