1 Year Old - 3Rd Percentile for Weight. Need Encouragement....

Updated on February 21, 2012
A.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN
20 answers

So my baby is one. She is breastfed, and when I work 3 days a week, she has bottles of my pumped breastmilk. She has a suspected food intolerance to milk, so we are not feeding her dairy per her doctor. She wasn't doing good on finger foods, so we went to a 'feeding clinic' per our dr. That was a 3 months ago. Since then she started eating finger foods and was doing pretty good, expanding her variety of foods every day and gaining weight. Then she got sick. First it was the flu we all got, then the next week it was a nasty virus that caused a high fever for 3 days, which developed into a cold (probably the rsv that's going around) and a few days later she ended up with double ear infections. All that in 4 weeks time. During that 4 weeks she lost over half a pound.

She pretty much quit eating finger foods when she got sick the first time and still isn't interested in them at all. She will eat oatmeal 2 or 3x a day, and some cut-up fruit sometimes. I know she may not be feeling 100% yet, and that may be why. We are on day 4 of the antibiotics. I am hoping that she will start eating the huge variety of foods I put on her plate 3-4 times a day soon, instead of smearing them around and throwing them on the floor.

At her dr appt, she was in the 3rd percentile for weight. I cried all the way home. I feel like a failure mom. I am so upset I feel like I can't even enjoy her age and the stages because I am so focused on her weight and getting her to gain more weight and eat more solids.

We have another appt with the feeding clinic in a couple weeks. Hopefully they will have some suggestions on how to get her solids again.

I could use some encouraging first hand experiences on itty bitty babies who grew up to be healthy toddlers/kiddos....

Thanks moms.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter didn't gain any weight between her 9 month and 18 month appts so we had to take her to several doctors. The nutritionist recommended Carnation Instant Breakfast twice daily, two snacks (only allow 15 mins each) and then allow 30 full minutes at the table for each meal. That all seemed to help her with her low weight.



answers from Washington DC on

Hi. My son, now 5 stayed in the 10 percentile for the first 2 yrs. He is now in the 54th! I posted for help as well, back then. I also breast fed and he has an intolerance to the protein in milk, not the lactose. He was a picky eater, but loved fruits and veggies. I just gave him lots of those. You may be offering too many different types of foods at once. Try one new food at a time. He eventually picked up weight. Most moms told me to be patient and it worked. Try higher fat/ calorie foods. mashed sweet and regular potatoes etc. Good Luck mama!

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answers from Denver on

half a pound at that age can make a difference in % the poor kiddo was sick most everyone loses weight when they are sick. My daughter was always in the 5% range so she is petite nothing wrong with that. She was also on the short end of the spectrum she is 5 and weighs 38lbs. She did have a huge growth spurt at about 3 for height but she is still just a skinny thing. small doesnt mean unhealthy. Also the % is based off of formula fed babies and I've heard that BF babies tend to weigh less. I think it took my daughter until she was 2 to finally hit 20 lbs and she is smart, healthy and one heck of a soccer player. She is the fastest little 5 year old ive ever seen

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answers from Lincoln on

Oh my heart goes out to you! It's such a lonely feeling. My son just didn't eat. He was 9 months old and not eating. I felt like everywhere I looked all I saw was healthy kids who were eating. He didn't even go on the chart. He had his own curve well below the other curve. I was so focused on calories, feedings, etc. I don't remember what his first word was!!!!

I too felt like I lost out. I never got to sit my baby in his high chair and feed him happily. He was never the baby bird who popped his mouth open. I still kinda miss that we didn't get to do that. He was developmentally delayed and it resulted in OT, PT, SLT, feeding clinic, feeding tubes, etc. It was a hard stage in our lives.

Fast forward to today. He is 6 years old and in the 15th percentile. HUGE for a kid who didn't land on the chard. 3 months ago he had his feeding tube removed after having it basically his whole life! He is doing great! Trying new things... now he loves lobster! There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I mourned for a long time that I didn't get the typical baby. People would say their baby walked at 10 months. Mine walked when he was 3! But, then I learned to appreciate the support we have in our medical community and that w/out it where would he be? I learned that I got my own special journey with him. I remember the first time I ordered him his own happy meal. The first time he ate a hamburger. I almost cried. It was almost worth more than that first word that I can't remember. I was too busy with calories etc. to care what word he said.

