1 Lack of weight in the infant
2 Causes of low weight in the infant
2.1 Insufficient food provided
2.2 Having digestive problems
2.3 Food intolerance
2.4 Infection with chronic disorders or diseases
2.6 Disturbance of metabolic processes
3 Diagnosis of underweight infants
The low weight of the infant
Infants’ growth is rapid and has major changes in a short time.
Babies gain weight and grow faster than at any other time of their life.
However, in some cases, it is noticed that some children and infants do
not gain healthy weight and are increasing at a normal rate.
The reasons for this are due to multiple factors and events, including
what happens due to the genetic variations of communities and individuals
Or that the birth took place prematurely in what is called premature labor,
or due to the lack of nutrition of the child or infant, which may occur for many reasons.
Poor nutrition in children is sometimes called Faltering growth,
Weight faltering, or Growth deficit.
The specialist in children and babies determines the healthy weight that
the infant or child should be by making a comparison between three factors, namely:
The type of infant; If his gender is male or female, according to the
national rates approved in each country;
Children and infants who fail in normal growth usually have a much
lower weight than the healthy weight that they must reach according
to these three factors mentioned above.
Causes of low weight in the infant
Infant weight loss is not considered a specific disease, more
than it is a symptom of many different reasons.
The infant’s suffering from one of the health conditions or problems
or a group of them may be the cause of his underweight and falling below normal limits,
The following is a mention of the most common causes of infant weight loss.
First: Insufficient food provided
Insufficient food provided sometimes occurs, which may cause parents
to cause this problem unintentionally or by mistake,
And it occurs, for example, when parents prepare milk or the baby’s
food with a measurement or in an amount less than what is required
for the daily ration, and thus the infant gets a very small amount of calories.
Also, the problem of underweight infants occurs when parents are afraid
of the problem of obesity and the increase in body fat of their babies,
so they limit the amount of calories for them.
The problem of underweight infants occurs not only during formula feeding, but also when breastfeeding
When the infant switches to solid food, the food is less than what is required for the proper growth of the infant.
This problem may occur when parents do not properly pay attention to their children when infants present their hunger notifications.
Having digestive problems
Several conditions and health problems in the digestive system can prevent a baby from gaining a healthy weight.
These problems include the following cases:
1- Gastroesophageal Reflux: (English: Gastroesophageal Reflux)
Where the esophagus is irritated, and then the infant refuses food because of the irritation it causes in the esophagus.
2- Chronic Diarrhea
Diarrhea causes the intestine to empty quickly, making it difficult to complete the process of absorbing nutrients and calories from the digestive system.
3- Cystic fibrosis:
Cystic fibrosis disease causes a person to have trouble absorbing nutrients through the digestive system.
4- Chronic Liver Disease
Chronic liver disease causes problems absorbing nutrients through the digestive system.
5- Celiac disease:
What is known as wheat allergy disease causes problems in absorbing nutrients through the digestive system, as the immune system of the infant attacks the membranes lining the intestine, which leads to its inability to absorb nutrients important for the infant’s growth and healthy weight gain.
Food intolerance means that the body cannot handle or accept certain types of foods.
As in the case of suffering from an intolerance to milk protein, this means that the body cannot absorb foods that contain milk proteins such as milk and cheese, and this in turn often leads to failure to gain weight.
Infection with disorders or chronic diseases
There are two important cases, namely:
First: that the infant has a problem that prevents him from eating as it should, such as if he has a problem with the following:
1- Cleft lip.
2- Cleft palate.
3- Prematurity or premature birth of a child.
Second: that the infant consumes calories and nutrients well, but has problems that cause an increase in his body’s energy and calorie requirements, such as:
1- Heart problems.
2- Problems with the lungs.
3- Problems with the endocrine system.
Infection of the infant with one of the types of infection such as:
- Urinary tract infection
- Parasitic infection
And other types of diseases may block the appetite and burn the body to a large amount of calories and nutrients,
Which, in turn, may reduce the weight or size of a nursing child for a short or long period of time, depending on the situation.
Disturbance of metabolic processes
Metabolic disorders are health conditions that make it difficult for the body to break down calories or obtain energy from food.
It can also cause a baby to eat small amounts of food or cause him to vomit when he eats or tries to eat.
Diagnosis of underweight infants
There are many tests that a specialist can perform in order to find out whether the infant is underweight,
To determine the causes that lead to this condition, the following is a mention of a group of the most prominent of these tests:
1- Blood tests.
2- Urine tests.
3 – X-ray imaging (English: X-Ray).
4- Growth and development tests.
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Moreover, the information on this website should not be taken as a final medical advice in relation to any case or individual situation.
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