Thursday, March 12, 2009

Assistance Needed!

First off, thanks to all of you who came out of lurkdom! What lovely comments...I hope I get to hear from you all more often! It usually takes me a few times of "meeting" someone through email or the comments before I tie everything together, so it was nice to see some of your comments and then remember who you were! Some of you comments were so moving to me I got chills! Now that you all have broken the ice and realized piping up isn't painful, I hope you do it more!

More on the giveaway in a bit...I have not yet declared a winner. 


On to the real reason for this post...Seth is having weight gain issues again. He'll be 8 months old on Tuesday. We have had weight issues in the past, but last time we went for a weight check he had gained 5 ounces in a week and we thought he was doing well. 

Today I took him in for his Synagis shot, our monthly splurge. Synagis is about as expensive as caviar. Luckily our insurance covers it! Anyway, he has to get a weight check before the shot and we found he was the same weight as last month. He has gained nothing in a month. 

We checked out his stats...actual was born age, he  at the 50th percentile for weight and has dropped to the 3rd. 

Adjusted age, he was born above the 97th percentile for weight and has dropped to the 50th. 

As far as height, he is above the 100th for both actual and adjusted ages.

My issue is not where he is at on the chart but the fact that he has dropped dramatically and it is not in character for our family. The other kids were born and stayed at/above 97th percentile consistently for both height and weight, and still are. I know kids can be different, but Seth is matching them for height, but falling way behind on weight. 

 My gut is saying that somethings going on, and even though he's not acting like he's starving, he's not totally content either. Problem is he will not eat off a spoon, will not eat runny/thin food (so no jarred baby food). He will not take a pacifier or bottle, although he used to take both fine. He loves to nurse, and wants everyone else's food. He nurses about every three hours during the day and does not act hungry between feedings. He nurses at 7, goes to bed, does a quick midnight feed, and gets up between 5-7 for his first nursing session. 

I'm kind of at my wits end. We placed an order at the pharmacy for something you sprinkle on food to make it have more calories? Can't remember the name. These are the things he will eat: sweet potato, baked potato, ritz crackers, gerber puffs. When I say he'll eat them I mean he'll eat maybe one tablespoon of them before he refuses any more. The food has to be thick, dry, and able to be fed to him without a spoon. 

Our therapist says the muscles in his mouth are fine, he chews and swallows fine, he just seems to have some aversion to eating, but not to food. He drools and makes a chewing motion when he watched other people eat. 

Anyone have ideas? 

I'm going to let your brilliant minds work while I assign some ticket numbers. 


Maria said...

full fat cheese? shredded cheddar, maybe. avocado chunks if not super ripe, those are sort of dryish. Could you put some butter on the potato chunks? Will he eat if he can use the spoon himself? we got some cool spoons from gerber that had holes all over tham that the food stuck right to nd my girls all started with them about the time they started solids. Maybe that would help. They love to make us worry, don't they?

Chelsea said...

My third was a lot like this- weight dropped off around 7 months, and even though the dr wasn't super concerned, I knew this wasn't normal for our family. She did not like baby food. At first we thought she still had the tongue thrust reflex going on, but learned that she pushed it out of her mouth on purpose! I was at my wits end with what to do when one of my sons gave her some chicken casserole. I started to flip out- food allergies, too many seasonings, too much texture(and no teeth!)... but she ate it great and wanted more. We learned that she wanted our food and as long as it was small or mushy enough to smash around, she did great. I was concerned about breaking her into food gradually, but the doctor said with no family history of food allergies, she should be okay. So we watched as she ate everything. Seriously. No bland stuff, the more food, the better. But then her attitude improved and she dropped her last night feeding and slept better during the day and started gaining weight again. It was unorthodox, but it worked for her.
Don't know if this helps, but at least know that I've been there before, no matter what solution you figure out. It cracks me up that parenting can be so trial and error.
Good luck!

Cristi said...

Our little Avery doesnt seem to like to eat as well as the rest of us in this family. LOL I am curious to read the responses to this blog.

Kandis said...

Weight gain was a problem with my little on from the very begining!! If Seth will take a bottle of pumped mile once in a while, you can add a scoop of formula to it! It adds extra calories!! We did this for the first year for my daughter! What you do is add half of what it calls for if you were making an actual bottle!! Another thing we did was add cereal to her bottles and basically to everything! I added it to baby food, to mash potatoes and it helped to thicken things up for her!! Does he spit up a lot or possibly have reflux? Other than that, I have no other ideas for you!! Hope he starts gaining soon!!

Curdie said...

