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Thread: Suggestions to get 6 month old to gain?

  1. #1
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    Question Suggestions to get 6 month old to gain?

    I'm another mother coming here from a disappointing well-baby check. My son had his 6 month check yesterday. There were several reasons I left the appointment sad, but one is that my son is still not gaining much. He was born in the 5th percentile, and at 6 months, he's barely hanging on to the 1st. (Born at 6 lbs 4 oz and now is 12 lbs 15.8 oz.) He's also gone from the 25th to the 10-15th for length. The pediatrician was surprised that we didn't start cereal at 4 months and now wants me to delay vegetables until 8 or 9 months since we "are behind on solids" at this point. I thought 6 months was a perfectly acceptable age to start solids, but I know there are different schools of thought on that. (I've looked into BLS, and I'm not really interested, by the way. I was just going to start with vegetables at 6 months.) Since he was a few weeks early, I agree with her that he might need the extra iron in the cereal, but she wants me to give him 3 bowls of cereal per day. That seems like a lot of cereal to me. We already have what I think is a delicate nursing relationship. He just doesn't like to eat all that much, and I'm worried that so much cereal is going to damage how much he nurses. So, does anyone have suggestions on how else to get him extra iron? Maybe I'm wrong about the amount of cereal, and 3 bowls per day is perfectly fine? I have decided we will probably start with oatmeal and then move to vegetables in a while, but I'd also like suggestions on maybe high-iron vegetables or other ways to get him extra iron (since she thinks that will likely help him grow faster). Any thoughts on getting him to gain weight? Just nursing more often isn't doing it, obviously.

    I'm pretty sure we need a new pediatrician. We've only seen this one twice, and I leave the appointments pretty unhappy. We were so fortunate to find a pediatrician we loved when my son was born, but she moved and referred us to the current one, and I don't think this one is cutting it for us. I went to this appointment feeling like my son is small but doing great - rolling over, saying "da da da da," and just generally happy and active - and I left the appointment feeling inadequate as a mother. (Truthfully, my self-confidence has never been great, so it's not really saying much that I leave feeling inadequate!)

    Sorry this is so long. I could write so much more, but I'll leave it at this for now. Thanks for any help (or just sympathy!) anyone can provide.

    Another question I thought of after typing this: She said that the cereal might constipate him and that I should offer water to compensate. How much water should a 6 month old who isn't gaining much weight be given? Would breastmilk help instead of water, because it seems to me that a baby not gaining weight shouldn't consume too much of something that is calorie-free. Thanks, again!
    Last edited by @llli*lovebug0411; November 5th, 2011 at 10:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    Nurse before giving any cereal, that will help you maintain your supply and be sure he gets the right nutrients.

    When you say 3 bowls-how much is in a bowl? We started solids last night and my girls took barely 1 baby teaspoon full! You won't be giving much more than a taste or 2 for a few days to weeks as your son gets used to a spoon and tastes & textures.

    Does your son take vitamins? A supplement can provided added iron.

    Is your son having enough wet diapers? Does he seem satisfied after a feeding? How often is he eating?
    Full time working Mom to 3, DH is my hero as a SAHD:
    DS July'09, nursed for 12 weeks
    DD1 & DD2 April'11, tandem nursed for 16 months

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    The dr didn't specify how big of a bowl. (She was sadly vague with many of the suggestions she gave me. For example, I asked if 13-13.5 hours of sleep is enough for a 6 month old because I can't MAKE him sleep any more than that. She said that wasn't enough sleep...but she didn't tell me exactly how much more sleep I should be trying to cram in there!) I figured I'd look at the guidelines on the cereal box and take it from there. She did mention he should be eating the equivalent of what's in a stage 1 jar of food, but I don't know if that was to start off or if we should build to that. Sigh.

    My son HATES the poly vi sol she suggested giving him (and I can't blame him, based on the smell!). He usually consumes half to three quarters of what we try to get him to take. The rest he spits out.

