Small Babies & Toddlers
Berkeley Parents Network >
Small Babies & Toddlers
My daughter is eleven months old and is really small for her age.
She was pretty average size when she was born (7 1/2 lbs) and
put on weight steadily until about 9 months old. I'm 5'2'' and
her dad is 5'9'', so we never thought she'd be particularly big,
but now she's hardly growing at all, and is wearing her 9 month
clothes, is in the 5-10th percentiles for weight/length, etc.
Also she doesn't have any teeth yet, so she's stuck on pureed or
mushy foods. And her sleep habits have stopped improving. Its
like she's stalled out in her growth, and sometimes I feel concerned.
In other ways, though, she's thriving. She walks holding my
hand, climbs on things, picks up rocks and sticks and puts them
in her little wagon that she pushes around. She says a few words
and uses some sign language, and is very socially engaging,
affectionate and full of laughter. Although she's small, her
coloring is healthy and she's active and bright-eyed.
Okay, so I shouldn't worry, right? But I keep having these
worries surface...basically boiling down to: are we doing
something wrong? or is something wrong with her? Then I see how
she's thriving in all these other ways, and I think I should just
let go of these worries and see her for the perfect little person
that she is. Is this what it means to be a parent, trying to
balance doing the right thing for your child with letting go and
letting nature take its course? Any advice or encouragement for
this confused mama?
My friend's baby girl has always been small since birth. She's
now below the 1% (15lb at age 1). But developmentally she
appears healthy and happy. As a parent the weight issue is a
huge deal with her. One of my question about this height and
weight percentile is how old are these numbers that we are
comparing with. Given the number of obese children nowadays,
is it critical to measure your child against that? Should it
simply be used as a guidline to see how your child is growing?
One quote I've read and like is ''It's not important how big you
are but how much you know.'' This was from a ''small'' child.
I'd say as long as your child is healthy, where she is on the
percentile chart shouldn't matter. Everyone of us is different
and we grow at different rates.
No, you shouldn't worry about your petite baby. My first child
has always been at the 5th percentile with height and weight. And
she's a bright, energetic, happy (albeit skinny) little darling.
At her third birthday party she wore an outfit sized 12 months.
Now, just 18 months later, she's wearing a 4/5. So most likely,
yours too will catch up. But even if she doesn't catch up, no
need to worry. At 36, and at 4 feet 11 inches, I still have the
body of a 12 year old, and I'm doing just fine. I will add that
my daughters also didn't get teeth until they were well over a
year old, but that didn't stop me from giving them ''chewier''
food. My 12-month old, who has no teeth, eats small shreds of
chicken, ham and turkey; whole corn kernels; whole peas; chopped
pears, grapes, and other fruit; shreds of string cheese...I know
the eating thing is stressful, especially when they have no
teeth, but just try giving her chunkier foods and keep a close
eye on her while she eats. You'll be surprised what she'll be
able to mash up with her gums.
I am 5 feet. My baby was 7lb 4 oz when she was born, and was pretty average at 6
mos. By one year she was in the 1st percentile for height. She is now 5 and is a
teeny little bean, she looks more like 3.5 years. She is healthy, happy, and
cute! I was the exact same way as a child. When she was graded as 1st percentile
the doctors would look at me and say...''well we know where she got it''.... You
should voice your concerns with your doctor but you probably just have a cute little
person like I do. The best part is that everyone thinks your kid is a genius because
they look so much younger than they are. If you were a tiny bit shorter you wouldn't
I am 40 now and I can tell you that cute ages well too, she's in for a wonderful life!
Short and sassy!
Oh, mama, don't worry! Your little girl is just fine, and just
perfect. You're the one I'm worried about - you sound like me
at that time (first year of the first kid), and I know I was on
the verge of some depression. So make sure you are taking care
of yourself and getting enough personal time.
That said, here are some things to consider from a health
perspective that might reassure you.
First, some kids have to be in the 5-10%th percentile, just as
some of them have to be in the 90-95%th. The best predictor of
kid height is parents' height, so she may be just a petite
person, and that's just fine.
Second, those percentiles are based on formula-fed Caucasian
kids. Breast-fed kids weigh less, as do Asian and Latino kids
(on average). If any of those factors applies to your daughter,
just keep in mind that she may not be as small as you think!
Third, keep in mind is that rates of development (all kinds of
development) slow WAY DOWN in the second 6th months compared to
the first, and especially in the third six months (i.e., age 12-
18 months) compared to the first year. You're not going to be
getting rid of clothes, toys, or anything else at the same rate
you did when she was a tiny baby, now that she is almost a
toddler. She's not going to grow as fast, or change her eating
behaviors or skills quite as fast compared to when she first
arrived. Sleep it is own separate thing entirely - as you will
soon realize from reading BPN newsletters, plenty of
formerly ''great sleepers'' suddenly become poor sleepers, and
vice versa, and this continues throughout toddlerhood
unfortunately. So I would not put any stock at all in the fact
that her ''sleep habits have stopped improving.''
Bottom line - she's perfect, and yes, I do think that a lot of
the challenges of parenting are emotional (on the parent's
part) - balancing your fears with your kids' desire for
independence, and, as you put it, balancing trying to
worry/intervene with trying to accept your kid for who s/he is.
In your case, I think the latter is definitely warranted. As is
a day off for you! :)
Mom of 2 perfect (and perfectly small) kids
You sound JUST like me when my son was your daughter's age. I
was SO concerned that he ''wasn't growing;'' I totally obsessed
about it because he'd dropped in percentiles. They always say
your child should ''stay on their own growth curve,'' but you know
what-neither of my kids have, and they're totally fine-perfectly
healthy-just on the small side. Talk to your pedi, yes, about
your concerns-but if s/he isn't concerned, I don't think you
should be either. As far as development-your child sounds right
on target-perhaps even a little ahead (I'm a home visitor and do
early childhood assessments). It's not uncommon at all for a
child not to have a tooth by 9 months, and it's totally fine
that she eats ''mushy'' foods (you can try really soft finger
foods, too). Sleep habits do not ''improve'' linearly as a child
gets older, necessarily-sleep varies based on what they're going
through in development, their temperament, etc. If someone tells
you your child ''should sleep through the night,'' or any other
such nonsense, just ignore it. You're a concerned, involved,
parent, which is great-and your child is just fine. Easier said
than done, but relax if you can!
My girl is also small (1%!) and didn't get her teeth until 9
months. The doctor shows absolutely no concern about this, so I
don't either, or I try not to. Someone has to be at the bottom of
the growth curve and she's ahead on the developmental curve so I
choose to focus on that instead. If you are really concerned, why
not talk to your pediatrician? She will probably tell you what
you already know, which is that since you and your husband are
small, your child probably will be, too. I am small and once I
got past puberty, I've enjoyed it. I'm more comfortable in
With the pureed/mushy food thing, I found that even before teeth
her gums were hard enough to do some chewing, esp. if I cut
things up small. So I gave her veggie burgers, tiny broccoli, cut
up apples, Cheerios, etc. Things with texture. What we were
eating but cut up small. Those front teeth aren't for chewing
anyhow, and she still have only 6 teeth at 18 months (all front
teeth). Now she can eat almost anything.
As the mother of a small baby, I can relate to your worries. My
daughter was IUGR & popped out at just over 5lbs. We had feeding
issues, barely missing the ''failure to thrive'' diagnosis a few
times, & for her 1st year of life, she was never higher than the
5th% for weight. When she was 11 months, I could still wear her
in the baby bjorn, & she could still wear newborn onesies. She
got her 1st tooth at 10 mos., and so we too had trouble getting
her to eat much more than pureed food for a long time. While all
of her other development was right on track, we worried
constantly about her physical growth. I am a small woman, but my
husband is a big man: we were not expecting such a small baby.
According to our ped, the IUGR may mean that she'll be on the
small side all her life.
