Friday, February 24, 2012

Eat this please, or I'm going to cry again

I took Carina for her 12 month well visit two weeks ago. She is almost 14 months old...oops. In my defense I called our health system right after New Years' but their first available appointment wasn't until mid-February. Lovely. Guess I should have called them the day we moved to town. But that's besides the point.

Carina weighed in at 18 lbs. 4 oz. which is the 3rd percentile for her age. I showed the doctor her previous growth charts and explained that while she was in the 70th percentile for weight from 2-4 months old, her weight plateaued after I went back to work full time and it hasn't rebounded. She is still gaining, but very slowly. M and I were both underweight and at the bottom of the growth charts as kids. So maybe Carina is just going to be small like us?

She really doesn't like to eat. She would much prefer to throw her food around the dining room and/or smush it into her hair. She will eat a few bites of just about anything, but then it turns into playtime. She paints with tomato sauce, fixes her hair with peanut butter, gives herself a yogurt facial, and enjoys dropping pasta on the floor and then pointing at it while exclaiming, "da!".

Do I have something on my face?
Eat it? I thought I was supposed to paint my face with it.
It looks good in my hair, too, doesn't it?
I win. You lose.
I wasn't too worried until the receptionist at the Pediatrician's office called last week. She said that the doctor reviewed Carina's chart and is concerned about her weight. They want to see her again in a month. ::sigh::

Since the high chair has always been a battle, I started putting breakfast, lunch, and snacks on a plate and setting it on the coffee table. She toddles over, eats a bite or two, and then starts playing. So, I bring the plate over to her and offer here more. Over and over again. I feel like I am chasing her around trying to shove food down her throat. I cried a couple days ago when she picked up each and every morsel of food off the plate and and threw it. Clearly, she was as frustrated as I was.

I don't want to feel like I'm spending my whole day trying to get her to eat. She'll eat if she's hungry, right? Like I said before, maybe she is just going to be small? I would so appreciate any advice, tips, and/or words of encouragement. Any parents of tiny kids out there?

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31 words of geekdom:

Kristin said...

You've got to stop feeding her at the coffee table. She is ne'er allowed to experience hunger if she is snacking all day. Your pedi is wack. Carina is fine. James is "underweight" too. Order Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter. It's a book with a ton of research on toddler feeding. I'm reading through it right now to correct alot of feeding mistakes I've made very similar to what y'all have been doing. He ate cicken and eggs on day 2 of his new routine.

Cole said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I've always been at the lower end of the charts (or off of them entirely!), and my pedi even diagnosed me with failure to thrive and made Mommy CRAZY. We had to supplement with Pediasure for a while, which was super expensive and made me even less hungry for solid foods... Mommy wasn't too worried - she was small as a child, PLUS I've always been super energetic and fairly proportionate (I'm short, too), but we had to go for weekly weigh-ins for a while and she felt like she was always chasing me and trying to get me to eat. Hopefully Carina grows out of it soon - by my 2 year appointment I had gained enough for my doc to relax a bit.

Samantha said...

My daughter is 14 months too, and not quite 20lbs - not quite as small as Carina, but still small. I have a nurse friend who says that the charts are secondary in importance to whether or not the child looks healthy - if she has good colour, and doesn't seem lethargic or undernourished in any other way, there is no reason to worry. I'm sure the doctor is just being thorough.
I don't let Celia eat all the time, and sometimes she eats like crazy, but sometimes she'll go days and seem to hardly eat at all. We just give her what we're eating though - we are paranoid about picky-eating, and yes - she will eat if she's hungry.

pinkflipflops said...

Personally, I'd put her back in the highchair and make that a place for meals. Offer up a few things. Start small, maybe 5 minutes and then, say, "all done?" and take her out. Make it part of her routine and just offer up colorful things she may want to try.

Paul and Sara said...

