Skinny Baby Underweight?

Updated on October 29, 2008
O.W. asks from Baltimore, MD
54 answers

My son is 9 weeks and about 9 pounds/23 inches. That is right about at the very bottom of the infant weight curve (5th percentile) if not below. He was born 7 pounds 10 oz. He lost some weight right after birth of course and has gained very slowly since. He is long and there is no chubbiness to fill him out. He is gaining at least 1/2 an ounce per day (the minimum I read) but I am highly concerned.

I am a small person and was a small baby according to my mother-not sure exactly what that means. The father is a medium build. We are both vegans. If I go by my baby, he seems pretty happy, breast feeds regularly, and I am quite pleased with his alert states and development. If I go by the charts, other people's babies and comments- that is when I get concerned.

Of course I am in contact with my pediatrician and am also hoping to get his tied tongue cut this week. I trust in our amazing god-given bodies and the wonder of breastfeeding which usually needs no tampering. I don't usually find myself worrying about things, but I don't want to let some irreversible thing happen with my son that could have been prevented.

Did anybody else have a healthy skinny baby? Are there any tips just to make sure he is getting what he needs besides supplementing with formula? If he is really supposed to be the size he is I do not want to fix something that is not broken.

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J.M.

answers from Washington DC on

If he's sastisfied, happy and gaining weight, he is doing fine- for him.
Notice all the obese children around and don't worry that he's not a huge baby.
It sounds like he's growing well and I agree he'll take what he needs while he's breastfeeding- I wouldn't supplement with formula unless he's screaming from hunger.
Calm down and enjoy him!

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

My son at every visit was 5 percentile and lower. Now he is 15 months old and is in the 1 percentile. No worries. Just small, thats all. Gains weight, but not as quickly as most. He was breast fed only until he was 6 months, then we gave him small amounts of cereal along with breast-feeding. My theory is Someone has to be in the 1 percentile. Don't worry- if hes eating, smiling, happy and seems healthy you are on the right track.
Good luck

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I have 13 month old girl that has always been very low percentile on her weight. She was 7 pounds at birth. I breastfed her for 3 months and then started adding formula since I had to go back to school. Besides her being skinny, she is perfectly healthy. It bothers me when people make comments about her size, but I am getting used to it. She eats everything that she wants (which is a lot). At her 12 month visit, she didn't even weigh 20 pounds. But the doctor said not to worry.

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N.R.

answers from Richmond on

Pray and ask for wisdom. God's Word says that it will be given unto you. Keep your focus and faith in HIM not the world. And, be sure that you trust your pediatrician. Did you choose to have him vaccinated?

As a Vegan, are you supplementing with whole food nutritionals? They pass through your milk to the baby.

Take Care,
N. :) SAHM homeschooling 3 boys 12, 8 & 2 yrs old and married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 15yrs. I love to help moms, who want to become SAHMs, reach that goal! If you or someone you know wants to become a SAHM, please email me at [email protected]____.com. Thanks!

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L.A.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi O.,

As a mother of 2 little girls, both born prematurely, I come under fire about my girl's petite frames regularly from the pediatricians. My oldest is now 3 & just 26lbs, 36". She in no way looks malnourished & her intellect tests at the Doctors show her at 5yrs3mo. My younger daughter is just 8wks old & at 19.5" she is a slight 7lbs. Both registered off the bottom of the curve as newborns; however developed a curve of their own. They have cousins that are just a skinny, an uncle & grandfather who are both still thin as rails.

I think your mother's intuition is crucial. If your baby is happy, nursing on a regular schedule, and gaining on his own curve, I would push those doctors to review the familial lineage - if you are petite & there are others in the family who are petite, reasons to stand that your baby could be petite/slim.

Of course, if things change with his feeding habits or he seems uncomfortable or different in his behaviors, check into it with the Doctors then. If you are concerned about how much breastmilk he is taking in, you could try a test to have him nurse completely, then offer a bottle of milk/formula (say 6oz) & see how much more he takes in. If he is finished & won't take anymore, you're doing great! If he takes in more, possibly try some of the mother's milk tea or other items to help increase milk production.

Hope that helps!

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J.W.

answers from Norfolk on

Don't be worried about the curvve, it is not a big deal. My youngest is 21 months and right around 21 pounds. She does not eat much adn can still wear some 9 month clothes. we ahve gotten all the tests done abnd she is fine. As long as your son is peeing and pooping and not like thoowing up/etc he shouild be fine. DOn't put too much weight on the curve

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi. As long as your baby IS gaining weight and getting taller, I wouldn't worry. The growth charts are just general guidelines for the dr. charts so that if there is a problem, it can be tracked with a number. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy being a mom.
M.