I agree with Chelsea, some kids are just so smart and independent that they want adult food and they want to feed themselves. ;)

Liz {Learning To Juggle} said...

Have you ever just given him a tray full of safe foods and let him go to town. playing with the different textures and finding his own way to get it to his mouth.

What about something like pudding? Would he eat that or yogurt (maybe if you add some cereal to it to thicken it up). Again, maybe if you put piles of it on his high chair tray he will have fun playing and trying it out, I am sure he would get some to his mouth too.

Fiauna said...

I wanted to comment on the post below, but after 56 comments, would you even see me there? I'm sorry about the worries you have over your son's eating/gaining. I really don't have suggestion other than let him nurse (sorry).

I am touched by your faith and courage. Keep fighting the good fight. Hang in there and all will be answered.

Anonymous said...

Have you researched any about Child-led weaning? It completely skips baby food and purees. Google it!

I'd also note that different kids do things differently. My two boys are completely different in terms of size and weight.

Have you contacted LLL? Or a lactation consultant? I think that BF babies typically gain A LOT in the beginning and then taper off.

Anonymous said...

When Matthew was 8 months and I started to widen the variety of foods that I introduced to him, he had no interest in them. Then he began not to have any interest in food at all. Our speech therapist said that his tongue was pushed back and so gave me a special brush for him to play with in his mouth. One day he placed the brush into his food and began eating on his own. It wasn't so much the food he was adversed to, but rather the tools that he ate with. So I bought these nifty dipping sticks at WM, it worked wonders and now he's eating non stop! He eventually graduated from the dipper to the spoon!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why I didn't think to ask this yesterday, but is he starting to cut teeth? A lot of times the sucking motion (for bottles or pacifiers) can hurt when they're getting teeth in. And some children, when cutting teeth, can't stand the mushy foods, which seems counter-intuitive to me - you'd think those would feel better on their gums, but it kind of goes back to the "sucking" motion that has to take place for them to really swallow those foods. The dryer stuff is easier to maneuver inside the mouth.

From the research I did last night, it seems that this isn't entirely uncommon - which doesn't necessarily help you any! With all else this little boy has been going through, this just seems like yet another battle. But a lot of children just naturally come around to eating more on their own. Keep trying!

I love you guys. :)

Rachel said...

I'm not a momma and I have no idea what's going on with the food, but I will surely PRAY for your sweet baby. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader to your blog & I love it. Your kids are so cute.
I came here by way of McMamma.
My DD was a 34weeker, who thought she was earlier & acted accordingly. I had so much trouble with her gaining & she didn't eat a morsel of solid food till after 8 months.
Anyway, she just kinda worked herself out. She never has been all that great on the height/weight charts, but she is a very healthy almost 9 year old now with noeating issues.
Sorry I'm not much help, I just wanted you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, & it's not a train!!!

Helen in Australia

Susan said...

Our youngest (Ruby) is 16 months and only weighs 18.3 lbs. She is still rear-facing in the car, and I am looking forward to the day I can switch her to front-facing! Neither of my other children were this little! And Ruby likes to eat. She just is slow in gaining. She has been in the < 3rd percentile since she was about 6 months old. Her pediatrician recommended putting butter in her food, so we try that. She struggled a bit with spoon-feeding at first, but eventually she accepted it.
Will Seth eat cheese? pieces of whole-milk shredded cheese or tiny chunks... Hm, I'll keep thinking...

M J said...

My best thought was to add cereal to the foods he does seem to like (sweet potato, baked potato, etc) to thicken them up. My girls absolutely LOVED applesauce or baby fruit chunks with the cereal that had baby formula in it.
And now, for your Martin girls laugh for the day... My first daughter never had a drop of formula, not one, until she showed interest in the above concoction that I had mixed up for her baby sister. She was 2 years old at the time! I'm telling you, that child will eat anything!

Kelli W said...

My youngest (though not lacking in the weight department...he weighs 21 lbs and is 6 months old) has really tappered off on weight gain in the last month or two. He dropped from the 95% for weight to the 75% for weight between his 4 month and 6 month checkup. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that they go from sleeping and sitting still all the time to moving and scooting and crawling. All those baby moves burn a lot of calories. So maybe he is just not gaining because he is moving around more!
I have heard that avocado is really good as a first food, and it pretty thick so he might like the texture of it better than store bought baby food. Good luck!

Mommy3 said...

