26 answers

Poor Weight Gain???

Well the story is a long one but here are the basics.

Daughter was born 7.7 healthy.
Is now 14 months and has been labeled "failure to thrive" from doctor.
Doctor wants to get a sweat test to test for CF.

My daughter has been dropping down on her growth chart ever since she was 6 months old.

She is now in the 9% percentile.

She eats somewhat, but is pretty picky and doesn't eat a lot when she does eat.

I still breast feed. She drinks 1-3 pedisures a day instructed from the GI doctor (baby shake).

Not at all sickly.

Eats avocado at almost every meal.

Any ideas? I am lost???

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My daughter was the exact same way. Was tested for CF, Celiac, growth hormone deficiency,etc. She pretty much only ate avocado, blueberries and cheese. At 18 months she had a bone density test that indicated her bone age was 3-6 months. Basically what that meant is she still has a lot of growing to do but completely healthy otherwise. At her 2 year appointment she still only weighed 20 pounds. She is completely active, happy, crazy. At about 19-20 months she started eating a lot more and is now actually a little chubby. She still eats avocado with almost every meal. :-)

All my kids (4 of them) were born between 7 and 10 lbs. but grew very slowly. At age 1, my youngest (and smallest) was only 17 lbs. and in the 0 percentile. At 18 months, she finally hit the 5th percentile. People just freaked out, but my doctor had known all of the kids and didn't worry. He knew she'd catch up, and she did. They're all perfectly healthy, happy kids. Two are still thin, two are chunkier, but that's heredity they all look just like various grandparents, aunts or cousins. As long as she's alert, energetic and otherwise healthy, I wouldn't worry.

I just read a question about whether or not breastfeeding was the cause - my two tiniest kids were bottle fed after 6 weeks.


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More Answers

I'll give you the physician perspective, but also from the perspective of a mom of 2 and aunt to a tiny girl who also failed to gain weight.
1. If your child has dropped 2 % curves on the growth chart, she needs lab testing. After all, if there is a treatable problem, wouldn't you want to know now? Labs include kidney function, blood count, urine testing, thyroid, CF sweat test, and any others needed. I have found kids with treatable problems who then thrived.

2. Nutrition: See a dietician for recommendations.
For all kids: Toddlers need 3 meals and 2 snacks daily. Grazing is not recommended because it sends the body the wrong signals and can cause long term food related and weight issues. Calories per day should be around ###-###-#### or more, but only a dietician can calculate specifically. Milk should be whole milk until at least age 2, I recommend age 3, and 16-20 ounces per day. At this point, breast feeding may be a supplement, but you may want to offer whole milk at meals. Other liquids mostly water, 2-4 ounces of juice at most (empty calories). Concentrate on healthy foods. Offer a variety at each meal and snack, some protein source, and at least 1-2 foods you know your child will eat. Do not fret if she does not finish everything on the plate or even skips an entire meal or eats the same thing every day, seeming to survive on yogurt and fruit. All toddlers do this. A portion is 1 tablespoon per year of age. You decide what and when the child eats, he decides how much and can get more if wanted. Use dips, cut food in sticks to pick up (even sandwiches, french toast, etc) and make it fun, and add nutritious calories, no junk food.

3. I do not recommend pediasure. You can make your own smoothie with much better ingredients and no added sugar - whole milk yogurt, fruit, soy milk, peanut butter or almond butter, etc. Remember this is a supplement or snack, not a meal substitute. The more sweet stuff you give kids, the less healthy stuff they will eat.

4. Toddlers don't really need restrictions on fats, but the fat calories should be healthy, naturally occuring like in nuts, avocados, olive oil, flax, whole dairy products. Even a child with poor weight gain does not need empty calories or junk food.

5. Remember, most kids who don't gain weight as the growth chart predicts do fine and have no health problems. My niece is now 7yo and thriving, but still small and thin - it's just her build.

Good luck and really consider a pediatric dietician asap!

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter is same age now and in the 5th percentile at her 1 year pediatrician visit. She hadn't gained any weight in 3 months! She was/is totally healthy and happy and otherwise fine, so I didn't realize there was a potential problem.

At my pediatrician's instruction, I have been offering her higher-calorie choices at every meal. Meaning - full-fat yogurt, cheese, meat (she will eat lunch meat only actually), ice cream, muffins (whole grain with carrots), and I started making whole-grain (from a mix) pancakes using whole milk and adding cheese and pureed squash (from a can).

I am a vegetarian and on the thin side and not a big eater myself so it didn't occur to me I wasn't offering my daughter enough high-calorie food. I was feeding her primarily organic fruits, veggies, beans and oatmeal and not much that had a lot of calories - so she was eating good food, just not enough calories!

