April 14, 2009,
J.C. asks from Evergreen, CO on April 12, 2009
Help 9 Month Old Gain Weight
My 9-month old son is a little underweight for his length (25% for length and 8% for weight), and the doctor suggested adding some high-fat foods to his diet such as butter, oil, ranch dressing, and ice cream. He will eat the butter without any problem, but when he tried the ranch dressing he was up with gas in the night. These foods sound a little hard to digest, and heavy on the dairy, which I've heard can be constipating and allergenic. He already eats whole-fat yogurt with no digestive problems. I also give him plenty of avocado. But he didn't like tahini in his yogurt and wasn't crazy about egg yolks either.
Please give me some high-fat/high-calorie ideas for him that won't likely cause gas pain, and let me know if I start him on Ben & Jerry's if he'll start turning his nose up at his other foods, which are primarily purees of fruits, veggies, and whole grain porridge.
He doesn't like chunky foods, and I am just starting with finger foods, which have not gone over too well, but I'm sure will be fine soon. I breastfeed him and he doesn't take a bottle.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I just got back from the Dr.'s office with good news. My 11 month old son weighed 2 pounds heavier than he did at his Dr. appointment (1.5 months ago)! I was very proud of him. He is doing great. I think what has helped the most was adding olive oil to his veggies. We still do it. I didn't give him ice cream like the doctor suggested, and am glad that he is gaining weight well while still developing healthy eating habits and taste preferences. I loved the food suggestions from you fabulous moms, and appreciated the support when I was feeling like I wasn't getting him what he needed. Weight issues are definitely a huge concern for us parents. Thanks again!
K.C. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
Hey J., does he have a dairy allergy? Instead of Ben and Jerry's :) try something like a high calorie/fat protein shake , add some fruit, blend it and then freeze it. It will be just as yummy but WAY better for him. :) Good luck.
G.P. answers from Boise on April 13, 2009
I see a lot of ideas on adding oils etc., but my question is, are you feeding him breastmilk or solids first? I would make sure that you are giving him breastmilk first to fill him up. Also, make sure that he finishes on one side before switching. The fatty milk is at the end, and if he isn't getting that, he isn't getting most of the calories. At 9 months, a baby's nutrition should be met with milk, and the solids are more to explore and learn about. They should not be where the calories are coming from. I have heard of people adding formula to breastmilk to add calories.
2 moms found this helpful
E.B. answers from Fort Collins on April 13, 2009
My suggestion would be to let it be. Both my nieces are in the lowest percentile on weight and they are both very happy and healthy. The doctors at Kaiser told my little sister to feed her daughter fatty foods too. The doctors at Salude (who see lots of hispanics and races that are smaller in stature) said my other niece looked great. As for feeding fats my family all agreeds that is just setting them up for bad eating habits in the future. I have never seen two little girls so active and they are eating normal healthy foods, so obviously the extra fat is not neccessary.
Doctors tend to focus on what is normal for the population as a whole and not what is normal for that child.
1 mom found this helpful
T.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 13, 2009
cheese, avocado, i'd reconsider ranch dressing. . . it has a lot of junk in it i definitely wouldn't want to put into a baby (or an adult body actually). this sounds like a new recommendation going around, another friend recently had her dr "prescribe" this same regiment. . . if baby is breastfed, i wouldn't worry about those charts. unless he's showing signs of "not thriving" i'd consider scrapping dr's advice, since genetics aren't considered on those charts, and neither is breastfeeding. . . .but you can give your little one healthier stuff like the two mentioned above.
A.B. answers from Provo on April 13, 2009
Try adding cocunut oil to his purees. I had to do that with my oldest and the oil was great and it tastes yummy. It is solid at room temperature but it becomes oil when warmed up. It is full of fatty acids like avacados but it gives them a new flavor and it blends with most baby food.
be careful with the ice cream...I wouldn't want to eat anything else if i had that for a choice.
