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Why is my child not gaining weight?

Q: My daughter is 10 months old and weighs 7.5 kg. She had been gaining weight steadily, except for the last two months (she was 7.5 kg when she was eight months old). There are no abnormal symptoms; she passes stools daily and urinates 8-9 times a day. We have introduced her to solids since she was six months old. She eats pretty well for two weeks or so, but then barely eats anything for the next 3-4 days, other than breast milk. We have never fed her forcefully. However, now we are concerned about her weight gain. What should be her diet? How much is she expected to eat? Is the slow gain in weight a matter of concern? She weighed 2.7 kg at the time of birth and she already has 6 teeth.

A:A lack of weight gain for two months can be an issue of concern. However, the good sign is that your child is otherwise active and feeding well. You are doing the right thing by continuing to breast feed her and by giving her complimentary food. Force feeding is never advisable and again you are following correct feeding practices. What you should do is keep on offering her, energy-rich, dense semi-solids, presented in a mashed form. Thinning them too much, as parents sometime do to make it easy for the child to eat, shall decrease the energy content of the food. At her age she should have at least three helpings of semi-solid food, roughly about a bowl, per day. You can increase the energy density by using full cream milk, adding butter/oil to foods like khichdi, dal, etc. and sugar to porridges like dalia, suji, kheer, etc. Offer everything cooked at home, but let her have more of what she enjoys. Let her weight be taken after a month again. It is desirable that the weight is taken on the same weighing scale if possible, since there can be discrepancies among scales. Also, one must check a scale for zero error before using it.

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