12 answers

16 Month Old Not Gaining Weight

I have a 16 month old little girl that is not gaining weight. We went in January for her 15 month check up and the doctor noticed she had not gained any weight since her 9 month check up. So she had us come back in a month for a weight check which was on Monday. She still has not gained any weight she is not under-weight she weighs 19 pounds and she has grown in height at each check up. She does not look sickly they are just concered that she has not gained any weight. So now she has to have carnation instant breakfast everyday and told me to offer her food a lot and try to give her extra calories. She is a extremly picky eater and sometimes she will just throw her food off of her high chair and won't eat. I have to hide her sippy cups while she eats b/c if she see's it she will refuse to eat and just want her drink. I give her milk twice a day and the other times she gets water with litteraly a splash of juice. I have two boys 5 and 2 and I am very good about not giving them junk they get lots of fruits and veggies. We as a family eat very healthy. So this whole thing with her is hard b/c I don't want to feed her junk to fatten her up. My husband and I are both slim people and so are my boys. SO my question is any ideas for foods to give her and has anyone else been through this and any advice I can get on this matter I would appreciate. Also should I be concered that she has not gained weight since she was nine months?

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My Mya 16 mo is the same way.She is not a picky eater though.She can't tolerate whole milk.We tried Lactaid but she threw it up too.She's 18.2lbs and 28in(I'm 4'10 1/2).We put her back on her formula mixed with Lactaid hoping she'll tolerate it eventually without formula.As well as gain weight.

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Hi S.! I would not be too worried since she is not underweight. My daughter was born at 30 wks and besides the extra calories to my breast milk when she was a baby, she has not had issues. I would watch her pretty closely to see if she starts to gain and just make sure she doesn't lose weight. My friend's daughter had a health condition and was extremely underweight. They told the parents to let her eat whatever. If she wanted butter popcorn for breakfast to let her have it and also had them adding butter to foods, giving her chocolate and full fat milk, etc. I wouldn't go that extreme since she is at a decent weight.

My daughter is 5 now and is picky. One thing that I can always get her to eat is the ronzoni smart taste pasta (it has extra fiber and calcium) with just olive oil for healthy fat and a little parmesan.

Good luck but I wouldn't be too concerned unless she contiues not gaining or loses weight!

A child's ability to gain weight isn't simply dependent on what they eat. Genetics and activity level play a huge role too. If you and your husband are slim, fit people, and so are your other kids, it's not surprising that you have a slim baby. My son is the same way! He's 13 months and his weight plateaued since his 9 month appointment. He was also walking early and runs around non-stop during the day! Doctors can make a huge deal over a child's place on a growth curve. Although it's normal for their growth to slow down after about a year or so, or earlier if they are active. The question is does her weight concern you? If you're not concerned, then I wouldn't worry about it. I think it's important to stick to eating habits that you want her to have for life... my son eats healthy, and even though they may not be packed full of calories, they're providing other nutrients and shaping his palate to accept a wide variety of food. He makes up for his sometimes picky eating with BFing still. One of his favorite snacks that's great for weight gain is guacamole. Mash a couple ripe avocados with some whole milk plain yogurt, then season as desired. He likes garlic powder, cumin, and a little chili powder. Then use it as a dip or eat with a spoon! Also, I've found that my son can tell when he's not eating what we are. He eats better when I give him his own serving, whether it's grilled fish or lasagna. So maybe giving her what you guys are eating, when you are eating it, and where you are eating it, may help inspire her to try it. Either way, if you're not concerned, then don't worry about it!

Same thing happened with my daughter. she did not gain weight or height from 6-15 months. the dr ran tests for growth hormone, digestive tract and something else i cant remember...everything was looking fine. she was happy and healthy. then she hit a growth spurt at 15months and is steadily growing...i wouldnt worry about it right now. kids grow at their own rates. my daughter is still on the smaller side but everything is well. Let me know if i can help or answer any other questions.