Fast forward to now: my daughter is 2.5, still small, but she is
growing at her own rate and the ped assures us she is doing
great. I think she may have finally gotten into the 10th% for
weight at her last checkup. She still wears some 18 mo. sized
clothing, and some of the 2T and 3T things that relatives send
just fall off her... but when I see her with other 2 year olds,
she does not look disproportionately small. Will she likely be
on the small side all her life? Yes. Can I live with that? You
bet. She's healthy. That's what matters.
So there's my experience. As for my two cents:
1. If you haven't talked to your doctor in a while (since the 9
mo. checkup?) call and talk about your concerns. The office
should be able to do a weight check. I would not hesitate to ask
for this. Go with what your ped says. In my experience, they do
not fool around when they think a baby is not growing on target.
2. The teeth are coming in and that will make a huge difference.
Until then, and with your ped's blessing, you can try to feed
your baby calorie-dense foods. Sweet potatoes, avocado, whole
3. Don't worry about what size clothes your baby wears. And if
she gets to wear her size 9 mo. things for a while? Saves you
4. Breathe. Babies grow in fits and starts, and perhaps yours
is just tapering off naturally, according to her own schedule.
It sounds like this is the case for yours. She sounds perfectly
wonderful & healthy. But you want to be sure. So call your doctor.
Mama of a wee one
i understand your worry; it's what mom's do best :) i've had my moments, too,
about my petite daughter. she is 13 months old has either been in the 3% or not
even on the charts for weight most of her life, and the doc says that from a year to
18 months their growth slows down and they tend to eat less than earlier, so i'm not
envisioning any huge growth spurt in the near future. however, like your perfect
daughter, my girl is progressing in her mental and physical development and is in
general a happy and content child. her sleep is all over the map-but always just
when i give up or think it's going great, it changes. this seems to be the case with
all aspects of concern- a good lesson!
look around and notice the huge variation in size of the people around you- both
children and adults. that helps me remember that everyone is different and there is
no need to compare. your daughter is growing at her own speed, and by all
accounts is wonderfully healthy despite being on the small side of the scale. so, i'm
offering encouragement- just enjoy her and don't worry about her size, as long as
she's developing in every way.
my cousin had a petite little girl, and, she worried about her weight and was
concerned because she could see her ribs, so she started feeding her very high fat,
high calorie foods (including lots of chocolate millk!) well, the child quickly
weight, in the form of body fat, and is now a plump teenager who struggles with
her weight. i think it's best to let your daughters appetite be the guide to what she
eats/how much she nurses, and trust her own body to call for what it needs. hang
in there and good luck!
warmly, mom of another tiny tot
I too am a small baby's mom. My daughter just turned a year old
last week, weighs 17lbs and is in the 4th-5th percentile for
everything. She's not walking yet but crawls, is just pulling
up and only says Mama. I get concerned as well but after her
one year check up, her pediatrician says she's fine. She
actually lost a few ounces since he saw her a few weeks ago (for
allergies) and wants her to come in for a weight check in a few
months. Even with that, I know she's fine and I've stopped the
worry cycle of thoughts I used to have. Her doctor also said
that with her starting daycare with another baby who is a little
older and more advanced than she is (she's been home with me
until this week), her progress (and weight) may jump forward.
But even if they don't, she's fine, just a little on the front
of the bell curve in everything....at least she's consistent!
All I'm saying is that I know EXACTLY how you feel and you just
have to remind yourself of what you already know. She IS your
perfect little girl. And I love the way you said that this is
what parenting is - letting go and letting them be just who they
are. I think we all have expectations or fantasies about who
our kids will be. In reality, they are who they are. As long
as she's eating well and playing and being loved (which it
sounds like she gets a lot of), she's fine. And you're a great
mom for worrying and wanting the best for her. Enjoy her as she
is - soon she'll be running around with her friends and this
will be a distant memory.
Fellow itty bitty baby's Mom
Your baby sounds pretty healthy to me (and sleep habits
definitely do not ''improve'' in a linear way! it's normal for
babies to wake more at various times and less at other times as
they grow), but there's one misconception in your post that
could be affecting her growth. The fact that she doesn't have
teeth yet does NOT mean she must eat pureed or mushy food. Most
babies are remarkably good at ''gumming'' solid food. You just
need to give her things that soften in the mouth (like crackers
and dry cereals) or are in small enough pieces to be swallowed
whole without choking (like peas or anything diced small). At
nearly a year old she should be at least starting on finger
If you've been weaning her, and replacing breastmilk or formula
with mostly pureed fruit or baby cereals, she's probably not
getting enough calories and fat per ounce in her diet. Try
offering her more meat, yogurt and other higher-fat/higher-
calorie healthy foods, like avocado. If she's not interested in
more calorically dense foods, she's not ready to be weaned. Go
back to breastfeeding more often, or if she's on formula
increase the amount you offer.
All that said, it's entirely possible that your daughter is
simply putting her energy into areas of development other than
physical growth. It's common for babies this age to grow much
slower or even lose a little weight as they become much more
physically active (having learned to crawl, climb, stand and
walk). But if she's been dropping significantly in percentiles,
do think about whether her diet could be contributing.
Not a Fan of Purees
My son is 20 months and is only 18-1/2 lbs. He's been
underweight since birth, and recent tests reveal nothing
abnormal. My husband is very thin, so it's probably genetic -
but it's still a worry. He's never been above 1% on the charts!
He eats pretty well most of the time, so it's hard to know why
he's not gaining. We've encouraged self-feeding, and a variety
of foods. We're now focused on a high calorie/high fat diet and
are trying PediaSure (1 can/day diluted with whole milk), which
I'm apprehensive about but just need to get some pounds on him.
Oh, and we're trying to stay ''relaxed'' at mealtime, especially
if he doesn't want to eat much. We've thought about talking to
Any suggestions on how to get his weight up without stressing
mom of little guy
I don't have advice, just a recipe. Great for the summer.
2 containers Full fat kids' yogurt like Yo Baby
a cup or two fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries are great,
raspberries delicious if the child doesn't mind the seeds)
1/2 cup orange juice if you have it
Blend ingredients in a blender. Poor into ice cube trays or
small cups and put a plastic spoon in them or popsicle stick.
My kids love making them and love eating them.
My now 2 1/2 year old son was similarly tiny at that age. I
put olive oil in everything and he ate a lot of whole wheat
waffles w/butter and syrup. I think it helped, but his body
still seemed to want to stay at a certain size and wt. He also
had feeding issues, but that's another story and it sounds like
yours is a confident eater. Try not to worry, and especially if
your pediatrician isn't. It's hard, I know! Good luck!
My son, now 1 year old, used to be in the 50% percentile in
weight. At 10 months, he had slipped to the 5th percentile. We
did a weight check a month later, and the doctor seemed ok, but
since then we are very stressed about this weight/eating issue.
I'm still giving him a lot of breast milk, and we are struggling
with giving him enough of the right kind of other foods. He
does eat a variety, but is picky and doesn't eat much in one
sitting. We don't want to force him to eat more, but we are
concerned about him not eating enough. He looks healthy, but
especially my husband is concerned about invisible effects, such
as brain development.
Should I be cutting back more on breast milk so he's hungrier
for other food? Any tips on great fattening foods? Any
experiences with this type of weight fluctuation?
I could have written your post a couple years ago! My son also
went from the 50th weight percentile to the 5th. He seemed
healthy enough, very active and happy, so his dr just said not to
stress about it. We found out that he loved avocados (a high
fat, good for you food), so we gave him one every day! Sometimes
I mixed them with cottage cheese, sometimes with yogurt,
sometimes plain. We also started putting butter and olive oil on
all his vegetables and pasta. We bought him higher fat yogurts,
milk and cottage cheese. He remained (and remains) a bit of a
picky eater, but by the time he was 2 years old, he had moved
back up to the 30th weight percentile.
The drs always say that the kids won't starve themselves, but
it's hard to watch as they drop percentiles!
