If your baby is not gaining weight quickly enough, you may be concerned about his health. Increasing your baby's caloric intake each day is one way to bring his weight back up to normal levels. Work with your pediatrician to determine how many additional calories your baby needs, but adding some of these foods may help.
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Breast Milk, Formula or Whole Milk
Your baby gets a great deal of nutrition from breast milk, formula or whole milk. If your baby is less than a year old, feed her at least five 6 to 8-ounce servings of breast milk or formula each day, Signe Larson and Kevin Osborn recommend in their book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing up Baby." If your baby is at least a year old, offer her five servings of whole milk each day, which is higher in fat and calories than reduced-fat or skim milk. Your baby needs plenty of fat in her diet, and increasing her intake from nutritious milk or formula sources may encourage weight gain. Ask your doctor about adding cereal to the milk or formula because this can also increase the number of calories your baby consumes each day.
Full-fat Dairy Foods
Just as whole milk has more fat and calories than reduced-fat and skim milk, full-fat dairy products also contain beneficial fat and nutritious calories for a baby that needs to gain weight. Choose a brand of yogurt that is made with whole milk. Many supermarkets carry yogurt specifically for babies that contains more fat and calories, but less sugar. Full-fat shredded cheese or cottage cheese are additional baby-friendly foods that increase your little one's caloric intake.
Foods made with whole wheat or other whole grains contain a good amount of calories, but are also healthy foods to feed your baby. BabyCenter recommends incorporating more foods made with whole grains to increase the number of calories your baby eats each day. Make pancakes with whole wheat flour or offer toast made with whole wheat bread. Whole grain pasta cut into tiny pieces is another high-calorie food to feed your little one. Hot cereal, such as oatmeal, is another nutritious option. Prepare these cereals with whole milk instead of water to boost calories even more.
High-Calorie Fruits and Vegetables
Some varieties of fruits and vegetables contain a significant amount of calories per serving, and these can help your baby gain weight while also supplying essential nutrients for healthy growth. Offer your baby a few avocado cubes. Avocado is high in healthy unsaturated fat and provides a good amount of calories as well. Beans also supply a significant amount of calories. Pears and bananas are some types of fruit with more calories than most varieties. Add a teaspoon of olive oil or butter to cooked vegetables to add additional calories or toss chopped fruit with whole milk yogurt to increase the calories in the dish.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing up Baby; Signe Larson, et al.; 1997
- BabyCenter: Failure to Gain Weight