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Food ideas to fatten up failure to thrive toddler (X-posted on toddlers)

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Ok, so my 2.5 year old has been failure to thrive since he was a little under 1 year old. We are having a heck of a time getting him to eat well (the cause of his failure to thrive is still unknown - argh!). We were told to put butter and oil on everything we can and to add 18% cream to his homo milk to try to get some weight on him. He is no longer breastfeeding (weaned himself at 18 months). We also try to get him to eat lots of cheese and yogurt. He doesn't really like ice cream. He is allergic to eggs, peanuts and sesame seeds so those are out. He isn't a big meat eater, but will eat hotdogs and sausages. He also likes pasta, but only orange cheese tubes (because he can put them on his fingers). And he likes oatmeal. Unfortunately his favorite foods are all low-fat. He loves Special K, soda crackers, serbet, most fruits, and for veggies loves corn, peas and carrots. Any other ideas on fattening foods to try??? He's a picky eater too, but often eventually will eat new foods after being offered enough times.
post #2 of 45
How much does he actually weigh? My youngest was "FTT" at 1 year. The ped wanted me to stop bf'ing asap, I refused because she could not have dairy. He said put her on soy, I laughed at him & said I'd rather her be on dairy & scream/puke all the time. He said to put butter in everything she ate, we half-a$$ did it IF it was something that we'd put butter on ourselves.

At 12 months she was 16lbs.(6lbs 5oz at birth) When he saw her again at 14months she was 16lbs. He said she needed to be 24lbs by 18months but since that would not happen he'd take 18lbs. She was 18lbs at 2 years. 22lbs at 3 years. 28lbs at 4 years. 32lbs at 5years(at 5.5 is about 37lbs on my scale). We only saw him the 2 times as peds are not regular dr's here. She was referred to the ped by our dr just to see if he thought there was something else going on. The Ped did not think anything was wrong, he just wanted her fat. He actually said "we'll worry about her cholesterol later". Um NO we won't, I will not be setting my child up for obesity just so she can be fat like you want her to be. She has always gotten lots of good fat in her diet, she is perfectly healthy just small.

She got ON their charts at the 2 year appt. She's small, so was my oldest though not as small as Nadia is. At almost 9 years Tirza is 50lbs.

Nadia was not a meat eater until she turned 4.5-5. She went through 2 years where her favorite foods were condiments. If they were on the table that's all she'd eat. She eats spoonfuls of sour cream, especially if there are bacon bits in it. FWIW if your son is healthy feed him healthy foods & ignore the dr. What he is eating is not bad for him. The extra fat they want is for brain development.
post #3 of 45
I have no experience with Failure to Thrive, so take this with a grain of salt.
But, imho, you should feed him whole foods and good fats. Butter may fatten him up, but it will do nothing for his development. Who cares if he is gaining weight (except stupid drs) if he is not healhty, his body/brain won't function at it's best anyway. Good oils and fats are much better for his brain.

Avocado and bananas, oatmeal with honey and raisins, smoothies with avocado and lots of fruits and coconut cream. Almond butter on crackers or rice cakes, try hummus with veggies. Also, almond milk may be healthier than dairy milk if he likes it. Homemade it's great and you can use the pulp left over for the base for soem cookies.
I found an AWESOME chocolate pudding recipe made from avocados and agave syrup that my kids flip over.

4 avocados
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c agave or honey
2 tbsp coconut cream
2tbsp vanilla
Put all in the blender and give it a whir. I always use this as the starting point and add extra according to taste.
We put bananas or strawberries on top and because it's so healthy they can eat it just about any time of the day!

I hope you are able to find some things your little one will eat, this must be difficult to go through! Hugs mama
post #4 of 45
avocado pudding!

will he eat sour cream? eggs? cheese ravioli? cashew or almond butters? (just some ideas) Also what about cooking with regular butter?
post #5 of 45
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I didn't go into nausating detail on his failure to thrive because I've posted so many times before about it. My son was born at full term at 7.5 pounds (55%). By 3 months he was up to 70% for weight and 60% for height. Then around 8 months he abruptly stopped gaining weight. Around 12 months his height slowed down tremendously. At 8 months he weighed 19.5 pounds. 24 months later (now) he weighs 19.5 pounds. He has literally gained nothing. His height is low now too ~32.5inches (3%). And no one can tell us why. So, we are desparate to get him gaining some weight. He is a very happy boy and developmentally doing well, but he is a walking skeleton. Even my mom cried last time she saw him without his shirt on. He is scary thin and getting thinner and thinner as he is slowly growing, but not gaining weight at all. He will never be a fat child, that is not our doctor's goal. We just want a child who registers on the weight charts because he has been off the bottom of the page for over a year now and he does not look healthy. His cheeks and eyes are sucken and he is sick a lot.
post #6 of 45
fish oils may be helpful
post #7 of 45
What about gluten allergy? We are just looking into a lot of this with our daughter -- she is not failure to thrive but having some other issues...

