Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Underweight Baby

Eva's 12 month check up was going fine until the doctor looked at the computer screen,"Gasp! This is hooorrrrible!" Eva is in the 11% for weight and somewhere in the 30's for height, but her growth curve is kind of flat. The doctor's first reaction was to put her on Pediasure (1-2 cans a day). I declined. Pediasure has tips on its website for picky eaters. I'll add one to that list: don't give Pediasure! Now, there are definitely cases where it helps, but I don't think it should be a first line of attack. Eva is chubby and has plenty of "output" so do not believe that she is in danger. She stopped eating baby food a few months ago but hasn't made the transition to table food. Ian went from baby food to table food directly, but I think she needs some transitional foods. It just goes to show you that you never know everything.

Now, I am not a nervous parent and I know that the charts they use are for formula-fed babies, not breastfed babies and that has an impact. Formula-fed babies eat more because it comes out quicker with less effort and caregivers push them to finish the bottle which is one of the reasons why breastfed babies have lower rates of obesity as adults because they self-regulate their food. However, it was the flat nature of her curve that may indicate a problem. Still, it is quite disconcerting when a doctor says,"This is hooorrrible!"

Eva will not eat fine purees anymore, but she will eat yogurt, rice porridge (with seaweed), anchovie porridge, refried beans, and adult hot cereal. She will eat vegetables, rice and pasta sometimes, but not a lot. I never gave Ian soups and porridges, but in Asian countries, that is what they give babies and young children. When we were in Singapore, I was surprised at how well Eva ate the anchovie porridge. I filed it in my brain to try, and made my own, more Korean version with seaweed, like my friend Sarah gives her daughter. I want to encourage these savory tastes instead of surrendering to giving her sweet things just because she'll eat them. Another friend lent me the book Super Baby Foods by Ruth Yaron. It has recipes for transitional foods and ways to add extra nutrition so that Eva gets more punch in the foods that she does eat. I am lucky to have such a diverse group of friends because I didn't have to look far for solutions.

Eva's eating is already improved. We will go back for a weight check at the beginning of May. They may want to do thyroid testing at that point if she doesn't gain more weight. Again, I really don't think she has a problem, but I will follow up.


Lolimahro said...

Meh. Dexter has had a "flat" growth chart for weight for a while now. I would be concerned except he's as tall as many Korean 4-year-olds, and there is PLENTY of "output", and he's got quite a little belly. Luckily, our ped. doesn't seem too concerned about it.

One of his favorite foods is toasted seaweed, especially if he's not feeling well. I think he likes the saltiness of it. I had a Korean-American friend tell me that seaweed and plain rice was like the Korean kids' version of "peanut butter and jelly".

Dexter also ate a lot of odeng (that fish cake stuff) when we came to Korea because he was just transitioning to table foods at that time. It's quite soft and doesn't require a lot of chewing before it becomes mushy. You can get some brands that aren't that fishy if it's a problem. It makes a pretty decent soup stock that I sometimes mix with rice if he doesn't like to eat it plain.

Mama Seoul said...

Thanks. She has had that fish cake stuff before. She seems to like strong flavors so the fishy taste shouldn't be a problem. I should pick some up and give it a shot.

srosaryals said...

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Angela said...

I carry the smallness genes and my kids have always been in the small side. Max who is now almost 4 yrs old transitioned to solids gracefully. Julia is about 6 weeks younger than Eva. When she turned one we were in Brazil for 3 weeks, she was due transitioning to solids however refused to eat there (maybe due to the 95 degree heat). I was also trying to cut down on breastfeeding (full time working mama tired of expressing) but she did not want much to do with the cow's milk, she just drank plenty of water. She also ran around the beach non stop for hours every day. Literally, she went on a weight loss program!! :( So in her late 1-yr appointment she was at the 8% in weight and 16% height (the Dr was not worried). As soon as we came back to the US she started eating solids like a bandit (all types of cheese, ground beef, wheat pasta, brocolli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, pears, bananas, breads, etc...), eventually made friends with cow's milk and in the past 6 weeks have gained 3 pounds. I suspect Eva's curve is just flat because of the food transition and that once she gets past that she will likely make up for the lower intake months.

Connie said...

What's with the reliance on charts?? If she is eating, active, healthy and thriving, she's doing fine :p Honor didn't believe in infant foods... she ate some, but pretty much went to mashed up adult food immediately (after 6mos breastmilk only). Brian also went from 100% breastmilk, to rice cereals for a few weeks, straight to mashed adult food. I held off cow's milk until after 12mos. Both were chubby, but not like some formula fed peers. There really should be a growth chart for formula fed infants and breastfed babies... I think some doctors need to be educated.

Mama Seoul said...

Eva wasn't eating much of anything between about 10 and 12 months so there is room for improvement, but I definitely think I should try food first. She is already eating a lot more than before. And, she is active and alert so I think that my plan for working with her eating real food is much better than giving her a chocolate flavored meal replacer as the doctor suggested!