Mom of a Growing Boy
You don't have to reduce the amount of breastmilk in his diet.
Instead, you could offer him expressed milk in a sippy cup along
side his snack/meal. And try to monitor the amount of ''in
between'' milk he's getting (especially any feedings *right
before* snack or mealtime) to ensure that he's not too full by
mealtime to eat.
I had this same problem with my daughter. People always say not
to worry about how much they eat so long as they stay on their
same general growth curve. But what about when they drop curves?
For one thing, the WHO has different growth charts that are
based on the breastfed child and I think you'll find the drop in
percentile is less dramatic there than the CDC's version. We did
finally ask the doctor to run tests, and she checked for all
sorts of things and they all came back fine. If you're worried,
you could ask your doctor to run these tests (I don't know which
ones, but the doctor should know). I would say not to cut back
on breastmilk. I don't think my daughter would have eaten more
solids if I weaned her, and I feel grateful that I was nursing
her through that time so at least she had some minimal level of
nutrition. Our daughter did eventually start eating more and has
moved up a little in the percentiles.
I lowered my standards of what food I'd feed her. She likes
commercial mac and cheese? Never mind I would consider it more
chemical than food, fine, let her eat it. I also started adding
more sugar and salt to get food to taste better and get her
eating things. I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but
it hlped. Ice cream is actually a good food, aside from all the
sugar, it's dairy and high fat and kids like it. Our daughter
finally started eating more. Now that she's 2 1/2 and can talk,
she will frequently complain of a tummy ache and I notice she
eats less when she has a tummy ache. So I wonder if her stomach
was hurting her when she was a baby too and would cause her not
Good luck. It's kind of scary when a child won't eat and drops
in percentile. I would say it's probably fine and your child
will not starve himself and he'll eventually start to eat more.
But do monitor his weight and if he loses weight again, consider
asking the doctor to run tests because there are physical
conditions that can cause kids to lose (or not gain) weight.
One other thing, look up ''occult UTI'', apparently that can be a
factor in eating and weight gain. Websites will list other
symptoms and you can see if that might be what's causing it. I
thought it might have been in our case until the urine test came
I think that the LAST thing you should do is stop breast-
feeding! Everything I've read says that breast milk is the
best, especially for skinny kids. Is he not eating at all, or
just very little? If he really wasn't eating, he'd be losing
weight. Maybe you want to check out a book:
I have finally read the much-recommended ''How to get your kids to
eat...'' book by
Ellyn Satter and I will enthusiastically recommend it to you. It
directly addresses all
your questions and her answer is yes, by cutting back the milk, your
eventually eat more food and that you can provide some healthy,
choices. Read the book!
Maybe I'm not the most qualified here, because my 1-year-old is also
we're in the same boat. However, we are making a bit of progress, so
I'll share what
I've learned so far.
First, it turns out that he doesn't like bland food, and I had been
wrong assumptions by serving him food that lacked flavor. Turns out he
flavor. Pasta WITH sauce. A tiny dot of ketchup on potatoes, eggs, or
increased his interest - he had previously refused eggs and potatoes
was introduced. I had a nice, rich soup that I thought might be too
spicy for him,
but it turns out he loved it. I mixed in a spoonful of plain yogurt to
tone down the
heat a little, though. If I'm trying to get a vegetable into him and
he shows no
interest (in our case, it has been green beans, peas and spinach) I
puree it with plain
full fat yogurt, and he scarfs it right down. We're into a lot of
finger foods and self-
feeding these days, but there are times when it seems not much is making
from tray to mouth. On those occasions (a few meals per week) I puree
spoon feed him, no big deal. I keep a little electric coffee grinder
pureeing things in small amounts, though I wonder if something like a
might be easier to clean. Plain full-fat yogurt is my standby. Good
flavor to vegetables, a dipping sauce for any food, and adding a
familiar flavor and
smooth texture to almost any puree.
Second is variety. At some point in every meal, he begins to lose
interest and just
wants to finger-paint or throw food off the tray. Previously, I thought
he was full, and ended the meal. However, I've since learned that he
was just bored
with the current course, and if I switch to a different course, or add
(yogurt, salad dressing, or a little dot of Mayo or Ketchup) or move on
to a ''dessert''
course such as fruit, I find renewed interest and he keeps eating.
Third, offer plenty of between-meal and after-meal snacks. For some
little guy never lets me know when he's hungry. Yet when food is
gets excited and interested, so I've learned to ''remind'' him about
eating. An hour
or two after a meal, when he's sitting on the floor playing, I'll bring
out fruit, toast,
applesauce, bagel, crackers or cheerios.
Fourth, peer pressure. He's in daycare, and our daycare provider has
he gets very interested in foods that he sees the other kids eating. If
doing daycare, you might want to experiment with picnic playdates. My
provider also uses cookie cutters to make shapes out of cheese and
Here are some healthy, high-calorie foods that are some of our
Avocados, Full-fat yogurt (and if you puree avocados with the yogurt, it
I call ''baby guacamole'' and little guy loves it!), high-calorie fruits
frozen peach slices (also great for teething), Whole grain toast with
butter or cream
cheese (we like Alvarado St. Kids Bread), Whole grain frozen waffles
with butter (we
skip the syrup), bagels with butter or cream cheese (especially when
Yams - baked, boiled or fried, Hummus, pasta however you like to make it
yourself, and I did an experiment modifying a banana bread recipe - left
out all of
the sugar, added just a little molasses, and let the bananas supply most
sweetness, and made it into mini muffins. He loves those. We also
whatever meat we're eating, cut up into pea-size or smaller pieces
are very handy for this). When I make hamburgers, I make a
finger-shaped one for
the baby. It fits into his fist perfectly.
I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this, but only recently, and
I feel like I need
more variety in my menu offerings. I am looking forward to reading the
responses in hopes of more ideas!
We had a similar problem with our son.. and he's finally
plumping up at 2yrs! My strategy: try not to worry, offer food
often, focus on full-fat dairy products and put butter on
The best way to gain weight is... EGGNOG! It was my favorite
food when I was little and I was a very picky eater.
Skinny no more
I had that same problem with my son when he turned 1. He
actually fell off the chart and was off for a while. We went
to see a gastrentrologist who prescribed him an anti-
histamine. Next thing we knew, he gained 3 pounds in 1 month.
Right now, he's in the 5% tile which is okay and his weight
gain is not as significant the first time but we're happy with
his progress. We were also scheduled to see an endocrinologist
but the GI doctor said it was unnecessary because it was not
I also tried forcing, pleading, and chasing my son around but
in the end, he'll eat when he wants to eat as much as he wants
to eat. When he's hungry he'll eat. I provide ample
opportunities and choices for him. We also give him ice cream
whenever he wants, butter and/or olive oil anything we can, and
supplement with Pediasure (recommended by the Nutritionist we
Remember that when they start crawling they are more interested
in moving and not eating. Even now, my son cannot sit still
for more than 5 minutes. I know this is situations-specific
but I hope it helps a little. In the end, if you're both
uncomfortable with his lack of weight gain, tell your doctor.
Two things: Regarding breast milk, the higher-fat/higher-calorie
milk comes out later, so nursing longer on one side should help
add weight to the kid. Nursing more often and limiting kid's
water intake may help. You need to drink lots of water to
produce milk, and get enough rest. Sometimes they need a quiet
time to nurse.
Once he starts toddling, the kid may be too busy to eat. I fed
mine on the playground as he ran by (you have to bring enough
food for new friends). And, to the horror of my friends, I fed
him like a cat, leaving food out for him. But that's later - at
one he can barely eat by himself.
I noticed that finicky eaters had mothers who insisted on good
Hope I'm remembering correctly from so long ago. At one my kid
ate hardly anything but Cheerios, frozen peas, breast milk, and a
very brief (two month period) of eating babyfood. He was fat,
but I hung out with a mom of frighteningly finicky eaters.
