51 answers

Need Help...6 Year Old Needs to Gain Weight....

Hi all! I'm new on here and am looking for friendly Mom advise. I recently took my 6 year old son to his well child check up. He lost a pound since his 5 year visit. He is now only in the 5th percentile for weight. (He did get a little taller, though.) He only weighs 41 pounds, is very skinny, and a VERY picky eater. I brought a list of the only foods that he will eat and Dr. told me most of what he eats has no nutritional value. His diet consisted of chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, cereal, pb&j, buttered noodles, pizza, hot dogs, no veggies, the occasional fruit, just really only the "kid" foods. Trying to get him to eat something new causes serious anxiety with him. Sometimes new food makes him gag or even throw up at the table. He usually only eats a little before he complains of being full or his tummy hurting during a meal. He burps alot, also. So, Dr. thinks he may have acid reflux. She put him on medicine for that and put the fear of God in him to eat new, better food, to eat what I tell him to. Well, ever since that appt, about 4 days ago, he has actually eaten vegetables! And roasted chicken, not nuggets! Ever since that appointment, I have only given him what the rest of the family is eating, I won't make him something special, and he hasn't really complained. Dr told him he'd have to get a bunch of testing and needle pricks if he didn't gain weight in 2 months, so he understands he can't be picky anymore. Now, to my question..... what exactly should I be feeding him to put weight on him, but not aggravate the acid reflux? I want him to eat fruits and veggies and lean meats, but their not calorie dense. I feel like a bad Mom for letting him get his way with his pickiness for so long. Or do you think he has been picky because certain foods aggravated the reflux? I'm pretty worried about him and would appreciate any advise and would love to hear from someone with the same problem. Thank you!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for a your support and advise!!! Things are going well. He is trying everything that we eat. He's eating a more balanced diet, thats for sure. I just hope that the weight will start to come up soon. Again, thanks for all the help, ladies....you all are wonderful!!!

Featured Answers

Rice & Beans or Rice with butter, bread with butter, cheese, celery with peanut butter, If he likes catsup or ranch dressing or some other dipping item then you can tell him to dip his greenbeans in them (that's how I get my oldest to eat a lot of things). If he likes gravy or you think it might help the taste of rice or anything - buy jars of gravy to keep in the pantry. My boys like to mix things to hide the taste. They will eat what we eat, but they may put something on top (like I just mentioned) to make it taste better. In addition - you can add carnation instant breakfast to his milk in the morning and evening to increase the calories. My kids love the chocolate one.

Good luck!

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Hi C.- I have gone through the same thing with my son. I started giving him B-complex (syrup) you can usually get this on-line or at a pharmacy that sells homeopathic medicines. In addition to giving him this every morning, I give him his multivitamins every afternoon as well. It has done wonders for him...he actually wants to eat and tries more foods. The b-complex is for his nervous system and opens up his appetite. I also bought the carnation instant breakfast and put it in his milk (whole milk since he is so thin) in the mornings and before he goes to bed at night. He has gained 13 pounds since March and is actually growing out of his clothes (which I am happy about). Try it out and good luck.

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My daughter had this problem...sounds just like here!!She hated everything! I still let her choose...the doc said not to force her..but to give her carnation instant breakfast or even like a boost shake...that'll help pick up the weight a bit! :)

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WOW! You sure did get a lot of advice! I didn't have a chance to read all the responses but thought of one idea I saw on Supernanny. Since your son is 6, it actually may work. Let him go to the store with you and look through the produce section. Let him pick out some new foods he would be willing to try. See if you can find pictures of these foods - maybe old magazines. Let him cut out the pictures and glue them on a plastic placemat. As he tries one, he can tear off the picture or put an x over it until he has tried all of them. Then start over. I've also heard if you can find one of the many cookbooks geared towards children and allow him to help pick out some recipes to try as well as help to prepare them with you, he may be more willing to try new things. Not all foods will add weight, but it might be a step in a new direction of getting him to try new foods.
Also, at our house we just have a rule - when there is a new food, my son must take one bite. He doesn't have to finish it but he does have to try it. Then I will try the foods again because I have heard many places that it can take as many as 10 -12 tries of a new food to really develop a taste for it. Good Luck - sounds like he is off to a good try. Don't beat yourself up over this - you're asking for advice and willing to make a change. Those are great steps!

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Rice & Beans or Rice with butter, bread with butter, cheese, celery with peanut butter, If he likes catsup or ranch dressing or some other dipping item then you can tell him to dip his greenbeans in them (that's how I get my oldest to eat a lot of things). If he likes gravy or you think it might help the taste of rice or anything - buy jars of gravy to keep in the pantry. My boys like to mix things to hide the taste. They will eat what we eat, but they may put something on top (like I just mentioned) to make it taste better. In addition - you can add carnation instant breakfast to his milk in the morning and evening to increase the calories. My kids love the chocolate one.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.- I have gone through the same thing with my son. I started giving him B-complex (syrup) you can usually get this on-line or at a pharmacy that sells homeopathic medicines. In addition to giving him this every morning, I give him his multivitamins every afternoon as well. It has done wonders for him...he actually wants to eat and tries more foods. The b-complex is for his nervous system and opens up his appetite. I also bought the carnation instant breakfast and put it in his milk (whole milk since he is so thin) in the mornings and before he goes to bed at night. He has gained 13 pounds since March and is actually growing out of his clothes (which I am happy about). Try it out and good luck.