I am gonna agree with Kelli that perhaps him moving more is making him not gain? At least the bright side is, he hasn't dropped. At around 9 months old my son started getting thinner, his 6-9 month pants would FALL so he was in 3-6months and then I just tried on some 6-9months shorts that were too big last summer and they will fit him this summer and have room to get him through the whole summer. He just started moving more and according to my pediatrician that is just his body...tall and lean. He is currently 18 months and he is 32 inches tall but 21 lbs. My doc asked if he was eating okay but said since this has been his pattern of weight since 9 months of age that she isn't concerned. And on top of that he does eat well so perhaps that is why I am not as concerned with it. I would say just keep nursing and introducing solids here and there. Have you tried making your own baby food? Both my kids preferred the taste to fresh pureed veggies and fruits to the jarred stuff. :) Good Luck! Keep us updated.

Laura said...

E - I sent you an email, but your post gave me some more information. My first son was 50th percentile when born and dropped to 5th percentile - our ped was not worried. It is actually normal for growth charts to level off (and make sure they are looking at the breastfed growth charts and not the formula one - which is actually the only ones most ped's use. Check out for breastfed growth charts - they differ drastically from formula fed charts).

Now, my second son did not take to solids either! He totally refused everything on a spoon too! But, turns out he was a smart kid, as is Seth - he wanted us to follow Baby Led Weaning - I actually wrote a post about it a few days ago - Taran is now chowing down on real table foods, but he didn't really take to it till just before 9 months old - we would put it on his tray and he would play with it - if it went in his mouth, fine, if not, don't stress about it.

Also, has Seth began crawling or more physical activity? This can also contribute to growth charts leveling out at this point.

So long as he continues to have enough wet diapers a day (6 minimum) and seems happy - don't fret! I know that is easier to say than do. I wrote some things to try to increase supply (but I still don't think you necessarily have a supply issue at this stage), and just nurse nurse nurse - offer him every 2 hours.

Abbie Burnham said...

My friend Jennifer, who is about to graduate as a speech therapist and has worked with some younger kids (although more like 2-3 year olds) with sensory issues feeding and swallowing says this:

It is very common that premies have sensory issues, especially oral issues, so textures can turn them off. I would try a coated spoon, or a Gerber plastic spoon that is more narrow, so he can cup it with his mouth and tongue, more similar to bottle feeding. She could also just add oil to the purees he's already eating to get his weight back up. But she should probably get a referral from her PCP for a feeding/swallowing evaluation with a speech therapist. They would be able to evaluate his case more specifically.

Hope that helps at all!

Abbie Burnham said...

Okay, a little more info... She said to her the rejection of a bottle and spoons sounds like he may have some sensory issues. She's got a Powerpoint here which might help you determine if there's a sensory problem at hand. Start at page 56:

She says that might help you know what kinds of things to look for that might be the sign of a problem. The earlier intervention the better in feeding/swallowing cases.

She is a bit nervous about him falling off of his own growth curve like that. Starting low and staying low is fine, but dropping so many percentiles is worrisome. She would focus first on nutrition before working on sensory issues. If he won't intake a larger volume, try giving higher calorie foods, like avocado.

For working on sensory issues, she would make sure to vary textures (anything that's not pureed) and solids and start before 10 months of age. Also, she recommends a Nuk brush and using dissolvable solids such as crackers, veggie sticks, etc. to help him learn to expand the textures he'll tolerate.

Let me know if you have any questions for her. I can forward on an e-mail. My address is

Abbie Burnham said...

Whoops, that link didn't work. Try this one:

Heather said...

Hi! So I found your blog recently, love it, and when I read this post I realized that I finally need to come out of lurkdom! Seth is so beautiful and your story is such a great testimony of faith.

My son has had issues, too, with weight gain since he was about 8 or 9 months old. We knew he had acid reflux during the first year, because it was quite obvious with all the spit up after I nursed him. Well, now he is 17 months old and the reflux is still rearing its ugly head. He just recently went back on Axid three times a day and he appetite has completely turned around. He went from a very picky eater to a bottomless pit. I realize now that he was in pain...causing him to act hungry but then refuse the food once he tried to eat it.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there to try and help. Can't wait to keep following your awesome story!

Laurie said...

I don't think I'll be much of a help but I can, in my own way, sympathize. My daughter had some darn difficult food issues. So many people told me that she was just a picky eater and she would eat if she was hungry enough. Ugh, they were so wrong.

For the most part I gave her whatever I could find that she would eat and kept experimenting with new things. I also went through a LOT of Ovaltine.

I guess I really just wanted to tell you that I think you are a great mom and to never underestimate your "Mommy Sense" when you think something isn't right.

Anonymous said...

Let the boy eat what he is drooling for..he probably prefers the "adult" food.

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