I hung out with mothers of finicky eaters.
i need some help with a very busy 9 month old. she is extremely
small - less than 5% on the charts. she was born normal size,
but we are struggling with getting her to eat. she isn't
starving, she just can't bring herself to focus on food during
the day. here is what i think is going on and what i need
she has a 2 year old brother who she adores. she watches him
constantly. she really wants to walk, too, and is excited she
can stand up. so when i put her in her chair to feed her, she
gets a few bites in (since she is obviously hungry) then once
she has enough to curb the hunger she starts to stand up - even
when strapped in! she is thin and tall and works herself out of
her straps. i put her back down and gently say, ''no, no.'' but
she can't stop. she doesn't have the capacity to understand
that. all she can see is her brother and she wants to stand.
the problem is, she is so hungry and makes up for the calories
lost at night with 2-3 bottles. my husband is tired (i can't
get back to sleep after the bottle so he is doing it. oh yeah,
she cut me off the breast a few weeks back since it was taking
to long - even in private).
i am just having a tough time with her and sometimes i get
really frustrated since any type of food or milk is a balance
of keeping her involved in a game, but not too excited so she
gets distracted. anyone else have this issue and were you able
to solve it? my son was sleeping thru the night already by
about 6 months and i can't deal with it much longer. she is
really sleeping well (weissbluth baby at two good naps -one at
9am and 1pm then bed before 7pm, up for day at 7am), so it
isn't a nap/sleep issue (she goes right back to sleep after
late night bottles). just a calorie issue. thanks.
I could have written this! My son wouldn't sit for a second in his highchair. I
had to tape the straps together so he wouldn't fall out. Nothing worked and like your
child he was pretty tiny and he has an older sibling whom he adores. Solution? I took
the tray off of his chair and pulled him up to the table (just like big sister) and he
been eating in his chair with little problem. I also give him his own spoon to eat
which he loves as well. He now eats with us with little problems. Good luck.
eat up kiddo!
My daughter was very busy as an infant/toddler. She was in the 3rd percentile for
her weight and barely ate anything. I tried coaxing, distraction, reading during
meals but she ate what she ate despite my best efforts. I was worried about her
being so skinny and worried about passing on my own food issues by ''forcing'' food
on her. The best advice I received was from our pediatrician. He was never worried
about her size. (She was perfectly healthy and developing fine.) He reminded me
that babies and toddlers are instinctual creatures and will not starve themselves. I
eventually decided to trust in these instincts. My daughter is almost 3 now and has
gained and grown beautifully and still is not that interested in food. I think your
baby will eat when ready and hungry. All you can do is continue to offer food and
model good nutritional habits!
Mother of a Bean Pole kid
My baby was busy too. You either need to set strictly enforced meal/snack times with
her on your lap or you need to do what I did--follow the baby around and pop food
into her mouth when you get the chance. This isn't as much work or as dangerous as
it sounds. Now my baby is 4 and sits at the table and eats well. Some kids are just
busy. If she really wasn't getting enough to eat, she would be sick, listless and
My 14-month-old is 5th percentile for height but 2 pounds below
the minimum target weight. I met with a nutritionist at Kaiser
who said that I need to increase my child's calories by 110-260
per day to catch up. She mentioned that Pediasure would be one of
the supplements I could give, in addition to a higher-calorie
diet, with lots of fats. My question is, are there alternatives
to Pediasure? It's just that I looked at the ingredients and it's
so full of sugar, which I'm trying to keep low. Anything out
there without too much sugar and no trans fats?
Skinny Petite Mom
Our son was also underweight when he was 13-15 months old. At that age he only
wanted to nurse and had eczema and a number of food allergies. We increased his
weight by feeding him homemade foods and smoothies with a high fat content --
eg. avocados mixed with bananas and rice milk or cereal. We also used ghee (as a
non dairy fat) liberally. Our child is allergic to nuts so we weren't able to use those;
however if your child can eat them, they are also a good source of fat and protein.
They can be liquified and used in good tasting smoothies.
Olive oil in/on pretty much everything was my answer. My
daughter was not on the weight chart until age three while always
falling near the top (75% plus) in height. She had a milk
sensitivity during until 13-months, so I was pretty limited (no
cheese for her) in what I could do...make scrambled eggs in a pan
with olive oil, toss in some chunks of avocado...the perfect
breakfast (or lunch or dinner). Always use regular milk -- don't
go to 2% at age 2.
Pediasure has about twice the calories of milk, if I remember
correctly (we did use it for a while when the milk sensitivity
went away -- it became an addiction that took a while to break -
and my daughter still won't drink white milk unless it is from
her cereal), so it really doesn't take that much to get the
My daughter is now 4 and is about 25% on the weight chart (still
slim enough to wear '9-months pants' to soccer, but big enough
that my doctor doesn't give me grief.
there's a thread/''tribe'' at mothering.com forums, called
''Parents of 'small' or 'skinny' babies'':
pages and pages of discussion of dealing with slow growth and
small size and medical obsession with ''disease-ifying'' it, as
well as looking into the issues that might contribute if there IS
a problem (allergies, celiac disease...). my rant on pediasure is
post #297. cheap oils, corn syrup, cooked milk protein and
vitamin/minerals. and it gets them used to the idea of a
''milkshake'' being good for them.
good for high calories:
oils: olive, coconut (my kids will eat it off the spoon), cod
liver oil (comes in flavors, now, peach, orange, lemon), flax seed.
foods: avocado, coconut, dried fruits, nuts, cheeses, salmon.
and try supplementing in water with trace minerals. i use
just 2 drops/8oz, i slip it into their cups or the water jug on
the table, and they (5yo and 2yo) don't notice it anymore
(initially the 5yo did). i also add it to cooked cereal, soup,
pancake batter, ...anything that has liquid cooked into it. it is
utah sea salt with the sodium removed, so it has all the trace
minerals that are lacking in our soils today (food today has ~25%
of the mineral content of food grown 100 years ago).
signed: mama of little/skinny babies
My 21 month old boy is on the small side (20/30th percentile). He's been small for
his age since 6 months and I have always worried about his size even though he's
fine medically. I'm looking for some reassurance here. Will he always be tiny? Has
anyone had a small toddler that has shot up later? My family is on the small size
(me= 5'2'') but my husband is 6 ft tall. Our Doctor says there is really no way to
know and that he is right on track developmentally regardless of his small size. Its
just so hard when EVERY little boy his age or several months younger is much
bigger then him. It breaks my heart. I sometimes think its because he doesn't drink
much milk. He never did--even as an infant he just didn't guzzle it down (bottle or
breast). These days it's around 6 ounces a day at most. But our Doctor says milk is
for calcium, not growth. He eats/sleeps well and is developmentally right on target,
but I can't help worrying that he will grow up to be a tiny man. There's nothing
wrong with that --most of my male relatives are shorter. I just wish I met other
his age that are his size. Any moms out there with ''little boys''? Advice and
reassurance would be great.
-Mom of a Little Guy
We have a ''vertically challenged'' boy as well with a Dad who is
6'2'' and Mom who is 5'5''. We were surprised that he hasn't
broken out of the 25 percentile, meaning that he will likely be
between 5'5'' and 5'8'' as an adult (he is 4 1/2 now and on track
or advanced in every other area). I know that many people worry
so much about height (correlation with success has been proved
in many studies) that they even consider growth hormone - I
don't think you're in that category since 25% is still a normal
range and administering growth hormone is a very invasive
procedure (that only works in certain cases).
If it's helpful, I broke my concern down into two issues: 1) Is
there a health problem (besides not drinking enough milk), such
as lead poisoning or an undetected illness? 2) Will his height
negatively impact his self-esteem/success etc.? Make sure you
check with your pediatrician and maybe ask if you can do a lead
test and/or bone scan (to see how the bones are growing) and
that might quell your concerns about #1. Also, a friend of ours
mentioned that height often skips a generation; our son has a
grandfather who is 5'8'' (and a male cousin who is also 25%), so
that may be the reason.
