My Daughter Is in the 1 Percentile for Her Height and weight...worried Mom

Updated on January 19, 2011
K.L. asks from Elk River, MN
29 answers

My daughter is 13 months old and is in the 1 percentile for her height and weight. She is still on formula (drinks out of a sippy cup...about 4 10oz a day). Her doctor is very concerned that her weight has only gone up 1/2 a pound since her last check-up and her height hasn't increased much either. She now weighs 16lbs for a 13 month old. What I don't understand is that she eats great, drinks plenty of formula but hasn't gained in either weight or height? She hasn't walked independently yet. She will walk along furniture, but does crawl...a very fast crawler, trying to keep up with her older brother and sister. We had some tests run on her blood, everything came back negative, thyroid good/negative, liver good/negative, gluten tests good/negative. Now her doctor wants us to see a fact a endocrinologist. I've told her pediatrician that on my husband's side of the family, (his nieces and nephew) have all been small/petite for their age and are normal and healthy. I'm just not sure what to think or do. Has anyone out there been through a similar situation as mine. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Krein

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So What Happened?

At the beginning of February we (my husband, my daughter and I) went to get the test done on her. She wasn't too happy about getting more blood drawn and a few other tests. We didn't enjoy putting her through them, but we were all still worried had to know what was wrong. A few days ago (at the end of February) we saw the endocrinologist and she explained that all the tests that were run...they came back negative/good. Between her first appointment and this last appointment we put her on Pedi-Sure. So at doctor's office they weighed and measured her and she now weighs 18 lbs and is in the 10th percentile for her height and weight. So the doctor explained that she just need an extra 100 calories a day more than some other children. Problem Solved! We are going to keep her on Pedi-Sure (along with a regular diet). Oh, with her crawling/walking situation: just this week she has started walking independently (without the assistance of mom or dad or holding onto furniture). Thank you all for your advice.

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

This is so frustrating to me! I have a little boy that is not even on the charts. They pay so much attention to the damn charts and not much in family history, or the fact that they are eating normally.

My little boy is 3 1/2 (will be 4 in May) years old and is only 28 pounds. he eats like a horse though and is VERY healthy! He has never really been on a growth chart.

I was so stressed when he was a baby because the doctor would make me feel like she thought I was starving him or something! I finally switched doctors and she just said, "He's just a slow weight gainer". It made me feel so much better.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Both of my kids went from 50%, to 10%, to 1%, to now not even on the growth chart. That growth chart represents larger than average size people IMHO.

After seeing a Pediatric Endocrinologist and running blood tests on my older child, we learned they are just expressing the genes we gave them as parents as dad is short and I was a late bloomer (i.e. started my period after 14 yrs. of age).

On one hand it is important to look at them individually, which you have done. I would now recommend you relax, feed them caloric dense healthy foods and relax and let them be who they are going to be. They have a lot of years of growin' ahead of them.

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answers from Provo on

I personally think that skinny babies that eat well and play happily are just fine. Just like my son who would eat maybe 30 oz a day and would be happily content just sitting in my arms. He is a CHUNK. Babies are different from one another and you can't judge one baby to another. BUT It would be good just to see if she is absorbing the vitamins and what not.
I have a friend who's daughter finally is wearing 12 month clothing (she's 15 months like my son) weighs 18 lbs and is as skinny as a doll. She is perfectly healthy and eats more than her 2 year old brother and my son combined.

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answers from Denver on

some kids are just small. My daughter was very petite and still is she is 4 and weighs 33 lbs. She finally hit 20 lbs at 2. If you don't believe there is need to see an endocrinologists you don't have to feel forced to see one unless you feel that something is wrong. If she is energetic eats, drinks, pees, poos and hits all the other milestones (walking is a up and down thing I wouldnt be concerned for another month or two) My daughter was always in the 3-5% and she goes in for her 4 year check up at the end of this month and Im sure her weight will still be pretty low but she did have a growth spurt and got taller so that finally happened. Dont stress it unless you notice behavior changes or lethargy or a decline in health.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Get a new pediatrician! One that puts less emphasis on the damn charts and looks at the child instead. If she is happy, healthy, eating well and meeting all her milestones why worry?? Some people are just smaller then others and there is nothing wrong with that. She sounds like she is very active and probably using all her calories to race around the house. Growth is NOT constant especially at this stage. It will come in spurts. Just let her develop at her own pace and watch for any signs that might cause concern. My daughter was 2 before she weighed 20 lbs and then stayed at 20 for a long time. She weighed 30lbs for her entire 3rd year and now at 4 she weighs 35 lbs. She's tiny but very healthy, active and smart. Just recently she grew a half an inch in 2 weeks!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My son is 2 and 1/2 and weighs 25lbs. He's in the 7th percentile maybe? His height is good for his age... I was very small all my life so Im not sure if the weight thing is from me. He's very active and is a picky eater so thats what I chalk it up to. I know the 1 percent probably makes you very nervous. But you said she is a fast crawler, so maybe she is burning all her calories on trying to keep up with the other kids. I would see the specialist to rule everything out. As long as she is happy, eating, and not sick all the time- I would think positive!