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One idea is high quality yogurt and yogurt recipes (they're all over the net). Full fat yogurt is a healthy fat (as is all dairy), while being kid friendly, and it should also be very gentle for his reflux. An added bonus, if you get one with added probiotics (my daughter likes the vanilla Activia) you can boost his immune system and his bowels will be healthier. You can explore flavors until he finds his favorite (mine like blueberry), or you can come up with a combo at home. My 9 yr old likes Greek style yogurt with blended fresh blueberries mixed in and topped with almond slivers. It is sweet, blue, and crunchy when he hits an almond. And what he doesn't know - it's totally healthy! FYI: Avoid Trix and Go-gurts - I'd stick with "real" yogurt without the additives and fake colors. My daughter is also small and a picky eater. She was treated for reflux for a while and still has gagging issues. It is not uncommon for us to have 90 minute meals with her at the table trying to finish dinner. So I understand the frustration. My top advice would be to always go for wholesome ingredients. For example, if he doesn't like almonds, as I mentioned above, but wants a crunchy snack, give him granola. Also, if you need him to eat something and he won't - puree it and get creative. My kids eat much better than they think they do. :) My husband too... ;)

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Hi C.

Have you heard of the receipe book "Deceptively Delicious" it's written by Jessica Seinfeld. (yes Jerry Seinfeld's wife) she has some great receipes where you hide the fruit and vegtables in the food. They will never know it's even in there. The food is really good, my kids like some of the receipes I made.

Good Luck
C. :)

Starches will help with the wait gain - if you are trying to stay healthy try unrefined rices (brown, yellow), Potatoes (try to include the skin - it contains alot of the nutrients), whole grain pastas and use a healthy red tomato sauce to get in the veggies (warning red sauce is acidic so if the meds haven't kicked in yet that should wait - if you can't do red, olive oil is a healthier choice than butter or white sauces), corn is starchy vegetable - we often mix corn in with our mashed potatoes and the kids love it. Cereals are a great option b/c they are reinforced with the vitamins and minerals and are a big carb! Raisin Bran and Cheerios are good choices. Hope this helped some.

Dear C.,

I am a mother of two picky eaters also!!! You've got a lot of great responses already, so I just wanted to add really quickly:

-Definitely try Boost, Ensure, Or Carnation;

-Fats, fats, fats! Full-fat milk, cream, chicken with crispy skin on it (YUM!), Hamburger or steak, mashed potatoes with butter & cream, Ceasar salad, or any salad with full-fat dressing on it. Olive oil/Balsamic combination is healthy and delicious!!!

-Try to involve your son in grocery shopping and cooking with you. I don't know what it is, but when my kids cook the dinner, they eat great!!!

Good luck and don't worry!
You are doing a great job!!!

M. :-)

Animal fats and butter fats. Don't skimp on fat at this age. Whole fat dairy products. Nut butters. Try to book Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. Great kid recipes with a trick...you puree veggies and add them to everything. So homemade mac n cheese would have pureed carrot, cauliflower, butternut squash or sweet potato in it. Sounds like a normal kid to me. Most are picky eaters.

I would suggest getting the cookbook "Deceptively Delicious". It teaches how to make the everyday "kid" food in a healthy way. For example you can hide pureed vegtables in mac n' cheese and they truly NEVER know it. Or pizza on a whole grain wheat pita with a pizza sauce with pureed veggies in it and topped with mozzarella or maybe even turkey pepperoni. It gives you a healthy way to make chicken nuggets or PJ&J muffins. he can still have his favorite foods just in a healthy way. It will take a little more effort on your part but, I think it's well worth it. Our whole family eats from this cookbook. Not just my kids. The turkey meatloaf is awesome!! Good Luck... and remember you're NOT a bad mom. You just thought I'd rather him eat something than nothing... right?? No one can blame you for that. Try to make an effort to meet him half-way. Find a way to give him the foods he likes in a healthy way. Also, I've found it helps to let them pick out their foods. Give him healthy options and let him make the choice so he still feels like he has a say.

Hi Carrie,

I have some thoughts for you to consider: first, caffeine, sugar, and too much milk can steal away a person's appetite.

Second, trying too hard to bulk him up may work and keep you from discovering if there is a more serious underlying problem.

I would continue with the new changes. It sounds like the talk the doctor gave him is working and I would take advantage of the season that he is trying healthier foods.

Therefore, use whole grain. Wheat breads, wheat noodles, and maybe add cheese to vegtables that are good but not desired such as brocoli, spinach. There is a frozen food line called Amy's of whole wheat pizza with spinach, mushrooms, etc. as well as box mac n cheese with whole wheat noodles. You can also use whole wheat spaghetti noodles, and wide wheat egg noodles. I found that when I take the sugar out of our diets, fruit is the new candy.
It is eaten and enjoyed. Banana is a really good fruit to try to get him to try. It is what the doctors call a whole food vitamin wise when a child is too sick to eat anything else. Also, my children like eating baby carrot sticks. My son will eat 1/2 lb as a snack after school. Good Luck,

One of my triplets had eating problems and we were sent to a feeding clinic. He was a gagger and a puker. He's still picky, but he eats a lot better now. He eats a whole grain cereal for breakfast along with a carnation instant breakfast. He will eat apples with peanut butter on them. If textures bother him you can throw veggies into the blender. One of the first things my guy liked was cooked cauliflower in the blender. Not pureed, just very small chunks. Introduce veggies again and again. If he doesn't like it the first or second or even third time, he might like it the fourth time... Try interesting fruits--dragon fruit, star fruit, kiwi... How about yogurt? Frozen yogurt with fruit? Hopefully he'll come around.

reflux is my business:

make sure you're seeing a SPECIALIST!!
a ped GI.
seeing a nutritionist who works WITH the ped GI is also a good idea.

give some tums or mylanta at night, even a pepcid ac chewable...

more smaller meals are better than large ones

he may ALSO have issues w/ milk and or soy proteins (NOT LACTOSE! but milk protein) which very often, but not always, go along w/ reflux issues

Boost has a Kids Essential formula that helps add weight. I have the same situation with my son. He is 6 and at his well check only weighted 39 pounds. He has gained 3 pounds in the past 4 months. I also give ice cream to him every night for dessert. My son is a healthy eater, by choice, and I cannot force him to eat junk food.
Things that aggrevate the reflux are sauce, onions, and anything with tomatoes.
Walmart is the cheapest for the Kids Boost. Publix has coupons, usually, but they are very pricey for the Boost. I was taking the coupons from Publix and using them in Walmart. In Walmart it can be found by the formulas in the baby section. In Publix it is where all nutritional supplements are.

