My little boy is below the 10th percentile for weight and his pediatrician is concerned. He has been pretty resitant to whole milk, he still only wants to breastfeed. Any good advice on how to help him put on weight.

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Mandy - posted on 03/09/2011

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I have a 4 year old little girl (she will be 5 in Oct) and she has always been in the 3% for weight and between 25 and 50 for height. When she switched from formula to milk (I only breastfed until 6 months because I am a flight attendant) we used pediasure a couple times a day. We also added calories wherever we could. We would put the instant breakfast mix, like carnation, in her milk, cheese or butter on her veggies, and encouraged protein. Quinoa is also a great food that can be added to other dishes, like mac and cheese. Quinoa is full of protein and the extra calories are helpful too and the best part is they don't even know it's in there. It's so hard because you want to encourage healthy eating habits but still get them to gain weight. We also would restrict liquids during meals until she was done eating to prevent her from filling up on milk or water. Her doctor said not to giver her juice and this is the first year that we finally have allowed her to have some juice, maybe once a week and only 100% juice.
Don't worry so much, as long as your child is staying on his percentile he is fine. If he is at the 10% then drops to 2% then you may need to see a specialist. Addtionally, her peditatrition ran some blood work checking for food allergies and that can prhibit weight gain. If your son's doc hasn't done that yet I would suggest it. That way you know what you are dealing with. I personally believe that the percentiles are so off! My daughter is healthy, active, and slender but does not look sickly in any way. She prefers apples to cake and just tonight didn't want to eat her pasta because there was cheese on it, she would prefer pasta without anything! There are many children (not all, but many) who are at the 95 and 100 percentile who are obese with terrible eating habits and watch TV all day).

If your doctor is still really worried and you think your child is healthy, just slim, get another opinion. I had one nurse practitioner actually accuse me of not feeding my daughter so some doctors (and nurses) in this case just look at numbers and don't actually look at the child. If your doctor is like this, find another one!!

Jaime - posted on 12/09/2008

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All babies start off in higher % at birth and 6 mo than they do at 1 yr etc. I think once kids hit about the 9 mo mark, they start to tailor off and begin to show what their weight will be as a toddler and adulthood. The key here is to now keep him on the same track - he should stay in his % bracket on up. My daughter was the same way - and I formula fed her - so it doesn't matter what they are eating - as long as they eat. She is now about to turn 9 and is still only 49lbs and 4 feet tall. She was always 5-8% in weight. Some kids are just little. There is nothing wrong with that. My son is about to turn 2, his % dropped too - and he was 10lbs at birth. He eats everything we put in front of him - and I only feed him fruit, veggies, meat - no high sugar desserts just to get him to gain weight. You don't want them to get a taste for it and then not want to eat the healthy foods. Those should be for special occasions like bday parties, etc. Just follow your instinct - if he is highly active and looks healthy, then he probably is!

[deleted account]

hey.they usualy dont except that or a botle if they have been breast fed.well,mine were also formula and they still didnt want whole milk at first,but eventualy they get used to it.keep tring.also is he on solids yet?if not this realy needs to be done...

either way he is obviosly eating enough to not be dehydrated and to stay alive,so dont stress and keep trying things!

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Amy - posted on 12/08/2008

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I just got back from the Dr. today for my son's year check up. He went from 50% at 6 months to 8% now. In the last three months, he has only gained about a pound and grown an half inch. He was in the 90% for height and now he is in the 50%. I have been breastfeeding him as well and wanted to start weaning him because of biting. I am quite sore. He would not take whole milk. He threw up one time. I talked to the Dr. about milk allergies because of other reactions. He seems to be fine with yogurt and cheese though. The doctor and nurse told him to give him rice milk and try regular milk twice a month. They said that if he is getting enough yogurt and cheese, he doesn't really need to drink whole milk. Water is fine and some juice. I am going back next month for a weight check, because of the drop in his weight and height gain. So I too have some concerns. Both my husband and I are taller and thin, so I wonder if the skinniness is due to genetics. Good luck!

Danielle - posted on 12/07/2008

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Can't tell from your post how old your boy is, but my son loved drinkable yogurt.



