HELP! My Baby Won't Gain Weight

Updated on April 11, 2012
N.G. asks from Allen, TX
7 answers

my son is 3 months old and he started out in the 19th percentile for weight but last month dropped to the 7th and has now moved up to the 8th percentile last week...he has reflux and is on prevacid and he also had colic (still has fussy episodes in the evening). anyhow i just worry about his weight...everyone always comments on how tiny he is and i don't want to be stunting his growth or causing him to be unhealthy in any way. he eats about 25oz a day and he has been a few different kinds of formula due to the reflux/colic. he is now on the regular enfamil since last week and aside from major gas seems to be doing ok on it. i mean he is gaining weight...just very SLOWLY. and he seems to be fine...he is happy and smiliing and talking, etc....i just worry that since he isn't gaining weight like he should that physically he is going to be behind...he can't push up with his arms like other babies his age...he is getting better at head control. i am sure i am overreacting somewhat to this and that he will be fine but have any other moms out there had this issue? i have thought about adding cereal to his bottles and maybe that will help with weight...i don't know. it takes him SO long to finish a bottle...he is high needs so he gets distracted very easily...i feed him in a quiet area but just like yesterday...even if i don't interact with him so he can stay focused on bottle...he "talks" to the ceiling fan lol! any advice/suggestions are appreciated! thank you!!

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answers from San Francisco on

As long as he's gaining weight, even if slowly, I wouldn't change anything. It is a bit early for cereal. Just keep feeding him in a quiet area to minimize the distractions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree with Dawn...get him in to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. My daughter was always on the high end height/weight but started being diagnosed around 18 mos with different autoimmune diseases. While she has never had a failure to thrive in 8 years, there are many babies, toddlers and children who have food allergies/intolerances, crohn's disease, colitis or other diagnoses who do. I have a support group for parents of kids with digestive disorders and have read stories of toddlers getting their colons removed because of severe damage. My daughter follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (, but there is also GAPs ( that talks about babies with colic and growth issues. I don't want to scare you with all this...just want to illustrate why you should get him looked at by a specialist if you notice he continues not to grow at a steady least rule out a digestive illness. Many doctors will likely say he is too young, but I have read several stories of babies who have been diagnosed. They can run a fecal calportectin test to rule out intestinal inflammation...just need a stool sample....non-invasive test. Hope you get answers soon.



answers from Portland on

Both of my kids had reflux and we eventually put them both on Alimentum by Similac. They send coupons in the mail, but WIC will also give it to you if you qualify. If you want to give your little guy more calories then you can try some different things. You can add more formula to the water for the bottles. (this can cause constipation, so you have to play with it if you need to.) Cereal doesn't really add any nutrition at this point, but it will help make the formula thicker so that it will stay in the tummy longer if you are having problems with spit up. My doc said to start adding it about 3-4 months, so its ok at this age. Rice or Oatmeal are probably the best choice because they have the lowest allergies. But, I am wondering what kind of bottle you are using. I went through all of them, and my kids HAVE to have LATEX nipples. They will not or cannot use the silicone ones. I even had to buy the latex pacifiers because it was what they wanted. Do you use the playtex dropins? I used all the other kinds of bottles that are supposed to be anitcolic and vented, and all, but the dropins are the only ones that they don't get extra air with. You can squeeze the air out so that they only get what they suck in as they feed, not extra from not having the bottle at the right angle. The continuos flow or vented ones don't stop running, so the baby can't take a breath, and they still have to be held right. If you need more advice about that pm me! I would certainly talk to your doc, but it sounds like your little guy is having a hard time getting his milk in him and that is exactly what both my kids did with the silicone nipples, and still do....they are almost 1 and 2 and so its not like they couldn't manage one, but they dont' want to, and they get mad if they get a silicone one. Good luck, you are right to be concerned I think. Oh, facebook has the fussy baby site that has some good ideas, and I took my guy to a craniosacral massage/chiropractor and I think it really did help his reflux. He is completely off of med now and has been since about 9.5 - 10 months. Much faster than my daughter who didn't have the chiro.



answers from Minneapolis on

Let me start by saying I have huge kids lol. Always been off charts for height and weight! alot of people say 3 months is to early for cereal but in my experience both my sons started with cereal at 3 months and by 4 months they were eating veggies. I never put it in there bottle always used a spoon and bowl. Start out with it really runny until they get the concept of swallowing. It never had any problems with it. But if your doctor isn't concerned I wouldn't worry to much. I have heard that the cereal can actually help with reflux. Good luck mama!



answers from Charlotte on

Do you have a pediatric gastroenterologist working with you? If not, GET ONE. Is there a children's hospital in your vicinity? Start there. DEMAND a referral if you don't have one already. It can take time to get an appointment, and you need one in the worst way.

Leave no stone unturned getting help. I really mean this.

I just want to add that the gastro doctor will tell you if you should add cereal. I would be very leary of putting it in the bottle because your baby is so highly distractible and takes so long to feed. Instead, I would think that the doc would have you feed it to him by using a spoon. It is actually one of ped gastro's standards to incorporate cereal into a baby's meal if they are throwing up too much of the milk. So what YOU need to find out by using a ped gastro doctor is if your child would benefit.

The downside of feeding cereal to a 3 month old is that his gastro tract may not yet be mature enough to handle the food. Also, food given too early can develop allergies. What the docs do is try to manage the risks versus the rewards. If your baby is not gaining enough to weight for him to be able to meet developmental milestones, they may want to incorporate some cereal to help with weight gain. But you should NOT do this yourself. You need expert opinion and possibly some help by a feeding specialist working with the doctor.

Please find a specialist for your baby, really.

Good luck,



answers from San Francisco on

My daughter is 2.5 now & she had reflux until she was one, it was better at 10mo even better at 11mo and gone by one. We used every formula out there but Nutramigen from Enfamil worked the best for us, it's expensive but our gave us free cans & I also would clip coupons to help pay for it. I'm not sure if your Dr. told you about Milk banks where breastfeeding mothers donate extra milk. Cereal didn't help us, but talk to the nurse before you do anything.

It was very hard for my daughter to gain weight everything that went in... came out!

Hang in there Mom... this will pass


answers from San Francisco on

He is gaining weight, and seems to be eating an appropriate amount. Is he getting taller? It sounds like he is doing well otherwise - smiling, babbling, happy - so honestly unless your pediatrician seems worried, you shouldn't be worried. Keep in mind that percentiles are just numbers. It's hard as a new mom not to compare your baby to all the other babies, but keep in mind that he is his own little person. Maybe he is just going to be on the thin side. Some people are! There is nothing wrong with being thin as long as you're healthy. In terms of developmental milestones, he sounds like he is pretty much on target. As long as he's making progress, try not to worry! He is so young still that at this point, he may just be finding his spot on the growth curve. My younger child started out above average in weight and height, and by 6 months she was at the 10-15%, where she has stayed ever since. Some kids will always be below average in size, and some will be above average - someone has to be!

I wouldn't give him cereal in his bottle, especially since he already has problems with reacting to the different types of formulas. His little digestive system is kind of sensitive, so my thought would be to wait until he is at least 6 months before you give him any solids. Babies younger than that really can't digest cereal very well. Just feed him his formula until he is full. That's what he needs right now.

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