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E.G.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi O.~
I absolutely empathize with your concerns & worries.
I went through very similar feelings with my son---but he is a happy, healthy 22 month-old now and just as normal as can be. ;)
I would say if he is feeding from your breast (and depleting your supply pretty well), looking alert and starting to move his arms & legs frequently as well as experimenting with his voice then he is right on track and will just be at the bottom of the curve for weight! I still today get looks from my peds. about his weight (he is in the 15th%) and at one point his head circ (also in the 15th%) but he has always been on the longside (used to be in the 50-75th% but now jumped up to the 90th%). I just finally had to come to terms with the fact that I know my child, I know what is normal and he was hitting all his milestones just fine. The chart can become more of a negative thing for parents---personally I feel like they have changed these charts bc this country typically borders on the heavier side of weight...And since BF is only just becoming popular again the charts have not been updated for BF babies---typically tend to be less in weight than Formula-fed babies.
Just listen to your instincts---there truly is a reason why the cliche saying is out there~"mother knows best."
HTH,
E.

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G.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I know of a baby who lost a significant amount of weight after birth while breast feeding ... Seems mom could not produce enough milk, and did not know it ... There was no way of knowing how much nourishment baby was getting, so dr told her to stop breast feeding and use formula ... Now baby at 3.5 mo has more than doubled weight ... Is looking very healthy, and is alert and advancing beyond the expectancy of age, and is in 80 percentile for the age ... You may want to think about your baby's health and not just how you feel about breast feeding and being a vegan ... You can never put your preferences above the needs and health of your child ...

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M.R.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter was tongue-tied as well, but we didn't find out about it until she was over a year old. Because of that, I was unable to breastfeed. I'd be willing to bet that when that is fixed, he'll start gaining weight more. I tried to breastfeed the first five days, and it was so frustrating for both of us. She wasn't getting enough to eat because of being tongue-tied, so each feeding took us over an hour. Bottom line, if he's happy and following the major milestones, AND your doctor isn't worried, then I wouldn't worry about it.

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B.M.

answers from Washington DC on

My baby is in the 5th percentile in weight and 25th in length. Until he was about 9 months old the doctors wanted us to come in for regular weight checks, but since he was consistent in his weight gain & length, my doctor said there has to be 5% of babies that are healthy & normal at this weight to make up the 5% on the growth charts. That comment made me feel a lot better. He is now 15 months and still at those percentages - so that is just how he is built and we no longer have to do weight checks. He was also breastfed - up until last week actually and I was able to continue that with no problem - as long as his weight gain stayed consistent. As far as feeding him, I just did what you are supposed to do normally. He has always been a healthy, happy, and alert baby, just not chubby and there is nothing wrong with that.
It is tough dealing with the comments, but in my case they eventually stopped once he was older.

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B.H.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi there,
Whew, I was almost afraid to read the responses to your question! Thankfully the only one on here so far seems to address your question. I see a lot that are rude about bfing and heaven forbid you not be including meat in your infant's diet! LOL!!

Anyway, no, I wouldn't worry. My seven year old was told this year for the first time that he's "average" in height and weight. His whole life he was in the 7th-12th percentile. But the important parts were: He was height weight proportionate and he had plenty of wet/dirty diapers per day.
My second son was a chubby baby, both exclusively breastfed. Now my almost 2 week old daughter is just a tiny little button of a thing, so I can't wait to see which way she ends up going!!

Enjoy your baby, I wouldn't worry. If you worry, if he has fewer diapers than you think he should or something, you might try pumping during off times so you can supplement with breastmilk. But really, if there are plenty of wet and dirty diapers, I would say it isn't necessary.

Please, if you haven't already, check out www.kellymom.com. Lots of answers to bfing questions, and plenty of vegans around to help out too! :)

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A.F.

answers from Washington DC on

Nothing is broken! You are a new mother with many concerns. This is normal. Your baby will grow in his own way. Please keep breastfeeding him, This is the absolute best thing you can do. Then trust God to grow His own. I gave birth to two children and breastfed both. One was very petite. The other was a little chubby. Same Mom and same milk. They just grow in their own way. And I was and still am a vegan. AF

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H.K.

answers from Washington DC on

If your Pediatrician is not concerned, then I would say don't worry! I too have very skinny babies.. people tease me that I make skim milk as my babies have all been a bit on the small side (I am petite and hubby also of med build.) None of our babies had that chubby, rolls of fat and dimples everywhere look. They have all been around the 15 percentile or under for weight.) My children are all growing just fine and and turning out to be well rounded, healthy, happy kids even though they are all somewhat smaller than their peers...(many of my 5th grader's friends are as tall as I am!!)

