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Thread: 15 month old needs to gain weight

  1. #1

    Default 15 month old needs to gain weight

    Hello!

    First time mom here. My 15 month old is dropping down in the growth charts...was around 25th percentile but now near the 10th as he weighs a little more than 19 lbs. Ped wants him to gain a bunch of weight to get back to the 25th percentile and gave us a goal of 3-4 lbs in 3 months, ah! He even mentioned possibly weaning him from breastfeeding if he doesn't reach our goal. Which I am not going to force him to wean if he doesn't reach it, I want him to decide when the time comes to wean.

    So, here's our history. He was exclusively breastfed, no bottle up until about 11 months old. Even though we tried offering him solids for many months he wasn't interested. We even took MIL advice to force feed him a few times which resulted in him hating the spoon (who could blame him???). He had a very strong gag reflex until 11 months. He's still a very picky eater, doesn't feed himself and will only eat if I hold him while standing up and walking around. And, I have to be eating also. He enjoys a small variety of foods...bananas, hummus, avocado, salsa, samosas, oranges (no skin), apple sauce, cheeses, pasta, crackers, pbj, bagel cream cheese, to name a small list. As I mentioned, he will only eat these things if I hold him and make it fun. He breastfeeds quite a lot still, every hour or so.

    So, I have some questions. When he eats, he usually only wants 2-5 good bites before he's done and wants to nurse again. Isn't that strange? Shouldn't he want to eat more? He's not great at swallowing. If I give him a medium bite of pbj or a couple smaller bites within a few minutes, it'll take him 10 minutes before he's ready to swallow it. He doesn't chew at all, just works the food with his tongue. Any way to help encourage him to chew and swallow better? One good thing is that he never spits it out, he'll keep working on it until it's the consistency that he wants to swallow. I feel like I'm constantly trying to offer him food, new foods, familiar foods, etc and he either turns his head and won't eat or will only eat a few bites. The thing is he needs to gain weight, and I want to encourage that as much as possible. The other issue is that when I give him foods that don't dissolve, like kale or we'll cooked broccoli he will just hold it in his mouth...forever! He might accidentally swallow it but many times we have to reach back in and remove it. Any thoughts about that? Our ped just says to continue to offer it and eventually he will learn it's ok to swallow.

    He's a very happy guy, looks healthy to me. Strong, active, lots of energy, great sleeper.

    Anyone experience any of these issues? All ideas, suggestions, exercises would be much appreciated.

    Thanks for reading my loooong post!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,670

    Default Re: 15 month old needs to gain weight

    I think what is strange is that your child's pediatrician thinks your child needs to be fattened up in order to return to some particular weight percentile on the growth charts. This shows a misunderstanding of growth charts and how they should be used. You cannot give a child a 'goal' of gain, like an adult who is dieting has a 'goal" of weight loss! Given the opportunity to eat nutritious foods, a child will gain as his genetics dictate. If the child is ill or has some medical condition or nutritional (vitamin of mineral) deficit that is causing poor appetite, then that is a medical problem and your child needs appropriate treatment. If you child is healthy, then I am not sure why your child "needs to gain weight."

    Your child's eating habits sound entirely normal for a 15 month old, and in fact the variety of what he eats sounds wide. I know people brag about their 15 month olds who eat kale. Well, those kids like kale. Yours does not, and frankly I do not blame him. I have three kids and 2 will eat many veges but hate broccoli. My third LOVES broccoli (but only the "special" way I make it and no other way) I mean, she asks for it as a snack! But she does not eat any other veges unless I hide them. And for the record, none were eating veges in any amount at 15 months. My point is, kids like what they like. Fine to offer a variety but no reason to stress about it if a 15 month old does not eat veges. In fact, if your son really is low weight, it is not a good idea for him to fill up on low calorie, low fat foods like veges. Right?

    he'll keep working on it until it's the consistency that he wants to swallow.
    Isn't this what we all do? I am not sure where "chewing" fits as something that a child might not do due to sensory issues or delayed physiological development. I mean, I am not sure if not chewing but otherwise figuring out how to eat anyway- as your child is doing- means anything or not. All humans need to learn to move food around in their mouth with their tongue and to swallow when the food is ready to go down, as well as to bite and chew. I am not sure at all what it might mean if the moving around and swallowing is happening but not chewing, and I am not sure it means anything but that your child is figuring it out at his own pace.

    I do have experience with a child who ate almost nothing until he was 14 months old. He also had a sensitive gag reflex. Eventually he gained just fine and ate just fine, but for a long time I was at my wits end. Later I read the book My Child Won't Eat and it taught me that all that worry was for nothing. My son was entirely normal and fine. I strongly suggest that book. It is pretty short and inexpensive and you may find it at the library. My Child Won't Eat by Carlos Gonzalez, a pediatrician.

    Here is a recent thread on this subject: http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...n-t-eat-solids
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; January 18th, 2017 at 11:30 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,911

    Default Re: 15 month old needs to gain weight

    I'm with the PP: the doctor's advice is strange. First of all, healthy babies come in all shapes and sizes, from the 0th %ile up to the 100th %ile. Some few healthy babies will even fall outside the boundaries of the charts, because the charts aren't perfect. They are just statistics, based on data from lots and lots of babies but not all possible babies. Second, babies tend to wiggle around on the charts, and there is often a decline in the weight-for-age %ile in toddlers, who are still figuring out food and also burning tons of calories due to being highly active. So when a healthy, breastfed toddler who has always been on the small side continues to be on the small side, I see absolutely nothing abnormal about that. Nor do I see any reason to try to fatten the baby up, like a hog who has to reach market weight.

    Your baby's eating habits sound entirely normal to me. At 15 months, my we're only starting to develop an interest in solids, hated the spoon, preferred small snacks to large meals, ate erratically (some days eating like they had a tapeworm, other days subsisting on air), and still wanted to nurse a lot.

    I know having a small baby can be kind of nerve-wracking. Society celebrates big babies as evidence that mom is "doing it right". Small babies, on the other hand... People act like it's cause for concern, even when they are completely healthy. But. In the long run, having a smaller, more slender child isn't such a bad thing. Small babies may evoke concern, but slender children garner praise; if the child is slender, then mom must be doing everything right and saving the child from the epidemic of childhood obesity. Hang in there!

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