My 8 month old isn't growing as much as he should.. any feeding suggestions besides adding high calorie formula?

Trisha-Ann - posted on 12/19/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )




My son was born at 39 weeks, a 5lb 12oz- 19in. Since then he has only grown to be 14lbs 14oz, 26.5in. he is now 8 months old. The doctors says that he has very bad acid reflux, we even have done a barium swallow test,(we are thinking of switching speialists at the first of the year). He spits up everything, milk, food, everything and gets fussy, so they now have him on Nexium. But any way, they want him to gain wait and start on a high-calorie diet, we already feed him breastmilk on demand, and cereal w/ baby food 3-5 times a with snacks and regular baby food inbetween. Does anyone have any sugestions on how to help him gain while being healthy- and not adding the high-cal formula to his diet? any encouraging words are apperciated! (im really having a hard time with the formula thing- my first son was breastfed over 18mths!)


Marcia - posted on 12/20/2011




You sound worried, but I wonder how much is worry YOU are feeling, and how much is coming from pressure from your health care provider. Are they using the proper weight/growth charts? The CDC charts, which many doctors use to chart growth, are based upon formula fed babies, who tend to pack on weight between 6-12 months more quickly then BF babes. Breastfed babies growth tends to level out from 6-12 months. Many don't gain much/any weight at all during that time. You can find the WHO charts, which are based upon BF babies at the site kellymom dot com. How are his other developemental milestones? How many wet diapers is he having a day (a sure sign he is getting "enough". I agree w/ others that the reflux/vomiting may be food allergy / sensitivity. Also agree that rice cereal is basically EMPTY calories and there is no fat - breastmilk has more calories and more fat so will promote optimal weight gain. Also agree that avocado / banana are great early days foods, as well as almost anything else *healthy* that is on your plate (except if you are trying to rule out food allergies / sensitivities of course). Good luck. Call LLL in your area - many other moms have had the same experience no doubt and may be able to offer you reassurance, and the LLL Leader will have more info to help you to deterimine how to rule out food sensitivities / allergies.

[deleted account]

I also don't see anything wrong w/ his weight gain. Cutting down on the cereal and increasing the nursing should help that anyway.

Him spitting up everything and being fussy would be the part I'd try to figure out. Maybe he is intolerant to something you (or he) are eating.

Celeste - posted on 12/20/2011




I don't see an issue with his weight gain to be honest. Your son has more than doubled his weight, which is what is average for a breastfed baby. Average weight gain is 4-6 oz and babies will slow down weight gain around 6 months.

As far as foods, breastmilk has MORE calories than cereal and baby food. Have you thought of trying regular food? Avocado and banana?

And ditto to Aleksandra. There's gotta be more that's going on with him than reflux..

Aleks - posted on 12/20/2011




I don't know if this helps but look into food intollerances/allergies.

Spit ups and generally reflux is one of the biggest symptoms of this. I cannot believe that it wasn't spotted or even suggested to you.

Both my kids suffered from dairy protein intollerance. The second one also sufferes from soy intollerance and yeast sensitivity.

Both my children were breastfed (one is still going), however I had to eliminate all dairy from my diet (and theirs too once solids were started).

There are a few common food intollerances such as: dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, wheat/gluten, fish/shellfish.

My 2nd child's intollerance to soy was not discovered until she was well over 12mths old, and by this time was deemed to be "failure to thrive" (she was 16lbs16oz - though we, her parents, are not necessarily tall or big people, she was still quite small for her age at this stage and was teetering somewhere in the vacinity of the 1st percentile on the growth charts, she was born 6lbs8oz) - naturally after discovering her dairy intollerance, we swapped in soy for dairy. She suffered spit ups, huge "silent" reflux, slower and slowing weight gain, and other problems (like bad sleep, frequent wakings, grumpy, clumsy, disinterested in food, frequent demand for breast, clingly, etc). Speak with you doctor regarding the possibility of food intollerances and get on to an elimination diet (there is no other way to find out if baby has got intollerances but through eliminating little by little each food group and seeing what happens). It is a very stringent process and one has to be very very strict (reading EVERY LABEL VERY CAREFULLY on store bought packaged/processed foods). However it is very very worthwhile because if in fact some of the foods are the culprit it is an amazing change one then sees in the child for the positive.

Good luck and I hope this helps you somewhat. Trying out if food intollerances are causing your baby some troubles will not cost you much, may be food intollerances are not the reason behind your baby's troubles, but at least you are trying to solve this issue. And that is a start, and besides it will at least eliminate that as a possibility, and if you do find that that is the reason behind your baby's health then it will all be worth it in the end. :-)

Good luck and I hope you find out what is troubling your little one.

Sally - posted on 12/26/2011




Ditch the cereal and nurse him more. Breast milk is easier to digest and has more quality calories (and the nutrients in it are more digestible) than anything else you could be feeding him.
You could also look into allergies. My daughter (who's now two and still nursing strong) puked (and had nasty green poop and constant gassy tummyaches) until her pediatrician said (at her four month check) "that's not sensitive skin, that's eczema she's probably allergic to dairy". Within two days of me stopping eating dairy products all her digestive issues were gone. Within two weeks my fussy never wanted to be touched child was a happy snuggly comfort nursing baby.
He's really too young to get accurate allergy tests and an elimination diet is a massive pain while nursing, but if thats what's wrong with him it is completely worth it.
Choose one of the most comon allergens. You and he give it up for a month. See if he gets better. Eat it again for a couple days and wait a week. See if he gets worse. Repeat with the next food. If you find a problem food, research all the names it hides under and all the processed foods it is used "in the production of". Take that list to the store with you and read every label every time. Lots of the common allergens hide under many names and if they are used to produce a food or if an ingredient is derived form them they do not have to be on the ingredient list. Also, foods change their ingredients all the time. Something that was safe the last time you were at the store might not be this time. It took about a year with my daughter, but now we have a list of foods we know make her sick so we can avoid them.
Also, if he has food issues you will have to be on his diet until he weans because everything you eat comes through the milk. I used to miss the things my daughter couldn't have, but after two years without them the smell of most of them now turns my stomach. Also, because we had to give up almost all processed foods, I dropped from a size 20 to a 14 in less than a year and it's stayed off. AND because we have to eat much more fresh homemade food, the whole family is much healthier now.
Good luck