K.L. answers from Great Falls on April 13, 2009
My son has always been on the leaner side also. He never seemed to get those baby "rolls" that I always saw on other little ones, also he's always been tall. He's 3 now and in great health. My doctor never seemed overly concerned about it, just said that if he was following his OWN curve than he was fine. I do have a friend with a little boy the same age that has a severe alergy to all dairy products and one thing that she found was to sprinkle olive oil and cinnamon over whole wheat pasta. Just a thought.
M.T. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
i'd say high fat cheese as a great finger food.
M.R. answers from Boise on April 13, 2009
I would see a nutritionist first before adding all that junk into his diet. Three of my kids are very tall and thin. My 4 year old just had her well child check and she's at 24% for weight but at 50% for height. Our doctor knows us well and just thinks she will be like her dad and brothers. At 18 months our doctor was just about to recommend developmental therapy for my youngest son who just wouldn't eat well, nothing chunky or crispy but decided to wait it out another month. 30 days later he had gained enough weight and started eating new foods so it was unnecessary. All kids are different so getting a second opinion would be where I would start.
F.N. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
I also have a 9 month old that is below the 3% tiles- she was at one point in the 25% -was gaining fine then lost a some, then gained a little, lost a little.
I have been told much of the same info as other posters who responded. I have been working with a Lactation Consultant and also a Registered Dietitian along with my pediatrician.
I am shocked to see that you were told ranch dressing and ice cream- I personally would not (too young to digest it and why would she eat anything other then ice cream).
I started whole milk yogurt, whole milk cottage cheese, whole milk ricotta cheese, egg yolks, Cheeses: Cheddar, Munster, Havarti, cream cheese etc…. Also the pediatrician recommends I go ahead and give her table foods- I normally have not given my other kids jarred foods but have done so with her so I know how many calories she has gotten.
Cream cheese softened is great to dip finger foods into.
Currently with my LO I have been doing the high calories foods for 3 months have just added cheeses and yogurts and now adding butter and oils to her foods. Now we are adding high carb foods like corn, whole wheat pastas etc…. I am also adding formula to my BM to make it 24 calories per ounce and adding that to any cereals that I feed her.
I have a list of toddler high calories food ideas if you would like them let me know.
Never mind just got back to finishing this post and someone has already posted the same list.
T.L. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
My pediatrician told me to add olive oil or vegetable oil to my 9 month old's oatmeal or baby food. About a teaspoon two times a day. He never noticed the taste difference.
Yobaby-baby yogurt helped too. It's 110 calories per serving.
H.G. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
My son had severe allergies at an early age, so he was on rice milk at the age of one. So, we had to replace the fat he was missing from milk in other ways. But, your son should be getting a good amount of fat from his formula or breastmilk so your question makes me a little concerned that your doctor is correct. Maybe see if your insurance will cover seeing a nutritionist. If not, there are some healthy fats you can add in moderation:
One thing you can do when he turns one and if he's okay with milk is I think some of the local milk delivery services have a 5% milk, so it has another percent fat more than whole milk. In the meantime, try adding flaxseed oil to things that he already likes- like yogurt, applesauce or even his bottle. Read the storage label very well as this oil is unstable and goes bad easily. But, it is a very healthy oil and doesn't taste like much so you can add the fat and calories very easy. See if he likes Sunbutter (its Sunflower butter so it has lots of fat but has no probs with nut allergy and tastes just like peanut butter). Cook with coconut oil. I would use ranch sauce and ice cream in moderation in case he has a milk allergy and b/c its high in sugar. These things worked for us! Just be sure not to overdo it!
R.T. answers from Provo on April 13, 2009
Avacado is a good one. Makes a great finger food too, or you can mash it if he's not into finger foods yet. Scrambled eggs would also be good... full fat yogurts are probably a good choice too. Good luck!
E.S. answers from Fort Collins on April 13, 2009
You know, I would get a second opinion if you are concerned. I am very suprised a doctor would tell you to feed your 9 mo ice cream and ranch dressing! That just does not seem healthy. Not to mention, you are just trying to introduce him to new healthy foods and he is learning all about tastes and textures. I would follow-up with someone else before I gave a baby those types of high fat, low nutrient foods.
