A Weighty Issue

I’ve edited this posting to include all the things on offer on the same day that were refused and not eaten, lest you all think I’m trying to starve her! 🙂

Ava’s weight. Not mine. Although mine is a weighty issue too but today I’m writing about hers.

At her 1 year check up at the Pead on Friday, I was a little worried to note that Ava’s chart has not shown the steady increase in weight that is should be showing, if anything, it has completely flat-lined, she was 9.3kg’s at her 9 month check up and 9.6kg’s at a year. While a slow down in weight gain is normal at this age, the Pead seemed somewhat concerned by the lack of any kind of growth curve, and I am too, especially when you consider that she was on the 75th percentile for weight and now is way down on the 25th percentile. When I looked at her next to her little friends at the party on Saturday, the contrast was fairly stark. While she is taller than most, she is so petite and fine in comparison. She has NO baby fat. He has asked that we have her weighted regularly over the next couple of months and that if we don’t start to see an improvement in her weight gain to come back and see him.

The thing that is really freaking me out is that she’s going through a very bad eating phase, or rather let me rephrase, she’s not interested in eating. We’ve had to stop the finger foods because she simply stopped eating it and have reverted back to baby mush at all her meals. But still she barely takes in anything on an average day she eats the following:

Breakfast – Half to 3/4ths of a full cream yoghurt, maybe 2 spoons of porridge at the very most, Not eaten – 1 strawberry, 3 grapes

8am – 180 to 200ml’s full cream milk – 250ml bottle offered but not finished.

10am – 1 home made blueberry muffin, a few small blocks of cheese – nothing eaten

Lunch – One ice block size portion of home cooked mush – most of which was refused

1pm – 180 to 200ml bottle full cream milk – 250ml bottle offered but not finished

Supper – One ice block size portion of home cooked mush, about 60ml’s of Purity Pudding

7pm – sorry forgot to include this, she always has a 180 – 200 ml bottle before bed – offered 250ml but never finished.

Currently she’s eating less than the average 6 month old and it’s really distressing for me.

Any suggestions/tips on getting her to eat and getting her weight up?

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  • Reply darylfaure

    Sharon, try giving her a 250ml bottle on waking, and then giving her porridge about an hour later. Give her yoghurt as a snack at about 10ish, then her lunch at about 12:30 (feed her whatever she will eat – as long as she eats, that is what is important, so if she will only eat yoghurt, then give her more yoghurt). A snack again at about 15:30, and then supper at about 17:30 (if she is gonig to bed at 19:00), and then another 250ml bottle just before going to bed.

    I know it is easier said than done, especially when she is not putting on too much weight, but try not to stress and try not to make eating an issue. My guy is a good breakfast and supper eater, but inbetween not great, so I just give him what he will take, and in fact he doesn’t really do a mid morning or mid afternoon snack.

    Maybe try boiling some 2 minute noodles for Ava, and then just add a dash of soy sauce for flavour with a bit of grated cheese. and see if she will eat that.

    She is probably cutting more teeth at the moment and not wanting to eat too much, so just keep trying, and when you hit on something that she likes, feed it to her as many times as a day as you can. Maybe she wants lots of small meals more often? I would try and get her onto a morning and evening bottle though, as that might help her build up an appetite.

    Good luck and happy feeding.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    Sjoe…I hated when my kids went off food. It usually happened while they were teething. I would add more fruit to her diet and make yoghurt a snack. Does she have any protein yet? I would definitely up the protein and the carbs- pasta is good. I like Daryl’s idea of giving her a bottle on waking up and before bed. Also, go to the pharmacy and ask for a tonic of sorts to see if it will increase her appetite somewhat. My friend used a milkshake called paediasure in addition to milk. This has got all the nutrients in it so her daughter didn’t lack anything.
    To be honest Sharon, toddler eating is a trial and error thing. Unfortunately you will just have to keep going until you find something that works. Good luck though.

    ps..I am quite surprised that your paed suggests cows milk when her weight is not 100%. I don’t mean to disregard your paed’s advice but my paed told me that cows milk is for cows and adults – not for kids. My paed suggested formula for 1yr olds. Nido (I used this) is very good, Nan also has a 1 year old formula – in fact most brands have a formula for toddlers. Maybe this is also something you could look into.
    All the best. I know how desperate you get if all you want them to do is eat and they are just not interested.
    Keep us updated and vasbyt. You will have it sorted before you know it.

