First, some back story:

We took K to the doctor for her monthly wellness check at nine months and found out she had only gained five ounces since her six month check-up. Initially, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. She had steadily been in the fiftieth percentile for weight since birth. She was exclusively breastfed until about seven months. She refused a bottle and formula at an early age, but she had always been great with the boob. I probably should have been more insistent that she take a bottle. I chalked up her sudden nine month slim down to the fact that she started crawling, and seemed to be burning a lot more calories than before. But her doctor seemed concerned, and (nicely) berated me for not feeding my “hungry” child. I left the appointment feeling deflated, but figured I would pump my baby full of healthy fats and carbs, and she would be fine.

Increasing K’s caloric intake worked for a very short time, then she was hit with a series of illnesses. First, it was scarlet fever. Then a cold. Then a stomach flu. With each illness, she experienced a weight setback. It felt no less than devastating each time we dragged our sad little butts into the doctor’s office to face the dreaded scale. In recent months, she has completely fallen off the chart in terms of weight. We have seen specialists. K has been poked and prodded. She has had a feeding study performed by an occupational therapist. It has been an eye-opening and exhausting experience filled with meal planning, reading food labels, calorie intake obsession, forcing nasty drinks and concoctions down K’s throat, and worrying.

Aside from her small stature, K is a healthy fourteen month old. She is hitting her milestones at an average to above average pace and is a very social, well-adjusted baby. But, this weight gain issue persists. Her pediatrician wanted her to be about twenty pounds by her first birthday. Her gastro-enterologist thought she could make it to 20 pounds by simply adding more whole milk and supplements such as Carnation Instant Breakfast to her diet. We are two months beyond her first birthday, and the heaviest she has been is 18 pounds 9 ounces. This was a huge feat as she was in the 16 pound range for months.

K has no known food allergies. She is an intensely picky eater, and seems to be hyper aware of different tastes, textures, and foods. She dislikes anything sweet. It is like World War III trying to get her to take Infant Tylenol due to the grape flavoring. It tastes great to most kids, but, for some reason, K gags, chokes, and barfs it up. Her intense distaste for anything sweet (including chocolate) makes it very hard to get her to eat a lot of fattening things including nutrition drinks like Pediasure. We have tried adding all kinds of butters and oils to her solids to add calories. Most of it, has been met with minimal to no success. It could be genetics; like she’s just meant to be a smaller person. But, I still worry, because I was in the ninetieth percentile for weight at one year old, and my husband was a chunky baby, too. We weren’t small babies, and we aren’t small adults, either!

As recently as last week, K developed yet another fever and cold that really did a number on her appetite. Yesterday, she weighed in at 17 pounds 15 ounces. *sigh* So, it’s back to the drawing board, because I really don’t want her to regress and lose more weight. I have started her on a powdered probiotic to hopefully help beef up her immunity, but the powder makes her milk lumpy, and K has been very disinterested in it. As I sit here, my mind is racing thinking about different food combinations. How can I get my baby to eat more and gain weight?! This is an ongoing issue in our household, and I hope to share a lot more about our experiences, in case anyone is curious as to how I feed my picky, underweight toddler. Or maybe you have dealt with a similar situation?

Stay tuned.

thelessthandomesticgoddess

12 Comments

  1. Reply

    Amber Thornton

    May 27, 2015

    It is SO hard to fight the low weight battle. I did it with 2 of my 3 kids. Honestly after we ruled out anything medically wrong I backed off. The last thing I wanted was to make my daughter & son prematurely focused on their weight. Both the kids dropped off the scale somewhere between 6-9 months. We continued breastfeed, introduced baby led weaning techniques around 8-9 months and let them explore food at their pace. I will report that by 3 years old they were both the same size as their peers. My daughter is a little shorter than classmates, but her weight is proportionate to her height. My youngest is tall and skinny according to the charts, but still looks about the same as the other 4 year old boys.

    I would personally focus on strengthening her immunity so she doesn't have set backs.

    • Reply

      thelessthandomesticgoddess

      May 27, 2015

      Thank you, Amber! It is reassuring to know that there are others who have been through this weight gain game, and their children are happy, healthy, and thriving!