I also have a 16 month old daughter who fell off her curve at her 15 month appt (18 lbs, 6 oz). They told me to try to give her more milk fat (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.) as well as try to give her additional healthy fats. They also suggested we try the Carnation and Pediasure. She began to drink a lot more milk, but she was having so much that she wasn't eating very much. We went back last week after 4 weeks for a weight check and she had only gained half an ounce. They went ahead and ordered a full panel of blood tests to rule out anything medically wrong with her. The blood tests came back fine with the exception of her being anemic (which I am sure is because she has hardly been eating anything). Anyway, I looked in my baby book and I was only 19.5 lbs at 18 months. Since I was small the Dr. suspects that it is probably just genetic, and because she doesn't look sickly, he said he is not worried about it. It sounds like your other kids may be small too so it is likely just genetic. If you are worried about it being something else, you could always request blood work, although my Dr. said that 99% of the time it comes back negative. I have gone back to her normal diet instead of trying to force her to have milk fat all the time. She has started eating a lot more again and I have stopped worrying about it since she is otherwise happy and healthy.

If she likes to drink, make shakes! Yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium, and calories... just add ice, orange juice and some fruit - bananas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango... all work beautifully.

Something that has really helped me with my 3 year old is getting him involved in preparing the food. If she helps chop (we have a vidallia chopper so it is safe for him to use) and pour and stir maybe she will be more likely to try the finished product.

I have told my son on numerous occasions if he just puts something in his mouth and chews it for a few seconds then he can spit it out if he doesn't like. "All I want is for you to TRY it... who knows?!?! Maybe it will be like Sam I Am and the Green Eggs and Ham and you will really like it!" and I try to act really excited and really praise him for trying... even if he does spit it out. The other thing that helps him is just having food available so he can graze. He loves playing and running up to the table and having a few bites (cheese and apples, pretzels dipped in peanut butter, dried fruit and nuts trail mix, etc) and then running off to play again. Probably not healthy but... as long as what he is eating is and we all sit down for a proper dinner at the table I am content to let him eat on the go. I also keep snack sized bags of frozen grapes and frozen slices of bananas that he loves to get all by himself.

Maybe the lack of weight gain is just b/c she is using it all to grow height-wise. That seems like a long time for a growth spurt though...

Good Luck! Let us know how the next check goes!

S.- I have 3 boys- they are all healthy BUT small- I have recently learned however- that 2 of my kids have a gluten/casein sensitivity- any food allergy (or sensitivity) can stunt growth- so we are in the process of eliminating them from our diet- however....your daughter is 16 months old- she is, I am assuming, becoming very active and at this age- kids ARE picky- it just comes with the territory- they are learning to manipulate and see cause and effect...those things are completely normal- like others said- she is not losing wieght- I would give it until she's 2 and see what happens then.My 3 rd baby weighed 18.5 lbs at his 6 month check up - he is now 26 months old and only weighs 24 lbs!! Please do not feed her "junk" to fatten her up- it will only cause poor eating habits that will be harder to fix! you can always "sneak" veggies into foods- like pureed veggies into spagetti sauce or mix with applesauce- look at the cookbooks "the sneaky chef" and deceptively delicious....there are some great ideas in them. I would still give her healthy choices - you'll find she will start eating like the rest of the family before you know it.
Good luck and If I can be of any more help- please do not hesitate to contact me.

I really wouldn't stress her weight since she isn't loosing weight. My son was 20lbs at 9 months and now at 2 1/2 yrs is only 30lbs! So how is that for some weight gain! There were some office visits where he hadn't changed but maybe and ounce or so on the scale and his Ped was never worried about it. My daughter was 20lbs at 1yr old and she is 8 1/2 and weighs 50lbs! She is thin built just like I was as a child. As long as your daughter is active and healthy, don't make it too much an issue.

