Sudden Weight Loss in Toddlers

Baby Boy Visiting Doctor's Office
A little boy being examined by a doctor with his mother. (Image: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images)

During the toddler years, it is normal for your child to gain between three to five pounds a year. Babycenter states that proper nutrition is essential for mental and physical development. If your toddler is suddenly losing weight instead of gaining, it can be a result of a variety of different issues and needs to be dealt with to help your child grow properly.

Growth Charts

Your toddler’s doctor will use growth charts to track her weight as well as her height and head circumference. The chart will indicate how her height and weight match up and how her size compares with national averages. A weight percentile that is suddenly lower than it has been in past visits may be a cause for concern. According to Babycenter, if your toddler falls below the third percentile for growth or is 20 percent below her ideal weight for her height, she may be diagnosed with failure to thrive.

Causes

If your toddler is experiencing weight loss but otherwise healthy and meeting developmental milestones, he may be fine. Keep in mind that it is normal for him to experience a slight weight loss after having an illness, and he will gain the weight back. In some rare cases, his weight loss can be the result of a serious problem such as cystic fibrosis, heart disease and celiac disease.

Determining Cause

To determine the cause of your toddler’s weight loss, her doctor may monitor her calorie intake to make sure she is eating enough to grow properly. He may also do some scans or blood tests to rule out serious problems that can be causing the weight loss. The doctor might ask you some questions about your toddler’s eating habits and milestones to determine the problem.

Increasing Weight

If your toddler is suddenly losing weight as a result of a medical problem, that problem will need to be treated directly before the weight loss is handled. Your toddler’s doctor will recommend ways to get him back on track. You may need to feed your toddler high calorie foods such as whole milk, pudding, avocados, pasta and whole wheat bread.

Considerations

Keep in mind that every toddler grows at her own pace. However, if you are concerned about your toddler’s weight, be sure to talk to her doctor so that she can be treated for any potential issues that can affect her development.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.