At our 12 month visit, Audrey was 17 lbs 3 oz (less than 5th percentile) and the pedi was also concerned about her weight. I should mention I'm small which he did acknowledge. He mentioned pediasure but did not push it now. I know that her issue is accepting solids and I don't think adding more liquid to her diet is the solution. It's a DAILY battle and I was also feeling like I'm following her around with food all day. I'm not a huge help, but here's what we do: she likes baby food in pouches so she still gets those, she'll eat oatmeal by spoon as well. I don't care if she's 12.5 months and still eating purees. I just want her to eat!! Also, I sit her down in her highchair 3 times a day. At first, I was really hesitant about giving her the snack foods (cheerios, puffs, lil crunchies, yogurt melts) she likes at meals. But I've recently decided, to give her what she'll eat and introduce new finger foods along the way. I've also recently had good success with yogurt smoothies (fresh strawberries pureed, whole milk yogurt,and honey--- I've even been able to puree steamed carrots and add it in without her noticing!). It's very frustrating to have a child with a give or take attitude about food. You aren't alone!

Melissa @ Filling Our Bucket said...

My son is little too. At his 12 month appointment, he was just under 19lbs. I'm not sure what his weight will be when we go for his 15 month appointment in March, but when I did a fake weigh in of him a week or two ago - where I step on the scale, and then grab him and step on it again - he had only gained 9 oz. He doesn't eat a ton. The only thing he eats a lot of every time we put it in front of him is peas. Otherwise, it is a few bites and then pushing it around, throwing it, you name it. It's frustrating, but I try not to worry about it. He's healthy, he's hitting milestones without a problem, I feel like he's just going to be small. My husband and I were both little too, so I think he's just destined to follow in our footsteps.

I'm sure she is just fine, I think your pedi is being a little too cautious to be honest. Try not to worry!

Emily said...

Sam was 18 lbs at one year and we had been having weight checks since 5 months. Pedi ordered bloodwork when he was 9 months old, which was traumatic and showed that everything was normal. Our pedi has lightened up on the weight issue now as it seems that Sam is just going to be a lil peanut for a while. He is growing (slowly) but meeting developmental milestones and is a happy, active little boy.
Do your best when feeding Carina.. offer lots of yummy food and hopefully you'll find some that she really likes. Some of Sam's favorites you might want to try are grilled cheese, pears right off the core), strawberries, fruits/veggies purees in those pouches (he feeds them to himself), yogurt, waffles... good luck!

Mama G @ Growing Up Geeky said...

It might seem to some of you that your comments disappeared :( Don't worry, I did see them all and I thank you all so much for your advice and support!

@Kristin & PFF - I think I did a bad job in making it clear in my post why I started taking her out of the high chair (for meals except dinner). When we put her in it, we are lucky if she eats 3 bites. And in between those bites we have to pick her sippy cup and food off of the floor at least 10 times.

For us, right now, it is more important that she eat period than where she eats. We have a family dinner every night in the high chair, and then there are at least two of us to do the fetching/containing. I just can't do it twice by myself every day right now without going insane.

Mama G @ Growing Up Geeky said...

P.S. Still trying to figure out why my comments are all messed up.

juliane2004 said...

I agree with the first poster, about putting her back in the high chair. I know you say you are more worried about her eating, than where she eats but I really truly believe she will eat if she gets hungry enough. If she eats only 3 bites for a few meals in a row, eventually she will be hungry and eat more.

Good luck, I've been there.

Kristin said...

We struggled with the high chair too, so we moved her to the Chicco Hook-On Chair. Now I just say "Abbie, do you want to eat? Go to your chair" and she runs for it. I think it makes her feel like she's more a part of the family. I won't let her wander and eat though. If she throws her food or stands up in the chair, meal time is over. I have had many a night when I have to hand the feeding job to DH because I get too frustrated with it.

Is there anything Carina does like? Abbie loves rice and pasta. I can hide just about anything I want in them and she'll eat it, but she'll reject those same veggies plain if I just hand them to her. Maybe try that approach of combining foods. I'm going to try putting fruit in her yogurt too. She's not the best eater, but we're working on it. She was 22 lbs at her 15 month appt. I think she's around the 40th percentile.

The advice I've been given by other moms is that she will not starve. She will eat when she's hungry and figure out soon enough that I'm not a short order cook. Good luck!

Emma said...