H.S. answers from Grand Junction on April 13, 2009
Hi J.. My son was also underweight until he was over 1 year old. I breast fed him for a year, but it wasn't until he was drinking whole milk that he started gaining weight. I wouldn't give my son a lot of dairy, especially ice cream, b/c he has just a little intolerance to dairy. So I might wait it out and see if whole milk helps(after he is one). Also, your son is probably just skinny due to his genes. My son is too!! Good luck to you.
S.L. answers from Boise on April 13, 2009
When you say "a little underweight for his length," how little do you mean? If you gave us some percentiles, it would be easier to know if your doctor is being a bit too proactive.
My boys have almost never matched their weight with their height. They're always at least 10 percentile points different. My oldest used to be 80% for height and 50% for weight. He suddenly caught up when he was 4, I think when he started putting on heavy muscle. My youngest is above 97% for height, and always has been, but his weight has never gone above 80%. And boy, you should see them eat. They often eat more than I do, which raised their pediatrician's eyebrows!
My niece, on the other hand, was at the bottom of the growth charts for most of her life. Without getting too critical of her parents' parenting, I'll just say that they will do just about anything to keep their kids from crying. So when she was little and didn't want to eat something, she just cried and her parents caved. So she would only eat a handful of things, and would rather be playing than eating, so she dropped off the charts for weight. When she was two years old, got the flu and lost 2 pounds in a week. Seeing as how she only weighed about 24 pounds, that was drastic. She had to be hospitalized so she could have an IV.
That's when her doctor suggested getting as many calories into her as possible. She suggested looking at the buttery spreads, and picking the one with the highest calorie content. I took a look at them, and it's shocking how fatty some are compared with the ones right next to them on the shelf! They'd put that buttery stuff on everything they could, and it helped her gain weight again.
The reason I tell you all that background, though, is because it was an extreme situation, where she'd lost 8% of her body weight and was already thin to begin with. It seems like if your son is just a few percentile points off of matching his height and weight, there's no reason to try to fatten him up.
Besides, the growth charts were created using data for formula-fed babies, which are statistically heavier than breastfed babies. So breastfed babies SHOULD be lower on their weight percentile than their height.
K.D. answers from Denver on April 12, 2009
We're going through this, too. First of all, every doctor has told us no ice cream. This is two feeding specialists, two nutritionists and two doctors. Fermented dairy only at this age. Finger foods are very low in fat and calories as the baby looses interest before really filling up. We do cheese occasionally as a finger food. For purees, we add some Flax oil as well as a teaspoon of oil to every meal. According to the specialists at Children's and National Jewish, oils (butter, too) are a great way to add fat as they don't bulk up the food. They're basically free calories. You only want to give enough fruit to keep regular. Our little one likes keifer (you can get it at Whole Foods in the yogurt section) mixed with formula. It serves double duty as you get the fat of the milk and the fat of the formula. We get the goat's keifer as it was the only one we could find that was made from whole milk. If you want to do finger foods, you can offer yogurt for a dip. Guacamole made with avocado and sour cream also is a good, high fat dip. Finger foods need to be dipped, though, if you're looking for extra fat and calories, and only offered after baby has had good foods to fill up on. We do it as entertainment while the rest of the family finished dinner. If you want, I have a bunch of papers on what serving sizes look like at this age, as well as good ways to add fat, and how much fat there is per serving. We've noticed a huge difference in our little girl with adding the oil each meal. Our son, unfortunately, is still not gaining weight, even with all we've done. That's how we've gotten so much help. I'm glad to pass on anything you'd like. Oh, I just thought of it, we sometimes add formula to fruits for the added fats and calories. If your doctor is okay with dairy, which it sounds like he is, you might be able to do Carnation Instant Breakfast, either with the keifer or whole milk. One serving mixed with 10 oz. whole milk has ten more calories per ounce than does formula. It's a very common formula substitute for slow growth kids. Our son gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks with it after not gaining anything for 6 months. Our daughter has gained about 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks with the other ideas. She was previously loosing weight. (She's our 9 month old.) GL!