It will be okay and maybe when she's 6 she will eat like my son! He still will never be the kid who will eat me out of house and home, but he eats now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It can be a long tunnel, but it is there. I used to joke he'd be 40 and still tube fed. I HATED when people would ask when he was going to get it out. I wanted to scream I DON'T KNOW!!!!!!! Now he's doing great!!!!!

Best of luck... feeding issues is something I pray I never have to go through again. You can make it and it WILL get better. It may not feel like it but it will!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Poor baby - getting sick so many times in a row. You sound like you are doing everything right and your little girl will be just fine. Try not to worry so much about it. My good friend's daughter was in the 4th percentile for weight when she was a toddler and the doctor had them give her weight gaining "shakes" every day (I'm not sure what it was). She never ate very much at a time. She never really grew out of that percentile...it turns out she is just petite. She is 8 now and is a figure skater. She is amazing and is being trained by some olympics trainer. She is very healthy and strong...but yes she is a little bit tinier than her peers (but now so much that you notice) and is thin.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I'll just throw this out there.

My son at age 5 is now in the 10% for weight and 50% for height.

At age 1 he was less than 5%. He weighed 9 lb's 7 oz. when he was born. Our pediatrician (and everyone else - including me) assumed he'd be a big boy since he was big coming out. But, what happened was he lost weight after birth, then fell to the bottom of the cart, and has been there ever since.

He's growing at the same pace since. He's not a big eater. He doesn't like most food - but is starting to eat more things. Like, now he likes tomatoes, strawberries, and fresh green beans. A year ago he wouldn't eat any of those things. At age 1, he was still breastfeeding, and ate about 5 or 6 things.

If I were you, I'd keep breastfeeding, and offer finger foods 3 times a day and maybe even a snack or two. Just give her a handful of bites. Let her do it herself. If she eats, fine, if she doesn't offer breastmilk.

She is still a baby. Some babies are really ready for solids at a year, others are not. I have several friends who didn't even offer solids at all until their babies were a year old.

You are doing great!

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answers from Chicago on

Oh boy. My 22 month old is 19.5 lbs. She isn't even ON the chart! she is happy, healthy, super smart... She eats pretty average for a toddler and still nurses lots (exclusive bf since birth.) we did baby led feeding where she started solids (not purees, our food!) and she really started eating around 13-14 months. Thankfully our pediatrician is very laid back and with everything developing normally or ahead developmentally and cognitively there is no worry. Some kids are just small!

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answers from Minneapolis on

You are doing all of the right things. It is very important to keep breastfeeding until she really has eating foods down and you have determined if or what she does not tolerate.

Relax and enjoy your little one. My youngest was only 17 pounds at a year and very small, I don't remember what percentage, and she was just fine.

My oldest tolerated very few foods at a year and was small also, just 18 pounds. I do think breastmilk was what sustained her until she could eat more variety.

You are doing the best in the world for your child, keep breastfeeding. The only suggestion I would have is to offer small amounts of food at least every 2 hours, but don't get upset or show any emotion if she doesn't eat.



answers from Chicago on

I didn't read all of your responses, but my daughter completely fell off the percentile charts by the time she was 9 months old. She is allergic to milk and nuts, so it was hard to find high calorie foods for her to eat. She was also very sensitive to food textures and a picky eater.

Eventually, around the time she was two years old, she got an appetite. Now she is 6 years old, and she can out-eat most of her friends. She is still tiny -- smallest one in her kindergarten class and one of the oldest. But her small stature is due to genetics. I am petite also.