I don't put too much stock in pediatrician's weight worries. Kid's eat when they're hungry. As long as you are giving him the nutrition he needs (if you're breastfeeding, it's perfect) there's no worry. I've found that my son's dr is always finding something wrong, something for us to "work on". Maybe they don't feel like they're doing their jobs if they don't find something wrong.



I worry about drastic measures to put on the weight now. Later you'll be worrying about taking it back off.

Stefanie - posted on 12/06/2008

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First off, is your pediatrician using breastfed baby growth charts, they ARE different from the regular growth charts which were done on formula fed babies. Here is one that is for breastfed babies: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/gro...

Second: It is pretty normal for breastfed babies to drop percentiles (especially if it is the formula fed chart). They put on lots of weight in the early months and then it slows as they start crawling and walking.

Third: is your ped taking into consideration genetics? My husband and I are tall and thin, so when my son is older, I wouldn't worry about him being small, because it is probably just genetics.

Four: If you really think that his weight is an issue, remember that breast milk has all the proper nutrients even though he is older. It changes as time goes on to adjust to what your child needs. I have read that children can survive on breast milk alone until 2, so really, breast milk will probably help him gain the most weight. His body isn't designed to digest cow's milk, it is designed to digest YOUR milk. I don't think breast milk will hinder a child's weight gain at all. It is the perfect food for small children, and the perfect supplement to an imperfect toddler diet. It is also the best source of most of the vitamins children don't get because they aren't yet eating complete, well-rounded meals (even as hard as we try and get them to).

I think as long as your son is meeting milestones on time, and seems otherwise healthy, he is fine. Do YOU think he is ok? Honestly, pediatricians do an awesome job of keeping our kids healthy, but you are still the mom, and you can tell if your kid is truly "too small." If you think he is ok, he most likely is. Listen to your pediatrician, but remember that he isn't with your son everyday, and take his advice and adapt it to fit your son personally. Your son isn't a number on a chart, but that is what that percentile is, just a number, and that is how a pediatrician looks at it. He wants all kids to be at 50 percent, normal, average, but not all kids will be, everyone is an individual. Tenth percentile means that 10% of all children are your son's size or smaller. One in ten.

Sarah-Joy - posted on 12/06/2008

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My daughter is almost 3 months old and in the bottom 25th percentile. Someone has to be there is how I think of it. I dont worry about it, I worry about her gaining too much all at once, and not fitting in her clothes or someone calling my baby "fat" They all catch up in their own time.... :o)

[deleted account]

also keep in mind the wieght charts and precentiles are done by records of formula fed babies not breast fed.....

Reyna - posted on 12/06/2008

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Hi, my son is still really low weight, but he is happily gaining weight now. Your son is probably not wanting to take whole milk because he knows you will give in and give him your breastmilk. He is just smart and knows it tastes better. My son would not take whole milk until I went back to work and he had too. Have you tried in a few different kinds of bottles, sippy cup, reg. cup, etc My son would not take whole milk in anything until grandma gave it to him in evenflow glass bottle, lukewarm only. The evenflow bottle has a nipple size more similar to the one on our bodies. I read you want to feed him till his two. I heard that is really good too, but my son is almost 14 months now. He drinks homo milk all day and my breastmilk just once a day, twice max. Try leaving him with grandma or someone you trust and see if he will take it, try lukewarm not cold, or cold if you already tried lukewarm. It could just be a temperature thing. Good luck! The homo milk is the reason why my little boy is finally gaining his weight.

Jessie - posted on 12/06/2008

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I wanted to comment before you read the comment about the baby with pyloric stenosis and got freaked out, Pyloric stenosis is very rare, its a narrowing of the pyloric region in the stomach and it prevents the majority of the food to pass through the stomach and into the intestines where the nutrients are "drained" babies with this are usually diagnosed within the first 6 months of life, they spit up a lot, like projectile at almost every feeding. Think of a funnel if you put too much milk in a funnel it will overflow because you are putting in more(and faster) than the stomach can drain.

Sarah - posted on 12/06/2008

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We had a similiar issue with my daughter. You can try to add calories elsewhere is his diet...add lots of butter to veggies, mashed potatoes with lots of butter, ice cream, milkshakes, etc.

