Sometimes, babies just need some extra calories and healthy fats to put on enough weight to
keep them in the normal range, and if that's the case, here are some healthy foods that
will help your baby grow up big and strong.
According to Medical Daily, there's a very real danger in introducing your baby to solid
foods before they've reached five months old.
Studies have shown there's an increased risk of an unhealthy amount of weight gain, and
the best time to start adding solids to baby's diet is when they're between five and seven
That said, adding certain high-calorie solid foods is a great way to also add extra calories
and help a baby who's developing slowly.
The University of Wisconsin says cheeses are a great way to add those extra calories, and
notes that not only can cheddar cheese and soft goat cheese be offered as finger foods,
but cheeses of all kinds can also be used as additives in other foods your baby has
already developed a taste for.
Hide a dollop in mashed potatoes or pureed vegetables, or melt over rice or pasta.
There is one word of caution to be added to this, though.
Since dairy is often allergenic, the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology says you should
introduce dairy-based foods slowly, and don't add any other potential allergens to your
baby's diet along with the cheese.
That way, you'll be able to keep an eye out for any allergic reaction, and you'll know
what caused it.
The idea that breast milk is best has been repeated a lot, and part of the reason for
that is it's been linked to the development of healthy weight gain.
According to a 2018 study in Pediatrics, babies who are exclusively raised on breast milk
until at least six months of age have a better chance of being at a healthy weight at their
They also found that not all breast milk is the same: when babies were given pumped milk,
they gained more weight.
While they're not entirely sure why there's such a pronounced difference, they speculate
that it has something to do with the freezing and thawing process interfering with the activity
of valuable enzymes.
That said, it's entirely possible that some babies might still need a little bit extra,
even when they're only being fed breast milk.
According to Children's Hospitals Minnesota, fortifying breast milk with powdered formula
can be an excellent way to increase calories while still giving them all the goodness of
Medical research largely agrees that this should meet all your baby's dietary needs
until they're around five or six months old.
According to the Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco, iron-fortified baby cereals
can be a great way to get extra calories and nutrition into your little one's diet.
If having a picky eater is one of the biggest problems you're facing, there's good news:
this is another option that you can prepare in a number of ways, and hopefully, you'll
find something that your baby likes.
If you're having trouble getting them to transition from breast milk to solid food, mixing cereal
with breast milk can be a great way to make the switch easier on them.
You can also add a teaspoon or so to other foods that they might already like.
Add it to yogurt, pureed fruit, veggies or meat, or even mix it in with eggs.
While you're going to want to keep your baby away from artificial sweeteners and sugary
foods, sweet potatoes can be an excellent way to add not just some high-calorie options
to the menu, but to expose them to a flavor that's completely unlike any other.
The University of Wisconsin says sweet potato mash an excellent option for any parent who
needs to add some extra calories to their baby's plate, and sweet potato fries are a
great finger food that will help encourage exploring babies who are starting to figure
out how to feed themselves.
Parenting says there are all kinds of other benefits to sweet potatoes: they can relieve
and prevent constipation, they come with a ton of vitamin A, and they also help prevent
There's another bonus, too.
If allergies are presenting a problem when it comes to finding high-calorie foods to
encourage weight gain, sweet potatoes come with almost no risk of a negative reaction
like the ones that potentially come with things like dairy and eggs.
It's also versatile enough that you'll be able to find something that'll have even the
pickiest eater finishing their meals, whether that's sweet potato mash, fries, or a sweet
potato and carrot soup.
Avocado might have a reputation as a trendy hipster food, but it's also great for babies
who need a little extra help gaining weight.
VeryWell Family says they're one of the perfect foods to start babies on, and they'll raise
baby's daily calorie intake, along with giving them all kinds of heart-healthy fats and omega-3
That's great, and here's the really neat thing about avocados.
Most of the avocados you'll find in the store are either Florida or California avocados.
If you want something filled with the extra goodness baby needs, be sure you get the California
That'll have twice the fat and about a third more calories than the Florida version, and
that's what you're going to want to give your little one.
A single ounce of California avocado has about 50 calories and 4.5 grams of total fat.
It gets better: the unique texture of the avocado is great for a baby just learning
what solid food is all about, and it can be either pureed or cubed for a quick and healthy
When you're an adult, you're more likely to try to lose weight than gain it.
Oil and butter are on the list of things to stay away from, but according to the Cincinnati
Children's Hospital, a bit of butter or a dash of some healthy oils can help your baby
get much-needed calories.
Oils and butter both have the advantage of being a calorie-heavy topping, which means
it's easy to beef up what your baby is already eating with just a little bit of either.