I hope this helps.

Good morning! The last thing that you really want is for alot of people to tell you that you are to blame for your son's eating habits. Right?
My grand-daughter and my niece both have the same issues. They live off of the same foods that you described. My daughter and sister-in-law are both at their wit's end. They have tried everything to get the girls to eat right.
When they are both at my house, they are five and eight, I disguise healthy vegetables the same way that I did for my own two daughers, 28 and now 17. My food processor is my very best friend still. You see, my own husband does not care for many vegetables.
Does your son have an issue with color or texture? My grand-daughter will eat anything that is yellow, but nothing that is green. So, I have her to eat only yellow veggies at my house. She helps me to prepare it as well. Eating raw carrtos, raw summer squash, and so forth has helped her too.
She enjoys alfredo sauce on her buttered noodles, so I process all other vegetables into my home-made sauce (Classico alfedo sauce, heavy whipping cream, a little butter, processed onions, garlic(just a clove), bell pepper, zuchinni, and so forth).
She refuses to eat anything red, too. Sometimes, I could just scream.
She enjoys toast with nutella, as it has lots of vitamins, and tastes good too.
My niece will eat anything that she cannot see. So, I puree up every kind of vegetable in tomato gravy, and cheese sauce, too.
I hope that this helps you a little. I also freeze applesauce to make my own version of sorbet for both of the girls.
Hope that this helps.

Let him eat what you are eating. My nephew was the same way. His mom was worried he wasnt gaining weight and was always trying to get him to eat, then one day he started eating everything in sight. It was kind of funny because at the next family get together I was surprised she was actually taking food away from him! He went from one extreme to another. I would not worry too much about it.

My pediatrician recommended Carnation Instant breakfast for my son, who is also very small. I buy the can of chocolate powder and mix a couple of teaspoons in whole milk each morning and he drinks it with his breakfast. It's loaded with nutrients and he loves it!

Hi C.,

It sounds like you are doing a great job in getting your little guy to shift his eating habits. I'll start by saying I know nothing about acid reflux. My little guy eats tons of food of all kinds, but is thin too. He loves smoothies, so he gets one everyday. I use plain, good quality (Horizon, Stoneyfield, etc.) yogurt (the fruit kinds have too much sugar), frozen bananas or other fruit, and will toss in wheat germ, peanut or almond butter and sometimes avocado. I let him choose some ingredients and press the blender buttons. If you need a bit of additional sugar to entice him, agave is a great choice. The nuts and avocado are nutrient dense with good fat that can help your little guy gain weight. I think that some of the things he likes are very healthy and have necessary nutrients: cheese, pb&j, noodles, etc. are great, but only if the breads and noodles are whole grain. Most hot dogs are pretty bad due to nitrates, etc., but most grocery stores have better ones (usually in the Organic or healthy food section) that will provide the B vitamins that are hard to get without red meat. You may want to choose whole milk rather than low fat. It can be added to smoothies. Although you probably want your son to enjoy healthy food without a disguise to set up good habits now, there are some cookbooks out there that hide healthy foods in kids favorites meals. Good luck and lots of kudos to you for tackling this issue. Feel free to contact me if it would be helpful. C.

In this area I am an authority. I have two children who are both "picky eaters" in the extreme, one with GERD. They are now healthy and approprietly proportioned and in their teen years.

First off, it is not your fault. GERD (Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disorder) is to blame. Second, in addition to GERD, my chidren are also on the autistic spectrum and therefore have sensory issues as well. There are certian textures they simply can not tolerate. By the way, if your pediatrician has diagnosed GERD, ask for a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist. Dr. Michelle Winesett handles my daughter and has been very good.

My pickiest eater had such a problem (for reasons to complicated to go into here) that she wound up with total oral aversion when she was a baby and was tube fed for 7 years. She had a heart defect as well, and it was absolutely critical that her weight not get too low. She has now been tube-free for 7 years.

You are trying to put weight on your child. The entire society is against you. Everything your child sees and hears will tell him he is fat and to try to loose weight. Your first task is to convince him otherwise. Even at school they will preach weight loss to him. Talk to his teachers and explain that it is important that your child GAIN weight. Ask them to help you accomplish this. Also, it is easy to find foods that are geared to loosing weight. It is hard to find nutritious ones that will add weight, but it can be done.

I know you want your child to eat healthy, but your primary concern is to give them calories, not to feed them a perfect mix from the food pyramid. Your child's food pyramid is going to look more like a flying saucer for a while. Get used to it. You can fix that later. In the meantime, Wal-Mart carries some chewable Equate Milti Vitamins Complete with Choline. Not all vitamins are created equal, so compare the labels.

First off, add butter to everyting. My daughter liked those little Chef Boyardee microwavable one-pot speghetti things. Add a pat of butter, then heat and stir in. Veggies: add a pat of butter. Chicken: brush with melted butter. Sweet potatoes are wonderful for being able to mix in and slather on loads of butter (maybe with a dash of cinnamon if your child likes that).

Second, get the child to drink milk. Not skim or fat free milk, but whole milk. Not chocolate milk, most of it is made with skim milk. Add just a bit of half & half cream to each glass. And explain to the child they can not choose skim milk at school either. Also, many kids with eating problems will drink rather than eat. They will fill up on drink because it is quick and easy and satisfies their hunger now without the labor of eating. Don't let the child drink before meals. Make sure they have eaten a reasonalbe portion of their food before they get a second glass of drink. Stay away from sodas. Carbonation can make them feel full.