You have to pick the sippy cup off the floor ten times? I'd be grateful for ten times: our little girl is constantly throwing it out of the chair. We have the opposite problem to you - she eats fine (and is just over 23lb at 11 months), but hardly drinks anything. And then grizzles when her poops are, shall we say, a little uncomfortable! They do know how to try our patience, don't they? Hang in there - the fact that you and M were small babies probably suggests she'll be the same and will grow up just fine :)

Jaymi said...

Eli's head and height have always been off of the charts, but he's really super skinny.He loves eating, just not at the high chair. That just turns into a combo of play time and "let's throw the food and see if the dogs catch it". So, we do a lot of feeding him when he's running around. He'll come over to us when he wants food, he'll eat, run around and play and then come back for more. I never go after him to give him food. I guess we play it by ear, if he is ok in the high chair and is down with eating, we go with it. If he's crazy and would rather run and eat, fine with me.

Kristin said...

What about moving her to a booster so she can eat with yall? I'm telling you! Order that book, it explains SO MUCH on exactly this topic.

Mama G @ Growing Up Geeky said...

@Kristin when I say high chair I actually mean her table chair. It's one of those little chairs that hooks onto the table, so she is right there with us. She hates her monstrosity of a high chair (the traditional kind) even more lol...

I will check out that book, thanks!

JoAnna said...

I used to have the same exact problem with Oliver. He just turned 13 months on the 22nd. He weighs over 23 lbs, so he is a bigger boy but food has always been a struggle. He will pick a bottle or sippy anyday over actual food. Just recently his appedite has picked up. I noticed that he started eating more and enjoying food when I gave him more options during a feeding. So instead of just eggs for breakfast, I do eggs, green beans, broccoli and a yogurt. Or for dinner I do pasta, goldfish etc... I found that if he had more to pick and choose from that he was eating more. I also found that if I put only one or two bites on the tray at a time helped as well. I never fill his tray with tons of food anymore at once, because he likes to play with it and toss it on the floor if I put to much. So I now put one piece of egg down until he eats it and than I put a green bean on the tray until he eats that. I do a rotation of everything. I think that he sees something new each time that he becomes more curious to try it. I think when they don't have variety they get bored or see that food as something to play with. He eats so much more now, and I honestly never thought that I would get to the place we are now. Best of luck to you and your sweet little girl.

Emily said...

Hmm...didn't you breast feed? Breast fed babies typically weigh less than formula fed. There is another chart you should look at, I will send it to you later-on my phone now & don't have the link.

I wouldn't stress about this, but I watch her hunger cues. It takes a while to pick up on them, but they'll appear.

Babymakesus3 said...

I'm going to disagree with everyone on this topic and agree with mama g. We struggled with feeding as well. For us having our son eat On the run worked; he sat with us for dinner but all other times he would come and go from the table. My son is now 27 months and a much better eater and will at this point sit at the table and eat until he's full. We are more of the go with the flow when it comes to parenting and we do what works for us! Do what works for you. Experiment and try new foods until you find something she loves (which may only last a week) for awhile the Only thing my son would sit and eat was scrambled eggs... Then it was oatmeal

Megan Stilley said...

My friend has a daughter that was the exact same, super low on the growth charts (but still growing) and she has out of no where gone through a major growth spurt. They had to make sure she got lots of high fat foods (yogurt ,milk, cheese, etc) and make sure she had long enough to eat. Turns out she just takes a really long time to eat , like an hour.
And I think she will eat when she is hungry.

Anonymous said...

If it helps at all, my child LOVES smoothies. I put avocado and bananas and she can't get enough. So maybe something like that would help.

Also, she hated the highchair so we got a little table and chair her own size. It was hard at first (no walking with a fork! OMG, so stressful for at least a month) but now will sit and happily eat. We started that at..12 or 13 months and she's 17 now.

Abbey Robertson said...

Oh those lovely toddler years... they are so cute but you want to strangle their little necks, right? My babe was a FANTASTIC eater and still eats pretty much anything. We started letting her use forks and spoons with her a few months back. SHE LOVES IT! Sometimes when I don't give her one to use, she won't eat very well. Example (don't judge, best friends are in the middle of a family crisis), last night we had pizza for dinner. That is not a fork meal. AB ate a few bites and then said she was done, but I knew she wasn't... gave her a fork and she ate the rest of the slice. Just an idea. Don't stress about it... really, she will be fine!
Another friend cuts her boys sandwich into shapes with cookie cutters. I mean who wouldn't want to eat a plane pbj?