All the research and things I am reading say that one of the symptoms of a wheat/gluten allergy is losing weight/failure to thrive.

If you have looked into that, forgive me... but if not, it is worth checking into --- Also, sometimes it doesn't show up on an allergy test so that is not always the best indicator.

Take care.
post #8 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post
What about gluten allergy? We are just looking into a lot of this with our daughter -- she is not failure to thrive but having some other issues...

All the research and things I am reading say that one of the symptoms of a wheat/gluten allergy is losing weight/failure to thrive.

If you have looked into that, forgive me... but if not, it is worth checking into --- Also, sometimes it doesn't show up on an allergy test so that is not always the best indicator.

Take care.
My son was tested for Celiac Disease and that was negative. Is there a difference between gluten allergy and Celiac Disease?? Aside from the FTT he has no other symptoms.
post #9 of 45
The blood tests can be very inaccurate and some people will call it a negative even if one of the tests shows a +. I would ask for the test results in print. The gold standard is generally an endoscopy to check for damage in the stomach. We're looking into celiac as well right now for our 34 mos old. He did have known wheat problems as a baby and gained like a champ when he moved to rx formula and white rice only. He lost when we added back in weight, but I blamed it on him finally sleeping through the night. He does gain some (he was 24# at 2yrs and is 26# now on a good day), but he's grown just a little over an inch in the past year. He had LOTS of food sensitivities as a baby and it caused a lot of growth problems and once we fixed it he grew great, now we're back to not so I would strongly suggest looking at food issues.
post #10 of 45
I recognize your screen name and concerns.

So no stool weirdness/frequency/etc. issues?
I'm glad everything else seems on target with him.
If you want I could do some thinking....what has been tested/ruled out? (allergies, metabolic issues, cystic fibrosis, growth hormones? GI issues?). If you've been there too many times before and it isn't helpful I understand. I suspect I've probably asked before since I recognize you. My son's unexplained FTT turned out to be metabolic but he did have other symptoms. On the other hand you said he is sick a lot. That is indicative to me that there is something else going on. What types of sicknesses? Does he fatigue easily/seem tired? Any reflux? Anything weird about his recovery from illness--taking a long time to recover compared to other kids? Breathing? Anything at all?

On the weight though. Has a dietician actually calculated his average calorie and protein intake? I'm just thinking if it is indeed just that he prefers low calorie foods that is one thing but if he's getting adequate calories but not growing changing diet until you and he are completely exasperated isn't going to do a thing.

Smoothies are the only thing that has worked with my son. I can use avocado and add in a full tablespoon (or two actually....but you've got to make sure you've got a carb balance) of coconut or olive oil. Coconut milk smoothies too. You can do a lot of calories that way. Olives were a hit here.

My son gained a lot when we took gluten out; his blood test was negative. The blood tests aren't foolproof.
post #11 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
I recognize your screen name and concerns.

So no stool weirdness/frequency/etc. issues?
I'm glad everything else seems on target with him.
If you want I could do some thinking....what has been tested/ruled out? (allergies, metabolic issues, cystic fibrosis, growth hormones? GI issues?). If you've been there too many times before and it isn't helpful I understand. I suspect I've probably asked before since I recognize you. My son's unexplained FTT turned out to be metabolic but he did have other symptoms. On the other hand you said he is sick a lot. That is indicative to me that there is something else going on. What types of sicknesses? Does he fatigue easily/seem tired? Any reflux? Anything weird about his recovery from illness--taking a long time to recover compared to other kids? Breathing? Anything at all?

On the weight though. Has a dietician actually calculated his average calorie and protein intake? I'm just thinking if it is indeed just that he prefers low calorie foods that is one thing but if he's getting adequate calories but not growing changing diet until you and he are completely exasperated isn't going to do a thing.

Smoothies are the only thing that has worked with my son. I can use avocado and add in a full tablespoon (or two actually....but you've got to make sure you've got a carb balance) of coconut or olive oil. Coconut milk smoothies too. You can do a lot of calories that way. Olives were a hit here.

My son gained a lot when we took gluten out; his blood test was negative. The blood tests aren't foolproof.
I will tell my son's story/history over and over again a million times if that's what it takes to find the answers I need. So here goes again....

Yes, his stool has always been normal - which the doctors tell us rules out a lot of things.

He has had allergy testing (outgrown dairy and soy, still has egg white mildly, and peanut and sesame seed severe).

Cystic Fibrosis and celiac disease were ruled out (we were told both were very negative and not worth re-testing - do people disagree with this??)
He had extensive bloodwork which ruled out thyroid, liver, pancreas, kidney, blood disorders. Though those were done when he was 11 months old when all of this began so long ago. I wonder if maybe they should be redone??

We have asked many times about metabolic disorders and were told that he isn't showing the right symptoms for those. 'sbgrace' - what symptoms did your son have besides the failure to thrive?? We have also asked about brain tumors or other tumors but no one takes us seriously on that because he seems so normal in all other respects.