By the way, carbohydrates are your freind. And so is butter. And so is cheese. As all of us know who are trying to loose weight, there are some really delicious foods out there that will put on pounds. Super Wal-Mart has some wonderful frozen Great Value cheese toast. Wal-Mart also carries some individually wrapped Sargento Colby-Jack Sticksters. Pizza, pasta, cheese, garlic toast with lots of butter.

Try Pizza Hut's all you can eat lunch buffet (11:30am - 1:30pm, even on weekends). Doesn't cost much and the child can pick and choose. If you can, try to get them to eat pizza with lots of stuff on it, like ground meat and bell peppers, not just plain cheese. (Keep an eye out and don't let them get the ones with jalapenos!) Maybe one slice of loaded pizza, then they can have one plain if they want it.

And, of course, there is desert. Try home-made from scratch banana pudding complete with bananas and Nilla wafers. Sara Lee has some to-die-for Hershey's chocolate cake. You can order it at Denny's, which has a Kid's night on Tuesday evening where kids eat free (cake extra, of course). They store it cold, so just make sure they pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds before bringing it to the table so the chocolate is just almost melting. You can also buy a whole cake from them to take home.

There is a good chance your kid likes crunchy and salty things. Even junk food can be your friend. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, Sunchips, potato chips, Cheetoes, buttered popcorn. Old feeding therapy trick: Try negotiating with your child to eat what you want. You eat one bite of what I want you to eat, I give you three goldfish. Sometimes I have to go through a whole meal that way with my autistic son. Interestingly enough the "gaggies" often disappear when he has an incentive like goldfish. I've even done this with cookies. My son likes the Soft Baked Peperridge Farm chocolate chip and Dark Chocolate Brownie varieties. Break into fourths and use as an incintive at supper. So my child is eating cookies at supper. At least he his eating the foods I want in between bites of cookie.

Sometimes it also works to distract him. If I can get him to do an activity he likes, I can get him to eat a bite while he does it. He's concentratring on the activity, not the food. Again, eat a bite, do fun activity for a couple of minutes, eat another bite, do more activity. It is work for you, but it works.

Don't stop trying to expand their menu, but don't make a battle out of it. Try one bite, get the goldfish, or Cheetoes, or Sunchips, whatever they like. If he gags on it, wait a month on that food and try it agiain. Right now his menu is actually shrinking again as he enters adolesence. His tastes are changing again, as ours all do at that time. But I keep trying.

Your last line of defense is Boost. There is a variety to add calories. Boost is a canned drink that can be found in the pharmacy section. Or PediaSure. PediaSure contains all the nutrients that your child needs. My child lived off almost nothing but PediaSure for 5 years. Have them drink a can between meals.

Good luck! You are NOT ALONE!

My dd dropped to the 5th percentile at her 5 yr checkup. She was in 25% at 4. At 6 she is also only 42 lbs but is now gaining. I read somewhere kids that drop percentiles dramatically can be milk intolerant. She can have some milk- 2-3 servings /day but not anymore than that. Anymore she gets stomach aches and then she won't eat anything because her tummy hurts. I watch her dairy intake and now she does not get stomach aches and is gaining weight. Yes I think something was aggravating him, especially since he had gas. Good luck.

If he did not get weight eating all the high sugar/calorie food you listed (chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, cereal, pb&j, buttered noodles, pizza, hot dogs), then I would think he has a high metabolism and may never get big no matter what he eats, or that there is a medical issue. If he is growing up fine, and that he is not out of energy, then it's just his metabolism. Simply teach him how to appreciate other food, how to add fruits and veggie to his diet, but that will not get him bigger, just healthier.
As you try new food, such as vegetables and fruits, see how his reflux is getting, and see with your doctor if there is no medical reason of his refusing to eat certain food. Remove the skin of raw tomatoes (put them 10 sec in boiling water the skin comes off easily) they are easier to digest.
I was reading some of the responses suggesting you to hide veggie and fruits in his meals... you may want to do that but together with that, always present him some vegetables and fruits in their REAL form, you want to teach him to enjoy them as they are, not hidden.
and don't forget to tell each other "Bon appétit" as you start your lunch and dinner!
If you want some suggestion of menu, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Brazil nuts are great for healthy weight gain. Check your local health food store.

Hi C.; I am a supervisor in Herbalife and we have wonderful products for children for helping to gain weight, lose weight or just for good nutrition. When you get good nutrition it also helps the body heal its self. Several have had improvement with acid reflux. You can check out my web site at sldnutritionmall.net. If you are interested you can give me a call and I will give you a 25% discount on your order. I am in Iowa until the 1st of Jan. that # is ###-###-####. I will be back in Fort Myers Florida after the 1st of Jan. and that # is ###-###-####. I have a customer who gets the multivites for her children and she took them to her children's doctor and she said he told her they were the best he had seen. The kids shakes are great, my grandkids love them. To gain weight you would give your son 1 or 2 a day between his meals for added nutrition. They have more nutrition in them than a regular meal. I have recipes where you can make pies with the shake mix and have a piece of pie rather than drinking the shake. Any questions you can call me or email me at ____@____.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sounds like he is so thin because he is a picky eater. I would dismiss him having acid reflux, everybody burps and he is probaly doing it on purpose especially if it gets a rise out of you. Sounds like he gets alot of extra attention when its dinner time, maybe he does this on purpose because he wants extra attention. I don't know that for sure this was just my thought when I read your post. I have a 7 month old and I think the docs love to blame acid reflux on not gaining enough weight. I wouldn't worry so much Momma he will eat what you give him. You can always bribe too.