  2. Reply

    atout

    May 27, 2015

    My now 10.5 month old (who weights a mere 16.5 lbs) has always been on the very end of those growth charts and it's been a constant battle to not freak out about it. She has never been that interested in nursing and at 10 months weaned herself from breastmilk/formula. She does seem to be more into solid foods than nursing so I'm hoping her weight will stay steady or even increase. I just started reading Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter and it's already reduced a lot of my anxiety. I highly recommend it if you're interested. I hope you do more post about your experience. It's a frustrating and fascinating topic.

    • Reply

      thelessthandomesticgoddess

      May 27, 2015

      Your daughter is SO adorable! I love seeing her photos on Instagram! Thank you for the book recommendation. I will definitely check it out! K is also more interested in solids than milk. We had a gastroenterologist tell us that, at this age, babies are still getting most of their calories and nutrition from formula/milk. She thought that might be the reason K isn't gaining much weight. Needless to say, I've been pushing the milk. The problem is that K only likes almond milk which is a pathetic 90 calories per serving (as opposed to whole milk which is 160 calories per serving), and she rejects any and all infant or toddler formulas. I'm rambling. As you can tell, this weight gain stuff is currently consuming my life!

  3. Reply

    Jodi

    May 27, 2015

    I'm SO behind in reading blogs these days that I didn't even realize you were blogging again. So sorry to hear about your struggles with K. Let it be said that it is not as uncommon as you think. When I was a social worker at the adoption agency and working w/ toddlers I saw it a lot. So try not to stress too much. If they can't find anything wrong then maybe like you said she is going to be a small kid. At 12 months I weighed 18 pounds. Kids these days are SO much bigger! Ha! Also for her getting sick a lot have you considered trying essential oils? I've been using them for a few months and they are life changing. I've weaned off most of my meds and feel good. I am so happy to be using a more natural way to control my health! Email me if you want me to share more about my personal experience. This comment is getting way too long. LOL

    • Reply

      thelessthandomesticgoddess

      May 29, 2015

      Thank you for the encouragement, Jodi! I have heard a lot of hype about essential oils, but I haven't considered them. I had no idea that you weaned off of most of your meds! Wow! I will look into it, and let you know if I have any questions. That is so fabulous. I am ecstatic for you!!

  4. Reply

    Kendall

    May 27, 2015

    Hi mama 🙂 I can relate with you in some ways, especially the frustration! Logan used to go to occupational therapy too after her surgeries to learn how to eat again! She wasn't interested in anything! It was a battle but we eventually got through it. Same with taking Tylenol. She hates all meds and my heart breaks every time she needs some because it becomes such an unpleasant experience!! But you're doing all the right things and the docs and therapists know what they're doing. Hang in there!! (Sorry I am zero help..just mama support😘)

    • Reply

      thelessthandomesticgoddess

      May 29, 2015

      Thank you, Kendall! It can be SO frustrating. It helps to know others have dealt with obstacles and made it to the other side. Logan is so happy and healthy – and just beautiful! xo

  5. Reply

    Becs

    May 28, 2015

    I so wish I had some great advice for you. I'm sorry she's been sick and that you've been struggling with her weight. Hang in there momma! You are doing the best you can!

    • Reply

      thelessthandomesticgoddess

      May 29, 2015

      Thank you so much for the support, B!! xo

  6. Reply

    little luxury list

    July 15, 2015

    One day at a time…
    That's the only sage advice I can offer you friend. I can imagine your frustration but if you're doing everything you can, you are doing EVERYTHING you can! Don't beat yourself up. In all likelihood, she will be fine somewhere along the road. Until then, monster fuji apples right?

  7. Reply

    -J.D. Humenay

    September 28, 2015

    Not sure if this will help (as I'm WAY behind the 8 ball catching up here), but is she completely weaned? If you're producing breast milk anymore, it might help add some GREAT calories to her day! We lucked out. While our girl remains on the lighter side (though she's only about 6 weeks old), she takes meds like a champ. But getting her to put some fat on her bones (despite what feels like nothing but nursing) is hard! She's growing taller – and I'm all arms and legs as an adult. I was a chunky baby, but I was a foster kid (aka raised on formula). Formula eaters tend to gain more weight faster. Formula isn't an option for us, as they are nearly ALL soy based and our little girl has cysts on her ovaries (actually dx'd in utero… crazy, right?!) and doesn't need any extra outside hormones/hormone stimulants. :/

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