For #2 - we're finding that even though our son is shorter than
all of his peers (except one or two girls), he still commands
great respect from friends, perhaps due to his verbal
abilities, sense of humor, and high energy level. We even coach
him on what to say if people call him ''baby'' - ''Actually I'm
four and a 1/2 and will be five in August. How old are you?''
Also, there's still the possibility of a big growth spurt later
I hope this is helpful!
Good things come in small packages
I don't have any encouragement, since my son is younger than
yours, but can just empathize. Mine started out small, gained
lots of weight quickly, and then dropped off so that he's now
proportioned small and skinny at age one. His Dr. says he's fine-
he's active, eats well and is developmentally on target-but I
hate when people think he's younger than he is or I see him next
to chubby, larger babies. I too wonder how it would be (more so
than with a girl) if he stays small like this, and I worry about
it. I guess some kids just have to be at the lower end of the
curve, but I can totally relate to what you're thinking. I was
always teased for being short as a kid myself, but it's no big
deal to be a short adult. I just didn't think since my older
child is on the large side of average that I'd also have
a ''skinny mini.''
mama to tiny tim
All due respect--your pediatrician says your boy is healthy. Take joy in that and
lose your hang-up about his size. You are risking the very real possibility that you
will teach him to feel inadequate about his body. That could be devastating--with
many unintended negative consequences for your son. If your son is destined to be
''shorter'', wouldn't you rather he be a confident, self-assured ''shorter'' man?
By the way, you cannot accurately predict adult size based on toddler size. Offer
him a variety of nutritious foods and he will naturally grow to his largest possible
--sympathetic sister of a ''shorter'' man
Oh yes, there are other small children out there. Our 2.5 yr old
son is consistently in the 10th percentile for weight and mid
range for height and it's hard to find pants for him. He is
perfectly healthy. Us parents are rather slim and average height.
Being European I've never quite understood the competition and
anxiety around the growth chart figures. It sounds like your
little one is doing great, why worry about abstract numbers? We
all come in all shapes and sizes and that's part of the beauty.
My younger son is very small as well, possibly a lower percentile
than yours. He's three years old now and is the smallest in his
class BY FAR. Right now I'm really enjoying how tiny he is
because I can easily carry him and he's so darn cute! I'm not
worried about him because he has a fabulous personality and tons
of confidence. My husband is 5'4'' and he does not have a bit of
a Napoleon complex. He's very athletic, is very charismatic, and
does not have negative feelings about being short. Please don't
worry about your son, if you have bad feelings about his stature,
he will too.
Mama to mini man
When one of my best friends was hospitalized, her two girls came
to stay with our growing family. When it turned out that she'd be
hospitalized for a very long time, I became her girls' guardian.
One girl, like her dad, was very tall. My friend called her
younger girl ''The Hummingbird Child,'' so our growing family
continued to celebrate our tiny new child. Both girls grew up
smart, honorable, hard working, and pretty.
Now, both these delightful women have completed college, had
significant careers, married wonderful men (6'2'' daughter married
6'7'', 5'2'' daughter married 6'0''), and given birth to really
great children. Our ''hummingbird child'' has a really short
daughter, another ''hummingbird child,'' who, like her mom, is 100%
comfortable with being short, smart, and a really great person.
We hope you CELEBRATE the JOY of having a WONDERFUL CHILD and
don't worry about how ''big'' he/she is !
Please don't worry too much about your toddler being small. My
husband was on the smaller side until 10th grade then he shot
up a whole foot in one year from 5'2'' to 6'2''. I'm serious!
Then he had to deal with being SUPER skinny and gangly. He had
chunked up a little before the growth spurt too, and remembers
feeling self conscious about that due to comments in the
family. Please don't fuel any self consciousness in your
child. I know people of all shapes and sizes that are happy
and productive people as adults. And people of all shapes and
sizes who aren't. Most of this has to do with how their
parents raised them to be in the world and how they were
supported as emerging human beings.
*Husband was once a shorty
If your child is in the 20-30 percentile, he is really NOT tiny!
It seems you happen to know mostly larger children, but by
definition, at least 1/5 of boys his age are even smaller. Think
of it this way - in a kindergarten class of 20, he'll be bigger
(on average)than at least five other kids. If he's growing
''on/near his curve'', he's just fine. And as others have said,
there's really no way to predict adult size at this stage. Lastly
- even if he does end up to be a shorter-than-average man, I'd
hope you'd love him all the same.
My one year old son has never been bigger than the 25th% for
height, but has gradually dropped to the 5th. This is quite
alarming since his dad and I are both 6 feet tall and his 3
year old brother has always been at the 90th. Also, he's
always been a lackluster eater so his wt. stays around the 25th
and he has a number of food allergies. His pediatrician isn't
worried as he's still in a ''normal'' window/pattern. One friend
who's a nurse recommended we see a pediatric endocrinologist.
I'm hoping someone out there can share their similar experience
(w/their now 6'5'' son!?) so I can worry a little less.
Our first child who is now 2 1/2 years old was always (and probably still is) in
5th and 25th percentile for height and weight. Our second baby, who is just a
months old, has always been in the 75th - 90th percentile. Go figure! If your
pediatrician is not worried and if your child has continuously been around the
percentile, he/she should be OK. It's when your child either goes up or down
drasticallly in the percentile range that you should be concerned
I don't have a 6'2'' son (yet) but I wanted to tell you that my
son sounds a lot like yours when he was 18 months old. He
started at the 25th % for weight at birth and just kept
dropping until he was literally at the 0th % at about 18
months. His height did the same, though not as dramatically.
I was a little worried but the dr. said not to be worried that
as long as he was following the same general arc on the growth
chart, all was well. His development was on track, so I let it
Well now he is 3 and is 50% for weight and 70% for height.
Somewhere in there, he caught up.
So my advice is that if your baby is on track developmentally
and the growth is following some general arc on the chart, let
it go for a bit, especially if you're not worried. If you do
start to worry at any point, you can always go see a specialist
but it doesn't sound like you're at that point right now.
my son recently had his 9 month checkup. he weighed in at 18.5 and
28.5 inches. it put him at 15% for his weight and 50% for his height.
no one is concerned but me. our ped said not to worry...PLEASE CAN
he is our second, and i am totally lost as to what to feed him. we are
super healthy, organic eating, but my lil guy will have his good days and
bad days. for a day or two he'll eat really well, and then he'll fall off for a
few days. he'll only have a couple of bites and than he gets frustrated.
and then i give him something else, and again a couple of bites and he's
any advice would be gladly accepted....PLEASE. i am running out of
ideas for food and snacks!
he is teething, doing well w/ it. he is learning how to walk and he is
super active. he is a very happy baby, except when he wants to eat and
when he's tired.... go figure.
thanks and i can't wait for the responses!
Your child is not underweight. Those growth charts are an average
of children's growth patterns. Some kids are at the high
percentiles, some kids are at the low percentiles. My first child
has always been 50th percentile for both height and weight, but
my second was in the lower percentiles for both. She weighed 17
lbs at one year. She was just a small kid. Now she is 5 years
old, happy, healthy and 50th percentile for both height and
weight. As long as your child is thriving, and not going down to
10th, 5th, 1st percentile in successive months, he's probably
fine. Besides, count your blessings -- bigger babies are harder
to lug around!
