At my daughter’s two-year old well visit, my doctor assured me that my oldest was just slimming down. She said I didn’t need to supplement her diet (with something like Pediasure) and I could still give her 1% or fat free milk. She said I could try adding a little more fat by way of butter in her mashed potatoes and the like.
I didn’t satisfy me, but I didn’t argue.
Five months have gone by since that appointment and I can’t shake this feeling that something is off. Last week she was sick for a few days and didn’t eat anything during that illness. I could tell when I carried her that she lost a little weight, which I guess is to be expected.
She is a picky eater but when she’s hungry, she will ask for food. She loves her snacks (especially salt & vinegar chips) and gets two a day, along with her three meals. She gets milk at meals, water whenever she wants it, and a small bit of juice when waking up from nap. There’s been no noticeable change in what she is eating or how much she is eating, but she is just not gaining weight.
Any moms out there can probably identify with that feeling. That feeling that sits there right at the base of your ribs that tells you to keep worrying, to ask questions and to get answers. Sometimes nothing is wrong. Like our trip to the doctor today. The u usual mark on her leg that was leaking yellow oil was a spider bite. No big, just a bandage. But that little nagging feeling won’t go away until I KNOW what’s going on.
I’ve been concerned about Evelyn’s weight for a few months now. I’ve been holding back on calling the doc and waiting for her next well-visit in the fall. Sometimes my worry comes up in conversation, whether with family or friends, and I’ve been so disappointment by the utter lack of empathy for the anxiousness I feel. My anxiety has been poo-poohed by everyone I’ve spoken to and it is incredibly disheartening. Yes, I understand there is a chance that there is physically nothing wrong with her. And that’s most likely the case. I also understand that there are nights when I can’t fall asleep because I’m worried about her. I have to exclude by husband from this because he’s the only other person who seems to share my concern.
It’s so frustrating to be talked down to, especially by other moms. Just because “your child blah blah blah” does not mean my child is the same way. Just because your child or children are older doesn’t mean you have special mom wisdom on your side. When did it become okay to just dismiss another mother’s concern over her own child? To exclude completely the growth curves that I’m given by my child’s doctor each visit? How about reassurance that many kids slim down, or that she may be more active than most. Or maybe offer some suggestions on what I can do to help her gain weight, or to ease my own worry. Why is it that her low weight means nothing?
My husband and I were not teeny tiny children, just like we aren’t slim adults. This isn’t a body type that fits our family. At nine month old she fell at about the 70th percentile. Last week I actually pulled up all her old records so that I could see if she had moved from her “path” on the growth chart. This is what I saw for her weight percentiles.
9 months 69th
1 year 64th
15 months 56th
18 months 44th
2 year 34th
At the doctor’s office today she weighed in 1 lb less than her previous appointment 5 months ago. She is now in the 18th weight percentile for her age.
I am an educated person. I understand that people’s bodies grow differently, that they change and that active toddlers will grow taller and slim down. But I also see (especially from the twins’ charts) that normal height/weight growth means that your child stays sort of around the same curve of the graph. When her weight percentile has dropped at EVERY single appointment, I don’t see that as following a relatively similar curve.
Elanor, who will be 18months tomorrow, has been near the 1st percentile for weight since she was born. As a preemie, it was sort of expected that she was a little smaller. But every appointment shows that she is following the same growth curve for her height and weight, even if she is on the low end of the chart. This to me, is how it should be. Not dropping continuously.
Since Evelyn was sick last week we have been giving her Pediasure each morning, calling it her chocolate shake. It’s not much, but it helps ease my mind just a little. I’m going to continue giving it to her and hope that by the time her next well-visit rolls around, it will have helped her to add a little weight.
Evelyn doesn’t look malnourished, and she eats her meals and loves her junk food. She looks like a skinny little toddler with way too much energy. But that’s what you see. I see my long waited for first-born child. The child who dropped 20% of her body weight the week after birth because she just wouldn’t latch and was literally starving. I see my daughter who I would protect with my life. This feeling of worry that I have won’t go away, even if you dismiss it as easily as I do the broccoli on my plate.