K.C. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
Hey J., does he have a dairy allergy? Instead of Ben and Jerry's :) try something like a high calorie/fat protein shake , add some fruit, blend it and then freeze it. It will be just as yummy but WAY better for him. :) Good luck.
A.S. answers from Denver on April 12, 2009
My only suggestion is to feed your baby a healthy diet: breastmilk, fruits, veggies, meats, etc. You're doing just fine, as is he. Most weight charts are developed with formula fed children....BM children are naturally smaller. He might be a naturally small child or is a bit of a late bloomer.
Feed him when he's hungry and don't force food on him.
If it helps any my DS wasn't on the weight chart until he was a year old. At two he was 5th percentile and now that he's three he's up to 20th percentile. He's happy, healthy and a fabulous eater, he just doesn't pack it on.
M.H. answers from Grand Junction on April 13, 2009
I don't really have any good food ideas for you, I was mainly writing to share my own experience. I have three kids and have offered the same diet to each, they all have been consistant in there percentages, one is at the 90%, one at 50%, and one at 3%. In my experience kids are all different, there will always be those who are above the typical/average percentage and those below it. If you are offering healthy balanced food and nursing, in my opinion, your baby is healthy and fine and doesn't need any drastic fatty foods especially some of the ones you mentioned. I nursed for 18 months and my one that is at 3% is still tht way at 5 and let me tell you he can eat! Each child is different and you know what is best and healthy for your child, evaluate his diet as a whole and you decide how drastically you need to change the diet. Good luck!
L.D. answers from Pueblo on April 13, 2009
I say OUCH to some of your Doctors ideas. Weight gain in a healthy way is always a goal and I have heard that what we eat when a small child is like a building block. Real butter, is high in vit A etc and good for you in normal amts , Ranch Dressing is horrid in my opinion. It has tons of preservatives and yuk ,... now the original mix up yourself packet with buttermilk base is healthy for veggie dip etc but still has some gunk in it, ice cream is full of sugar and ya dont want to encourage that I would think, Whole yougert cant help but be good in tons of ways, I found some from Stonyfield Farms organic with whole milk with cream on top! at Smiths...TONS of calories from good stuff! (That was in Salt Lake City, if you are in Trinidad you will have to watch the labels!)Also, yougert has properties that HELP digestion. Soon he will probably be on to that high in fat and yet full of protien, omega fatty acids and all that good stuff....Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. Again, I would only use the all natural pb and the whole fruit jelly. You are going to start him on a lifetime of health and nutrition and may it go well with you all!
L.C. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
My sister went through the same thing with her first child and her doctor suggested the same thing. he's 10 now and is in perfect health, he just a skinny kid, he has a thin built.
Since children are molding tastes at this age, it is so important to give them nutrient filled whole foods. Be careful of MSG (in dressings), it a nuero-toxin and not good for deveolping brains. If you feel you need to give you son ice cream, find one with the shortest ingredient list, like a bryers, check out organic brands as well.
My sisters son developed such bad eating habits and it has taken a great deal of effort to get him to eat veggies, etc Save yourself some trouble and stay away from sugary treats, white flours, etc.
Is your son real active? Maybe he is just buring off alot of calories. Is he perfectly healthy in every other area? Has he always been on the lower side of weight?
Since most doctors have not studied nutrition, I question this advice!
I hope that helps!
M.S. answers from Denver on April 12, 2009
whole fat yogurt, avocado... cheese are all good things. when he is older you can give him peanut butter and eggs, which should help.
might I suggest though that you try graphing out his height and weight over time... my daughter was breastfed until she was 9 mos old and didn't triple her birth weight (8pounds 3 oz at birth) until last month (she turned two in dec). I love my pediatrician because what he did was graph out (with a line graph) her height and weight over the first two years of her life... looking for steady gains in both... my daughter is just growing slower, but steady.
It was such a relief as previous peds were telling us to give her anything she'd eat... personally, i'd rather stick to healthy food and a well balanced diet... sure she'd drink more milk if I put chocolate syrup in it, but I don't want her developing bad habits either. anyway, when you can see the growth over time, it is much easier to see they are clearly getting enough... and that your son might just be a little on the smaller side for now.. and that might just be o.k.
