For every parent, the health and the well being of the baby holds utmost priority. Even a small health problem of the baby can give a mother sleepless nights. Weight loss in babies is nothing unusual. However, sudden and excessive weight loss is something that should have a proper medical evaluation. Some of the common factors that trigger weight loss in babies include
Infections: In spite of all the care and precautions, microbial and parasitic worm infections (especially the different stomach and intestinal infections) are inevitable and often affects babies and infants. The infections wreak havoc triggering a host of physical discomfort. The intestinal infections also interfere with the absorption of dietary nutrients resulting in weight loss in babies.
Increased physical activities: As the baby starts crawling or walking, keeping them in one place is next to impossible. You will find them all over the place, running from one corner to another, playing and enjoying to the maximum. The metabolic rate in such active kids is also believed to be higher which triggers the weight loss. In such cases, the weight loss (moderate to excessive) is normal and healthy.
Weight loss can also be seen among breastfed babies. The hindmilk that comes towards the end of feeding is laden with fats and calories. The hindmilk, however, takes a longer time to come out as compared to the foremilk (the milk that appears at the beginning of breastfeeding). Not being able to get sufficient hindmilk can also result in weight loss in babies.
Breast milk is known to be a powerhouse of nutrients, benefitting the baby immensely. In some babies, postweaning, lack of a nutritious and balanced diet can be a contributing factor resulting in weight loss. Thus, postweaning, emphasis should be given to the baby diet. Make sure the diet is not very high in fibers (fibrous foods facilitate a rapid weight loss).
In newborns, the weight loss (way below the normal range) can be an indication of dehydration. In newborns, untreated and severe dehydration can give rise to threatening complications including Neonatal Jaundice, all the more reasons to get the condition treated at the earliest.
In some cases, you got to hold the genes responsible for the weight loss in babies in spite of you feeding the baby healthy and balanced diet. Research suggests that the low body weight can be a hereditary trait that gets passed on to the subsequent generations (the child may get the gene from either of the parents).
If your baby is very active, you need to feed them at regular time intervals. Long intervals between two successive meals can affect the baby with weight loss being one of the consequences.
When does the weight loss in babies require medical attention?
Consult a pediatrician immediately if the weight loss trigger complications such as
- The baby appears weak and tired. There are also mood swings.
- There is a sudden loss of appetite.
- Abdominal and stomach pain with a fever that lasts longer than usual.
- There is a sharp decline in the frequency of urination. The urine also appears thick and concentrated.
- There is the presence of mucus or blood in the feces that also appears foul smelling.