Friday, October 31, 2008

Failure to Thrive

So today we went to Claire's 15 month check-up. Apparently she isn't gaining weight well. She was labeled as Mild Failure to Thrive. WHAT? How can this be right. By 4 months she was 19.6 lbs and 26 1/4 inches tall. Then at 9 months she was 30 1/4 inches tall, head was 18 inches, and she was 23.10 lbs. Then at 12 months she was 31 1/2 inches tall (97th percentile), head was 18 1/2 inches (92nd percentile), and she was 23.15 lbs. (90th percentile). Now at this appt. she was 33 inches tall (97th percentile), head was 18 3/4 (still at 92nd percentile), and she weighed 23.8 lbs. which is at the 60th percentile. She weighs a few ounces less now than at 9 months, and not surprising the same clothes for the most part. ;)

So she's basically too busy to eat in my opinion. She would rather smash, throw, smush, smear, and whatever else you can possibly do with food than eat it. She'll taste it, but spit it back out for the most part. She likes to feed Josh, me, or anyone else who's near. She fed some random old lady when we visited Timbercrest and walked by and said HI while we were eating. She fed her Cheerios to Oma during Deanna and James's wedding. Oma really didn't want them, but Claire insisted, and it kept her quiet. Claire, not Oma. Oma knows how to be quiet. :)

So my doctor told me to start giving her whole cow's milk. I think that would be great if 1. she were a baby cow or 2. she would actually do more with a sippy cup than break them. Doctor also told me to give her Pediasure to help with weight gain. I don't think the idea is to fatten her up, but even her out? Maybe I should put a brick on her head during the day as my dad used to say to stunt her growth. Then her weight would be fine. :)

Failure to thrive, even if Mild, seems like a harsh diagnosis to someone who has always been in the 90s for percentiles or over. I was reading about it all afternoon usually it's diagnosed in the first year, not after. BUT apparently if they drop more than 2 % in the weight category, they fall into the failure to thrive. I was discussing this on some Cafe Mom boards and everyone said kids will eat what they'll eat. Several of them have tried to fatten up their kids, but it didn't work anyway.

I also hesitate to start her on milk as I was allergic to milk while I was young and really wanted to wait longer. She's been fine on other dairy items. like yogurt and cottage cheese, but I think straight cow milk is different.

I was also reading a bunch of other stuff and I think she is a very very slow eater and a very very picky eater. I always start her eating before us and she eats until everything is all cleaned up and put away! She also wasn't eating solids until right about a year old. Also, someone on CM (Cafe Mom) pointed out that if she didn't start taking solids until 12 months, she's really eating solids like an 8 month old would.

Also, like WIKI said, it's not really "failing" to thrive, it's more of a slow weight gain. When I think of Failure to Thrive, I think of some isolated baby in an Orphanage in Russia (or someplace remote) who is only held to be taken to changed and only propped with a bottle. :( YIKES.

Needless to say, we fed Claire a lot of food today. And then some candy... she ate a mini-kitkat, and a mini-Reese-cup, and a sucker. I hope she doesn't get sick, but man, did she love it ;) Her first taste of REAL people candy!

So tell me I'm not a horrible mother? Thanks. ;)


twotuxedos said...

When I began to read your blog to Kevin he had the same reaction...WHAT??!! Kevin made the comment, Doctors are just trying to push formula and junk on kids! Rachel has been in the 3rd percentile since she was 9 months old. My doctor did not stress about that as she still was showing small gains. I was the one who stressed out and tried to get her to eat a bunch of fattening things (McDonald's French Fries on the way to the doctor and such), but she still remained in the 3rd percentile. Claire doesn't look in any way malnurished! Rachel is going to be 3 next month and is just now catching up with what the Doctor's charts says she should be. As far as clothes...the length on 3T stuff is great, but they fall right off her waist (unfortunately they don't start making slims until 4s), so unless we find long 2T pants, she is wearing 3T with a belt.
You are not the first person recently that has asked about weight gain for their little one b/c the Doctor is stressing out. I wonder if there is some sort of new thing going on....I don't know...but you would think with all the talk of childhood obesity, they would not stress out...but what do I know...I'm only a mother, not a doctor ;)

Amy said...

My Claire has been consistently below the charts - as in NEGATIVE percentile - since she was about 6 months old, and she doesn't have FTT. Your Claire doesn't either. It sounds to me as if her body is naturally correcting the fact that she has been in the 90+ percentiles, and she's deviating back toward the mean.

Of course, I am NOT a doctor, so I would recommend that before you change ANYTHING about her diet, you get a second opinion - preferably from someone whose parenting believes (extended nursing, delaying cow's milk, etc.) are in line with your own. Call your ped's office and ask for a copy of your records (you might have to pay) take them with you, and say, "Look, this diagnosis doesn't make sense to me, what do you think?"

If your child is fat and happy, is eating and is growing, screw the charts. Seriously. Those charts are based on FORMULA FED BABIES, breastfed babies grow differently because they're not being overstuffed at every single feeding.

Also, keep in mind that we've been following these charts for 20 or 30 years, and look at the rates of childhood (and adult) obesity. Coincidence??

Take Claire's records to your LLL leader, too, and see what she thinks.

Wait - did she peak at 12 months and then shrink back to her 9 month weight? If she isn't growing, that could indicate a problem, but I wouldn't call it FTT. A few ounces is one feeding and one good poop - whether those are in or out makes a big difference when we're talking in terms of ounces and fractions of ounces.

Call me if you want to - Lafayette area code, HOGFATT - the extra T is for Tacky!


Amy said...

Oh, I forgot to say, Pediasure made my Claire's diapers HORRIBLE - both smelly and hard to clean, and she seemed uncomfortable passing them. And it costs the earth. I'm sorry, but I'm not paying $12 a six pack (and the bottles are 8 or 10 ounces) for her to have expensive poop! She didn't really seem to like it on the way in, either.

Whole milk yogurt (we like the organic kind) is great for packing on pounds, and it costs a LOT less than Pediasure.

In all things, I try to choose actual food (an apple) over manufactured food (apple flavored cereal, fortified with eleven herbs and spices, etc.)


aribaby said...

I don't get that. Ari has fallen from 40th percentile for weight to 8th percentile for weight during the last 6-9 months-ish and was never once diagnosed as failure to thrive. Of course, she did have small gains at each appointment, so maybe the issue is the fact that Claire hasn't gained weight? But she's still growing lengthwise, so clearly she's not failing to thrive! She's just putting all her energy into expanding her height?

In any case, it's a bullshit diagnosis.

Anonymous said...

I guess having kids out there that are two years old and weigh fifty pounds skews the data for those charts anyway. And what about those extreme cases where they have kids under a year old that are over 30 pounds. They are probably lumped into data sets for percentile charts. So those charts could be flawed from the start anyway. From what I am hearing, it sounds like doctors expect babies to be little fat people packing on the pounds in between visits. That way, when your baby grows up and becomes a walking blimp filled with health problems they can charge you lots of money for expensive testing and sign you up for programs that waste more money. Keep in mind, most doctors actually want you to stay sick and eat crap. If you truly were healthy, they would lose you as a customer, or at least as a frequent customer. Think of all the people that run to the doctor every other week for a bottle of antibiotics. Doctors love these people. Charge for a visit, charge for a prescription, charge for a follow up... that adds up to a payment on the doctors new Benz. So remember, doctors love sick people.