Children attain two levels of growth- mental and physical growth. While mental growth helps to develop an emotional quotient in the child; physical growth helps to increase height and weight in the child. Each child’s development is different from the other. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on your child’s growth patterns so that it will help you to find solutions to any problematic growth and development.
Children will show a steady development in growth and weight in the first few years of their life. But there are still exceptional cases where the growth will be slightly different from other children. These are signs of what is known as a ‘Poor Weight Gain’ in children.
Growth and development in the child are very important in the first 5 years of their life. During these years the child develops physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally.
There are many ways to describe poor weight gain in children. Your doctor or a caregiver will be able to check into your child’s development and help you to eradicate the problem to bring in a healthy growth pattern.
Watching Child’s Growth
Poor weight gain in children affects their ability to take, keep, or use the calories in the body which will help them to be strong.
During the first year of the child’s birth, the brain also grows as much as the body. Hence, the lack of nutrients during this period will have a lasting effect on the child because it will affect brain activity.
At 4 months, the child is double the weight, triple when they turn one. A child with such a condition will not be able to reach these milestones. A ‘plump’ toddler may slowly reduce weight later which will then affect their height growth.
Signs in an Undernourished Child
- Show no interest in their surroundings
- Distracted and avoids eye contact
- Bad temper and fussy
- Take more time to reach milestones like walking, talking or sitting up
Here is age-wise information that can help you identify the ideal weight and height for your child:
A child is expected to gain weight twice their birth weight at this age. There will be steady growth in height too.
1 year (12 months)
Children of this age will gain weight thrice their birth weight when they turn one year old.
1-2 years old
Kids have to gain 1.5 to 3 kg more weight than when they are at 12 months. Even their height will develop to increase by 3-5 inches.
2-9 years old
While the growth of the child goes steady at this age, the child should develop another 2.5 kg body weight each year.
9-15 years old
A child should gain 4-5 kg per year during this time period. This is also a period where you will be able to see a sudden spurt in growth in the child.
Poor Weight and Its Causes
Feeding Patterns :
Worried parents tend to get the measurement of the formula wrong and because they are worried that their child may become very fat. This results in fewer calories in the child’s body.
Children Do Not Eat :
Some issues like prematurity, development delays, or autism leads to problematic eating patterns. Children refuse to eat food or dislike certain types, textures of food.
Digestive System :
Diseases like cystic fibrosis, chronic liver, gastroesophageal reflux (GER), and celiac diseases can prevent your child from gaining weight.
GER irritates and causes pain in the child’s stomach that he or she will refuse to eat food. Diarrhea leads the nutrients, proteins, and calories from food to leave the body. Your child might be eating a lot, but diseases such as these do not allow food to remain in the system.
Intolerance to Food :
This is not the same as a food allergy. In cases like this, the child is sensitive to certain types of food. For example, if your child is intolerant to milk protein, it means that his or her body will not be able to absorb that particular protein from milk products like curd, milk or cheese.
On-going Illness :
Premature babies will not be able to consume enough calories to support their growth and development. Illness to the body systems like the heart, liver or endocrine system will require the child to eat more than usual and the child may sometimes fail to take in enough to keep up.
Children with infections like UTI may face long or short term imbalance in growth due to the body’s rapid use of nutrients and decreased appetite.
Poor weight gain in children can be a combination of both medical and environmental problems. For example, a severe case of GER makes the child refuse food and stress on the eating pattern. This causes the child to be irritated and frustrated and the caregiver will not be able to feed him or her enough food.
Problems with Poor Weight Gain:
- Lack of growth and development
- Periodic infections
- Late puberty
- Bone diseases (Osteoporosis)
- Severe cases of cardiac problems
When Do You Have to Meet Your Doctor?
It is usual for your child to have steady or slight variations in weight for a small period of time. But if you don’t see any changes for a period of 3 months in the first year of life, then you should visit your doctor.
Homeopathy and Growth Problems in Children
Homeopathic treatment is a healthy method to take care of underweight children. They have a wide range of medicines that have no side-effects, increases immunity and decreases infection in children. Homeopathy uses natural methods to enhance food absorption and homeopaths give a calming medicine to children for treating psychological or behavioral issues, while also treating for poor weight gain.
Click here for more details on homeopathic treatment.