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Ana - posted on 01/02/2012




If you pump well, you can add calories to your breast milk. We did that with my daughter. We used corn oil but you can add formula to breast milk to increase calories too. As a feeding therapist and a mother of a slow growing refluxer I would ask 1. Is he growing but along his own curve (does he stay on his growth curve even though he is small; is he nutritionally balanced and well hydrated; is he developmentally appropriate meeting all of his milestones? If yes, then you are on the right track. I would suggest find a GI specialist you trust and like. It never hurts to get a second opinion. Otherwise, try to incorporate high calorie nutritional choice like avocado. Try proteins (allergies?) that also give a boost like beans, tofu, etc... High calorie is not necessarily fatty, but your right it is good to be nutritionally balanced. Good luck and remember reflux gets better especially after the first year.

Karen - posted on 01/01/2012




My four-year-old was born at about the same weight as your baby, and had slow weight gain as well. Here are some suggestions: Why not try feeding him something like cream of wheat or real oatmeal instead of baby cereal? It most likely has more calories, especially if you put a little brown sugar in it (NOT honey!). How about some mac and cheese with very soft cooked noodles? How about feeding your child food off of your plate that he can tolerate? Anything you eat can be mashed or pureed. That can pack the calories on. If you don't want to give your child the formula because you don't want him to have a bottle, why not give it to him in a cup? or mix it in his cereal? Another suggestion, why not fix some greens "southern style," along with some sweet corn bread (like Jiffy mix), then take a square of the cornbread, and soak it with the juice (it's called "pot liquor") from the cooked greens? This makes the bread soft enough for him to eat, and it is healthy and filling. Also, it probably won't upset his stomach. When my baby got old enough to eat people food, I gave it to her. When she got to about three years old, she began to pick up weight. She never got fat, but as long as she was healthy and was developing normally, I learned not to worry. Right now, she is still low on the weight chart, but she is about average height. Just some old school advice....good luck to you and your baby!

[deleted account]

Another thing that may help appease your doctor is to pump milk ( in addition to all the other good info you have gotten here) and to skim off the fattier hind milk and use that to supplement your baby. Way better way to add fat and calories than formula ( which at this point can still do more harm than good). Good Luck!!

Jane - posted on 12/25/2011




You said you were havinf a hard time with the fornyla thing. congratulate yourself that you are. breast feeding too. after 6 months babies on average need more than just breast milk in the form of solids. just treat fornula like any other food. well done for still breast feeding - its the very best you can do for your child. As for the high calorie diet, the things we see as good abd healthy in an adult diet sucg as low fat and wholemeal arent so positive for babies. they need full fat and more than a little wholemeal can trap vitamins. feed what your baby enjoys and helps with weight gain. its impirtant to try and stand vack a little and enjoy your amazing baby. youve done an amazing job virtyally trebbling their birth weight. if you think they are thriving then dobt get too preoccupied by health visitors. celebrate your beautiful family.

Mia - posted on 12/22/2011




My son had weight gain issues & we had to put him on neocate due to his milk protein allergy but he also had bad reflux (we had the barium swallow also) & was on oxygen so he needed the extra calories in his diet. His weight gain was poor. Have you spoken with a dietician, adding high calories doesn't have to mean having a poor diet. The dietitian we saw was great, there's also a powder you can add to foods to pump up the protein. My suggestion go see someone for help around his diet that way they can give you a range of options for his diet that you may be more comfortable with & you can also chat with them about food issues such as allergies/intolerances.

[deleted account]

For anyone worried about their child's rate of growth I just wanted to add a little tidbit... I had real growth issues and was only 13 pounds at 13 months. I am and always have been small, but other than that.... there's not a thing physically wrong w/ me.

Nicole - posted on 12/22/2011




My son was the same way!!! The dr. wanted him on formula, I actually tried it, he was not going to drink that. So I called another pediatrician for advice. She told me bc we had been going thought this for a few months and he was now 10 months I could give him whole milk w carnation instant breakfast. I was at the end of my rope! My daughter only weighed 16lbs at a year old and my son was 17lbs. So my husband and I got OUR growth charts out just to compact, and guess what it's was almost identical!!! I would totally switch specialist or at least get a 2nd opinion. Maybe look for a doctor who is into a more "natural" lifestyle.
I know it's really hard, but you will get through it! Be strong Mommy!!!

Sarah - posted on 12/21/2011




The first thing to do is look around your families? If you see a lot of short skinny people or a lot of long lean people you should NOT expect a plump baby! If you have a short skinny baby though and all the genetics are for tall and fat, THEN you have a problem!

The best thing you can do is get as much breastmilk in him as you can! NONE of the solids are as calorie/nutrient dense as the breastmilk!

Lise - posted on 12/20/2011




Agree with everyone else! Plus, your breast milk has more calories than formula. Drop the cereal (empty calories), and give healthy fats! You can add olive oil to noodles or veggies (high in healthy fats and calories), and avocado is AMAZING for little ones! (43 calories per ounce - almost twice breast milk and over 2x more than formula!)

[deleted account]

I would cut out the cereal. And if it's jarred baby food, I would cut that out too.

Try avocados, bananas, egg yolks (egg whites are allergens), butter-cooked veggies, meat, etc.

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