Hi everyone. I am kind of at a loss and thought I would turn to the vegan community here to get any input you might have. I will try to keep it short.
My son is 19 months and weight ~19 lbs. The same as he did at 12 months. He was born (full term) at 4 1/2 lbs so normally this wouldn't even remotely phase me (or the doctors), except for the fact that he's fallen completely off the charts simply based on the fact that he's not gaining any weight.
At his 18 month check up last month they told me to add rice protein powder, oils, etc. to his hemp milk (which he still drinks out of a bottle only b/c that's the ONLY way he'll drink 'milk' at all - I had to quit breastfeeding due to health reasons of my own, otherwise I'd still be nursing). They wanted him to drink 36 oz per day of this "formula", however we're lucky most days if he will drink 8 oz total. So clearly that hasn't helped to pack on the weight.
Our doctor, who is very natural, basically said it was pack weight on him (and they are fine with the vegan thing) at each weekly weight check from here on out or it was a feeding tube!! Totally freaked out, I began adding oils to his juice (something I wouldn't normally find healthy, but since it's pure fat, then okay).
His first weight check after that initial appointment he gained almost 1 lb. Except he wasn't very still on the scale, so I don't know how accurate it really was. The 2nd week he dropped 2/10ths of a lbs. The 3rd he stayed the same (last week) and we were referred to a gastroenterologist at the children's hospital here. Our appointment is Wednesday.
I am freaked out for a number of reasons. Obviously I want my baby to be healthy first of all, but I am not comfortable feeding him animal products. I don't believe they are healthy (not to mention the ethical standpoint which is also equally as important to me) and I know it is completely possible to be a small child and be a healthy vegan. I am just really worried that the specialist we're seeing Wednesday won't be as open and educated about our diet choices as our family doctors are. It doesn't help that my husband still eats meat and is starting to feel like our baby needs meat to gain weight.
The biggest issue is he's just not a huge eater. He will often refuse many different foods (and I always said I wouldn't make 20 different meals to choose from, but when you have a scary situation like this you start to lose your mind and you will do anything to make them eat, you know?) and if I do find something he likes he will eat a few bites and be satisfied. And then refuse the thing he loved the next day. I feel like these are all normal toddler behaviors and I am so scared to make food an issue for him, so I don't push a lot. But at the same time...he needs to gain weight. They are worried, based on the staying the same weight for 6+ months, about his brain development (which I can totally understand), however his development has been on track or ahead for everything so far. His fine and large motor skills are great, he repeats EVERYTHING you say, he can tell you what he wants, label everything, and is now stringing words together even. He sleeps well and is otherwise happy and "healthy". So when our doctors referred us and labeled him "failure to thrive" it was heartbreaking for me.
Has anyone ever run into something like this? I feel like even if I offer him non vegan foods it won't make a difference b/c he either won't like them or eat very little anyway. Dairy products are not an option whatsoever. Do you think the specialist will respect my views here and realize that it's not about WHAT he's eating so much as how he's eating (so little, etc) or some other problem internally?
The two biggest things, avocado and nut butters, I can't get him to eat, even hiding it in things. And he's not a smoothie drinker. He will eat fruits, veggies, and then small amounts of pasta and rice (which I add oils/veg butters too), vegan chili, etc. But it's obviously not enough... I can't get him to eat any sort of coconut milk yogurt, ice cream, or vegan "junk foods" even. :(