K.D. answers from Johnstown on April 13, 2009
Hi! My daughter has also been underweight since she was a baby. She was also exclusively breastfed for a little over a year, as she would not take a bottle either. (She just turned 4). I know that every child & every situation is different, so medical expertise is probably best, but I can try to offer my 2 cents:-) I know that it must be quite limited on choices (when considering solids, etc.), when your child is still so young. We were advised to take our daughter to The Children's Hospital downtown, where we met with nutrition experts. All tests were normal, and our daughter has always been healthy (being underweight considered the only exception by some). To be honest, I got sick of people trying to make us worry, while our daughter has always remained healthy. I think that she is just meant to be on the "tiny" side. All other development is great! And, I believe that with today's childhood obesity problems, our daughter is off to a pretty good start. As far as foods for your son at this point, I'll leave that to those who may be able to better recommend them. One thing that we did add to our daughter's diet when she was old enough to drink whole milk, our pediatrician had us add Carnation Instant Breakfast for the extra calories... So, I guess that my main advice is - just make sure that your baby is developing in every other way normally, and if so, then don't let anyone worry you unecesarily. (also worth noting - Breastfed babies aren't taking in as many calories as those who are formula fed.)
H.F. answers from Pocatello on April 13, 2009
Exactly how underweihgt is he? If it is not too much then I would say do not get him used to eating unhealthily, esspecially if there is a family history of obesity. My daughter was in the 5% for weight at her last visit but she is healthy and her doctor told me that trying to "fatten her up" would do more harm than good. YOu should also keep in mind that the growth charts that doctors use are made for formula fed babies, they do not accuratly reflect the weights of healthy breastfed babies. In fact, the whole idea of the growth charts comes from infant formula manufacturers in the first place. Origionally, a company that manufactured condenced milk (yes, the super sweet, vitiamin poor stuff used to be fed to babies) created a chart intened to show women that their babies were underweight and therefore they needed to drink the condenced milk since mother's milk was not enough for them. Over the years we have adopted differet ideals for how much a baby should weigh, but without a whole lot of scientific evidence for why they should weigh that much. Remember that being in the 100% for weight does not mean that a baby weighs 100% the correct weight, it just mean that that baby is on the larger end of the spectrum. Unless a baby is off-the-charts-tiny or has a big drop in weight for no good reason, he is mostly likely just fine and is follwing his own growth curve.
D.K. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
You aren't clear on what underweight means for your Dr.
I have a very petite little girl, at the year mark she just hit 16lbs! Define "a little underweight"..as if he is growing in height I see little reason to change his diet much.
NEVER did the Dr suggest adding more additonal fat then she was getting. If he is healthy, growing on the charts then I say do not worry about it.
You can always just use whole fats in yogurt (any kind), whole fat cottage cheese and stuff but baby food has that extra fat and so does breast milk/formula that they need.
Giving the wrong kind of fats will backfire if not given very carefully and almost all babies mainly need formula or breat milk at 9 months and some never even have solids until much later. His digestive system is so little that you have to be very careful, certainly ranch dressing and Ben and Jerrys for a 9 mos old sounds off to me.
So I wouldn't worry about fattening him up, give him bites of what you feed your family (my son was done with baby food at 10mos), maybe add an extra feeding for him at night with breast milk or formula, but I think it is very silly for a Dr to recommend to get higher fat foods for a 9 mos old.
Unless he is unhealthy, sickly or really behind in weight I wouldn't worry.
My daughter hung below 5 percentile until she was 6 years old. Never did I have to worry about additional calories for her as she ate well and was healthy and growing in height so our Dr was nver worried.
D.R. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
HIGH CALORIE FOOD IDEAS FOR TODDLERS
PROTEIN RICH FOODS
•strips/squares of soft cheese (American, Gouda, Jack, Cheddar, etc.)