I had to go through a phase of offering her like 8 different things at every meal but now I've figured out a few high-calorie things she usually will eat. She is very picky though.

Also, I wasn't offering her snacks during the day. I think that's a normal thing mommies do, but again, it didn't occur to me! So now we have 2-4 snack times during the day in addition to the meals. (She's in day care, so I send extra snacks to day care - yogurt, cheese, whole-wheat tortillas, etc.)

She has been back to the dr. and is gaining weight better - making progress now!

I hope this is helpful and I hope everything turns out well for your daughter!

1 mom found this helpful

How much does she weigh? Everyone is different. My kids have topped 20 pounds by the age of 1, but my nephews are barely 20 pounds by 2 years old.

Pediasure would be the LAST thing I ever gave my baby. Too much sugar in those things (increasing their risk of diabetes) and complete junk, but it gives Peds something they can recommend.

Here's what I recommend, if there is truly a problem with weight gain either because of her fast metabolism or because she's not getting enough breastmilk, which is usually unlikely. You may want to get a good whey protein and mix it in a blender with a bit of molasses, goat's milk (way less allergenic than cow's milk and closer in composition to breastmilk, although some peds freak about goat's milk due to ignorance), PB8 (probiotic) and fish oil. You can make a bottle of this and then put the left over back in the goat milk container for later. Use within 2 days. Here is another idea that many moms do when they have breastmilk issues, due to implants, etc:


Please do not worry. My son is breastfed as well (we do attatchment parenting), he's one-and-a-half and only about 22 lbs or so. Well below the charts! You know what though, he is very healthy! When he was born, he was in the 85%. THose charts are made for the average baby, and unfortunately that is not a breastfed baby. As long as you child seems healthy you don't have to worry.

try spinach linguini cut it only once in 1/2 and put clear clam sauce on it..or try olive oil and salt..sit down and have fun sucking up the noodles in front of her..worked on my son and has been working for my friends that i told to do that. pizza..is also good..cheese quesadillas..on corn tortillas..cut them up..make yourself a plate of food and sit on the couch and act like it's just for u...and see if she becomes curious..as for snacks..at that age my so loved blueberries..now he doesn't..also dried cranberries..
for ice cream i give him "So Delicious" made from coconut milk and agave..u can get it at Wholefoods ..same w/ the spinach linguini
don't let her snack or fill up on liquids..as for milk..well try chocolate vanilla almond milk in her milk..also sauces..sause things up..my son loves ranch dressing..ketchup..dipping..
also the threat of someone wanting his food makes him eat..i act like i want his food and then he gobbles it up..he is good w/ sharing we do it jokingly.
I tell my son he has to eat to grow and to be smart..also u can put veggies in a blender and sneak them into the pasta sauce.
sometimes i make my son a protein shake and mix fruit and ice cream and tell him its an ice cream drink.
he's not over weight ..he's tall for his age and is doing well..you just need to learn to be clever..find snacks that are healthy..at 14 months my son also loved hummus..black olive hummus.
peel some cherries for her..have it available for her..good luck! hope this was helpful

I would do the the doctor says but maybe see a nutritionist too for both of you. Since you said you were busy you may want to cut somethings out and really slow down and relaxc more. I don't know if you let your baby watch tv yet but my kids loved watching Baby Einstein when they were little and eating snacks in their high chairs at the same time. Things like noodles, yogurt, cheese, and cheerios or kix are great.


click join(you will see a box of Nuplus to right of screen,
click box and it will tell you about the food. Want to know more please e-mail me. J.

amazing food

Hello LC. I have been seeing a trend lately, that breastfed babies are underweight, and it has sent a red flag in my direction. I'm not sure if breastfeeding has anything to do with it, but my son (who is only four months old) has his shots last week, and the doctor wasn't thrilled with his weight. He only weighs 11 lbs and 11.6 ounces, and is 24 1/2 inches. A friend of mine had her baby a week after my son was born and her baby is 15 lbs and 25 1/2 inches! Anyway, I was told he should have doubled his birth weight (7.8) by now. I'm getting concerned myself, because I exclusively breastfeed, and I know that I can't see how much he is taking in, and wonder if he is getting enough. I breastfed my first son and had no issues though, in fact, he looked like a sumo wrestler until he was about 2. I'm sorry I don't have any ideas for you, but I was just wondering if you, or anyone else thinks that breastfeeding might be the culprit. I'd hate for that to be true, but I'm worried as well about my baby's weight. On the flip side, one piece of advice I can give you is this - smoothies are awesome, and easy to sneak stuff (veggies, protein, etc) into. Not sure if your daughter likes them or not, but they're fast, easy, and as long as there's not too much sugar (either directly or from fruit/fruit juice) then they're relatively healthy. Best of luck to you :)

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