Good luck!

Camille Griffiths said...

My little one is tiny. She's 3 now and has always been low on the charts ever since she was about 8 months old and started crawling. My pediatrician is great about it. She says she is just small. There is a reason people say toddlers eat like birds. There are some days they eat a lot to make up for it but a lot of the time they pick. It's normal, especially if they are still breastfeeding, and as long as they are healthy there's no need to worry. A lot of people in my family were the same way as kids. I'm lucky I have a supportive family and understanding pediatrician because it does get hard when everyone says "Oh she doesn't eat enough" and "Oh she is tiny! I can't believe she is 3 years old" etc. Just follow your mom instinct. If you think she's fine, then I'm sure she is fine, and maybe time to find a more supportive pediatrician if they keep freaking out about it... Good luck!

Camille Griffiths said...

Oh and also, my best tip is smoothies. She'll think it's ice cream and the fruit will hide the flavor of veggies and/or protein powder. :)

Anonymous said...

my lil andi is 14 months and also weigh on the lighter side when she was 12mos. as my pedia suggested what i do now is i'll sit her on her high chair, give her finger food that she likes to eat (usually cheese), and spoon feed her in addition to what she eats (rice and veggies).

Anonymous said...

I think there is a difference between eating and being small and, not eating and being small. You expressed that Carina does not like to eat so that's why shes small. I'd be concerned about the nutrients that she's not receiving for her growing brain. We have a tiny baby too but we really work with her to get her to eat. We walk around the house feeding her, whatever it takes. I'm satisfied that shes getting her nutrients Bc she eats everything, shes just tiny ( I am 95 lbs post preg and that's the largest ive ever been). In your case, id ask for vitamins, etc because it sounds like shes not getting nutrients. And using the whole you're small, shes small correlation doesn't sound right Bc what did you guys think when she was 70 percentile?

Anonymous said...

My son who is now 14 months was the same way... we recently weaned from nursing and he now eats SO much. Anything we put on his tray he eats and is always hungry at meal times. I feel like maybe he was still filling up on breastmilk since we were nursing so often.

Mama G @ Growing Up Geeky said...

Thanks for all of your advice, ladies! This is all really helpful.

Mama G @ Growing Up Geeky said...

@anonymous (middle of the bottom three) - I posted that I've started doing exactly what you do - follow her around trying to feed her. She still isn't interested. At her next appointment I will ask about vitamins.

I was a bigger baby early on, too, actually. I didn't hit the bottom of the growth charts until I was a toddler. And just an FYI, many breastfed babies see slower weight gain after 4 months.

Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy said...

I just left a novel in your comments over on your "results" post, but I just wanted you to know I've been there, too! First with my firstborn, and most recently with my 4th child, who truly seemed too busy to be bothered with the whole eating thing.

I wrote a post over at Money Saving Mom recently about my busy little boy: http://moneysavingmom.com/2012/03/why-we-increased-our-monthly-grocery-bill-by-75.html

Christy said...

I was failure to thrive and so are both of my kids. My daughter is 4 yrs and a month and weighs 26.2 lbs and my son is 22 months and weighs 19.13 lbs. They both fell off the chart at 3 months. My daughter I swear lives off of air. She doesn't eat for me at dinner but a bite or two. I have talked to different people and I have found out everyone has "their meal". My daughter's is breakfast, she wakes up "starving" and I just try to feed her as much as she can because after breakfast she really doesn't eat. I find that if she is around her peers she also eats more. My gauge on my kids have been: are they healthy, are they generally happy, are they hitting developmental milestones. I had to adopt the "weight is just a number" thing and my husband and I get to celebrate when she does actually eat at dinner. My kids were checked out by the ped. too and everything is fine with them.

KZ said...

I have a very similar child he is twenty two months old and still struggles with eating. We have had many tests with no answers. I am not sure if you have ever considered feeding therapy. Although it has not solved our problem it has made it better. If you want to check out my blog it is centered around my difficulties and trying to get my son to eat.
www.theswallowsaga.com

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