As far as her diet goes, the instant breakfast isn't too bad for her but it's mostly empty calories with all the sugar in it. If that is the junkiest thing you feed her, then great! You might want to increase her juice intake though, 25 juice/75 water. Yes, there is sugar in juice, but it is more natural than added as long as you are using 100% juice. For foods, break the habit of throwing food on the floor. Remove her from the table when she does this. After a min, put her back with a fresh plate of food and try again. If she throws the food, she is done with the meal totally. To her, it's more fun to get a rise out of mom than eating my dinner! She'll get the hint and don't worry about her going hungry, she won't. And after she realizes that this is no longer tollerated, she might be more inclined to make a new game of eating than tossing the food! Also, don't over load her plate with food either. Just a few bites of everything being offered will do. Sometimes, kids think they have to eat everything we put on their plates which turns them off to eating as well.

For good snacks, mulit grain cheereios, life cereal, yogurt, fig newtons, soft fruit grain bars, etc.

Good luck!

Hi S.,
Ugh, I suppose the doctors never recommended finding out if she is sensitive to milk before trying to put her on more of it. I would replace all her milk products with rice milk, add cod liver oil for fat in the milk (usually not needed, but in her case, yes). Give her no milk products in snacks. Stick with lots of rice, lots of starchy veggies like potatoes, get some good lentils and heavy veggies going. The main goal would be to find out why she is picky, she may be hurting in her tummy. Get rid of the offending foods (like cows milk), she will increase her intake and then her weight.
Did they check her head circumference - that is the most important?
Just my 2 cents, J.

I know what you mean about not wanting to resort to junk food, on the other hand at this age they still need lots of fat and calories for brain development and growth etc. and you'll have plenty time to redirect her to a healthier diet as she gets older. If the pediatrician wants her to gain more weight and suggests carnation instant breakfast, you could try something similar like making your own healthier smoothie options etc.

I have a very picky eater and smoothies has been the only way I can guarantee she's getting some nutrition. I use whole fat yogurt, soy milk, fruit and fortified protein powder.

And if she likes milk I would let her have it more than twice a day. It's nutritious and full of the fat and protein she needs at this age, so it's all good right?

My Mya 16 mo is the same way.She is not a picky eater though.She can't tolerate whole milk.We tried Lactaid but she threw it up too.She's 18.2lbs and 28in(I'm 4'10 1/2).We put her back on her formula mixed with Lactaid hoping she'll tolerate it eventually without formula.As well as gain weight.

If she is getting taller and she runs and plays and doesn't seem lethargic, then I wouldn't worry about the weight gain too much right now. My son is below weight and has been since birth but my pediatrician and I are not too concerned because he is growing and he plays like all other children and has lots of energy.

I don't give my son junk food to fatten him up but I do try to encourage healthy fattier foods. Of course, whole milk, add butter to any dish you can, coconut milk is good, cheese, nuts and nut products. What works well for me is letting him graze throughout the day on healthy snacks and small meals. The food is within reach (ie: either on the table, something he can easily reach in the pantry or fridge) and already opened and ready for him to consume. He seems to be doing ok this way and we do sit him down for family meals in the evening too.

He is gaining weight, slowly but steadily and without any fuss from us (we don't make a big deal about eating lots at the dinner table).

I am a small person and so is my husband and neither one of us ate much as children. I didn't like food for many years because I was nagged to eat everything on my plate as a child and couldn't leave the table until I consumed everything whether I was hungry or not. I don't think that is setting good eating habits for later!!

Hope this helps! Just remember to focus on the foods she does like and give her lots of opportunities to consume those foods--who cares if she eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day of her life?

Is she on point as far as all her other development? If she is then she may just be small especially how you described your and your husband's small stature. If she seems to be eating what she needs and not showing signs of exhaustion or dehydration then everything is probably ok. A trip to a good family chiropractor may be a good idea. If you are in the Charleston area I recommend Atlantic Coast Family Chiropractic on Trolley Rd in Summerville. She may start putting on weight after her spine gets the right adjustment. Look up her website, Dr Heather Wyantt.

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