Signs & Symptoms for Detecting Malnutrition in Toddlers & Infants

Signs & Symptoms for Detecting Malnutrition in Toddlers & Infants

Signs & Symptoms for Detecting Malnutrition in Toddlers & Infants

When a couple is expecting, they take every possible measure to make sure that their new guest is healthy and that there are no complications during the entire pregnancy period. Bundled Baby

Mom is eating healthy, staying stress free, and dad is at the toy store buying tons of stuff for the child to play with. This is one of the most amazing yet crucial period in the parents’ life and for the baby as well, as it determines how healthy the baby will be.

As time approaches, and the good news arrives, the only thing which the parents are concerned about is the health of the baby. Unfortunately, even after caring to every extent and taking every precaution, the child can be suffering from malnutrition and weak. In some children, malnutrition is not spotted very easily; this is even more concerning for the parents. Beware of the following signs and symptoms your baby shows; and if the baby does, take him/her to a pediatrician immediately.


In the condition of Marasmus, the baby can experience a loss in their muscles and fat. A baby or toddler with this condition will have a thin skin hanging, which will be due to the lack of fat in their body. This can be detected through signs such as hanging skin, change in skin tone, hair-loss, baby may feel lethargic and will cry for a longer period of time.


In case of Kwashiorkor, it is hard to determine if the baby is malnourished as the excessive level of water in their body gives the illusion they are healthy and completely normal. You will have to be very careful with this condition since its signs are deceiving. There are symptoms however which can help indicate the presence of Kwashiorkor. These symptoms include dark patches on the skin of the toddler or baby, texture of the hair will be brittle and prominent swelling on their liver and stomach. The baby who has been affected will seem to be lethargic and in pain.


If baby is not growing at an average rate on which a normal baby does, he/she may be stunting. At times, if you compare children, a healthy one and a malnutrition one, you will be able to see the differences very clearly.


Oedema is a disease in a malnutrition baby in which there is severe water retention in the tissues of the baby which is a sign of mild or severe malnutrition. The child will require immediate treatment and attention once detected, as this can be fatal for the baby if not attended immediately. In order to know if the baby has Oedema, press on their legs for about 3 seconds. If the baby has Oedema, there should be, for a few seconds, indention where you have pressed.

Other Signs & Symptoms

Other signs and symptoms which indicate malnutrition include disinterest in playing games and activities, lack of energy and dullness, irritation, disturbed, too much sleeping, weary, tired, excessive crying, dizziness, vitamin deficiency, dry or patchy or irritable skin, tooth decay, bleeding gums and others.

We, at Partners in Healthcare, are a private duty home care agency that provides pediatric home care services and infant services in the Orlando area, call us at 407-788-9393.

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