•ricotta or cottage cheese (mix with fruit) string cheese, cream cheese & jelly
•Yogurt: custard style, whole milk (4% fat), yogurt, frozen - add cream
•ham strips (wrap around cheese/cream cheese)
•chicken pieces (wrap in crisp bacon, moisten with gravy or broth)
• small meatballs
•macaroni & cheese- add cream
•tuna (packed in oil) mixed with mayo
•fish sticks &. tartar sauce
•deviled (mix mayo into yoke of hard-boiled egg)
•scrambled with cheese or cream cheese
•tofu (stir fry cubes in peanut oil), peanut sauce or
•tahini (sesame seed paste) for dipping
•refried beans mashed with sour cream and cheese
•grilled cheese sandwich with mayo on inside and margarine/butter on outside of bread, cut into small triangles
FRUIT & VEGETABLES
•Banana- slices, mix with peanut butter or non-dairy whipped cream
•Avocado- slices, mix with mayo and lemon
•Papaya- mashed, whipped cream
•Fruit- canned, chunks, roll in Graham cracker crumbs!
•Squash- pumpkin or squash squares, bake with butter & brown sugar, season with nutmeg
•Vegetables: any vegetable cooked with sour cream, gravy or added cheese, cheese sauce
•Potato : French fries, tator tots, mashed potatoes with butter, gravy or sour cream
•Noodles: Ramen type soups - - add scrambled egg, meat chunks, or vegetables
pasta with butter and parmesan cheese
•macaroni & cheese
•Crackers: Graham, saltines, Waverly -- top with cream cheese & jelly or thinned
peanut butter & jelly, cheese
L.Y. answers from Fort Collins on April 14, 2009
ACK! I hate when pediatricans say this type of stuff. And we wonder why the US has so many obese children.
The percentile chart is just that a percentile... your kid is being compared to Shaquille O'neil's and Mini Me's kids. Maybe he's just built long and lean?!!!
As long as his weight gain hasn't dropped dramatically he is FINE. It is very normal for breast fed babies weight gain to slow down when they become more mobile.
Breastfed babies actually don't HAVE to eat foods until they are 1 year old. They are getting everything they need and then some from the breastmilk. Of course he's experiencing gas... it takes time for kids' digestive systems to handle certain types of foods.
And gas is an indicator that he's not ready for that type of food yet.
I continue to take my prenatal vitamins and Omega 3 suppliments (like Flaxseed Oil) while I'm nursing. I just recently heard about "hind milk" or "back milk"... something like that... I guess it's the milk they get when they've nursed for a while at one sitting. Supposedly it has a higher fat content.
I was given the advice to pump a bit before nursing so she would get the hind milk which would keep her fuller longer and she'd sleep longer at night.
My 17 year old was never on the charts in heigth or weight. He was a little bit. By 3rd grade he was average height and slim (not boney). By 5th grade there weren't too many boys taller than him. Now he is 5'11" and 150+ pounds of lean muscle and still growing.
Every child is different. My 4 year old is tall for his age and almost husky. My 14 month old is on the charts but at the lower end of the spectrum.
His digestive system is just developing. Ranch dressing and ice cream? yikes! Sugar has no nutritional value, reeks havic on the enzymes in the digestive tract and can cause diabetes and other health issues.
Sorry... stepping off the soap box now. :]
C.M. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
try avocado - high fat and good fat. My daughter loved it.
C.P. answers from Provo on April 13, 2009
My older kids were off the chart when it came to height and weight. But now they are huge kids. My son is only 14 and he is already 6'1. My youngest son is tall and skinny. I get him the jeans that have the adjustable straps inside and still I wonder if I can pull them tight enough. My point is that kids are just the way they are. The doctor for my older children was sure that I was making them fat and I should make them lose weight. They were babies and not really into running marathons. The doctor for my littlest guy tells me that he is healthy and doing great. I give my little guy a peanut butter sandwich (which is very high in fat) everyday. He is still SO skinny. Don't beat yourself up if the weight does not pile on yet. If it is meant to be there, it will.