    December 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Hey Jules
      No worries, not sure how old your kids are, but according to latest research (which would seem most peads are acknowledging as almost all my friends with one year olds have been instructed the same) all those fortified toddler milks pre-dispose toddlers to being over weight later in life. I know it was also raised at the toddler sense seminar I attended a few months ago.

      December 14, 2010 at 7:43 pm
      • Reply marina1605

        Claudio has always been a good eater, but sometimes we struggle, in fact most times I need to give him something to keep him distracted while I quickly shove the spoon in his mouth! Like Daryl, I do the morning and evening bottle, but he also never finishes a 250ml bottle. Some days are better than others. Teething days are bad. I find chicken or beef stews with rice and pasta dishes are a favourite, maybe you could try those if you haven’t already? Annabel Karmel has lovely recipes for these types of meals.

        Does Parmalat First Growth milk form part of the fortified toddler milks that pre-disposes toddlers to being over weight later in life? ’cause I’m giving it to Claudio at the moment!

        December 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm
  • Reply suestuart

    Shame Sharon, no advice to offer you but just to let you know that I have a friend whose daughter will be 3 in January, and she is very petite too. She was born at 37 weeks, 2.7kgs no problems, and went home the day after birth. I clearly remember buying her a 6-12 month outfit for her 1st birthday, and she wore it for a long time. Even now she only weighs 12.5kgs. Neither mom nor dad are petite, and her 1 year old brother is an extremely healthy eater. And she is absolutely healthy and fine, no problems. I know it must be worriesome, but from all accounts it looks like Ava is healthy and thriving, and by weighing her regularly (I still go every month, I just pop in at Dischem now) you will be able to monitor it. Good luck!

    December 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply shirl34

    Sharon, I had the same problem with my little girl..she is still very small and petite for her age. My suggestion is put her back on follow-on formula..just to make sure she is getting her essential vits and nutrients..also, at least you wont stress when she doesnt eat all her food. I put my little one on Infacare 3(the yellow box) and worked wonders. Even if you only give it to Ava once a day, (I used to give it at night so she went to bed with a full tummy) it might just help some and wont do her any harm. Also, I had constant little snacks and finger foods on hand all day so even if she just nibbled here and there..all added together over the course of the day, made up for it.

    It might feel like you are taking a step back with regards to her eating routine, but the peace of mind is more important, i think!

    HTH, Good luck and hope her weight improves.

    December 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm
  • Reply lolly

    My sprogs at 1 would hardly ever eat a full meal. Jessie would occassionally devour everything in sight, and then not eat for ages (or so it seemed)
    There’s so much happening and so much for them to explore! I’ve got a friend whose baby did nit gain any weight from 11mos to 19mos. She would chase her toddler round the house trying to get her to eat 🙂 she is now 3 and has only gained about 1kg since.
    We have a set supper-time for the sprogs, and encourage them to eat breakfast, but as for the rest of the day, they eat when they ask too, or when I can see they’re hungry (cranky, moody).

    Try leaving little plates of snacks where she can grab as she’s going. this way there’s always food available and she doesn’t have to stop playing or exploring.
    Get her to feed you, then you feed her, bite for bite.

    I know its hard, but look beyond the weight at her develpoment and sleeping. If she’s developing, happy, playing, sleeping etc. She’s ok. That’s the bigger picture. Weight gain is different for everyone. She may just be slowing downjack did. By 5mos he was 8.5kgs… And then he stopped. By 8mos he was 9kgs.

    If it was me, I’d wait 2months before getting her weighed. Also remember she has been teething, which slows down weight gain, as does lots of activity.
    Never forget that she’s your child! You know when somethings up and not becuase an “expert” told you, but because you’re the expert!

    December 14, 2010 at 11:50 pm
  • Reply Hanneke C

    Just my five cents worth.

    First of all, it is NOT nice when they don’t gain weight! I have a fussy eater and I have one who eats EVERYTHING in sight and still wants more! Although I worry more about the weight of the latter I much rather have one of those than a child who doesn’t eat!

    Here are some of my thoughts but no means a must just some things that worked for us.
    Offer her only two bottles (one in the morning and one at night), our plunket here (baby nurse) say that sometimes they are so full from the milk that they are not hungry for ‘real’ food.
    I insisted that my fussy eater ate what was on her plate. I only would put 2 teaspoons (which seems really ridiculously small but very manageable) and make her eat it. My girl preferred her breakfast by far as supposed to other meals.

