Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winning the food war?

One of the things I never thought I'd worry about as a parent was how much my child weighed, how tall he was or how much he ate. Then SD was born and well... lets just say that thought went right out the window.

It started with him being such a sucky eater that we were doing weekly weight checks for the first 6 weeks of his life. I thought once we got through that stretch that we were home free. I was wrong.

A few weeks ago my mom had a meltdown in regards to SD's eating habits or lack there of. He sucks in regards to eating. It's not that we haven't tried to offer a variety of foods its that the kid is just not into eating. Seeing as I'm fighting the battle of the bulge and have been for a number of years and D loves food well we have no idea who he takes after in regards to his eating habits. I personally think he got the rogue gene of my sister as she was and still is a notoriously picky eater.

I'll admit to some embarrassment at my son's petite size. When others ask how old he is and I tell them and they then give me a sideways look as if to say "You're kidding right he's very small if he's truly that age." Having to say "Yes, my son is small for his age." Having a coworker who's 9-10 month old is the same weight as my son... well that just sucks. I'm jealous of those of you whose kid falls in the 50th percentile for height and weight... as we are hopefully still on the chart and may in fact now have fallen off the damn chart. We have our 18 month appointment coming soon... I'll admit to not feeling particularly cheery about it as the whole feeding thing just causes anxiety.

I've tried to keep it light... to just say it's his age that is making him such a little shit about eating. I've posted on parenting boards and have been reassured briefly that this too shall pass. But to be honest it's something we've been dealing with for a number of months. I have no end in sight and right now this morning he ate "okay" meaning - for him he ate a good amount. For those other kids he ate a puny amount.

So - this is me... trying not to compare him to others and reminding myself that neither of his parents are tall... that his father was petite at a young age. That he looks like his grandpa and well short and stubby is in his genes. I'd just like him to fill out a bit more. Or at least not feel as if I'm at war with my kid about food. Because right now I don't feel as if I've won the battle and feel as if I'm dangerously close to losing the war.

Suggestions are welcome...


Rachel said...

My son, LG, eats too well. He is a bottomless pit and at 15 months has stayed in the 20's as far as his percentile. I think he looks chubby, and his belly is huge. I worry more about him eating too much.

SB, the 19 month old girl I watch, is in the 2nd percentile. I have to really work to get her to eat. She is very picky about flavors, textures, and temperature. I try to make a game out of eating. She loves getting praised so I sit at the table with her and feed her every bite and praise her after every single bite. It is exhausting but it is the only way to get her to eat well.

For awhile her parents would let her snack throughout the day and give her whatever she would eat. After a month of that she actually lost a couple pounds so now we are focusing on getting decent meals: breakfast, lunch, pm snack, and supper with no snacking between. If she doesn't like a food, I still encourage her to try it, but I don't force the issue, I just give her double portions of what she does like. Her next weight check isn't until next week but she looks to me like she has gained.

My sister as a toddler didn't gain weight for several months and was incorrectly diagnosed with celiac disease. Turns out she was just small and as an adult is perfectly normal.

My suggestion is to give him big portions of foods you know he likes and continue to offer other foods. He may end up living off bananas, but at least he will eat.

Sorry for the long comment. I know it is hard not to worry, but try not to anyway.

DinosaurD said...

Hi Sami - I have no time right now as I've tossed my daughter in the playpen and I can hear the clock ticking down. We're all fighting colds as well so we're out of sorts.
I did have the same issue with my son for a while (he gained no weight for several months as a baby/toddler and the damn nurses (ah.. sorry) kept saying "as long as he doesn't lose any weight".) My daughter would be the same if she wasn't still nursing. She nurses like crazy and is still just at the 25th percentile which I know is fine but if she was relying on food alone (not nursing) I think we'd be in trouble.
I will come back later or send you an e-mail.

Plant Girl said...

It's incredibly hard when your child isn't doing something that everyone thinks they should be. Hard to not obsess over numbers, percentiles, calories, etc.

Your his mom, Moe. You know him better than anyone. You'd know if there was something wrong.

My suggestions are to continue to put new things in front of him. I read somewhere that it takes seeing them 10 times before they'll try them. We've learned with KT that it has to be on her terms, we can't force it (that's a surprise, huh?). So when I want her to try something new I put it on her plate next to something I know she'll eat and I try not to make a big deal of it as I eat the same thing.

The other suggestion I have is to just try as many new things as possible. Try to find creative ways to get healthy fats/oils and protein into his diet. What about things like fruit smoothies that you could add peanut butter to? Cream cheese on crackers?

Kate is petite too and can be a picky eater. I understand to some degree how you're feeling.

Let me see if I can come up with anything else and I'll let you know.


Neicy said...

Hey girl! If it wasn't for formula and rice cereal, Garrett wouldn't eat anything at all! I get soo frustrated some days! He has even learned to suck in his lower lip and bite it, so not to let anything else pass through! I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone in the battle! I, too, am tired hearing how tiny he is! You are doing all you can do, and at this point that is as good as it gets! Good Luck!

statia said...

I'm sure the ped already has you on some sort of nutritional supplement for him. And honestly I'm sure you know that if he's not hungry, or you know, just being a toddler, you really can't make him eat.

The food pickiness sucks. I've been through that phase. Some kids just aren't big eaters and aside of the embarrassment you face (or annoyance) from people who feel the need to make a snide comment about his size, I'd say that as long as he's healthy, happy and meeting developmental milestones, then that's all that should matter.

I know how hard it is though to feel like shit as a parent for something. Mama guilt sucks. You're doing a great job.

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c said...

All three of mine have been different regarding food. My oldest kid is picky and only eats what he wants. He doesn't even go crazy over sweets. He loves them, but he's the kind of kid if you tell him one little piece of candy, that's all he eats and doesn't ask for anymore. My younger ones are very different too. My daughter eats like a truck driver, literally pouring food into her mouth at dinner, while her twin eats a little bit (and never gets messy like she does) and is done. That whole percentile thing also messes with your head as well. My kids are always off the charts huge until 2 or so and then they are solidly 50th percentile, so a lot of those "big" kids now might not be big later and the "little ones" might grow up to be linebackers. I know my neighbor's son was tiny until just last year, but at three he shot up and is not a "bigger" kid. You just really never know.

Mostly, I wouldn't worry about it. If you notice he has some genuine texture issues and food aversions (most kids do, but some are worst than others) by all means have it checked out. Your child's eating habits might just mean that your son knows when he's full and that's a really good thing for him in the future!

Trust me, if people weren't worried about this, they'd be worried about something else. All mothers engage in subtle competition with other mothers and all grandmothers want their grandchildren to eat like horses (oh, and put a sweater on that baby while you're at it!), but your his mom and you know if he's doing okay or not. I bet more than anything, he's just fine.

New blog:

Take care. Hope to see you around.