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answers from Orlando on

My daughters dr. always says "you can't make the big ones little or the little ones big" My daughter was born at 7lbs and now at 23 months just hit 21 lbs. I guess they are supposed to triple birth weight by the first year, Madelyn did it by the second year. :) Ever since 3 months my daughter has been in the 5th percentile or below. She eats constantly but just runs and runs it all off, she does not gain weight. Right around her first birthday we did all the tests that your doctor suggested, just to make sure there wasn't something else going on. Her dr. always said she didn't think there was anything, but it would be better to be safe. My daughter also has asthma so they wanted to rule out cystic fibrosis and a couple of other things, so while taking the blood they wanted to go ahead and run a bunch of tests, so we din't have to do bloodwork again later. Thankfully as in your case everything came back perfectly normal.
My daughter also wasn't walking at a year, she started at 13 1/2 months, but I've always heard they have until 18 months before you need to worry about walking.
I would probably take her to an endocrinologist just to make sure there isn't anything going on. But it seems like if she has always been little, she is just a little one. :) You really can't compare kids to each other, even siblings they are all so different!

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Minneapolis on

Definately go see the endocrinologist. Maybe your daughters body isn't absorbing all the nutrients it needs to grow. My DD is a little over a month and still weighs what she did at birth, but she was also born with a rare intestinal disease and it affects how her body absorbs nutrients. Just go get her checked out by the specialist, they can rule out vitamin deficiencys and other illnesses, then at least you can have peace of mind.

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answers from Chicago on

If you don't feel like she's developmentally challenged in any way (and it doesn't sound like she is), I would leave her be.
My son is tiny, too. In fact, between 12-15mos, he only gained 1/2 a lb, and *nothing* between 15-18mos. If I remember right, he was about 19-20lbs at 18mos.

Now, at 2.5, he only weighs 25lbs. The kid eats everything under the sun and is major active. Sometimes, we just have little kiddos. The rest of my DHs family is just like my son, so I don't worry about it.

Go with your gut. Your doctor might just be overreacting. But if it would make you feel better to see an endo, go see one. Worst case scenario, you can verify that she's fine and you waste an hour of your day.

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answers from Boston on

Those percentiles ar only ment to be used as a guide to make sure your child stays on the same curve. Your ped should only be concerned if there was a huge drop or a huge gain. As long as sh has been tiny right along don't worry I have cousins that were never even on e curve.

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answers from Eugene on

It's great that your doc is on top of things and making sure there are no medical issues causing your daughter's small size. Go ahead and see the endocrinologist if it puts your mind at ease. Then if everything tests out OK, sit back and enjoy your daughter.

I have 4 kids, 2 who were in the 90th percentile on the charts and 2 who were under the curve. Their dad and I are on the small side of average and we have family members who are short /slim and tall / big.

My oldest daughter was tiny for her age but the doctor wasn't worried, he said she looked healthy and would probably be 5 ft, maybe 5'1" if she were lucky. She is now 5'4" so I guess she made it back onto the chart. My youngest is a boy who was also below the chart for height and weight. I had a different pediatrician who was very concerned and berated me for not feeding him more. Bleh. Now he's 14yo and 5'7" but still thin, even though he eats well. It's just him.

The charts are just averages for each age. Healthy kids come in all shapes and sizes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yup...I second all the other mom's. In fact, I was on the other spectrum, I was the one really worried. Our pediatrician always put me to ease. My 1st son has been in the 5-10% from the get go. In fact, that's why our pediatrician said not to worry. He's on his own curve and that's okay! If there was a drastic change either "his" normal curve then they'd be concerned.

I should note at the 9/12 month check up he did drop in weight that really made me wonder if I was doing something wrong. But the pediatrician said its normal at this stage in development to have a slight decrease, with their desire to explore-- its often difficult to get them to sit down and eat and they're burning all those calories exploring!

Unless your Mommy instinct is telling you otherwise I wouldn't worry about doing extra test. Just in form the pediatrician you'd like to wait a few months and see how things pan out. She's been poked and prodded enough for now :)

Oh ya with the walking thing, my son didn't walk until 15 months. I wouldn't worry about the walking until she's closer to 18 months. She gets around and obviously moves very well crawling, some just don't to bother with changing something their good at :)

Just an FYI my son is now 3 and only weighs 28/29 lbs (my 15 month old weighs 24)! He's still in the 10-15% for height and weight!