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E.T.

answers from Washington DC on

My pediatrician said as long as your baby is somewhere on the chart and is staying on the chart, they don't care where baby is.

However, I would say that I exclusively breastfed and breastfed babies tend to be plump at the beginning and lean out. My baby went from 75th percentile down to 20th or so before going back to 50th. If your baby does that, your ped is likely to freak.

If you are feeding on demand, I would check with a IBCLC (board certified lactation consultant) or attend a LLL meeting and talk to the group leader. The weight drop in a breastfed baby is normal, but dropping off the chart will be a pain in the butt with the ped.

Other things you can do that go along with feeding on demand are avoiding pacifiers or anything that encourages baby to suck somewhere other than the breast.

Finally, if you are concerned about baby's weight gain, offer the breast more often. Some babies are just easy going and need encouragement.

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K.P.

answers from Washington DC on

My youngest son was underweight early on and I was a cheerful breastfeeder too--all the way to 1 yr old with all 3 boys. Is your baby crying when you change him? Or at any other time when he is lying down? The reason I say this is my 3rd son had reflux and needed Zantac to settle his tummy so he would eat the right amount and gain weight. The reflux was causing him pain when he ate, so he learned not to take in as much to ease his pain...thus the lack of weight gain. Ask your doc about that possiblity. My baby did not cry all that much, so we weren't sure if that was the reason for his very slow weight gain, but my doctor took the risk and had us try the Zantac, and then he bounced back. He never became the nice fat baby like my other two sons were, but it sure was better to have a little more meat on his bones. Hope this helps.

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L.L.

answers from Dover on

I think doctors get concerned when there's a big increase or decrease in growth from one appointment to the next. If your baby is just naturally skinny and stays in the same percentile, then things are probably OK. My brother looked like he was malnourished as a baby, but he's now 6 feet tall and 175 pounds! That was just his natural "build". And just to add to the point I'm making, both his daughters were skinny babies, but perfectly healthy!
The fact that you're vegan might be a concern to your pediatrician. A vegan diet may be healthy for you, but your baby might not be getting enough nutrients. Check with your pediatrican and make sure he/she is very familiar with YOUR diet. You might just need to add a multi-vitamin??
Good luck!

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F.B.

answers from Kansas City on

My son was born at the exact same weight and lost a lot, then gained back slowly. In the beginning the doctor was happy as long as he was gaining and he soon gained more and got a little bigger (between 3-5 months) so it can be just fine, just be careful with your diet that you get enough calcium and protein, you may want to up your intake of healthy higher cal foods to increase calorie of your breastmilk and you'll need to give the baby muti-vitamins, poly-v are the most common, but I know our natural store has their own version of them, but all breastfed babies should take these vitamins. Good luck

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A.A.

answers from Charlottesville on

My daughter was born over 8 lbs and then at well baby checkups always not on weight charts or now at a age 5, less than 5%. My mother said I was same build and doctors ran lots of tests on me and I was fine. Baby #2 (mine), eats LOTS, higher on charts and I do the same things. I think I would not worry if pediatrician is not worried. I was SUPER skinny as child and now probably normal weight at 34. I get worries from grandparents about my skinny baby and try to ignore. Would rather have lower weight child than one who will have to deal w/ weight issues. ENJOY your child:) Hope helps some.

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J.V.

answers from Washington DC on

You should find a le leche group. They are great about supporting you and can answer your questions. You can find them online. Your child is 5th percentile of a nation of fat children. Remember that the chart is an average child.

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M.L.

answers from Washington DC on

HI. My daughter was born on the 50% percentile curve and slowly dropped off to the 5%. So I was also VERY concerned (especially cauz my 1st one was on the 90% curve). She was breastfed and never seemed hungry either. At 5 months I started solids and at 6 months I stopped breastfeeding cauz I wanted to make sure she was getting enough milk. She is now up to the 10% curve (7 months), as I am on a force feeding campaign (not easy with an infant). The pediatrician said to continue offering her bottle and food frequently. My theory is that she has a small stomach (she is only 15 lbs at 7 months!) and can't take large amounts at once. So I alternate between food and the bottle about every hour and a half (during the day). I would try breast feeding more often and ALWAYS offering a bottle after the breast in case there is not enough milk in you. I think that was the case with me. She wasn't very interested in eating much, thus I wasn't producing a lot of milk. Good luck - I know its VERY frustrating!!!