We live in Japan so our diet is different to most Americans but we are going through the same problem. Our son is 6 an he`s only 15 kilos! We eat a lot of rice and veggies but I have begun to add roasted chicken breast and lean meat to boost up his protein. I also give him full fat yogurt and bananas for breakfast which he loves and also vanilla ice cream shakes with fresh blueberries, plain yogurt, and real orange juice. He has gained 2 kilos in the last six weeks with this new diet.

First of all congrats to you for getting rid of the junk food ( and not buying more!) and getting a fresh start to serving a better diet for your son. It sounds like he will be on his way to a healthier lifestyle. Some of the items you listed as his favorites are only bad when purchased pre-made from the store, but would be fine if you made them yourself.... Fresh made chicken strips and homemade mac and cheese are both great. Substitute veggie dogs for hot dogs, make pb&j on whole grain bread, lose all the sugary dips. Make your own or buy healthy ones. If you try avoiding processed foods, anything ore-made and packaged dry good then everyone will be avoiding all the fillers, chemicals and fake food ingrediants. He will need some time to develop a taste for healthy natural foods that aren't filled with these additives but it's a great thing to start now and set him up for the rest of his life. I wouldn't cover up the taste of the fresh veggies every time (sauces, etc) or he won't ever accept the real flavor. Maybe a little cheese, mrs dash or Italian dressing will be subtle.

I highly recommend dr. Sears books .. The Family Nutrition Book or his new one called NDD ( Nutritional Deficit Disorder) specifically for kids diets....I have both and they have been a wealth of info to reference for me and my family. Best wishes.

My daughter had this problem...sounds just like here!!She hated everything! I still let her choose...the doc said not to force her..but to give her carnation instant breakfast or even like a boost shake...that'll help pick up the weight a bit! :)

Hi C.,

I'm sorry to say that I can't help at all with your son's weight gain issue, but I do have advice about getting more fruits and veggies into him. I began giving my daughter (almost 4 now) the Juice Plus gummies when she was two because she was always sick. These gummies are all-natural consisting of 17 raw, vine-ripened fruits, veggies & grains. Her health has improved dramatically over the past two years and I have a nice little "insurance policy" that's she's getting the nutrition that her body needs. I love it so much I became a distributor. Feel free to look at my website or call me!

Good luck,
L. Murphy
Cell: ###-###-####

What about carrot sticks w/ranch dressing for dipping. Also you could slice cucumbers and add in some cherry/grape tomatoes and dip those in the ranch dressing. Also how about apple slices with caramel dipping sauce. Have you ever tried frozen grapes? What about mandarin orange segments or string cheese and crackers.
These are all things that my kids love to eat. I must admit, I have never had a problem with my kids eating their fruits and veggies. My kids love to eat salad and all kinds of raw fruits and veggies. Also, did the doctor suggest some kind of vitamin supplement for him?

Hi, C.. Sweetie, first of all, put away your guilt. That's not going to help his acid reflux or his weight. In fact, it will give him anxiety and he'll start throwing up again.

It sounds like you had been taking the easy way out and giving in to fast foods, probably for the sake of time and avoiding arguments. OK, that's not the best strategy, but we all make mistakes. You weren't trying to hurt him!!! You were just trying to get through dinner without World War Three. <<<HUGS>>> The important thing is that NOW you see that there was -- WAS -- a problem, and now you are living out the solution. Pat yourself on the back because you are not one of those parents who gets royally pissed off if someone tells them they made a mistake. Love yourself for loving your son and starting over nutritionally.

Don't worry about making up for lost calories. You don't want to put a whole lot of FAT on him (my dad made that mistake when I got very sick at 1 year old and lost a lot of weight -- he gave me a life-long battle with obesity). Instead, the PROTEINS and the vitamins and minerals he is getting by eating properly will slowly and naturally give him the weight gain he needs. And you will also see good behavioral changes in him from eating the proper foods. He will have less and less acid reflux because he will be eating hardly any trans fat and eating very little grease altogether. Acid reflux is made worse by cooked grease.

Fruits that are good for the digestive system are apples. They're good for the large intestine particularly, and help out when a person has either diarrhea or constipation. Apples are the great equalizers.

Apple sauce is very good, too, if he doesn't feel like chewing the whole crunchy thing. You can get unsweetened apple sauce and also apple sauce with other fruits combined.

You can also use cooked fruits in recipes which will give him some more calories -- applesauce cake, for instance, or a quick and easy peach cobbler with honey instead of sugary syrup.

For a healthy desert with a few extra calories, you can't go wrong with peach cobbler or any other kind of fruit cobbler; so you don't even need a recipe. Get a can of canned fruit in natural juices (like peaches or pears or cherries, etc.), drain off about half the juice, drizzle some honey over the top of it, and get some vanilla cake mix -- those little boxes of plain cake mix, really cheap, will do. I think they're still white and blue, but I can't remember the name. (Martha White? Can't remember.)Put a couple of dabs of healthy margarine on top of the cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees until the cake top crumbles are a little brown; serve warm. You can give him a plop of vanilla ice cream with it, too. It's fun to eat the cold ice cream with the warm fruit and crumbly cake.

That's a good dessert to give him when he eats well at dinner, BTW.

Bananas are good, non-acid fruit, too. He can have a plain banana all by itself. Now, peanut butter, in moderation, is a good, healthy food full of protein. You can get it without any sugar or with reduced sugar and even reduced fat, but that's probably not necessary. You can let him smear peanut butter on a banana; you can make him peanut butter and banana sandwiches (on whole wheat or oat bran bread, English muffins, etc.). You can also make him a small banana split for dessert or a summer snack. Does he like peanuts or other chopped nuts? That would give him a few extra calories and some healthy fat content. Bananas are good for digestion as well.