Nicole - posted on 12/06/2008

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Is he very active? When my son started walking he didn't gain much weight at all if any for a few months, he was a formula baby and a little picky about his food. We alternated formula and whole milk with a splash of water, and we fed him banana's as a snack in between meals. He then gained weight, but he is still very active and he's 4 years old now, and is in the "normal" weight range for his height and age. I understand that breast feeding is important to you but, maybe you could try alternating breast milk and a formula or soy milk. Our dr. recommended banana's because they are a good source of protein and high in natural sugars. Good luck with it all.

Tamsyn - posted on 12/06/2008

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Hi Danielle, my baby girls has always been between the 3rd and 10th percentile, she did spend a couple of months below the graph completely but I am no longer concerned and neither is our health nurse as although she is small she is content and reaching her milestones and she sleep really well. The health nurse told me that if she wasn't getting enough to eat she wouldn't sleep because she would be unsettled and hungry. Maybe like my daughter you little man is just the way he should be. Take care and trust your instincts, mum knows her baby best

Elizabeth - posted on 12/06/2008

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My son is almost 5 months old and he was in the 5th percentile for weight at his 4 month well baby appointment. The doctor wasn't concerned about the percentile, only that he gained 6 lbs from birth to 2 months and then his weight gain slowed down significantly to 1 lb from 2-4 months. Apparently, the percentile they're in isn't as important as how steadily they gain their weight.

Anyway, we started mixing 1 tbsp rice cereal into 4 tbsp breast milk and feeding it to him once or twice a day as per her suggestion, and he took to it really well.

As long as your little one is alert and happy, playful and doesn't seem to be lethargic or anything like that, chances are he's doing alright. (Although, I can see how it will of course be easier to listen to your doctor's concern rather than my take on things, haha.)

I hope you get everything figured out!

Rosa-lee - posted on 12/06/2008

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How old is your baby? My baby was in the bottom 3rd percentile and struggled to put on weight for a long time and ended up losing weight due to having Pyloric Stenosis which she needed an operation for till she really started to gain weight. Any favourite foods you could as extras in his normal diet, aint nothing like favourites to get the to eat more!

Tracye - posted on 12/05/2008

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I am a mom and (step)mom of seven children and I have seen the gamut! Your baby at 14 mo is still so very young. You are doing well to continue breastfeeding. Remember, humans are the only ones in nature to ever drink another animals milk! In my opinion, it just isn't natural for us to drink another (animal's) mother's milk, just as no other animal would nurse from humans or another breed. In other words, calcium comes from other sources (green vegetables, yogurt, cheese, etc) once a baby is weaned, but Carnation milk or Similac wouldn't want you to believe that! So try to breastfeed as long as your child will accept it- or until he starts biting you (now that's another story!!)- whichever comes first. Now that he is 14 mo, are you supplementing the breast milk with infant cereal? fruit? breads? crackers? etc? He doesn't have to go on a steak and potatoes diet yet, but try to introduce a variety of foods and textures because he probably should get off of the breast in the next 18 mo or less- in other words, very soon he will need too many calories for the breast milk to be his only sustenance.

I applaud you for wanting to continue to feed your baby naturally, and as God intended. Please don't let Madison Ave., your pedi (unless they have sound medical evidence), or anyone else dissuade you from your mama intuition. Perhaps, your boy is lactose intolerant and he may be getting a tummy ache from whole cow's milk (again, NO other animal on earth voluntarily drinks another animals mother's milk- it just is not natural and probably not healthy.) Think about it! I understand the concern for the drop from 50% to 10%, talk to La Leche League, Inc. for breastfeeding advice. Most of all remember, You are in control, NOT him, and you will let him know what is best in your opinion- NOT the other way around. Many parents seem to forget this basic principle. Good luck and God bless...

Carol - posted on 12/05/2008

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I agree with Jessie! I was worried all the time about my son's weight, but my nurse friend helped me to keep my sanity. They do burn a lot of calories!