Hanging in there you're doing a great job some kids are just smaller than others!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

I am in the same exact position! My 17 month old barely tips the scale at 17 lbs. She's not very tall either. Our pediatrician isn't worried. She's on Pediasure 3 times a day for the calories. We also put her on a high calorie diet. Ok, to be honest, we were suppose to put her on a high calorie diet, but I don't always stick to it. :) I don't think I'd be worried about your daughter, especially since there's a family history of petite children. Your daughter seems to be following the same path. Since she's approximately the same percentile in height and weight, she's proportional. This says to me that she's just going to be a petite person. So many doctors get caught up in the chart. They don't look at each child as an individual. They want them to conform to the norm. Well, not all kids fall into that 50th percentile. My oldest daughter was always small too. She had a pediatrician that literally made me sick with worry. I had to go every week and get her weighed. If she was sick or teething and didn't feel like eating, the pediatrician made me feel like my baby was going to die. He wanted to run all these tests and refer her to a zillion specialists. I followed my mother's intuition and stopped seeing him. We found a pediatrician that would listen to me and look at my daughter for the individual child that she is. It made a world of difference! My oldest is now a very healthy, happy and intelligent almost 4 year old. She's roughly in the 50th percentile now.
As far as the walking, some kids don't walk until they're older. Again, all kids are individuals. She just hasn't developed the confidence to let go yet! Try walking with her while she's holding your hands. Once she gets that mastered (or maybe she already has), just hold one hand. Also, some kids walk better if they hold onto something. My Grandma used to give us a wooden spoon to hold onto when we were first learning to walk. It's like holding that object gives some kids security.
Over all, it sounds to me like you little one is perfectly fine! I think I would be getting a second opinion!

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answers from Dallas on

I think i would probably err on the side of caution and see the endocrinologist just to be sure. Then, I would simply feed my child plenty of heathy nutritious food and go about life. Some are big, some are small... as long as they are health big or healthy small all is well...

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answers from San Francisco on

Some kids are small, some are big. More important is has she always been on the low end of the growth chart or has she dramatically fallen off. The last is more concerning. Many kids on the lower end of the growth chart are there because that is their normal. Some are there because they have some problems. I think your pediatrician is doing the right thing by having it checked out. What if there is a treatable problem? Most likely she is where she is supposed to be. Personally I would feel terrible if my child had a treatable problem that I could have tested for and didn't.

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answers from Youngstown on

My daughter was in the 5th percentile for height & weight for a long time. She is 2.5 now, and she has shot up to the 60th percentile for both. My husbands family is all petite and small also. My MIL is maybe 90 pounds and barely 5 feet tall. So YES, some kids just have the genes to be small.

But, my doctors were never worried about my daughter. She was an early walker (full blown walking by 9 months old), an early talker etc. So I always trusted and listened to my peditrician. If your ped is telling you to go see a specialist, I say go. It can't hurt. Hopefully you will find out your child is perfectly healthy. Good luck and keep us posted!



answers from Dallas on

my little girl is petite as well, she is consistantly in the <3% for both height and weight. however, she's been in that category pretty much since birth. i am small myself(5'4" and 115lbs) and my husband is no giant either. my dd's pedi is not concerned at all, and he says it's b/c dh and i are both on the small side, and b/c she is maintaining her growth curve. he said he WOULD be concerned if she had always been at 50% and had suddenly dropped off, but b/c she's always been small, she's just a petite child. she'll be 2 next month and just hit 21 pounds, still wears 12-18 month clothes. it can't hurt to see a specialist, but bear in mind if she's always been small and the size of the folks in her dna makeup :)



answers from Provo on

I babysat a little girl who was 16 lbs. at a year. She was healthy and very precious! She was very feminine looking and I just thought she was a perfect baby. There are so many things to look at besides the growth chart. My two old kids were always off the growth chart and my youngest was at 50 percent all the time (I thought he was too skinny). Everyone is great and we are all unique individuals.



answers from Milwaukee on

My second daughter was 17 lbs at 1 year, and she ate more than I had ever seen a baby eat! She was under the 5th percentile until she was 3 or so. She's 10 now and she's still only at the 10th percentile. Some people are built small. If her doctor is concerned I think it's worth checking things out, but I wouldn't get stressed. I'm 5'2'' and my mom is 4'11", so like you we knew being small ran in the family. If she's eating healthy and seems happy and content, I think those are great signs. Seeing a specialist may bring some peace of mind, so it may be worth it. Good luck!



answers from Duluth on

does she act normal? is she happy? playful? even walking isnt a "requirement" by any age. she is a late developer, but if shes a happy baby, with good color in her skin, and exploring her world, then i wouldnt worry.

doctors get all in a tizzy over things, and worry moms unnecessarily. do YOU think theres something wrong with her? usually moms instinct trumps anything.