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K.W.

answers from Richmond on

Hey O.! You sound like you're on the right track with your little guy. Like the others ladies mentioned, my ped said as long as the weight gain is consistent then the percentile that my son falls in isn't really important. He's my second and falls consistently in the 50th percentile for both height and weight. To me that makes him TINY because my first son was in the 95th percentile in height and off the charts in weight. Every baby is different. Your son sounds like he's happy and doing well so I wouldn't worry so much about the actual numbers. My older son is now 13 and has just now really shed the "baby fat" that he's been carrying off and on since baby days.

You're doing a great job as a new mom! Keep up the great work and your son will thrive. :D

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J.G.

answers from Washington DC on

I had a skinny baby who is now 5 and still skinny! She was 7 lb. 9oz. (like yours). I always just made sure she was eating and was healthy (not getting sick). She did eat as a baby but just burned it all at an incredible rate (we should all be so lucky). Go with your gut, if your baby is acting normally and seems happy I wouldn't worry too much about it.

As an afterthought, I did notice when a growth spurt came she would pick up eating (but always grows taller, not fatter!).

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi O.,

I had two underweight babies. My first was born at 6 lbs 9ozs and was under the weight curve (that's right, in the malnourished area) for about 3 to 4 years!! At about 18 months of age, I charted what she ate during a 2 - 3 week period and the pediatrician and I realized that my daughter has an extremely fast metabolism. She is now thirteen and in the 50 th percentile for weight and height. My second is still extremely small for her age. She is 10 and only weighs 50 pounds soaking wet. She is now a great gymnast and uses her size to her advantage. I did start rice cereal with all of my children at around 3 months. It didn't really help either of the girls gain weight but it made me feel better about trying to get them to eat. My girls never had the fat rolls. My two skinny babies developed normally, were walking at the correct times, were reaching their milestones and continued to gain weight. That is, according to my kids pediatrician, the most important thing, consistent weight gain.

I understand completely what you are going through. As a first time mom, I worried constantly about my skinny baby who had a hard time gaining weight. The comments got to me at times but we had two pediatricians who were extremely supportive and assured me that the girls were just fine. In all reality, you, your husband and your pediatrician seem to be doing everything right. No need to worry about what other people think. We live in a society where we have a large percentage of obese children. I feel blessed that my children are healthy and hopefully, will never have to worry about their weight.

Keep taking good care of your baby and you will see that he will grow to be a normal, healthy, thriving baby!!

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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like your baby is doing great! The charts are just a guide. As long as your baby is eating regularly, has enough wet diapers and is happy I think you are fine. My daughter was 8lbs when she was born but has always been in the 15% or less for weight but she has been consistently in that percentile at each checkup so she is growing normally for HER body. Also breastfed babies tend to be a little smaller than formula fed babies and that is also very normal.

You seem to be doing everything right! I would worry about it unless if he seems unhappy or is not regularly putting on weight.

Good luck and enjoy the little one.

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N.F.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter was just like your son. She was 7 lbs 11 oz, and dropped some weight in the few days before my milk came in. Her doctor drove me crazy with tests because she insisted that there must be some other problem. The thing was, my daughter was happy, not fussy and seemed to be doing great...except for her weight gain. She too was just the 5th percentile.

If your son is happy and mostly content, I wouldn't worry about it. Even a 1/2 oz per day of weight gain is considered normal. Initially I gave in to the doc's wishes to test my daughter for everything under the sun, but I was satisfied when the results came back normal. You really do need to trust your own instincts as a mother. If your doc continues to give you a hard time, switch. I found that not all doc's are supportive of breast feeding when the baby doesn't just pile on weight.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/21/opinion/21planck.html?em

I recently read this article that was posted at the midwifery center I go to. I found it online, you may need to cut and paste the address to read it. Hope it helps. Good luck, and I hope your baby gains weight soon. It must be very scary.

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N.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi, what does your doctor say? I'm thinking that he's just taking after you considering your a vegan. It's seems that if your nursing him he should be fine you say he looks happy,responsive,and like they say if it broke don't fix it.I know your concerns as a mom, but if the doc. says he's O.K. then go w/ that , he may just not pick up weight fast. Besides society is obsessed w/ FAT babies. Just breath and enjoy him.

