Few things are as distressing as worrying about your child’s health. If you are concerned that your 10-month-old isn’t gaining enough weight, it might be time to examine his diet. Babies go through so many transitions during their first year of life, and it can be hard for parents to keep up with those changes. As your baby grows, his caloric needs not only increase, but they also change dramatically in terms of what kinds of foods he should be eating.
For the first four to six months, your baby’s only source of calories and nutrients was breast milk or formula. Somewhere between four to six months most parents begin adding solids to their babies’ diets, usually in the form of rice or oatmeal cereal. Once your baby is accustomed to the spoon, you should add a new pureed food each week. By the time your baby is 10 months old, she should be eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Yogurt and cheese can be introduced around this time as well.
Most adults are used to eating three larger meals each day, with a few smaller snacks spaced throughout the day. At 10 months, your baby is probably eating three meals, with bottles of formula or nursing sessions interspersed throughout the day. If your baby isn’t gaining weight, it could be time to feed him more frequently, replacing some liquid feedings with solid foods. A mid-morning snack of yogurt and a few crackers, for example, might be needed to replace the bottle he drank at that time.
For the first six months, the breast milk or formula that babies drink is more important than any solid food they may eat. As your baby approaches her first birthday, however, the importance of solid food increases dramatically. If your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, feed her solid foods first, followed by formula or breast milk. Babies at this age can also drink from a sippy cup, so consider offering her a drink in her high chair during or after her meal.
Babies need to eat frequently. As you add snacks to your baby’s diet, offer him progressively more food at each feeding session. Remember, however, that your baby’s stomach is approximately the size of his fist. Babies naturally turn away when their tummies are full, so trying to force him to eat more will probably be frustrating for both of you. Increasing the frequency of meals and snack is a more effective way to encourage your baby to eat more.
If you have increased the frequency of your baby’s meals and replaced some of her bottles or nursing sessions with solid food, and she is still not gaining weight, it is time to consult your child’s pediatrician. There could be an underlying cause of your baby’s poor weight gain that has nothing to do with her caloric intake. Additionally, if your baby refuses to eat over a period of a day or two, she could have an ear infection or another illness with no visible symptoms. Discussing these issues with your pediatrician is likely your first step in finding answers.