Been There, Done That
I know that you are worried, but everything looks fine. He
sounds like a perfectly normal toddler. Most toddlers eat lots
on one day, and then not much on another. I have heard many
times that we should try to make sure they have a balanced diet
over a week (because they don';t eat much on some days) not over
a day. My son (15 months) eats like crazy some days, and then
not much on others. His 2.5 yr old cousin is 90% percentile for
height but only 10 or 15% for weight. She is happy, intelligent
and active (and skinny!) and only eats sometimes. Such is
life. You say your son is super active, healthy and the doctor
is not worried, so it sounds like he's doing great! Also, from
everything I hear, there are so many health risks to being
OVERweight that perhaps you should be happy that this is
something you won't have to worry about! As for what to feed
him: give him whatever you are eating. If you eat well with a
varied diet, then he will be introduced to all sorts of yummy
interesting things. We give our son whatever we eat (except for
really spicy food which will make him cry) and he likes most of
it. Also try: avocado, veggie burgers, niman ranch hot dogs
(with no nitrites), veggie booty, different cheeses, yogurt,
cottage cheese, cucumber, steamed veggies, tons of different
fruits, veggies from soup, pasta with yummy ingredients (chicken
and veggies), etc. Please relax. Things sound fine.
My daughter (now 2) has always been 75% height and 10% weight.
I've never been worried and her pediatrician says she is
growing/doing fine. Pushing food on a child who is full just
makes food a battleground which can lead to all sorts of other
problems. From what I understand, the concern is if a child has
a sudden change in percentile i.e. she always weighs in at 50%
and she suddenly weighs in at 10%. As long as she is eating
healthy foods, maintaining her position on the growth charts,
and your pediatrician isn't concerned, it sounds like she is
getting what she needs.
You sound really scared. But really, if your ped. is not concerned, maybe you can
relax. A friend once told me a story of taking his infant son to the pediatrician, where
he weighed in the 10th percentile while his height was in the 90th. He asked the
pediatrician if they should be concerned, and she laughed and asked if he was
concerned about his own perentiles--he's very tall and thin and absolutely healthy!
Remember that healthy people come in all different shapes and sizes! As I understand
it from our pediatrician, if your child is growing--both in weight and height--that is
much more significant than actual percentile score. Try to relax and enjoy your baby--
he may just be a thin one.
Regarding your worry about your ''underweight ''9 month old. Our first child
weighed in, regularly at 40-50th percentile for height and under 20th percentile for
weight until he was well into elementary school. We were, at times, concerned but
we were also reassured by our pediatrician. He was a skinny, wiry boy. We took out
his baby book this past week and were laughing about the growth chart. At almost
25 years old, he is now a strapping beautiful man--tall and lean and healthy.
I join your pediatrician in not worrying about your son. If your pediatrician is
correct and unconcerned then I will assume that your son is healthy. In that case, I
would make mealtimes much less important so there is less frustration for all of
you. Barry Brazelton, MD, a beloved author and pediatrician suggests not getting
into food struggles and not worrying about nutrition. He says that children need a
minimum of nutrients including (for a 2 year old) only the following for a daily diet:
2 cups of milk or its equivalent, 2 ounces of meet or one egg, one ounce of fruit or
juice and a multi-vitamin. This is not very much food. For a 9 month old, even less
would be required. Our kids need less food than we think. What they need most is
a relaxed attitude from parents so they don't need to use food as a tool in their
inevitable struggles for independence. Your child will learn to feed himself and this
must be his skill to master. Be careful to not get locked in a power struggle around
food. He will win. I know this sounds difficult, but you must become relatively
uninterested in what he eats--neither anxious nor praising. Learning, as parents, to
manage our own anxiety around kids and eating is a very worthwhile struggle and
will extrapolate to many other places where children need to be encouraged toward
My little girl is also underaverage in weight - she weighed only
15pound 5 ounces at her 9 month appt and was a full term baby
and is healthy. The ped was generally unconcerned too and I'm
trusting her experience. Like your son, my daughter is VERY
active (walking at 9.5 onths) so she's burning a lot of
calories. She's hittin gall her developmental milestones on
target or a little early so her weight is not a problem with
physical or mental development. The one note her doc did say
was to increase her fat intake so we now add cream cheese or
olive oil to many dishes before serving her.
tall mom to tiny one
My son is almost 11 months old and weighs a little over 17
pounds. He is healthy, active, developing well, and we are not
worried that he is small. If your little guy is doing well and
your pediatrician isn't worried, then he is just fine. For the
first year of life, a baby can live healthily on breast milk or
formula alone. Solids are for fun and learning, not a main
source of nutrition. So relax about his eating and enjoy his
small size while it lasts. The way I see it, some babies are
at the bottom of the growth curve, just as some are at the
top. It's all normal. Besides, think of how much money you
are saving on baby clothes. ;-)
Mommy of another little guy
WHY ARE YOU WORRIED? 18.5 pounds and 15% is NOT underweight!!
He's fine! Everyone is trying to tell you that, but you don't
want to believe that- why not?! You will absolutely create a
weight problem in your child if you don't have a reasonable
understanding of normal- he's in the normal range! He's
growing, he's gaining weight, your pediatrician says not to
worry so let it go. He's not going to starve. If his growth
pattern changes, then worry, but really, stop worrying about
food and him. My daughter was 3% at 12 months, 3% at 24 and 36
months and then 98% at 4 years and remains there 3 years later.
I have two other children with completely different growth
patterns and eating patterns and the only thing I know is that
worrying does absolutely not good. Offer food choices and if he
seems to go days without eating, so be it! He's fine!
Don't create a problem!
My son spent the time between 6 months and 2 years at the 25th
percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height. He grew a lot.
Some days he ate a lot, some days not so much. He was active and
happy, pretty much on target developmentally (although kind of a slow
walker). He was still ''underweight'' for his height. The pediatrician said
not to worry.
And the pediatrician was right. Somewhere in there his weight caught
up to his height. Now he's 4, and his weight and height are both at
about the 85th percentile. He eats almost everything. He's an
amazingly healthy kid (I've been sick more times this last year than he
I think if you just keep on as you are -- offering him milk or formula, and
healthy food, at regular intervals (including whatever it is you've noticed
he usually likes) he'll be fine. Really. Americans get a little too worried
about underweight kids, unless the child's weight is steadily falling off
the curve (meaning the percentile doesn't stay steady, but keeps getting
smaller -- if your child's weight stays at the 15th percentile he's
Your ped is right--your baby is not underweight. Every baby
can't be at the 50th percentile, right? At 9 months, my son
wasn't even on the charts and now he's a wonderful, normal,
healthy 4-year-old. And now he is actually around the 50th
percentile. No need to worry.
Sorry to hear that you're stressed about this. My son is
eleven months old and is about a pound below the first
percentile for weight - 16lbs 3 oz at a checkup at almost 11
months, about 10th per. for height. His doctor was slightly
concerned at his 9 month checkup, but completely satisfied at
this most recent one. Granted, kids can be underweight for
lots of reasons, but if your doctor is saying don't worry, I
wouldn't worry. In our case our son was born 2 1/2 weeks early
(at home) at 5 lbs 10oz and has just remained small. His dad
and I were both really little kids, and have grown up to be
normal size people.
Because our pediatrician had some concerns, we have spent a
couple of months focusing on getting lots of calories into
him. He's a wiry little kid and isn't all that interested in
food, though he doesn't seem to be picky. We may not be as
organic and healthy as you are, but here are some of the things
we've had success with:
Adding butter or oil to almost everything (this was the
Whole fat yogurt
High fat cheese (i.e. cheddar, not string mozzerella)
High fat meats (kosher hotdogs, ham, dark-meat poultry)
Hard boiled egg yolk
Juice and formula/breastmilk during and between meals
Feeding three main meals and several snacks each day
Beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes or squash, with butter or oil
mixed in. Basically, we've aimed for calorie-dense foods.
I'm currently working on getting him to eat more finger food,
but find that he doesn't eat much unless I spoon feed him baby
food. We do a lot of baby food meat with butter mixed in. We
mainly give him healthy snacks, but do not shy completely away
from things like cookies and the occasional doughnut hole. He
loves banana bread.
These suggestions may not all work for you, but I hope some
help. Good luck, and try not to worry.