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A.B.

answers from Norfolk on

So long as he is still on the same curve, having 6-8 wet diapers a day and generally happy, don't worry. If you feel the tongue tie is interfering with his latch, then push for the surgery. You'll know because your nipples will hurt as nipple nursing is painful. Otherwise, again, don't worry. DO NOT SUPPLEMENT WITH FORMULA! If he seems hungry, put him to the breast more often. Don't break his latch unless it's too shallow for comfort. Let him nurse as long as he wants to so he can get the hind milk. Watch the baby not the charts or the clock. Pumping is NOT an indication of supply. Wet and dirty diapers are since what goes in must come out. Not everyone is successful with a pump as it's a poor approximation of your baby. Also, skip the vitamins. They've been linked to asthma. Take baby for a walk outside or a ride in the car without the sun shade on the window for all the vitamin D he needs. Vitamins are for formula babies who aren't getting the perfect food. Sounds like you're doing a great job!

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T.S.

answers from Washington DC on

My baby sounds like yours! My daughter was 7lbs 15oz when born (fairly big) and lost weight at the hospital. She is now 5 months and barely 12 pounds. She long for her age, so she looks skinny, and her head is small (10-25%). She is just a mini baby! And we're on the medium/bigger side. Perfect strangers on the street have no problem telling me she's so little! I breastfeed and give a bottle now and then. Her doctor and I keep a close eye on her weight, but she is gaining fine, she is just on the low end of the range. Since your body type is smaller, the baby may be taking after you. My doc said not to change anything and to keep up the breastfeeding for as long as possible. It's supoosed to be the perfect food for babies! She is very active, rolling over and alert. She has reached all her milestones on time, if not earlier.

One note-if your baby is not getting the fattier hindmilk from your breast, and only the "lower fat" foremilk, his diapers may take on a greenish foamy appearance. I tend to let my daughter nurse on one side at a time, which works well for us.

As a mother you can read your baby best. If he's happy, and having enough wet and dirty diapers, chances are he is getting enough milk. Make suer you are well-hydrated too, that will help your milk supply. I'd just continue to watch the weight with your doc. As a vegan are you getting enough protein? Do you take a pre-natal (or some kind) of vitamin? If not, they make vitamin drops for the babies that you may want to check out just in case?

My first daughter was the other extreme, so it's strange to have a "little" baby.

Good Luck!

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B.E.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter was the same way- in the 10th percentile at two months. She did have some breast feeding issues that caused her to not take in as much as she would have otherwise- BUT she was alert and seemed otherwise normal. I decided to do some pumping and supplimented my nursing sessions with bottles of breast milk for a bit. That seemed to work and eventually she began gaining on her own. If his tongue is truly completely attached I thing his nursing efficiency should improve once it is cut. Good luck, you sound like a great mom!

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L.R.

answers from Washington DC on

If your pediatrician is OK with your child's weight, then keep on doing what you're doing, and keep in touch with the doctor. If the pediatrician isn't worried, please try to tune out all the other people or articles or whatever telling you you need a super-plump darling. Egged on by some doctors, our friends spent the first five years of their son's life dashing from doctor to doctor, being told by one that their small son wasn't thriving, being told by another he was OK, ratcheting up the tension and worry for years. Finally a doctor took a look at the child's PARENTS and said, "You're both short. His dad is not only short in stature but small overall and doesn't weigh much. This is genetics. The kid's fine." He's still slight and always will be; it's genetics. He's just right for who he is. So do listen to the doctors but don't get on a guilt-and-shame merry-go-round with any doctors either. If you trust your pediatrician, keep doing what you're doing, monitor your son and pay attention to his signals. Good luck!

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R.S.

answers from Washington DC on

It sounds to me like he is doing great!!!
"The Chart" is designed for "normal" babies- if they fall anywhere on the chart then they are considered normal- if all of the babies were 50%-ile then there wouldn't be a chart :)
Also, many doctors are still using charts released 30 years ago designed for formula fed babies. <a href="www.kellymom.com&quot;&gt;Kellymom </a>has a great article on <a href="http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/growth/growthcharts.... charts and breastfed babies</a> that I think might help allay your fears.

Also, you might consider finding a good lactation consultant. Weighing the baby immediately before and immediately after a feeding can really help with knowing how much he is taking in at a feeding and if you have enough milk. And if he truly has a tongue tie then getting it clipped will make his nursing more efficient and he might start gaining rapidly following the clip.

Good luck mama!