O.L. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
Where was your son on the weight chart at 3 months & 6 months? Both of my boys' weight dropped off some between 6-9 months. I told our first ped that I was always on the very low end when I was a kid, too, and he said if I wasn't worried, then neither was he. And with DS2, the ped said that breastfed babies often shift on the chart around that age while they 'find their curve.'
I'd look at a lot of other factors before I'd be too concerned about it. How's his energy? Is he keeping up pretty well with developmental milestones? Is his appetite good?
Then lastly, I'd use the breastmilk to fatten him up. My DS2 (13 months) was ill recently and lost about 1.5 lbs. The doc suggested giving him small amounts of Pedialyte around the clock for several weeks to help him regain. And I did that at the beginning, but then I sort of de-emphasized solids and focused on nursing him as often as he would take it, and we've just about gotten him back on track. (And this is a kid with many food sensitivities, so he can't have dairy, egg, etc... he's gained that weight back with mostly just breastmilk, carrot, squash, sweet potatoes, refried beans and Honeycomb cereal!)
If you feel he's on-track and healthy, you can just gently remind your doctor that there was a recent study indicating that 1 in 4 preschoolers is obese... you're just trying to beat the odds. ;)
Seriously, though, best of luck. And don't let the doc alarm you unnecessarily...this is an area where I would definitely get more than one opinion!
J.H. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
My son has always been thinly built. Our first ped didn't seem to think anything of it. He saw how active and healthy our son was. He said that as long as he wasn't losing weight all was well. Then we switched insurance and the new ped was really concerned. She made us do all these tests at his 9 month appt. All came out well. She suggested we start feeding him fattier foods. We added cream cheese to his toast and just made sure he ate more qty. Since his first bday we added eggs with cheese in them. He loves them. I also took note of how much breast feeding he was doing. I noticed that he was getting more distracted and thus feeding less. I took some steps to be in a quieter enviornment and less distractions going on. He is starting to wean himself, but for the 3 sessions we still do they are more concentrated and focused. At last week's appt. (1 year appt...a little late...13 months) he was still in the third percentile in weight, but had gained over two pounds (tall & thin). The Dr. didn't seemed at all concerned this time. She recognized how healthy he was and that was the end of it. Now she said as long as he isn't losing weight all is well. So, after that long story :) I recommend making sure when he is eating food that he is eating enough qty (maybe have more meals if he will only sit for a little while) and try to focus the breastfeeding you do until he releases and not when you feel like he's been on long enough. One food I started doing was prunes in oatmeal. That helped counteract foods that seemed to be causing constipation like cheese (sometimes though I even give him bits of dried prunes and cheese together...he likes it). Good Luck!
K.S. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
I am not knocking your Dr. and I have heard Dr.s' say this before but really listen to your gut which is telling you this is not a good idea. I can't imagine giving my 9 month old ice cream. And is that really the health habits you want for your baby? Is your son continue grow? That is all that matters. My older DD was only 15 lbs at a year old. My peditrican (who is much more old school) just kept reassuring me that because she was gaining weight and getting taller (though by little amounts)then it was fine. She almost 2 before I could turn her carseat around. Once she hit 18 M she started to get a little bigger and by her 3 yr check up she was back on the charts. So my advice though I am not a Dr. is follow your gut because I think it is right not to give him those foods, and as long as he is growing then it is okay... Oh my Ped. told me at one of my last check ups that the 'charts' they use are from the 1970's and are based on formula feed babies.
As for food suggestions, I would introduce more high protein foods (any suggestion from my Ped). Beans, lentils, meat if you are meat eaters, millet (grain that is high in protein), Quinoa and avocado (great for healthy oils) All those can be pureed and added to the fruits and veggies he already loves. You can also add flax seed oil (I bought childrens flax seed oil at Sunflower) and if he is prone to consipation you can sprinkle in a little acidolphis too.
I am not an expert just a mom like you but feel free to email me if you have any other questions.. I have totally been there.