Most vegetables are non-acid-forming, so don't worry about which ones to feed him. They are all good, but they may all give him gas, especially if he's not so used to them.

Stop worrying, because it sounds like he's already on the right track. Thank God for your pediatrician who put the fear of God (and needles) into him.

Keep up the good work, and just relax, OK?

Hugs & Peace,

It sounds like you are working in the right direction. I'm curious though, do you allow him to have snacks? The reason I ask is because my son is a picky eater, and eats a great dinner because if he doesn't eat dinner, he gets no snacks. Just a thought.

Hi C.,

I have a friend who is a pediatrician and when she saw that my 5 year old was not gaining a lot of weight, compared to my daughter who is one year younger, she recommended that I give him pediasure. I blend it with ice and give it to him like a milk shake. She said by supplementing the meals with pediasure I should see some weight gain. Good Luck:)


First off I have dealt with acid reflux and the kid foods / fried foods are one of the worst things for it. Bread can aggravate it anything greasy or buttery caffeine like soda or chocolate. I cant do white bread but whole grain usually doesn’t bug me. As some other ppl have suggested whole fat milk and cheese starchy veggies try cutting up a potato into basically fries and sprinkle it with olive oil and bake. Use the plain yogurt as a dip for veggies or fruit. a multivitamin will boost his appetite. A friend of mine has a little boy who will seriously not eat much at all like maybe a bite or 2 of his food unless he has a vitamin then he will eat a normal amount.

try him with cheese, and pasta, (like lasagna, or pasta and sauce) I have found with mine that getting them involved in the process, even if it is just to sprinkle cheese on the top makes them want to eat it more. Good luck!

If you have insurance I would recommend that you take him to a nutritionist. My daughter was below the 5% for weight and I went to see a nutritionist and what a great help it was! There are little tricks that you can do like, mix "half and half" with regular milk to add some calories. Little things like that really helped my daughter gain a few pounds. Also, a nutritionist can formulate a diet tailor to his health needs, for example my daughter is highly allergic and she(the nutritionist) gave me a special diet that addressed her allergies and her weight. Look in to it - you won't regret it. Good Luck!

Well, first you are NOT a bad mom. We all give in to our babies in way or another, whether it be letting them sleep with us or letting them have their pacifiers longer than recommended. You did the right thing to bring him to the doctor and let her fully explain that he is hurting his body with the pickiness. Second, there are healthy foods that are calorie dense. Hummus, avocadoes, beans, peanuts, almond butter, etc are full of calories that his body demands and can help him gain the right amount of muscle mass he needs. Have him makes some ants on a log or make him a some black beans and rice. If you have him help you in the kitchen and explain what the different foods do. My son thinks it's so funny that beans make him poop. It's the truth and he eats them. LOL! Carrots are great for eyes, cucumbers have lots of water in them for his muscles, etc. If you explain with a body book of what these individual foods do for him - he will start to click and WANT these! Crazy, I know.

Here is a variety of recipes for his age group (I just tried the no bake granola bars and my son loves them because he helps):


Good luck :)

When my son was just a bit older than yours, a 24 hour stomach bug went around in our family... only it took him nearly a whole week to kick it! After ruling out anything more serious, the doc finally figured out that it was his normal diet that did him in-- his body did not have the reserves of vitamins and minerals to fight the virus, and he was underweight to begin with so a week or throwing up made him scary skinny! My son's list of foods sounds very similar to the ones you listed... At that time, the doc suggested Ensure daily to bulk him up. The doc didn't say how long to have him drink them, so we actually had him drink one nearly every day for the LONGEST time... well over a year. Eventually, his eating habits got MUCH, MUCH better-- I will still make mac-n-cheese as a side dish, for example, but he also needs to eat at least a little bit of the main dish and veggies. We discovered that he actually likes (doesn't love, but likes) brocolli so I make that several times a week as it is one of the only veggies he will eat. Anyway, I asked the doc if Ensure was OK to keep giving him, and he said it was, but it's much better if he would drink Carnation since you mix it with fresh milk, or even better if I could get him to drink a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit. For your son, just keep your goal that you want him to eat more healthy and the weight will take care of itself.

By the way... notice that with the fear in him, he is eating veggies and roasted chicken? The gagging and vomiting was drama-- phycological and for attention, not physiological. Try to remember that as you have him try new foods now. Our boys were picky eaters because we allowed it. Not wanting onions in your food is an acceptable picky behavior-- not having any healthy foods in your diet is NOT.

Don't feel bad or guilty - what's important is that you are doing what needs to be done now for your son's health. It sounds like the advice your doctor gave you was spot on and that's wonderful that it's working. As long as you keep preparing nutritious meals, don't worry about packing on the calories (that could backfire) - he his body will do what it is supposed to do when it receives the proper nutrition. Try things you wouldn't normally think of, such as letting him snack on, or eat with a meal, frozen peas or steamed broccili right out of the frige - my kids love that. I am a strong believer in whole food nutrition and it's benefits. If you'd like to read more about how important whole food nutrition is to preventing disease, read this: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-Whole-Food-Nutrition-Helps-Pr...
My whole family takes Juice Plus - it is not a vitamin, but simply whole food in a capsules, chewable or gummie form. It is all natural and contains 17 fruits, vegetables and grains - we try and eat healthy, but I consider this our nutritional "safety net". Read more here and if interested, I can tell you how you can get it free for your son: http://JPGotHealth.com
All my best,

Wow!! What a great doctor you have!! My son has had similar problems all his life. The food battle started when he was a baby....he would hold food in his cheeks like a squirrel and refuse to swallow it! This would go on for an hour or more at mealtimes. As a young child, when the doctor asked him "what's your favorite vegetable?" his response was "chocolate cake!" He was always below 5th percentile for height and weight. Finally the doc told us to have him drink ensure, or a similar product....(he likes the chocolate ensure best)...publix sells it usually next to the vitamins. So he drinks that and it supplements his diet. Also, when he was about 12 or 13 he was started on growth hormone injections.....which have helped immensely! But it's very expensive unless you qualify for assistance, and you don't need to go down that road if you can just get him to eat!