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G.L.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi O.-
I am the mother of a 21 pound 2 weeks away from being 2 years old little girl. She was born at 5 pounds 10 ounces 19 1/2 inches so she was a tiny girl. I was 34 when I had her and my pregnancy was completely-thank goodness-normal. Her pedatrician ran a battery of tests, from thyroid tests to CTs and bone scans, and they all came back normal. She never was on any type of "curve" because she was always so small. After everything, all of the pediatricians in her group decided she would be on her own curve, where she is growing at a normal rate. SO it is very possible to just have a small but very healthy baby. I am 5'3" and my husband is 6'4" so we're just hoping she'll be like daddy and be tall and thin. If the doctors want to run tests, run them to make sure medically he is fine and if they all come back normal-rejoice in having a light child...believe me, when he gets a cold when he's 2 and wants to be held all of the time, you'll be glad he's a little guy!! (good luck)

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N.T.

answers from Washington DC on

Has your doctor had concerns about his weight? If not, then I wouldn't worry about it. He may seem small to you because he's so long. My son didn't hit 9 lbs until well after 2 months. More like 4. He was only 11 lbs at 6 months. He was only 6 lbs 5 oz at birth and he spit up his formula for a long time before they decided it was a milk allergy. If your baby is happy and feeding well, I wouldn't concern yourself with it. You're small, its a good chance you'll have a petite baby. Not everyone has chubby babies. I'm overweight and his father is not, but I wasn't always, so he's not guaranteed to be that way. I know of a few, happy, healthy kids that are just small for no imaginable reason (I'm talking 2-3 yrs older than my son and smaller than him!). Good luck with everything.

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T.T.

answers from Washington DC on

My baby was born and weighed 6.12. At one years old he weighed 15lbs. He is now 5 and only weights 35 lbs. He is just a little guy. My son however was born with a heart defect so he was burning the calories in his body really fast. However today he is just a healthy skinny little boy.At a young age(3mnts) my doctor started him really early with cereal and that put a few lbs on him but if the doctor is not worried you should not worry.

Hope all goes well.

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J.M.

answers from Washington DC on

O.,

My daughter is quite skinny and our ped. just chalks it up to having a fast metabolism. She gains weight every check-up and is consistently under-weight. The doctor says that the key is the consistency. Just don't let anyone talk you into supplementing with formula. You are giving your child the best nutrition intended!! Good luck.
J.

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J.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi O.,

My son was long and thin. He was 75% height and 50% weight for years. He never had those baby rolls like you see everyone else has. He was an active baby in utero and has not lost that personality trait in all of his 11 years!

I breast fed for 10 months, almost exclusively for about 6 months. I did supplement with formula because his dad wanted to be more a part of his caregiving. Unfortunately, my son wouldn't take ANY formula or food from anyone else but me until he was almost 3 years old! I do remember there were a number of months when he was your son's age where I felt like he didn't get enough milk from me. But looking back, he never seemed hungrier than my body could provide.

I have a friend who is small. Her husband is medium. Their baby is small and thin, but is happy and healthy. He's 2 1/2 now and going strong!

Now... you are worried about what everyone is saying when they find out your son is older than his size indicates. Your doctor isn't worried. He's gaining as he should be. You are small. Your husband isn't large. Your son is happy. It sounds like you have a perfect, small, beautiful boy. Enjoy these days. They are so special and go by sooo quickly.

I hope my experiences can bring you some peace. Good luck and happy life!

J.
a little about me: 42, recently divorced parent of 11 year old boy, staying at home to care for my aging parents. Artist, photographer, contemplating educator!

C.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear O.!

I sooo agree with the other mom's here! Caitlin (my third child...now 17) was about 5 weeks early...and only 5 lbs 10 oz at birth. Her two older brothers were HUGE babies, so naturally I was concerned. She remained slow to gain til school age, and height was very average. I even considered holding her back for a year as she was near the age cut off for school.

I am SURE glad I did NOT hold her back! She began to sprout height wise...eats like a horse, and remains stylishly thin (could easily model if she chose)! She remains one of the tallest (though youngest) in her class. I wish I had her metabolism!

Please do NOT worry as long as he continues to gain...and pee/poop.

Caitlin is practically a vegan now, and from all I have read, seems to be an eating lifestyle that is a great deal healthier in terms of health concerns that develop in later years...

Enjoy your little guy!

Take care!
Michele/catwalk

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M.F.

answers from Washington DC on

It's wonderful that you're breastfeeding your baby and that should be all he needs. I've heard that different women have varying qualities of breastmilk--I don't know if I've ever bought that. However your diet probably plays an important role in the quality of your milk. Has your pediatrician ever said anything about your being a vegan and how it might affect breastfeeding? I would investigate that. Although I think your body takes care of your baby first and then you.
You mentioned getting his tongue cut---now that could make a big difference if it has been limiting his intake. Make sure you nurse frequently to keep your milk supply up.
Overall, if he seems content most of the time and not overly fussy, then that is a good signal that everything is ok!
Best of luck to you!!