I just wanted to reassure you about your son's weight. If the
pediatrician has checked him and hasn't found a problem, try to
relax. Kids have different body types. My daughter was almost
the same at 9 months - just over 29'' and 16+ pounds. She was
about 40% for weight and 85% for height (or so), and below the
lowest percentile on the weight/height ratio. And now, at six
years old, she's pretty much exactly the same. I just checked
the CDC and saw that she is at 5% on the ratio chart, at 42
pounds and 46.5''. She's just tallish and slender, and I really
think that no matter what she ate, she'd stay that way. She's
not skinny - she looks and is very healthy - it's just her
body. And I wouldn't be surprised if your son is similar.
Trust your son, and trust your pediatrician, and give yourself
credit - your son is doing fine!
Rest assured that there is nothing wrong with your son's weight. My now 22 month
old daughter has consistently been in the 15th percentile in height and weight since
infancy, while developing very well the whole time in all aspects of development. My
very experienced pediatrician, who's been at Kaiser for over 30 years, explained to
me that the important thing is consistency - that children don't jump all over the
charts in height and weight over time, rather that they grow consistently within
whatever percentile is right for them. My 15th percentile kid is healthy, strong,
energetic, growing steadily, developing very well for her age.
She fluctuates in her appetite, depending on growth spurts, teething (which can
drastically decrease appetite in kids), how busy she is doing other things, her mood.
I've been told several times by different people that children won't overeat, nor will
they undereat - so I trust that she knows what she needs. I can recommend a great
book called Super Baby Food by Ruth Yalon. She explains that children actually need
a lot less than we think - between 12-24 months, that can be as little as 2-4
tablespoons of food per meal. She also has great meal and snack suggestions.
Babies and toddlers have stomachs that are still very little, and their digestion is still
developing. And they are still learning how to eat, which can often be frustrating
and more challenging for them than we might think.
Your son sounds like he's doing great, thriving, healthy and totally normal.
Honestly, I wouldn't worry. I wouldn't say he's underweight at all.
Mom of another smaller and healthy kid
I have twin 14 month old girls. One girl is a great eater and
the other hardly eats anything. I am very worried about the
picky eater as she is barely 20 lbs. I feel like I must be
doing something wrong and would like to hear about other
toddlers eating habits and schedules. I still give my girls an
8oz bottle of milk upon waking and then breakfast usually about
1 hour later. When is the right time to stop the bottle? Could
this be contributing to not eating solid foods? Her usual
breakfast consists of 4 bites of either french toast, waffles
or cereal. The only fruit and veggies she will eat is out of a
jar. I would love to hear from other mothers who have a similar
Where does your lower-weight daughter fall on the growth
chart? how does her weight compare to her height? Weight
alone is not telling... a month ago, at 15 mos, my daughter was
19 1/2 lbs, and was in the 8th percentile for weight, 50th for
height. She looks absolutely normal and I'm not worried in the
least. Nor is my pediatrician. Is your pediatrician
concerned? My best advice is to get the book, ''Child of Mine:
Feeding with Love and Good Sense,'' by Ellyn Satter. It helped
me immensely in understanding infant and toddler eating, and
how every body type is different. The message is basically:
you are responsible for WHAT foods you offer your child and
WHEN they are offered, and your child is responsible for
WHETHER and HOW MUCH to eat. The last thing! you want is to
express displeasure or discomfort while feeding your daughters--
you want to relax and be happy with as much or as little as
they eat--at this age, their bodies know how much they need.
Specifically to your question, you might want to offer food
simulataneously with the morning milk, to give your daughter(s)
a chance to eat food to satisfy their hunger, instead of
filling up with milk. Not that there is anything wrong with
getting lots of milk, but she may be picking at breakfast
because she isn't that hungry at that time, since she just
drank 8 oz of milk. I offer my 16 mo. old daughter milk in the
morning and have her breakfast (usually fruit and toast) ready
within a few minutes after that, usually before she has time to
finish her 6 oz cup of milk. I then offer more milk and a
snack about 2 hours later, or sooner if she wants. Then, I
make her lunch after her nap, followed by ! another snack and
milk in the late afternoon, and finally, dinner. That schedule
allows my daughter the opportunity to eat about every 2 hours.
Some meals/snacks she eats a lot, other times, not so much, and
sometimes, not at all (which is why I don't slave over her
meals! just keep it easy). Best of luck.
A Relaxed Feeder
Our 18 month old daughter has never been a very big eater, and
ever since going from formula to solids has been VERY picky
about what she eats. For a time I was very frustrated by it, but
she is healthy and happy, so I am trying to ''go with the flow''.
Here's the problem: At her 1 year appt she was at the 30th
percentile for height and about the 10th percentile for weight
(she weighed 18 lbs.) She came in the next month for a virus and
was just a few ounces away from 20lbs. When she came in for her
15 mth well-child check she had lost about a pound and was down
to 19lbs. This put her between the 5th and 10th percentile. I
should also mention that she was walking well by this age and is
VERY active. Her doctor put her on two cans of Pediasure a day
to help her gain weight. I was fine with that since she does not
eat much at one sitting and does not like a wide variety of
foods (even though we have tried to expose her to many different
things.) I felt the supplement was needed to help maintain good
She just went in again for a weight check (she is now 18 mths)
and has gained about 1 lb. Her height right now is 30 1/2
inches. Her doctor says she should weigh at least 23lbs and has
told me to give her exclusively Pediasure, no milk and no water
as far as liquids to drink.
Should I really be concerned about this? I like this doctor, but
my daughter is healthy and her height is progressing fine. Her
father was very thin as a child and didn't put on much weight
until after 35. Both grandmothers are also very thin. Our child
is smaller than some of the other children in her daycare, but I
think she is just petite. She does eat chicken nuggets and fish
and likes different kinds of fruit. I think she is eating better
then she has in the past.
I don't want to go against my doctors advice, but I'd like to
hear some other opinions on this.
My 17-month old is underweight as well, but the pediatrician is
not overly concerned, even though she dropped off the weight
chart months ago. She is just 20 pounds now. From observing
her, he says that she probably just burns off every calorie
that she eats (I am not sure that she has actually stopped
moving for more than a few seconds since she was born --
kidding. She is very active, though.). My pediatrician
suggested that I give her pediasure instead of milk and try to
sneak extra calories into food whenever possible (making a
hamburger? don't grill it...fry it in olive oil). Other Mom's
who have encountered similar situations have suggested milk-
shakes or ice-cream as afternoon snacks rather than always
reaching for raisins or other healthy foods.
Another pediatrician in my daughter's practice sent her in for
a bunch of bloodwork and other tests. All of which came back
I would not worry. My daughter went from 50% at birth to about
10% at 18 months. She has never been a big eater. She was
17lbs at one year and now is 21lbs at 18 months. Her doctor
said as long as she stays on the same curve (whether it is the
50th percentile or the 10th) that is a good sign of growth and
development. He said he would not be concerned unless she fell
off her curve consistently. My daughter seems very happy and
healthy despite her low weight. We do have to make an effort
not to force her to eat though. It is hard but we want to let
her decide for herself how much to eat. Good luck.
My daughter is 16 months, and probably just weighs over 18
pounds (at 15 months, she was a few ounces shy of 18 lbs)...she
has never even made it on the charts for weight (under the 3
percentile) since she was a couple of months old. She is in the
50th percentile for height. But, she is exceedingly active,
happy, and healthy. Although we've worried about it on
occasion, our doctor has never felt concerned. As long as
she's ''progressing'', he's very happy with her development. He
has even warned us that she might not gain more weight (or even
lose a little) over the next few months. He has never suggested
changing her eating habits (she's a fairly typical toddler, I
think -- some good days, some bad) or drinking something like
Pediasure. Personally, when it comes to eating, I think you
should trust your instincts -- if your daughter seems happy and
healthy to you, she probably is. You may want to get a second
opinion from another doctor. Unless there's some other
underlying health concern, your daughter may just be petite.
Petite mom and baby
Our situations are similar, so I completely understand your
concerns! Just yesterday, I received information that might
shed some light on the mystery of my son's inability to gain
weight; possibly something you'd want to look into.