    He seems to have enough wet diapers (and 2-3 good size poops) per day. It's hard to tell how much is in the diapers, you know? He is a generally happy little guy. He gets a little cranky when he's tired, but who doesn't? He usually seems satisfied after eating. Occasionally when I try to feed him he just wants to play around (and sometimes chomp down!), so we stop and try again a little later. He eats about 9 times in a 24-hour period. I offer both sides, but he isn't always very interested in the second side.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    I do think a new pediatrician sounds like a good idea. I don't think much of your current doc's advice, for the following reasons:
    1. It is normal for a breastfed baby to drop percentiles around 4-6 months, as the baby becomes more active and expends more calories on motion (reaching/rolling/crawling/etc.) rather than packing them on as fat.
    2. Going from the 5th percentile to the 1st is not much of a decline in the weight department, and your LO's height is more or less consistent as well. Consistent growth is a good thing!
    3. Your baby is developing normally, and seems happy. That's a good indicator of normal growth and normal food intake!
    4. If you want a baby to gain weight, cereal and water are NOT the way to do it! If you want to gain weight, what do you eat: rice cakes and sling water, or a milkshake? Breastmilk has more calories than almost all solids, and provides balanced nutrition. Few babies consume a balanced diet of solids when they are first starting.
    5. Why would being "behind" with solids- which you are not, BTW- necessitate waiting months to introduce vegetables? Many moms skip cereal altogether and go straight to vegetables.

    I can understand not being interested in BLS- it takes a bit of a leap of faith to trust that your baby won't choke! However, not doing BLS doesn't mean that you also must follow a totally conventional schedule when it comes to introducing solids. A great way to get a baby to gain weight is to concentrate on calorie-rich and nutritious solids right from the start. Avocado, whole-milk yogurt, beans, meats- all of those are high calorie and very baby-friendly. You can introduce iron-rich veggies (spinach and other leafy greens) and make them more caloric by adding a drizzle of olive oil to them.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    Thanks for your response. I think the dr is concerned because my son went down to the 2nd percentile at 4 months, and now he's barely hanging on to the 1st at 6 months. I think she doesn't want him to fall off the charts. She was a little concerned that he's not growing in length as much, stating that next his head circumference will start to grow more slowly.

    He's definitely an active little guy and always has been. She said she wasn't worried about him developmentally, so that was good. I'm not sure why his size is such an issue if he's happy and growing, even if it's slow growth. She even said herself that I "shouldn't get caught up in the numbers"...yet she wants him to pack on some pounds with cereal. She also told me that solids for the first year are mostly for fun and textures and tastes...yet (again) she wants him to use cereal to gain some weight. She thought starting vegetables with avocado was a great idea, but for some reason, she thought we should wait until 8 or 9 months. Is there a problem with starting cereal and then experimenting with vegetables after a few weeks? I don't plan on him getting too many calories through solids for some time. I expressed interest in skipping cereal, and she seemed perplexed, countering my comment with an almost 2-year old-like: "Why?" I stated research I've read, and she pretty much poo-pooed it. She's all about the iron and feels that's why he's not growing. She thinks the easiest way to get him the iron is through cereal.

    Thanks again for your comments. It looks like I'll be calling around on Monday to see about finding a new pediatrician.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    Usually the easiest way to get iron into a baby is in a dropper full of vitamins. Babies who are just starting solids don't always eat a huge amount of them. My first baby ate maybe a teaspoon of solid food per day, to begin with. I know you said you're not interested in BLS, but meats are iron-rich and very BLS-friendly. You just cook them until they are soft enough to shred and let your kid go at them. Boiled chicken from a soup is a very good starter solid!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    Maybe I'll give meats some more thought. When my son was younger, he'd grimace but swallow the poly vi sol. Now that he's older, he knows he can spit it back out, so I'm not even sure how much he gets with each dropper-full. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    Hello, here in Switzerland where I live babies are started on solids at 5-6 months starting with vegetables (usually a puree made of half potato and half vegetables) and fruits, then at 6 months also chicken is introduced ( a couple of teaspoons 2-3 times per week) and at 7 months some other meats. meats are for iron. Cereals are just considered complementary,7 but I think here they are not iron fortified...
    Since my dd started to eat one full meal of puree ( at 7 months she eats 150-200 grams IN ADDITION to all her breastmilk - nursing did not decrease) she started gaining much faster.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    One of mine fell off the charts between 6and 9 months...and he is fine.

    I think you need a new ped myself.

    Cereal has fewer calories than breastmilk, honestly.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Suggestions to get 6 month old to ga

    Im NO good at adding links so hopefully another momma can help... I know that the *kelly mom* site has a printable growth chat for BF babys, thats what we started using. My DS was @ 5th on the docs chart but on the BF chart hes in the 30th maybe something to consider

    I also w/pp, IMO development is so much a better indicater of how a LO is doing. some babys are smaller, some bigger and as *Dr. Sears* says some have to be in the low% & some in the high% for the chats to even work!

    to you jenn
    Im Jenn
    Mamma To:
    Kelsey BF 3 months
    Kenneth BF 3 months
    Blaze BF 3.5 years (tandem)
    Bristol BF 3.5 years (tandem)
    Raiden BF 15months & counting


    We
    NIP BLS

    In need of some

    LACTIVIST

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