K.D. answers from Denver on April 12, 2009
What about cresent rolls? I used to do alot of things with those at that age. You can just bake them as normal or do variations of the following:
Roll cresent roll out into rectangle, pinch seams together. I would use a rolling pin to get a bit thinner dough. Spread cream cheese over dough, roll up jelly roll style. Cut into circles, put on cookie sheet, bake at 350 until done. Cut into chucks
I did alot of different kinds. Sometimes I would put turkey or ham lunch meat on the cream cheese with fresh spinach on top or cooked asparagus spears. Sometimes I would wrap the roll in saran wrap and freeze for a few minutes to make easier to cut.
I would also scramble eggs with vegges, ham, and cheese and place in the center of crecent roll rectangle, cut 1 inch strips on either side and braid the dough on top (it's a pampered chef recipe.
We also did alot of cottage cheese. I will say that my younger daughter dropped weight at her 12 month well check. I didn't do all of the ice cream and butter because it bothered me. She came back up at the next well visit. She's just going to be thin like her dad. Try not to worry too much.
D.P. answers from Pueblo on April 13, 2009
I have a little guy with low weight stuff going on too so here are somethings that I've discovered or been pointed to that seem to work. Peanut butter (I usually mix this with bananas or pudding or something), making mashed potatos with butter and heavy cream instead of milk. . . sometimes I add cheese too. Make pudding with pediasure or formula instead of milk. Coconut milk can be added to fruits and juices and is a huge calorie booster. Refried beans are not high in fat but are a great protein and with a little butter and cream they can be a great source of nutrition. After seeing a dietician she basically told me to take every chance to get in a calorie. Even if it's a little suck of a chocolate bar. (yeah I know . . . some people would say YIKES, I'm not trying to encourage poor eating habits, but everything in moderation is a great idea for every aspect of life. Getting a few calories in in the form or buttermilk ranch dressing, chocolate or butter can make a difference to an underweight person.)
Also, I never knew we needed to gain weight and were underweight until my pediatrician suggested putting in a feeding tube. . . .Uh hello! ( needless to say we have changed docs :) Just know that there is so much to do without ever having to make a consideration like that. She was way off base to even mention it at that point as we'd tried nothing else. That was over six months ago and other docs and a nutritionist have helped us gain weight and avoid that. If he still doesn't gain weight the doc can prescribe something called duo-cal (among other prescribable stuff) which is a highly soluble powder that is easily added to everything! It has helped tremendously to add calories to foods like fruits, yogurts etc. Good luck :)
J.B. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
You have received some very good suggestions for first finger foods. You’ll want to start with high value foods: avocados, bananas, yams, etc. My suggestion is to add multi-sensory learning to the mix. Initially, parents need to allow their babies to experience the food. This takes patience, especially when your child is underweight. It will be worth the time. Also, STAY AWAY from sugar, no matter how many calories. This is the time your baby is developing his preferences and tastes. Adding sugar, not only will compromise his immune system, he will learn to prefer the taste of sugary foods. This could set up a life-long preference for junk foods.
Here are a couple of blogs about multi-sensory learning:
A.M. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
As long as your child looks healthy and is meeting milestones, I wouldn't worry about them being "a little underweight". My daughter is just 20lbs at 22 months. She is just small. We feed her lots of yogurt, whole milk, butter. But, she also loves fruits and veggies. I would be wary of giving him a lot of sweets. That could negatively influence his weight and health later on.
M.E. answers from Denver on April 13, 2009
You've received a lot of good feedback. We had an underweight little one too... 3-5% for her 1st 2 yrs. She did take a bottle so we could supplement with formula and Pediasure (you can mix Pediasure into his cereal). You might try introducing a sippy cup with the pediasure... soft tip ones without the valve in it at the beginning, so it comes out easier. Our dr also suggested making oatmeal on the stove and adding a whole egg into it by stirring constantly so it didn't cook/whiten up before mixing in with the oatmeal.
But honestly, we stopped worrying about it, because she was taking in food, nursing regularly, peeing and pooping, playing, sleeping and thriving! Kiddos are all different sizes. So feed him good foods, add what you can that sounds healthy and natural. Finger foods take awhile to get used to so hang in there. It sounds like you've been introducing good ones... avocado, yogurt etc.