    Just a final note, do remember that AVA has gotten very active and so burns more energy then inactive babies. If she is thriving in all other areas and has no other health problems she should be fine! My fussy eater is now 7 and still eats little compared to her 4 year old sister but she is thriving. In fact my 7yr old and 4 yr old are about the same clothes size, miss 7 is small for her age and miss 4 (who eats like a horse!) is tall for her age! They are all unique!!

    All the best, hope the eating gets better. Keep up the VERY good parenting!!

    December 15, 2010 at 2:15 am
  • Reply lea2109

    Maybe go back to what you know she loves – toasted cheese? If you can get her to get going with what you know she loves, then the rest will follow as you go. Have you tried scrambled eggs? Pronutro we found was an excellent breakfast solution and very nutritious. Pasta is also a well loved meal in our house and one of Caitlyn’s favourites at that age was spaghetti bolognaise. Very messy but a sure winner. Maybe she doesn’t like the fruit you are offering – have you tried naartjie segments perhaps or maybe banana? Remember she can’t yet tell you when she doesn’t like something and also remember that she is so much more interested in what is around her that maybe she gets a bit distracted and less interested in eating? Maybe adjust her meal times a bit. Is she interested in what is on your plate? Maybe let her “steal” from your plate and get her to eat this way. She is at the age now where she can eat pretty much what you are eating.

    Have you tried fish fingers? Or chicken nuggets? Or oven baked chips?

    And maybe she doesn’t enjoy the taste of the cows milk? Maybe get a tin of formula for now and get back to the cows milk in another month or two. Whilst Bianca was drinking cows milk at that age, she was also drinking toddler formula (and she is most definitely not overweight)

    Bianca has always been a very fussy eater (she’s been taking the same things in her lunch box for the last 2 years) and unfortunately the only thing I can recommend is keep trying until you find something she loves and then stick with that to start off with.

    Sharon, I know how very stressful the whole eating thing can be. Hang in there and fingers crossed that soon Ava’s eating will be more reassuring for you.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:49 am
  • Reply Nisey

    Jaden did the same thing when he was ill and I nearly went bananas. The paed recommended an iron supplement – Ferrimed Syrup. Since starting that he has an enormous appetite and is eating like a demon. He actually asks me for his dinner now at 4pm every day, finishes and then asks for more!! I don’t think you need a prescription for it so perhaps just speak to your pharmacist! Good Luck!!

    December 15, 2010 at 7:26 am
  • Reply ineke1981

    I would def go back to formula. (Nido). For us it was all about finding something she is interested in, and sticking to it. Goodluck, I know how hard it is! My son now weighs at 10 months what my daughter weighed at 2 years! It does get better, promise!

    December 15, 2010 at 8:47 am
  • Reply zamom

    Zoe never ate much as a baby and toddler and today she eats a wide variety but never that much although somedays she surprises me and eats loads. I also think Ava should rather go onto Nido. My personal opinion is that overweight children are the result of them being inactive (spending hours in front of the TV and computer)and families not eating a good balanced diet and exercising. One of the many reasons that my kids don’t watch TV and we play outside as much as possible. My Ava eats very well but her weight gain has also slowed down a bit with her and she is on cow’s milk but Zoe stayed on Nido till she was over 3 because she didn’t eat well. The clinic sister told me that there aren’t enough vitamins and calcium in cow’s milk, so if she’s on cow’s milk then she must have a multi vitamin everyday.
    I agree with Daryl about spacing out milk feeds and meals, that’s exactly what I did with Zoe. She had milky tea on waking at 7am, then breakfast at 8am, a snack at 10.30am, milk at 11.30, lunch at 1.30, snack in the afternoon, supper at 5.30 and milk at 7pm again. They only need about 500ml of milk a day so I wouldn’t be worried about her not finishing 250ml bottles.

    December 15, 2010 at 9:03 am
  • Reply tan32

    My 5 cents

    My eldest daughter was tiny and the Sisters and Drs would always comment on how tiny she was and I stressed constantly about feeding her but honestly she is just petite she still is at 9 shes only 22kgs she still wears a size smaller than what she should. but is very healthy.

    My youngest was a oros baby and I was told that I was overfeeding her despite the fact that I was only breastfeeding her she’s now 7 and 21kgs but also healthy.

    The one thing I have learnt is that the more you make an issue of food the more the kids pick up on it let her eat what she wants and keep offering her things maybe even have some fruit or cheese or snack food(biscuits) on a table where she can reach it. And Like a Pead told me and my mother that a child will never starve themselves. Maybe give her a multivitamin just to make sure she is still getting her nutrients. and Maybe drop the afternoon bottle.