Put a teaspoon of dairy or soy-based butter on your baby's vegetables, or mashed potatoes,
and you can use oil in much the same way.
Choose a healthy oil, like olive or safflower, and use a teaspoon in pasta or on toast.
You can also opt for getting out your baking pans, too, and making some healthy, butter-filled
muffins, pancakes, or soft snack bars.
The bonus to those?
You'll love to snack on them, too.
"Fresh creamery butter, is there anything more comforting?"
Different types of yogurt have different types of benefits, but it's only whole milk yogurt
that's suitable for babies.
The extra additives that come with fat-free or low-fat yogurt makes it unsuitable for
infants, but they can absolutely benefit from the good fats, calories, probiotics, and vitamins
in whole milk yogurt.
If you're concerned about your baby trying to digest the often difficult enzymes found
in milk, rest easy.
According to Happy Family Organics, the fermentation process used to make yogurt does most of the
heavy work for them.
Yogurts are easy on the stomach, and when you pick up the types with no added sugar,
you can be sure they're gaining weight thanks to the natural fat, calories and nutrients,
not artificial sugars.
They also say that yogurt is gentle enough to be given to a baby once or twice a day,
and that's important when you're trying to increase caloric intake.
It's also versatile: serve it right out of the container, or add pureed fruit for yet
another calorie boost.
Ground seeds can be used as high-calorie additives to foods your baby already likes, and that
makes them a great way to get extra nutrition for even the pickiest eater.
The University of Wisconsin recommends ground flaxseed and chia seeds in particular, as
they not only come with some much-needed calories, but other benefits, too.
A single tablespoon of flaxseed has 37 calories, and while that's not a lot for an adult, it's
a powerful caloric punch for your baby.
Chia seeds come with a whopping 138 calories per ounce, and both types are high in healthy
fats and omega-3 fatty acids, too, making this additive an all-around win.
Eggs are a little tricky, and here's why.
For years, pediatricians recommended holding off on giving your baby eggs because of the
potential for an allergic reaction.
According to Healthline, the current recommendation is now to give eggs as one of an infant's
first solid foods, and that's good news for a lot of reasons.
Australia's Women's & Children's Hospital says eggs are great not just as a high-calorie
snack, but they're also a great base for adding other things to.
Look at it this way: a single egg has around 70 calories, and that means a hard-boiled
egg is great for a quick little meal.
But it also means that if you scramble that same egg then add a bit of cheese, cream,
or margarine, you've got an even higher-calorie breakfast that still has a baby-friendly texture
and a mild taste.
And since texture can be a huge deal for anyone, not just a baby, eggs are great for experimenting
If he doesn't like scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, there are plenty of other options.
It's also worth mentioning, though, that as with other potential allergens, you should
introduce eggs slowly and separately from other foods, so you know what's causing the
reaction if one develops.
Cottage cheese might be good for you, but it's definitely an acquired taste.
It's the texture, right?
But here's the thing: that same texture that makes it icky for many adults makes it perfect
That's good news, because the University of Wisconsin calls it one of the best high-calorie
foods for infants, especially considering that the only version you'll want to feed
them is the full fat version.
But let's talk texture.
Different cottage cheeses have different levels of chunkiness, but that can work in your favor
if you're having trouble getting the little one to eat.
You can puree it to change the texture to something that's more palatable to her, and
since it has such a mild, bland flavor, you can also use it as a calorie-rich base to
mix up a little snack you know she's going to like, or add a dollop on top of a main
Add pureed fruits, some avocado, ground seeds, a dash of seasoning, or even some beans.
And here's another bonus to making cottage cheese a regular feature on the menu: if they
grow up eating it, they're more likely to keep eating this healthy cheese even after
they're old enough to make decisions for themselves.
When you baby isn't gaining weight like he or she should, mealtimes can become stressful
and nothing short of anxiety-inducing.
That might make the problem even worse, so let's talk about something fun you can make
that you both can enjoy: waffles.
The Cincinnati Children's Hospital says waffles are one of the best ways you can serve up
a healthy helping of grains to a child who is underweight.
Not only are waffles packed with calories, but they're also easy to cut into finger foods
that are perfect for a baby who's just started munching on foods with more texture.
They're also versatile when it comes to toppings, and they go great with a wide variety of tasty
foods that are going to help you add still more calories.
Top with pureed fruit, bananas, cottage cheese, a dollop of butter, or a spoon of fresh whipped
Sure, they might be a bit more complicated to make than just popping open a jar of baby
food, but you can treat yourself, too.
Make your own waffles, top them with something special, and take the opportunity to sit down
and eat with your baby.
Food is a family affair, after all, and let's be honest: you deserve it.
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