No, you are not a bad mom. I understand because I often felt the same way. My family was no help, always insisting that they could get him to eat so why couldn't I? The truth is, he would eat for other people, just to be polite! Someone gave me the advice to just have healthy choices available in the house....which only works if the whole family is on board with this plan. Then you serve one thing for the whole family. If he doesn't eat it, he gets no special dinner. I was reassured that he would eventually eat! (The problem was that our nanny or grandparents would sneak him other foods behind our back...or he would trade his sandwich for cookies at school....) Then we had a rule that he had to at least try one bite of a new food. He did that out of respect for his dad, who made the rule. We wouldn't force him to eat something that he hated, but he had to at least taste it. If reward systems (like a star chart....when he gets so many stars he gets a PS3 or something) work with your son, you can try that. Mine was just particularly stubborn!!

One thing I learned thru this whole ordeal is to not get so uptight about it.....(also because sometimes kids do this to get attention.) Very few people starve in this country....he will eventually eat what his body needs and grow up. (you might want to add a chewable vitamin to make sure he gets enough vitamins). And they do grow up....regardless of what we do as parents. Maybe I didn't succeed at getting my son to like veggies....but he is a gifted child, bright, funny, well-mannered, well educated, reasonably emotionally stable (as a 15 year old can be....)....and with the growth hormone, he did grow 6 inches in the past year! (now taller than I am!) So I (and his dad) must have done something right. Just give yourself a break before YOU wind up with acid reflux too!!

I feel your pain! I have a 13 year old that was in the this same position when he was younger. Our peditrician recommended if he refused to eat what we ate to offer one constant solution. He could have what we ate or a peanut butter sandwich (no jelly). He was 2 when we started so we used a gingerbread man cookie cutter. We carried one in the diaper bag, too. He called it his "peanut butter man". He lost the anxiety with new foods knowing he had security in the peanut butter man. We were also encouraged to cut back on the junk and focus on cereal, peanut butter and brocolli (we called them trees). It was not easy because he is still a picky eater, but he ate healthier and with a lot less fighting. He is now 13 and 155 lbs! We are still putting weight on him for football now with multiple protein shakes in addition to his regular food. We have a friend who took her thin daughter to a nutrionist and they recommended a milkshake with ensure in it at bedtime. That way she went to bed and didn't burn any calories - it helped her. We never had problems with acid reflux - our son's throwing up and burping was self induced due to the stress of not wanting to eat certain things. Choose your battles and focus on those, let him know what he can choose and what is simply not a choice and then you can worry less ... well about his weight anyway. :) Good luck!

I would think his pickiness is a combination of his body being irritated by foods and your being lenient about what he eats. And believe me, I understand just giving your child what they want just to get them to eat something. That's great that he's trying new things now, and I hope it continues! Keep reminding him of what the doctor said if he tries to resist! LOL Little kids need sufficient fats in their diet, so you could sautee' his veggies in olive oil and you could also cook up some ground chicken or turkey (more fat content than just right off the bone) in some olive oil too. Even add olive oil to rice and noodles! Make some chicken salad with mayo and try getting him to eat that maybe. Fried potatoes. Meatloaf (ground beef/chicken/turkey) with hidden veggies. See if he'll try eggs as they're a good source of fats and protein. Beans too! Good luck!!!

For the fruits and veggies... you can try the smoothie drinks, "Naked." They are in the produce section. Super good. I actually like the green one. It tastes similar to apple juice. You just have to get past the color. If you pour it in a dark cup with a lid- he might not notice the green color.

You can also make your own protein shakes with a scoop of protein and the fruits he likes. This way he is getting the protein and vitamins and will still eat other foods (with fingers crossed).

My grand daughter wrote the book on picky- she eats salds and cheese, and that is about it- she is a straight a student and very happy- consider the md could be all wet- have a check w/ the International Chiro Pediatric Assoc for someone to check the acid reflux- it can be fixed
and that medicine makes it more difficult to digest protien which he needs now.
Check out weston price foundation for the great &dense food he'll love- & trust your instincts on this not what you have been told- what do you think?

Hello! you can offer him some high caloric and carbohydrate foods like ripened mangoes, bananas, potatoes, corn,rice and beans and different kind of meats like pork and steaks. You have to be constant because children tend to return to the "kid" foods. And don't worry this is a stage of your child developement it will pass. Good luck!

When I was a child one of my brothers just could not put any weight on. The Dr. told my parents to give him a milk shake before he went to bed. It worked my parents tell me. Just make sure he is not allergic to milk protiens and he is eating balanced meals the remainder of the day.


Try cutting bananas in the yogurt (I put some sugar in plain yogurt so kids like it). The combnation of yogurt and bananas help gain weight.
Take Care