Carol

Jessie - posted on 12/05/2008

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I wouldn't worry too much about it, when I worked at a pediatricians office as an MA I saw this a lot, the dr. that I worked for would often tell the moms to remember that around one they start to walk and a lot of babies will lose some weight, but as long as they are still gaining weight and are hitting all of their other marks(starting to dabble in talking and hand eye coordination is improving ect) there isn't anything to worry about, and a lot of toddlers go through stages where they don't like eating or they only like eating certain things. just follow your babies cues on feeding and you will know what to do :)

Carol - posted on 12/05/2008

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Hi Danielle. My son is 26 mo and in the 5th percentile for his weight. He has been slumping on his weight for about 1year now. He'll start putting on weight and then get fatter, taller, then skinny, (then repeat the whole process over again). Our ped. said to feed him all the icecream, whole milk, cheese, and all starches that he'll eat. It does help! The ice cream especially!! He even loves avocados. We just moved and our new ped. said to keep it up. They've done all kinds of bloodwork on him to find out why he isn't growing and everything has come back normal. Think mine is going to be a late bloomer! Turns out his Great Grandfather was like that. He grew another 3 inches after he turned 18. Was over 6 ft tall though. Hope this helps.



Carol

User - posted on 12/05/2008

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My sister's little boy is now 2 and is very thin for his size, but is very tall for his age. He is off the charts for height for his age, but only in the 20th percentile for his weight. He is a VERY picky eater as well. Their ped suggested more fatty foods and starches...potatoes, cheese, yougert...Pedisure worked really well. As long as he is healthy, active, and eating something...just keep offering food.

Tina - posted on 12/05/2008

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HI-

My kids were always in the low percentile. I breast-fed both kids till about a year. I wasn't really concern about it because I'm petite. After I decided to stop breast feeding, I tried with both kids whole milk BUT they refused to drink it. So I switched over to 2% which they rather drink that. The whole milk was too thick for them. Every kid is different, I hope u will find something for your son. :-)

User - posted on 12/05/2008

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I have a little guy that has eating issues. He is 4 now but has always had issues. There is a yogurt called Yo baby. It came recommended from the pediatrician. You can either spoon feed it to him or mix it up and it becomes very liquified. You can then add it to milk. It makes for a yummy smoothie. Everything he eats you can add fat to. Crackers and cheese, peanut butter, plain butter. Add butter to veggies, bread etc. Smoothie or snack right before bed time. Apples with peanut butter. My little guy never gained much weight but I do have to add the fats when he is not eating well. In other words it helps to keep them from losing weight. Good luck!!

Danielle - posted on 12/05/2008

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he was at the 50th percentile at his 6 mo well baby, then he dropped to the 10th at the 1 yr visit. we just went back today for another weight check and he only gained 3 oz. intially I wasn't concerned because at 6 mo he was a pretty chubby but also pretty lazy baby so I figured the drop in weight was because he is just so very active now...but she mentioned that it may be a case of failure to thrive which to be honest scared me since he is my first.

Jessie - posted on 12/05/2008

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my now 6 year old has always been in the 3rd percentile and she also was very sensitive to whole milk, her dr. was not really concerned though because she has always been small, has he dropped considerably or has he always been small? We went down to 2% and sometimes just watered down the whole milk, make sure he is getting plenty of protein even if all he wants to eat is chicken nuggets specifically from mcdonalds just cater to him right now(yes we had that phase with Chloe :P) your son sound a lot like my oldest with the pickiness and that is what they told me to do(letting them eat whatever they want) most breastfed babies are actually bigger than formula fed babies(excluding the formula fed babies that are overfed)

Tamara - posted on 12/05/2008

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Hi Danielle my daughters pediatrian said the same thing about my daughter but after breast milk we used the soy formula then we put her on 2% percent milk whole milk just doesn't work for her. I typically don't agree with everything that the pediatrician says as long as my daughter is growing, eating well and drinking well and is gaining weight i don't worry too much.

Danielle - posted on 12/05/2008

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thanks. He is 14 months old and I was intending on breastfeeding him until he was ready to quit (within reason). I know it is beneficial up until they are two but I am beginning to worry that it might be affecting his weight gain. But he is such a picky eater...

[deleted account]

Instead of whole milk I would try toddler formula. It comes in vanilla flavor which kids like. How old is he? Keep breastfeeding, it's good for him. :-) I'm probably not too much help, since I have weighty 5 month old girl, but I wish you all the best.

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