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S.W.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi there,

As long as he's breastfeeding on demand and at a minimum of every few hours (or more often) and you are eating well I wouldn't worry too much. I know, that is MUCH easier said than done!!! ;)

Some folks say those 'charts' are based on formula fed babies, and they are usually heavier because they get overfed. So they aren't good measures for our breastfed ones.

Hang in there if he's on the chart, even if its at the bottom, and your doc is not worried don't sweat it. I would only supplement as an absolute last resort. Just hang in there! Fixing that tongue thing will probably help too.

Good luck, S.

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N.B.

answers from Dover on

I was a very small baby/toddler, but I was always perfectly healthy. My mom attributed it to me being a "snick-snacker". I would nurse often, but only for a few minutes at a time. Therefore, getting the fore-milk (good for brain development), but not the hind-milk (higher fat content). However, I eventually caught up. Every child is different, don't stress yourself out by trying to compare your baby with someone elses.You know your baby best, if he stops gaining weight altogether, or starts losing, then you might need to be concerned. As long as he's eating well, and meeting developmental milestones, don't worry. Good luck!

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M.R.

answers from Roanoke on

You say he breastfeeds regularly, is he on a schedule? You should be feeding him on demand, at this stage of the game at least every 2-3 hours. Be sure he stays on one side as long as possible, encourage him to stay longer because that is where he'll get the fattier hind milk.

You can even pump after a feeding and use that milk whenever you feed him a bottle, if you're doing that. That way, he will get the fatty hind milk then.

Please talk to a La Leche League Leader in your area. Go to a meeting.

I'm not alarmed by his weight gain, if he is otherwise happy, meeting milestones, etc However if he is indeed tongue tied, I suspect he will get more milk, be able to stay on longer to get hindmilk, and gain weight better after you have it clipped.

Good luck and email me anytime

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B.M.

answers from Washington DC on

All babies are different. The charts are their as a guide, they are not the end-all determination of a healthy baby!

My 1st daughter was 8 weeks early and only 4lbs 9oz at birth, she was not even on the charts for the first few months. I exclusively breastfed her (as I did all my kids) and once she did hit the charts, she was in the 5-10% for the first 2 years. She is now 7 years old and in the 50% for weight and 90% for height.

My 2nd daughter was 4 weeks early and 6lb 15oz at birth and she is still not above the 25% in weight. She is now a very active, healthy 5-year old.

My son was born 4 weeks early and was 7lbs 5.8oz - he was only 6lbs when he came home from the hospital 22 days later. Now at 1 year old, he is in the 30% for weight and 60% for height.

My thought is that as long as your baby is eating well, having enough dirty diapers and is happy and alert, I would not worry about it. ENJOY this time, it goes by WAY too fast!!
Also, trust your "Mommy-Gut" it is hardly ever wrong! ~ B.

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J.C.

answers from Washington DC on

My best advise for you is express your milk a few times a day to make sure he is getting enough. If need be supplement if the quantity is not enough. I went through all of the same things including the tongue tie. I never had my daughters tongue cut though. All my research said to wait. My daughter was able to get the same nutrition but I was able to ensure she got enough. After many doctor's appointments, checking her weight and growth she is doing wonderfully. It also gave my husband a chance to bond with her too.

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L.V.

answers from Washington DC on

I haven't read any other responses yet, but my baby is almost the same size as yours, same age, and very healthy. He was 9 lbs 4 ozs at his 2 month checkup, and 22 inches long (born 6lbs 5oz, 19.5 inches). I think in his case it took him a while to start gaining weight, it took him one month to gain his first pound, but during the next month he gained 2 pounds. I would just keep breastfeeding him on demand (which is what we do) and see how he does. As long as he continues to gain weight, has a good amount of wet and dirty diapers and is meeting other developmental milestones, I wouldn't worry (and don't plan to worry myself!) Just look at the bright side, it will take him longer to grow out of his car seat:)

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K.H.

answers from Dover on

You are right, everyone is different. I wouldn't worry about this until your doctor suggest there is something to worry about (or you yourself truly find a reason to worry..as for now, you say your baby seems healthy and happy!). My second daughter was born just over 5 lbs, and was a skinny baby her whole infantsy. She is now 3, and 2 year olds tower over her. She is still tiny and skinny, just a petite girl! Which is exactly what I was all growing up. She eats, drinks, has normal potty breaks. I too was concerned at one point when other mothers (of those towering 2 year olds) would be so shoked at her size. I eventually took her in to get checked out, to make sure she was okay. Doc said nothing to worry about, she is just taking after her mom.
K.