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. I felt like a bad mommy sometimes too, but I really did do everything I could to feed my daughter a healthy diet. She was/is just small. As long as your daughter is hitting her developmental milestones and doesn't seem lethargic, I'd say you probably just have a petite daughter. Someone has to be the 3rd percentile, right? Good luck to you!


answers from Lincoln on

My daughter has been going to a feeding & growth clinic since last June. She is on a 3 hour feeding schedule, on boost 1.5 (more calories than Pediasure), meds to increase appetite, she's had swallowing therapy, lots of tests, bone age scan. I feel your pain. It's not a fun place to be. However I do believe that once possible medical issues have been ruled out (cystic fibrosis, allergies, syndromes, ....) that some children are destined to be small. My daughter is finally at .02%. and they still have not ruled out a feeding tube. In January I said before I continue anymore of the clinic that I felt anything left to be ruled out medically for my daughter needed to be done. We've been doing every 2 week weight checks since last May and Monthly the 3 months before. I am torn every single day if I should really be continuing the f&g clinic. She still talks a month later about her "owies" from the shots (7 vials of blood - one quite large! It took 2 draws from one arm and 1 from the other!).

One thing the last time they did was print out her growth curves for me (and it was a PA who spoke so I could understand!) and explained that while her height curve was below the "low" she followed a steady curve. Whereas her weight was always too low and would steady off (15 lbs 8 oz at 12 months and 15 months) then just a slight curve then a little steady. And even more important was the percentage between the 2 was too much which can lead to developmental delays.

I get frustrated because they don't really have a timeline that they are looking for a substantial weight gain or even a % to aim for.

Her swallowing therapist suggested adding canola oil to canned fruit - enhances flavor and adds calories. Some of the women on a FTT support group I found add carnation instant breakfast to pediasure for the extra calories.
...on a side note... my 13 year old was 2 lbs 8.4 at birth. She was always small even on a preemie chart - but last year she had made to 12%!!!
Good luck and hang in there!


answers from New York on

My kids are bigger, so I'm not able to "relate" to you. But we all have things we worry about with our kids, and we compare. Is my child not crawling early enough? Not walking soon enough? Talking enough? Etc etc.

Hugs and encouragement. Your baby will be ok. Being a mom is not easy!!! Is it? Take your doctor's advice. Maybe also seek out a pediatric nutritionist for extra help if you want.

Good luck, you're doing your best!



answers from Minneapolis on

Ask them to bump up her appointment. You are the mom and you have that right even if it is just to put your mind at ease. My first daughter had a lot of health problems in her first year so I took her in ALOT and I felt better knowing that I had that support. Don't feel bad getting a second opinion either. She is your priority... Not worrying about what others think.



answers from Washington DC on

My dd has always been on the small size. She is 19 months and only weights 19.5. She has been under the 5% her entire life but she eats a TON! She is in the 25% for length so she is probably going to be tall and thin. What is your doctor saying? Don’t get hung up on the number. Is she gaining? Even slow? Is she eating better since she has been sick? Just keep giving her food and she will eat when she is hungry. Good luck. You could always call the feeding clinic to ask questions before you have your appointment.



answers from San Antonio on

My daughter is 2 years, 4 months, and weighs 20lbs. she has always been in the 3-6 % since she was born. I was concerned, but she is strong and growing, just tall and skinny. She eats a ton, now that she has teh hang of it. We called her our smorgasboard child for awhile. To get her to try and eat new things we would make a plate with 6-8 different small portions of food and then she would have a little bit of each. Now, she eats almost everything, and has grown out of her lactose intolerance. Don't get so focused or hung up on the %, instead focus on her. Once the antibiotics kick in completely, is she smiling, playing, and is some of the food getting into her belly? She will be ok momma, and so will you. Take some of the pressure off of yourself and enjoy her.



answers from New York on

If I recall correctly, my best friend's daughter was around the 5th percentile in weight for a long, long time. Ironically, she was a really big baby when born - over 8 lbs. She was colicky for quite a while, not a great breastfeeder and not much interested in eating solids.

Irony #2? Her mom is a pediatrician.

Anyway, she's 6 now and much more in the norm. Don't fret too much. It sounds like you're trying your best.



answers from San Francisco on

My heart goes out to you. I SO understand what you are describing. I went through something similar with my daughter, who at one point, wasn't even on the chart. In fact, she was off the chart for some time (maybe a year or two).