    I still wish my kids had come with instruction manuals.
    Hugs hope it gets better

    December 15, 2010 at 9:55 am
    • Reply tan32

      PS. My eldest eats more than me 🙁 and my youngest is the fussy one

      December 15, 2010 at 9:56 am
  • Reply trishdg

    Oh I know how frustrating this is. My very active almost 2 year old is about 11kg and hardly eats anything but drinks about 800mls of Nan 3 a day despite being offered so much food. My older one was the same and only really started eating 3 proper meals and snacks at 3yrs and he is now fine and eats everything and is a normal weight so I try not to stress and hope the eating instinct for my youngest kicks in soon. Good luck with Ava!

    December 15, 2010 at 10:33 am
  • Reply elna3

    I would also try and cut down the inbetween milk feeds( only give two bottles a day). They do fill up on the milk and don’t want to eat any food. She will still get all the nutrients she needs if she eats more and drinks a little less milk.

    December 15, 2010 at 10:44 am
  • Reply fionads

    We go through phases with your daughter Zoe who will be turning 2 in January and it also stresses me out when she doesn’t eat anything for days on end. What I find works is cutting up pieces of cheese, apple, fish fingers etc and leave it on a plate in the lounge for her to nibble on (on a blanky or on the television stand). She’ll often just walk past it and grab something and even though it could take up to 2 hours she will normally finish it. I also only stopped giving her S26 when she was over 18 months so at least I knew if she drank her bottle she is at least getting some sort of nutrition. S26 had a sweet vanilla taste whereas the plain full cream milk doesn’t so she would easily drink that over a normal bottle.
    It will get better, just hang in there!

    December 15, 2010 at 11:02 am
  • Reply zamom

    Sorry, just also wanted to agree with the milk issue, i.e. giving her less milk. With Zoe, that’s what they suggested and I was terrified to do so as then I thought she’d start waking up at night but it did work. She had 2 cups of Nido and 1 of milky tea (made with full-cream milk) a day but not more than 500ml and her appetite did improve. I used to stress so much about her eating and would literally dread every meal time, I did eventually realise that one can’t force them and she used to have this lovely habit of vomiting up her ENTIRE meal if you just tried to get her to have that 1 extra spoonful she didn’t want. Now, I just let her eat what she wants (amount-wise not content) and she eats better than she ever has. My brother’s daughter ate evrything in site when she was little and now is the fussiest eater ever so hang in there. I would also give pediasure a shot, you could just add a scoop or 2 to her bottle as Paual suggested. Friends of ours have a child with cystic fibrosis and that’s what she had to have – it is unbelievably yummy as well apparently.

    December 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm
  • Reply ldr1604

    Got no advice but it really does sound like she is eating so little. I share the same friends with ZAMom and so can also recommend the Pediasure.

    December 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm
  • Reply michiem1

    Hi Sharon
    When Alison was born, she was always under-weight. I always had to listen to lectures from the baby clinic and I was constantly feeling guilty that it was my fault and I wasnt feeding her the right things or maybe I wasnt eating the right things for her to put on weight (when I was breastfeeding).

    Then one day I went to a retired paed who still saw patients for the love of it and he told me that I should stop stressing so much about her weight. She was not crying from hunger or anaemic or suffering from malnutrition. He said that children will not starve themselves. He also suggested I cut down on the amount of milk I gave her and her appetite will most probably increase.

    Alison is 4 now-she is still not the greatest eater and she is the skinniest in her whole class. My mom-in-law commented that she cant believe how skinny Alison is (when she took her out the bath the other night). The truth is I am also very slim and obviously have a fast metabolism. Im not sure if Ava’s mom is slim or possibly her dad but maybe its just genes.

    When I was pregnant, a friend of mine said “Pray that your child is a good eater” and I thought they were smoking their socks but I now know exactly what she meant.

    Hang in there-this is just one of those hurdles you will get over and in time will be facing something else and this will be a distant memory.
    Merry Christmas to you and your special fam.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply antigone1022

    My best advice is to try to see the bigger picture.Ava is clearly healthy and in a nurturing environment, A problem now for a few months is a significant percentage of her life which feels like a huge issue. She WILL get out of this phase and things will fall into place. When you look back it will be such a little part of her life just doesnt seem like it when you’re living it. My youngest was a terribly picky eater and seemed to go months on just cauliflower cheese. She’s 14 now, nearly 6 foot tall and a totally healthy weight and totally normal. It will be the same for you and Ava, but I do totally empathise with how hard it feels for you now

    December 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm
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