Thursday, September 23, 2010

Esme's Diet


The Butter Diet, I call it.  She has been riding the growth curve on the 5th percentile line, but at her 9 month appointment she was 14 pounds 1 1/2 ounces, only one pound more than she was at 6 months, and below the line.  It's normal for their weight gain to slow down at this point because they get so active, but the doctor showed some concern and told me to feed her as much as I could and come back for a follow-up appointment in 6 weeks. I was surprised, figuring she was eating enough since she slept 12 hours at night.  She prefers to feed herself, but the most fattening stuff, like her cream of wheat with equal parts cream of wheat to butter and heavy cream, I had to do.

Today was the weigh-in. They called us so fast I didn't have time to get her last snack in her. I've been doing my best to feed her more often, give her toys to distract her while I try and get bites in, and load every mushy bite with butter, heavy cream, and momma's milk.  It became the most stressful part of my day. Each bite felt like a struggle and triumph. And the result?  3 ounces! So she's now 14 pounds 4 ounces after 6 weeks of the Butter Diet.  The doctor now wants us to go see a Primary Children's Hospital.  The location freaked me out a bit. Can I just tell her, she's a small girl, she's developing fine, what is all this going to accomplish?  I talked to another mom this past week, a doctor actually, whose daughter was tiny too.  She said some kids just fill out later than others.  When is it appropriate to say "Actually, Doc, I think she's fine."? Or will she call DCFS saying I'm starving my child and refusing medical treatment?

I wonder if the Butter Diet would have a similar affect on me.


Sarah Flib said...

Okay, Helena, I have a lot to say about this topic. It sounds so frustrating to try and shove calories into that tiny little Esme body. She's positively adorable, by the way, and I didn't realize from the pictures just how small she really is. What a cutie.

It's true that some kids are just small and fill out later than others. Chances are, Esme is just a small little girl. And at this point, since she seems happy, sleeps well, and is developing on track, you are within your rights to tell the doctor you'd like to wait a while before pursuing the issue with a dietitian. Meanwhile, you would have to up your efforts to get calories into Esme (and it sounds like you've been doing a lot on that front already) and be willing to weigh her more frequently to track her progress.

One thing you could do is make sure Esme is being tracked on the chart for breastfed babies, who are generally more lean than formula-fed babies. Many doctors just use the formula-fed charts, so this is good to check on. You can look at the charts yourself here:

Despite all of that, though, I strongly recommend that you go ahead and take Esme to the dietitian before waiting much longer. Think of Primary's as a place for specialists and it won't sound so scary.

The thing is, Esme is probably fine. But it's also very unusual for a baby to be that small at her age--and more than her small size, I think it's her lack of growth despite a high-calorie diet that is troubling. She could have a metabolic issue, some type of allergy, CF, or any number of things that are preventing her from gaining weight.

Of course we all hope that she doesn't, but if she does have an issue, wouldn't it be nice to catch it as soon as possible so you can help her out? That is the number one reason I think you should take her in.

Hope it all goes well!

Robnz Fam said...

Oh Esme, so adorable. I love that clip in her hair! It makes her look more like a sweet little girl than a sweet little baby girl! I think she is just fine. She is so happy, sleeps so well. But you know how it's been with Emi for me, so I understand totally where you are at. Only, Emi is just fine with the weight aspect...don't know how. Let me know if that butter diet works for you, because I'm going to need something to slim down after this baby!! ;0)

Sarah Flib said...

It looks like those charts I pointed you to are just up to 6 months. Just google it and try to find the WHO's charts for older breastfed babies.

Helena said...

Thanks Sarah, very interesting. I knew you would know what to do. And she's 15 % for the WHO.

Anonymous said...

Lena, This is just your Mom weighing in on Esme's weight issues.Don't take what the Dr.advised personally. He, just like you and Brian, is looking out for what is best for Esme. Take her to the dietician and get some peace of mind for you and your family. Love, Mom