I his week Dr Ibrahim Yusuf answers queries regarding the height and weight issues of children. Read on...
Query: I wish to inquire about my 8-month-old son. He is not as healthy as other kids of his age although many people say babies who tend to consume more top feed are healthier. I am a working mom and I breastfeed my son only once or twice a day as my breast milk production has diminished. His neck is still not balanced at this age. Please advice how can I ensure my child is healthy and has high immunity. Also advise what solids should I give him besides cereal and banana.
Dr. Ibrahim: Your query does not give complete details as you have not specified the weight of your child, hence it is difficult to gauge whether he is actually under weight or not. At this stage the weight of the baby should be 8 to 8.5 kg and the height should be 65 centimetres. Try to give additional diet to your kid with milk. For working mothers, it is best to store their breast milk for the child to have as it remains good for 8 hours on room temperature and 24 hours in the fridge. A child should not be deprived of it as it is the healthiest and increases immunity manifold. You should take formulas to increase your breast milk flow. Regarding your concern about neck holding, it should be at three to four months of age. At eight months, a child should sit without support. Consult your paediatrician regarding this as this might be a cause for concern.
Q: I was told to start feeding my 6-month-old son three meals a day. My concern with doing this is should I also still be giving him 32 oz. of formula/breast milk? Right now he eats dinner and four 8 oz. bottles a day. How much milk should a child drink to ensure healthy bones?
Samina Ahmad Qureshi
Dr: Your child is taking good diet. However, here is a brief diet chart that clarifies what a child can have according to age.
Age: Food to be taken:
Initially give Mashed banana
4 - 5 months Cereals
6 months ‑Vegetables like potato
7 months ‑Egg yolk minced meat etc.
At 1 year ‑The child should eat the same food which is cooked for the rest of the family but with less chilli and spices.
Q: My 9-month-old child has no teeth, is there a problem that I should get checked out? I am worried about this because he has been so early at all the other developmental stages. By what age should a child start teething and when should the milk teeth fall out normally?
Dr: First deciduous teeth erupt at six months of age. Eruption of teeth is completed by 2.5 years (20 teeth). Shedding of milk teeth start at 6 years and is completed by 12 years of age. Your child's milestone is delayed hence in this scenario it is better that you visit a paediatric dentist. Start with cod liver oil as well as vitamin A, D and E.
Q: Is there any way to ensure that my child gets a good height? Is it all related to genes or nutrition plays a role too? Please guide.
Dr: Though the height of a child is very important for growth but it depends on a number of factors. Genetics and daily nutritional intake also play an important role. In order to ensure that your child reaches a healthy height and weight, you must teach certain vital habits. Put your child to bed early in the evening. Late nights are very bad for children. The more they rest, the more they grow. Children require from 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night. Your child's body cannot grow properly without adequate rest.
Secondly, feed your child plenty of high protein foods such as fish and lean meats. Children taking a high protein diet show significant increase in height as compared to those restricted to a low protein diet. Proper physical exercise is imperative as well. Below is a height chart to help you:
Age: Height (cm):
Birth 50 cm
1 year 75 cm
2 years 85 cm
3 years 95 cm
4 years 100 cm
Dr. Ibrahim Yusuf MBBS DCH M.D MRSH (LON) is a specialist in child and newborn diseases. For instant paediatric advice
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