Feed on

Little Girl had her 21-month well visit a few weeks ago. The nurse came in to take height and weight. She put her on the scale. “She didn’t gain an ounce since her last check up,” explained the nurse. Then she got measured. She only grew 1/2 inch since her last visit, which was three months prior. When the doctor came in she re-took the vitals since she couldn’t believe the numbers written on the chart. She got the same height and weight measurements as the nurse did. Drat.

Yes, Little Girl is a tall baby to begin with. She’s always hugged the 95th percentile when it comes to her height. The tiny gain she made put her at the 90th percentile mark, so it’s not like she’s in any danger. Her weight is another story, though. She has always been in the 50th percentile for weight. Her sister has always been about the same ratio. I grow ’em long, lean, and healthy, I guess. I credit that to genetics and a diet heavy with real food and light on processed foods. Still, with the scale stuck at 25 pounds, 4 ounces, Little Girl has dropped from the 50th to the 25th percentile. She’s skinny now, and it shows. My doctor is worried, which makes me worry, too.

During the visit, our doctor quizzed me about Little Girl’s diet. I explained that she has always been a good eater, but lately she’s resisting dinner. Instead of chowing down, she’s more often than not crying and begging for her sleep sack and blankie. At the same time, she hasn’t slowed down at all. She’s always been VERY high energy, and as she edges towards two she’s only getting faster and more active. In fact, I’d even put it out there that my nearly-2-year-old is the fastest, most active baby I’ve ever met. She is in perpetual motion from the moment she wakes up — singing and jumping — until the moment she gives into her tiredness and drifts off to sleep laughing and proclaiming herself, “Funny.”

I explained all this — her level of activity and recent distaste for dinner — and the doctor gave us a few suggestions. She wants us to try shakes in the evenings. She also suggested ice cream or other high-fat foods during her last meal to help boost the number of calories Little Girl takes in so the scale and tape measure start moving in the right direction again.

For my part I am also trying to feed her earlier. We used to eat at 6:30. Now I am trying to have food on the table by 6 so she can go to sleep at 7 like she wants to. (And no, it’s not always happening, but I am trying.) I’m changing the food she eats during the day, too. If I make eggs, like I did yesterday for lunch, I sprinkle in a little whole milk mozzarella. She loves it. Bagels and toast have cream cheese on them now. We’ve switched from low-fat yogurt to whole milk yogurt. I’m giving her a cup of milk in the morning and putting milk in her cereal, too. I’ve started putting butter in her sweet potatoes. (I’m a purist, so I never bothered with condiments for potatoes, etc.) In terms of serving order, I offer her protein and veggies first, then carbs, then fruit. This kid could live on fruit, but unfortunately as healthy as strawberries are they’re not exactly stellar when it comes to calorie load. And yes, she’s getting a little vanilla ice cream after dinner.

We don’t use scales here in the house — for me, my husband, or Big Girl — so I am resisting the urge to put her on the scale to check our progress. I will say that she’s definitely eating better during dinner. We go back to the doctor in June. I’ll let you know how she does.

What’s your favorite high-calorie healthy food? Have any great-yet-healthy meal suggestions? I’m open to anything at this point.

5 Responses to “Weighty Matters: Fattening Up the Little One”

  1. Hi Karen! I wanted to thank you for your visit to my site http://www.amoderatelife.blogspot.com! To answer your question, yes, you can use mini-muffin tins, but also use mini-chocolate chip morsels so the muffins will have a good consistency! As for your sweet baby, being in the 50th percentile if she is smart and happy and curious and energetic is not a big deal. Some people are naturally smaller or thinner and I am always amazed when a doctor (I was raised by one and a midwife too) would go entiredly by the numbers. That said, I know you enjoy real foods, but do you also follow the nourishing traditions type of diet? Giving her full fat dairy which contains DHA for brain development and increasing her saturated fat is the best way to go. Dont succumb to the desire to increase sugar. You want her to grow strong and healthy, not big and fat. My friend’s son is extremely small for his age since he was born and he had failure to thrive. He eats a ton of saturated fat now and even though he is still small, he is healthy and EXTREMELY smart. Best of luck! grabbed your feed and look forward to tweeting you as well! Alex

  2. Shari G says:

    My daughter suddenly went from drinking 8-24 ounces of milk a day to none. I now give her the Stonyfield drinkable yougurts which I call “smoothies” and she drinks them down.

  3. when our first son was a few months old, we went to the county health clinic and found out he was “too small”. my then-wife was sure the nurse gave us the stink-eye, too; we were assured we weren’t doing anything bad, but Alex needed to eat more. we weren’t feeding him enough. there is no biden way that doesn’t make parents feel like abject failures.

    but they got us on to WIC (one of the greatest programs in govt history), and in time his genes did what they were always going to do: turn him 6’4″, broad shoulders and the looks of a young Brando (thanks to a nose broken several times). his little brother stayed small for much longer, but always full of energy. i don’t think it’s necessary to fill kids full of food just to meet a standard; you provide good food and they’ll eat the right amount for their body. keep the crap away and keep good-tasting nutritious food around, and they’ll be fine.

  4. kb says:

    Sounds like your babies are healthy and beautiful. (And no longer babies!) Thanks for commenting!

  5. kb says:

    Keira loves those, too!

Leave a Reply