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Helping a Toddler Gain Weight

helpinggainweight.jpgOur daughter is underweight. She’s not horrendously underweight, but our pediatrician had some concerns; hence, we have some concerns as well.

If you have ever tried to get an extremely active one year old child to actually sit down long enough to finish a meal, let alone gain any weight, you understand how hard it is to get a toddler to gain some weight. We’ve tried several different methods, but these are what have worked for us thus far:

Counting calories. We’ve really started paying attention to the number of calories that go into her body by checking the calorie counts on her foods. No longer do we let her eat her favorite baby foods as often as before — after doing some research in the baby food aisle of the local grocery store, we discovered that those peas and pears don’t rank very high on the calorie content. So we came up with a list of fruits, vegetables and meats that do have high calorie contents, and give those to her the most. The other foods, such as the peas and pears, are second priority, after she has at least consumed a few of the others.

We are still careful, though, to make sure she eats a variety of fruits and veggies each day, as well as a serving or two of meat.

We also log her calorie intake, and make sure that it reaches a certain number each day. Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s calorie needs and for the number of calories he or she should be consuming each day.

More dairy to her diet. One serving of YoBaby yogurt per day (110 calories), plus a few ounces of whole milk, has allowed us to boost her calorie count. It also increases her protein and calcium consumption, another plus in our books.

Additional or different liquids. Our pediatrician suggested that we start replacing her formula bottles with Pediasure, one serving at a time. We started with one four-ounce bottle, and we’re now up to four four-ounce bottles per day.

We also looked at the juices we were feeding her. Now, instead of a 60-calorie bottle of juice, we’re giving her more bottles of the yogurt blend juices or the higher calorie juices, such as fruit and vegetable juice blends.

All in all, we seem to be doing a pretty good job on the weight front. She’s slowly gaining, and we’re hoping that by her next pediatrician appointment she will be back to where she should be in the percentiles.

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