Fast forward to now and she is ON the chart. Not by much, but she is on =) She is the most beautiful, wonderful child on the inside and out. My pediatrician encouraged me to think about the fact that children will eat when they are hungry. He also reminded me that being on the chart is not the most important thing. What's important is that your child is meeting the developmental milestones.

I understand your tears, but I can tell in your reading your email, that you are doing an awesome job as a mom. Just remind yourself that this too is a stage in your daughter's life. They are constantly growing and changing.



answers from Houston on

I am sorry you are going this with your little one. My daughter has 2 daughters. One is almost 3 and is 9 months. The older one has always been big for her age and in the 97 percentile. In fact people usually think she is 4 year old and older.

The youngest one is very tiny. Even though she is 8 months old and we still catch ourselves treating her like newborn because she is so tiny. She is fed breast milk so we know she is getting the vitamins she needs but most of the time she has no desire to do anything with solid food but throw it on the floor like your little one.

I wish I has some advice but I wanted you to know you are not alone. Keep putting the food in from of her. She will eat one day. I have a son who wore exactly the same size clothing 2 years when he was in elementry school. He was such a pickey eater, I beleive he lived on air! lol

Today he weighs about 190 pounds and is 6 foot tall. Hang in there and try to not worry so much.



answers from Minneapolis on

This will sound cold, but - stop taking your daughter's weight personally. Her weight has nothing to do with you and the kind of mother you are. You've listed all the steps you're taking and it sounds like you're doing everything possible. Is your husband this upset about it, or does he have a more matter-of-fact attitude? (Sometimes I think very stereotypically, and admire men for their ability to compartmentalize their thinking. They can take an issue and "put it in the drawer" when they've done everything possible, they don't obsess like we women do). Like Eve said, you don't want to miss out on the rest of her life because you're worried constantly about weight! Many of the posters have explained how their children grew out of this issue (pun intended!) - yours probably will too!


answers from Dallas on

My youngest son was/is always very tiny. He is now almost 8 and is in the 2nd percentile for height and weight. I am also very small, so it's no wonder he's tiny. My husband is huge, so it has been interesting to see how our boys are turning out.

Our pediatrician has watched our son closely to be sure that he grows on a consistent curve, and so far he has. His height and weight are proportional. He is healthy even though he is small. That's what we want, to make sure he is healthy. He still doesn't eat much at all, but he eats pretty healthy food, and he excercises. That's important. I know your's is much younger, but this is how our tiny one has developed.

Keep your chin up. You are a great mom who is looking out for your little one. :)



answers from Minneapolis on

Oh my goodness, I feel like I just read the story of my child! My son is 22 months old and is on the very bottom of the charts as well. He has been since about 3 months old (was 6 lbs 11 oz at birth). He always seems to get sick right before going to the doctor for checkups, so I don't know if that affects his weight a lot or not. I will say that he is a pickier eater than my older son, but he does pretty well with different things. My advice to you is keep trying different foods. I would put 1 food on his tray and let him try it (cheese, crackers, Puffs, etc). If he liked it, I just kept giving him that for that sitting. Then try something else at the next sitting. I also encourage him to eat whenever he's hungry. Now he's able to tell me when he's hungry and I'll give him whatever he wants for a snack and then still give him his meals. He is still small, even though he now eats more than I do sometimes!

I do believe some kids are destined to be small, and that's OK. I get so annoyed with the people who comment about how kids should be "fat and healthy". I've taken my "skinny" kid to get so many tests in his short little life, and they all come back fine. So that means he is "skinny and healthy"!! I think the charts are misleading and shouldn't be the bible, just a benchmark. I finally found a pediatrician who will focus on his growth, rather than his number. It's such a relief!

Please don't spend too much time worrying that you're doing anything wrong. Your daughter probably has an amazing metabolism and some genetics that will make her thin. And that's OK!! Enjoy these stages of your daughter's early life, because they go by so fast.

Best of luck!

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