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

As L. as he is gaining weight steadilly and developing appropriately, there is no need for concern. My son was 7 lbs 12 oz when he was born and at his 4 month appt his weight was finally on the curve (it had always been so low it was off the curve). Now at almost 5 months he's 13 lbs, which only puts him in the 6th percentile, but developmentally he's on target and ahead in some ways.

Heck, my son has really gotten the wear out of his clothes! He was in newborn size until he was almost 2 months, he is still in 0-3 size clothes. Most people fly through sizes and complain their baby only wore outfits once or twice...I don't have that complaint! He's still in size 1 diapers also, and they are just now fiiting him (they've been big on him).

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J.S.

answers from Norfolk on

O.,

My daughter was also 7lb.10oz. when born and she is now 1 year old. Over the last year I always had people saying she's so tiny and she only weights 17lbs. 14oz. now which is in the 5th-6th% for other babies her age. I exclusively breastfed her and am still breastfeeding but she is now only eating about 3 times a day with all her solid foods and sleeping from 7pm-7am. I think if your son was not healthy you would know and I also think if your small your child may be small too. My daughter is very petite but she is in the 80th% for height so every child is different. Don't worry too much unless he isn't eating or gaining at all and he isn't having frequent diaper changes. This is usually the best indication of anything being wrong. The doctor/nurse will always ask you about amount of wet and spoiled diapers if you call in with a concern. And remember your baby knows when hes hungry and he will eat, that is one of their instincts to survive!! Also, when your baby is 1 year old they will take a little blood from his toe to test all his nutrition levels and they recommend its an 11. My daughter who is small as I have said was over 13 so don't worry!!! I hope this helps!

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J.C.

answers from Richmond on

http://www.llli.org/nb.html

Above is a link to the LaLecheLeague website. It has answers to just about any breastfeeding concern a mama could have. They also have links on that site to local LLL leaders, who will help you for free, and who are so completely knowledgeable about breastfeeding that it will make your head spin! They are kind, and so helpful.

Do you think maybe it's possible that your baby isn't getting enough of the rich, high-fat hind milk that our bodies produce for our babies? Many pediatricians don't counsel the mamas to make sure the baby is getting the hind milk, and without that, many babies won't put on as much healthy weight as they would with it going into their systems. I had trouble with babies who would nurse only long enough to get the foremilk, which is also necessary but only part of what they need. So my midwife suggested that I nurse only off one breast for two full feedings, only switching after the baby has nursed off of it at two different nursings. This helped all my babies a lot, and it also kept them very, very happy, as that rich hind milk does a lot to keep them feeling content.

Good luck, Mama! Your baby is so lucky to have you for its mama. You are giving it exactly what it needs in every way. Keep on keeping on!!

Warmly,
JennyC.

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S.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I would not worry. It sounds like you are a healthy mom and you are breastfeeding which is the very best thing for your baby. My 2nd was born at 8lb 2oz and grew so slowly that he slid quickly down the growth chart to the 5th percentile and he is still there today at 11yr. He is a perfectly happy bright energetic boy. We have lots of short and tall people o both sides of the family. Rather than worry about the charts which are designed for formula fed babies and work based on averages I would just look at your baby and if he pees, poops, grows, and looks healthy I would not worry. I have had some very fat rolly polly babies. My 2nd son was not one of them but he is completely fine. Trust your God-given body and your God given maternal instincts which I think come out when you look at your baby not at the charts and books about other peoples babies. You have a unique individual and he will find his own happy growth pattern.

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A.W.

answers from Washington DC on

I too have a lighter than average boy. He just broke 27 lbs and he is 2 years 7 mo. old! I wouldn't worry too much. I did a lot of unnecessary worrying when he was younger. He breast fed until 1 year and gained very slowly. He refused formula. Today, he eats like a horse and will eat just about anything, so I am not concerned.

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A.H.

answers from Norfolk on

As long as he is eating properly, don't worry about it. I always paid close attention to my dds wet diapers, and attitude more than anything. My first and third kids were pork chops, but the 2nd is a tiny thing. I think she's started moving up in the charts, and we're at about 25th percentile now. She was born at a 9 1/2 pounds, and now at almost 2 years old, she's still only 24 pounds. I don't remember the exact age and weights, but she's been at about 5-10 percent her whole life.

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T.N.

answers from Norfolk on

As long as he is gaining weight & has 6-8 wet diapers a day, nothing's broken!
Find some baby pictures of yourself & your husband & compare them to your little man -- I bet you'll be less worried when you see genetics at work! :o)

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