anyway, i wouldnt worry. follow doctor's recommendation just to be safe, but otherwise, this is just HER development. it doesnt have to adhere to any specific rule or chart. as long as shes happy healthy and exploring her world and hasnt made any strong changes in personality or her attitude, then just keep being mama and do your best! :)



answers from Minneapolis on

K. - I'm going through a similar thing with my son! I know exactly how frustrating it is, and you just want your daughter to get above a certain percentile so that the doctors will leave her alone! My 9-month-old son is barely on the charts for weight, and is 9% for height. He's developing normally (crawling, exploring, everything in the mouth, alert, interactive, etc), and I just sometimes wish he would shoot up about 5 points so my doctor would stop with the "concern" talk. I would honestly go see another pediatrician, if I were you. Tell that ped all about your daughter's growth throughout her life, and her development, and see if he/she has a problem with your daughter. I'm going to guess that he/she won't. Has your daughter stayed consistently at the low end her whole life? If so, I would NOT be too concerned, especially if another ped isn't concerned. Some doctors just like the "cookie-cutter" kids, and unfortunately, you and I don't have them! Best of luck to you!



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi Krein, I am going through sort of the same thing! My 4 month old is in the 38% in her weight. But, she in 83% in height. My pedi put her on Good Start Gentle Plus because she wasn't gaining weight on Enfamil. He wanted her on a form. w/ broken down proteins. What Form is your lo on? So, the dr ruled out celiac desease for her? If you go on Enfamil website there are medical formulas on there that you can probably get a prescription for because the are pricey. I would check it out because it really helps put the weight on. Even though you said she doesn't have a gluten allergy, GOOGLE gluten free formulas and all medical grade formulas will come up. Please keep me posted with your LO's progress and good luck! PS you may want to put her on a amino acid formula. Mention this to your Dr.


answers from Bloomington on

My daughter has always been very small. She was in the 5th percentile for height and weight until she was about 2, when she dropped off the chart, so she underneath the 1st percentile. But, she has always been proprtionate. So her doctor never worried. There are lots of petite women in my family. If the doctor wants you to go to a specialist, I would go, just to make sure. But if she is otherwise healthy, I wouldn't worry too much. My daughter is now 8 and only weighs 40 pounds. She is one of the oldest kids in her class because she was born in october, but she is always the very smallest. But 100% healthy!


answers from Lincoln on

At my daughter's 15 month check she weighed 15 lbs 8 oz - the exact same as her 12 month check and something like the .01%. So the dr had me start adding pediasure to her diet. I mix 2 oz of pediasure to 4 oz of milk, I wasn't supposed to take milk out of her diet.. On a good day I'm lucky if she drinks 10 oz total of milk. At a weight check 3 weeks later she had gained 9 oz! I said the same thing - some ppl just have to be on the same side of the growth charts! I'm only 5', she trails a little behind what her sister was, and my cousins baby born about the same time is about the same size! Developmentally she's fine. Walking (she started walking independently at 14 months), pretend play (phone, remote controls, babies), curious, babbling, tries puzzles, coloring... so I'm not overly concerned. - we did a lot of that testing last summer when she also was battling anemia. If YOU are concerned about her not walking your local school district might be able to do an assessment but imo if she's cruising along furniture she's still on track. I'm curious what the endocrinologist says. Although, if my dr had referred us at this point I'd probably wait until the next check up to do anything and see if she had made any changes.
Good luck and keep us posted!


answers from Saginaw on

I would think its not important whether she is at 1% but rather has she always been on the lower percentage. Also I know at about a year is when my girls started slowing down in weight. (They are going to be tall girls, so their height stayed in the higher percentages)



answers from Minneapolis on

My sister went through the same thing (her daughter just turned 2 and weighs about 22 lbs). At 1 year old the doctor was so concerned that she had a brain tumor they put her through an MRI. No brain tumor, she's just petite. People will still come up to her and ask if she can talk...yeah she'll talk your arm off!

If you aren't concerned with her weight based off her eating habits, I wouldn't be running my child through additional tests. Continue to monitor her and if you see changes, you can escalate that to your doctor. I'm sure she's very healthy, it's just we have a lot more overweight/huskier children today, so when they see a petite child it's out of the ordinary for them.

Trust your gut mama!


answers from Austin on

Our niece has always been petite, but so is my sister.. As long as your child is gaining weight and height on a scale that fits her proportions she is probably fine.

If the doctor suggests having a specialist check her out, I would do it.. Never be afraid of a little more information to help keep track of your daughters development and health. I am sure she is just fine.



answers from Houston on

I would listen to your doctors advice, that is why you go to see him. I would like to add, just to ease your mind a bit, I have a tiny daughter too. She is a little over two (26 m) and weighs 22 pounds. She has always been tiny, I can't remember how much she weighed at 13 months though, but I think she was still wearing 6-9 months old cloths. She eats really well and often, is really smart and active too. She didn't walk till she was closer to 15 months. Her doctor has never been concerned.

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