A little background: I'm 5' and my husband is 5'6S. We both
come from petite families; my mother-in-law is 4'10S and my
sister-in-law, who's 16, is also very tiny for her age (she
could pass for a 13 year old). My son is almost 22-months old
and he's barely on the growth chart; his stats are 29'' and
(almost!) 16lbs. (still facing backwards in his carseat!). He's
not a very picky eater and also extremely active; he just can't
seem to put any weight on. He is most definitely healthy and
happy, so in order to not excessively worry, I'm constantly
repeating to myself what I keep hearing from others: Rhe'll eat
when he's hungry - he just has small genes - he'll plump up when
he's older - be careful what you wish for, etc.S
Since infancy, he's been through a series of regular visits (and
tests!) with specialists because his pediatrician is (obviously)
concerned about his growth and made the referrals. The
endocrinologist we see at CPMC in SF seems to be fine with his
gradual, albeit slow, growth; outside of his physical size, he's
healthy and developing RnormallyS (language, motor skills,
etc.). She feels that his size could very well be genetic, and
he may have a late growth spurt (as late as the end of high
school). The gastroenterologist, however (also at CPMC), isn't
as comfortable with his slow growth and prescribed the same
routine as your daughter's: no milk, exclusively Pediasure.
Taking the milk out of his diet has been difficult as he's
finally drinking more and more without our asking. When we
started the Pediasure (with literally a splash of it in his
milk, in an attempt to wean him off of it), he refused it
completely and didn't drink anything but water for two days!
After experimenting with different flavors, we found that he
likes chocolate, so although he's not drinking the 16oz. that
the specialist would like or completely off milk, he's at least
asking for Rchocolate milkS more regularly. Now, it may be my
imagination, but in those few days, he actually did feel a
little heavier! We were still in the process of trying to get
him to drink Pediasure exclusively when we received some news -
Yesterday, the results of his allergy tests came back and it
turns out that he's allergic to egg whites and milk! He's not
highly allergic to the point where he'd break out, but because
his allergies are in the low-moderate levels, it's enough for
the gastroenterologist to suspect that the internal reactions
are affecting his digestion/absorption of nutrients/calories,
and possibly, inhibiting weight gain.
What this means for my little man is that he, for this Rtest
periodS of two months till he sees the specialist again, cannot
have the things he loves (that contain whey, lactose or casein):
mac & cheese, cheese, yogurt, scrambled eggs, pizza, ice-cream,
pudding...the list goes on. It's a consolation that there are
soy products and such that we can use as substitutes, so we'll
see what happens.
Like you, I don't want to go against the doctor's advice, but
because my son is healthy and RnormalS otherwise (and also
because I'm still in shock from this news!), I can't help but be
a little reluctant. The way I look at it though (as the
information slowly sinks in and I accept it), this RplanS won't
hurt because he's still eating and getting calories and
nutrition. He will definitely not like this change in his diet,
but if it helps unravel the mystery of his weight (or lack
thereof), we'll all just make the adjustment. If nothing
happens, then back to the drawing board.
I'm probably being more dramatic about the news of his allergies
than I need to be, and I realize that it could be worse, but,
wow, those test results were so unexpected! I think it's just
going to take a while to sink in. Perhaps your daughter may
have a similar allergy? Worth researching if you have the
time. Here's a link I've found helpful:
Good luck and please feel free to email me!
Healthy(!) little guy's mom,
We have a 10 month old boy who has been falling off the chart
since he was 2 months old. He is below the 3rd percentile now
for weight.His height and weight were both 50th when he was born
and his height is still average. Neither my husband nor I am
petite. He is hitting all his milestones just fine and is very
He seems to have had reflux as an infant but was not diagnosed
at the time(breastfeeding was always very erratic and
uncomfortable for him and he never took the bottle). He wasn't
interested in starting solids for the longest time and so we
didn't push him. But since his growth was slowing, we finally
started to worry around 8 months old when he still didn't want
to eat solid food.
When he finally decided to start eating solids he would
sometimes eat pureed table food (two bites) but mostly only
wanted finger food. However, with anything that doesn't
completely dissolve, he would gag and vomit all that he had
drank/eaten. He now eats only two things: Trader Joes Vegie
Sticks and Cheerios. Both dissolve completely. We have been
referred to the nutritionist, gastrointerologist, and the
pediatric occupational therapist (but the appt. is not for
another 6 weeks!).The GI has told me to wean and has him
drinking (from sippy cup)high calorie soy formula with added
calorie booster so that what he does drink will be very high
fat/calorie. She also prescribed prilosec for the suspected
I have a feeling, due to his inability to handle anything that
doesn't completely dissolve,that he has some sort of texture
sensitivity or oral motor problem going on. Has anyone else out
there experienced these problems, in this combination? Any
suggestions regarding very fattening finger foods that dissolve?
I am no expert, but I would be very careful about weaning your
child from his main source of nutrition. Did the GI say exactly
why you should take that away? I would most definitely get a
second opinion before doing something that can't be reversed.
My niece (now 2) had similar symptoms. Although she did not have
a problem with weight, or taking a bottle or liquids, she did
have a very tough time with reflux and with solid foods. It
turned out to be some type of problem in the ear canal. This
caused a fluid build up and contributed to the reflux. She has
recently had tubes put in her ears - and now is doing great!
Ask your ped. if a check up by an ear-nose-throat would help?
I have a similar problems with my now almost 2 year old toddler. Since she started
taking solids at 6 months of age, she started falling off the charts. She's been off
the charts since she was about 10 months old. She never took the bottle either and
her pediatrician ran a bunch of tests on her to find out why she has a lack of
appetite. One of the things he considered was reflux as well. She was put on
Zantac. It didn't make a difference in her lack of appetite so we just determined
was not the cause. To this day, we still don't know the cause but think it may be
because of all her food allergies and eczema. Anyway, to try to help you out here,
we were put too, on a high calorie formula called, ''Elecare'' but all her doctors
(pediatrician, allegist, GI) advised me NOT to wean her, that the formula would be IN
ADDITION to her breastmilk since breastmilk was one thing she always took. Some
high calorie foods that I can think of which dissolve are: slabs of butter, maple
syrup on waffles, mashed up avocado, or how about if you help chew up some of his
food before putting it in his mouth and all he has to do is swallow? You could also
make some beef soup and make sure he drinks the broth with the fat in the soup.
He'll get all the nutrition plus the high calories. Feel free to email me if you wish.
I am trying to monitor the growth rate of my son, almost 4 mos,
who is brest-feeded. I am interested in checking his weight
and height on a 1 wk basis. However, it seems that the only
scales available are at the pediatricians premises.
Does anybody know where I can find a place where to check my
baby (e.g. pharmacies, ....) without taking an appointment to
The Nurture Center store in Lafayette has an infant scale.
People go in there all the time just to weigh their babies.
Here's what I did: we spent somewhere between $20-$40 (I forget
exactly how much) on an infant scale at one of the baby shops.
Rather than weighing our baby weekly, I weighed him daily (at the
same time, without his clothes or diaper), and averaged the
weights over a week, since these scales are not as accurate as
those in the pediatrician's office.
I don't know if I would be as careful with monitoring a new baby's
weight as I was with my first child, but watching him grow did
make me feel a lot better.
I gather from your email address that you are connected to UCB.
They have good scales in the locker rooms in Hearst Gymnasium
and in RSF, for example. (You weigh yourself with the baby,
and then without the baby, and finally determine baby's weight
using subtraction. While you are alone on the scale you place your
baby on a blanket on the floor. Or you ask someone to hold her/him
- people often love to do that.)
If you are not a member they may still agree to let you in for 5
Minutes to weigh your baby, or maybe you know a member who can do
it for you.
However, when it comes to babies, don't put to much weight into
I knew someone who monitored her baby's weight by stopping by
the post office frequently and using the scale in the lobby.
She said it worked well...
this page was last updated: Feb 6, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network