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Thread: Feeding 9-month-old for weight gain

  1. #1

    Default Feeding 9-month-old for weight gain

    I am still nursing my 9-month-old in spite of biting and injured nipples, stubborn thrush, postpartum hypothyroidism, endocrinological mayhem, etc. She refuses to drink from a bottle or take milk or formula from a sippy cup, so I have no choice except to keep nursing, which I am okay with in spite of the issues I'm having. I seem to have enough milk and only run low during my period each month.

    She was born at a hefty 9 pounds exactly and for the first six months, she hovered near the 100th growth percentile. She is currently 9.5 months old, 20.5 lbs, and 30 inches tall, which puts her near the 70th percentile. However, she only gained six ounces in the six weeks between 7.5 months and 9 months, which concerned her pediatrician. Because she started out so large, her weight is still high for her age, so the doctor is not overly worried but he instructed me to feed her more. He told me that since she does not have a medical condition that is preventing her body from utilizing the calories she eats, the only explanation is that she is not eating enough calories. He is an older man and I get the impression that he doesn't support breastfeeding, although changing doctors is not an option due to insurance limitations.

    I can't force or even encourage my baby to nurse more. She nurses when she wants to, for the amount of time she wants to, and it's often a struggle. I nurse her 3-4 times during the night when she is most willing and maybe 3-4 brief times during the day, depending upon her cooperation. She likes to eat food but she will only eat a tiny amount of anything. The largest amount of food she will take at a time is a baby food pouch at 3.5 or 4 oz. She typically eats 2-3 pouches per day, maybe 1-2 ounces of yogurt, a few nibbles of cheese, fruit, veggies, and/or baby wafers or puffs. I do try to give her low sugar and organic. She has all of her front teeth on the top and bottom and seems to chew very well. She loves to drink water and will drink water even when she refuses to nurse. She poops 1-2 times per day but seems to pee less often than she did when she was younger.

    She is very thin. The fat folds in her thighs and forearms are barely there. Her abdomen appears large, firm but not bloated, but has no fat on it. Her ribs aren't visible, but I can sure feel them when I pick her up. Other babies her age have little chunky arms and legs with fat folds at the wrists and ankles, but she has none. She has no face or neck fat anymore. She looks more like a slender child than a baby. She is very active and has always been extra fussy and stubborn.

    I admit that I have a terrible diet and I haven't been able to lose any weight due to the hypothyroidism, a sedentary job (from home), no time to take care of myself, an unsupportive spouse, and my poor diet. I can't cook, but I'm making sure to provide my baby with healthy foods - if I could just get her to eat. She doesn't want egg yolks, avocado, meat, bread, baby cereal, formula, or my pumped milk. She will eat plain whole milk yogurt, baby food pouches, and mashed potatoes with gravy. I don't buy any baby food purees with more than 5 grams of sugar per pouch, so she mostly gets the vegetable and meat ones. She likes fruit and cheese but she doesn't eat any significant amounts of these. I'm wondering if I should just give in and start letting her have more sugar like the concentrated fruit baby food, juice, and sweetened yogurts I have avoided.

    I will continue nursing as long as she needs to and is willing, but I'm concerned about her maintaining an appropriate level of weight gain. Her doctor really doesn't have much to say except feed her more food. Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Feeding 9-month-old for weight gain

    Hi,

    First of all, I don't know anything about your medical conditions, but good on you for still nursing!

    About your daughters food intake - she sounds like she eats more solids than my ten month old. And far as I know, breastmilk has more calories than most babyfood (pureed broccoli, for example, especially once watered down really isn't much in terms of calories).

    What I woukd do if I were you is always try to nurse before and after feeding solids. Just offer. If she doesn't want it, or just wants a sip, no big deal. Can't hurt.

    In terms of solids you offer, I would stick to sugar free/ salt free. There is still lots of time for babies to have sugar, and what's the point of unhealthy pounds?

    If this was my doctor, I would probably ignore
    his concerns. Chubby babies are totally cute of course. But don't chubby babies naturally lean out as they become older and more active? Most chubby babies I've known turn into slim toddlers/ kids. Also, if your five year old was high on the weight percentiles, I'm guessing he would be saying to feed less/ focus on veggies.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,743

    Default Re: Feeding 9-month-old for weight gain

    Hi, my best suggestion is to get the book My Child Won't Eat by Carlos Gonzalez. It is an excellent and easy to read book on the subject of weight gain and eating habits in babies and young children. I am not aware that there is any particular problem about a weight gain plateau occurring after 6 months. A weight gain slowdown MIGHT indicate a problem but it is probably normal. If your doctor really thinks there is something wrong, maybe they should be doing some testing to see if your child has some medical condition or nutritional deficit that is hurting her appetite or causing poor gain.

    As long as they are offered enough food, healthy children eat because they are hungry and they will eat enough to meet their needs. They certainly may not eat a wide variety as older babies and toddlers and that is perfectly normal. They also do not all gain at the same rate and that is also normal. If a child is really not eating enough or not gaining enough to be healthy, that is because there is something wrong, not because the child is not offered enough sugary foods.

    I'm wondering if I should just give in and start letting her have more sugar like the concentrated fruit baby food, juice, and sweetened yogurts I have avoided.
    Why? is this what the pediatrician suggested? Because except for the yogurt, (and I think you already said your child eats plain yogurt) these seem like odd choices for increasing weight gain. Encouraging your child to eat more healthy fats and protein makes more sense if the goal is more fat and calories per ounce.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,911

    Default Re: Feeding 9-month-old for weight gain

    Are you 100% certain that baby has been weighed correctly? That is, always using the same scale, always in the nude (or in a dry diaper only)? Have you been recording the weight, or relying on the doctor's records? It seems a little odd that a baby who gained so quickly for months on end would suddenly gain somewhat less than the low end of average for her age. (Normal gain from 6-12 months is around 2-4 oz per week, see http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/weight-gain/) Therefore, my suspicion would be that someone screwed up the weighing procedure or recording of the weight in between the 6 and 9.5 month weigh-ins.

    My kids both dropped percentiles in the 6-9 month time span. The first one went from around the 95th %ile down to around the 85th, the second dropped from above the 100th %ile down to around the 75th. It was just a normal consequence of them becoming much more active. I never perceived them as looking skinny, though. More slender, yes, but not abnormally so. Maybe it would be helpful to post a pic of your baby, so we can see what you are describing? If you post one, feel free to make it a neck down pic, for the sake of your child's privacy!

    I completely agree with the PPs that you want to continue to avoid sweetened, overly processed foods. More calories aren't always healthy calories, and developing a taste for sweets is not in your child's long term interest. I know it's very hard to stick to the healthy choices when you're fretting about having a baby who might be too skinny, and getting critical feedback from the doctor!

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