Hi C.,

I am not a doctor, but I do have some thoughts about including the caloric density of your son's diet in a healthy way..........I did a lot of research when my mother was going through chemotherapy (she was very thin and I was afraid for her to lose more weight). Some thoughts: does your son like baked goods? It's pretty easy to sneak veggies in them, like carrot muffins, zucchini bread....I even recently saw a recipe (haven't tried it yet), for zucchini chocolate chip cookies. Some veggies, esp. zucchini and carrots, are pretty easy to grate and hide - I have a recipe where I grate and saute like 3 whole zucchini with an onion, then add it to whole wheat orzo (tiny pasta), add a little parmesan cheese - and my 2 1/2 year old loves it. If I make a ziti (whole wheat noodles, ground turkey), I usually throw in some spinach and artichokes - and my daughter usually doesn't notice and eats it. Do you think he would try almond butter? It has some properties (esp. omega 3 fatty acids) that are better than peanut butter. And of course, buying natural peanut butter is healthier than the standard, and buying all-fruit jam instead of jelly is much healthier. how about sweet potatoes? most children love them and they are far more nutritious than white potatoes (not even from the same family). You could even make "fries" for him by brushing a little olive oil and seasoning on strips of sweet potato and then baking them. Avocado is nutritious and also calorie-dense, as are bananas, so those are 2 good ones to see if he'll eat. Will he eat fruit in his cereal, like bananas or berries? Berries have wonderful nutrition (antioxidants, vitamin C), and bananas are calorie-dense. And what about nuts, instead of just peanut butter? If he would eat a trail mix (peanuts, raisins, other seeds and nuts), there's good protein and nutrition in there (monounsaturated fat, and lots of iron in the raisins and other dried fruit). My daughter also loves fruit leather - it's kind of like fruit roll-ups but it's straight fruit and juice - no sugar or preservatives - and and easy snack to carry.

Hope this helps!

Not to sound too harsh, but no, it doesn't sound to me like he was picky because it aggravated reflux. It sounds like he was picky because he COULD be. :)

As moms we are always going to look for a reason to justify OUR spoiling our kids. It's okay to sometimes let them get away with things.. but the hard part is REALIZING that we are doing so....

Obviously, letting him get by with eating only junk isn't going to work. Be glad that the doctor scared the pickiness out of him and take full advantage. If he likes chicken nuggets.. make him some.. and I mean MAKE them. Buy chicken breasts and cut it it chunks or strips and cook it. voila.

Serve fresh green beans with a dash of Lawry's seasoning salt or butter. Offer him nothing (be reasonable) pre-made or prepackaged. You can avoid alot of junk that way. Steam broccoli florets in the microwave (just add a little water and cover with wax paper). Salt/butter to taste. If you cut out the sugary junk stuff, he will naturally enjoy grapes and apples much more. My kids like to dip apple slices into peanut butter. By the way, Peanut butter sounded like the only thing on the list that he WAS eating that wasn't junk.

Try to cut out "white" food and you'll know what you can make and stay "healthy". No white rice, potatoes, white bread, stuff with sugar, and prepackeaged/processed foods.
Good luck.

As a person with poor digestion I can almost guarentee that the junk food list you provided is causing the acid indigestion. You are doing well to feed him only what the family eats. Keep up the good work and don't let up. The benefits will last him a lifetime.

As far as what foods put on weight...look at an elephant or a cow. What do they eat? God foods. Things that grow on trees or from the ground. The more natural a food, the more nutritious it is. The more you cook it, the less nutritious it becomes. Animals grow big by eating food the way it is made by nature so stick with fruits and veggies as your biggest source of food (as much as possible). The fiber from the fresh foods will also improve his digestion and push out the junk foods which don't travel well through the digestive tract.

The cleaner the gut = the more the nutrients will reach the cells and the easier the body can focus on growth naturally.

Don't fix him meals like that. If you want him to eat healthy, and you should, than only fix him meals he should be eating. We only have one meal at our house and we make our kids eat most of it. If they don't, they don't eat anything. We eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables as a family but you can never have enough and we use our chopper and hide veggies in just about everything!

My sons are almost 8 and only 44 pounds each - they're just skinny kids, but they eat very well (plenty of variety & plenty of food - just high metabolisms). I was a very picky kid & one of my sons leans toward that (I assure him that if I like it, he will & usually that's true).

Some people smell & taste foods more strongly than others (hypertasters) & certain tastes can be overwhelming; some kids don't like certain textures, or are just scared of trying something they expect to be yucky.

I've seen that it's helpful if different foods are served to a group of kids his age who are good eaters - he may try something just because the others seem to like it. He needs to have some carbs, but as a side.

Ask him to try EVERYTHING, just one bite - insist on it. Start basic & institute a weekly "new food" for everyone to try (buy a different fruit or veggie, different seafood, different grains - there are so many yummy grains other than RICE).

He may not like his foods mixed or even touching - so a casserole may not go over well to begin with (you can start with chicken, carrots & peas & a flaky biscuit, next time you can add a creamy sauce to the chicken, & eventually make a chicken pot pie, explaining that these are all the same things he's been eating).

Have him help you shop for good choices, & have him help you cook. Buy a kids' cookbook (Disney has a Ratatouille one that's great; otherwise the bookstores have cookbooks for kids in the kids' section).

Make available yogurt/Gogurt & string cheese; he may eat more fruit if you cut it up for him - the accessibility factor; spread peanut butter on apples & bananas (we sometimes top them with a little whipped cream & an M&M, too!); try spinach dip (my kids LOVE this - I make it at home with creamed spinach, a little butter, sprinkle of garlic powder & parm - microwave & serve in the Baked Scoops! chips); sugar snap peas - every kid I know loves them raw or cooked; edamame is loaded with protein; instead of a hot dog, have him try kielbasa (Hillshire Farms makes a yummy turkey kielbasa).

You can go to someplace like Sweet Tomatoes & he can get a little of everything to taste. Good luck!

The fact that he throws up at the table is pretty alarming. Just to be safe, you should take him to a gastro specialist. You just want to be sure that his stomach/pancreas/liver etc. is all ok. I'm sure your pedi has a list of them he/she can recommend. As they say "be your own health advocate". Do you give him a daily vitamin? The best one I have found as far as RDA percentages is "Schiff" liquid multivitamin. I put it in his OJ, can't even taste it. It comes in a black and red box, a little expensive, but he is pretty much healthy as a horse. He too is a little skinny too, but not nearly your same issues. Keep up with only giving him what eveyone else is eating. Best of luck.

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