He was sick a lot because he was in a big daycare centre (which was necessary because I HAVE to work (for financial reasons) and he had to be in a centre due to his severe peanut and sesame allergies. We tried to find private/home daycare in our area, but there was no one with openings in a peanut free home). He caught everything that went around and was sick pretty much constantly with colds and stomach viruses, lots of ear infections, mild pneumonia twice. Luckily he is home now with me as I am on maternity leave for a year and is rarely sick now. He was also healthy the first year of his life with no colds or anything because he was home with me. He had severely enlarged tonsils and adenoids which lead to a lot of ear infections every time he got a cold. We had been told if we could get him healthy and keep his appetite up (since he loses his appetite at the littlest illness) that he would start to gain, but it has been 4 months and so far that isn't helping. His tonsils and adenoids were removed 2 months ago and that was supposed to be an instant fix to the failure to thrive because it was causing severe sleep apnea, but that also didn't work (the apnea is gone, but still no weight gain or growth).

What else...he has asthma for which he takes his fast acting inhaler only when necessary and a steroid inhaler (Flovent) only when he has a cold (otherwise he has several asthma attacks a day). He also has eczema which is under control right now.

He had severe reflux as an infant, but that stopped once we figured out the cause (dairy and soy allergies). He still vomits frequently. Sometimes when he chokes or coughs and other times for no apparent reason. We are told he has a sensitive gag reflex. The vomitting has us a little concerned to say the least.

No one has calulated his actual calorie or protein intake, but we were seeing a dietician at the failure to thrive clinic we were going to. We think that though he is a poor eater at times and is really picky that he still consumes enough at the end of the day, but we are taking their advice and continuing to pump him full with as much calories and fat we can. It just isn't working...

The gluten thing has me intrigued. Your son's test was negative, but he gained weight when you took gluten out? How long did it take to see results? I know people live with gluten intolerance, but removing it from my son's diet seems like a nightmare. His primary food sources are all full of gluten (he especially loves bread, zoodles and cereal (Special K only)). I would hate to remove all his favorite foods and have him lose even more weight - that would be devastating.

I will happily take any suggestions or advice. We are desparate...
post #12 of 45
My daughter had FFT early on( didn't gain from 8-12+ weeks) and I took out gluten...the best test was taking it out of her/my diet. There are other grains you can replace it with.



I 2nd the coconut milk if your LO isnt allergic it might be a good option...

Also they have SO many great gluten free foods out he may not really notice...so you would be replacing not taking away....I would slowly replace things BTW.

I make the whole foods brand corn bread (GF) mix with a whole can coconut milk instead of buttermilk, even fruit...my 3yo loves it and so does DH.
post #13 of 45
Wow mama, what a struggle!

What kinds of foods does he like to eat? Then I'll go from there.
post #14 of 45
I stumbled across this thread while looking for recipes for my dairy-intolerant son, and I didn't want to read without posting. I just wanted to send you a hug, OP!

This sounds like it would be so hard. I hope you find some answers soon, and that your DS gets healthy.

Have you thought about adding protein powder to juices etc?
post #15 of 45
One symptom of a gluten intolerance is craving gluten containing foods. I found that my son was gluten intolerant (through my milk) when he was 4.5 months old. He was dropping off the growth charts. When he was measured on his 9 mo appointment, he'd gone from the 10th in height to the 80th, and the 5th in weight to the 10th which was apparently a big jump for that age group. My ped said that most kids lose ground between the 6 and 9 mo appointments (although his previous measurements were at 4 mos, not 6). I think his weight has improved even more at almost a year.

So, this is a long way of saying, it's worth a try.
post #16 of 45
Wow, mama, I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. One of the hardest things must be to watch your little one suffer.
Our dd has eczema and allergies, but she reacts to things she didn't test positive for (one being gluten although she only tested positive for wheat). The more research I have done, the more I realise that intolerances (the ones that don't show up on a test) can wreak havoc with a body.
I have not been sorry that we took out gluten. It really benefits me as well. And dd acts better, has less dark circles, less eczema, sleeps better and even eats better.
It was hard to cut gluten, but it becomes easier. There are so many things you can use. There was just a thread on foods for a gluten free toddler a day or so ago. Check it out for ideas. It might be worth trying for a while and closely watching his weight. It might be big drama in the beginning, but it might be worth it.
I agree with craving gluten if you are actually intolerant to it. There is science behind it. If you do go gluten free you would have to make sure that no-one else eats it in front of him.
Another option is to check out the traditional foods forum on how to prepare grains and beans properly so that you can make the most of the nutrients it contains. There are even mamas with gluten issues that still eats these grains but only soaked, sprouted or sourdoughed. Worth looking into. There might be some great ideas on nutrient dense foods for a toddler as well.
Also, do you give enzymes with his meals? Check out www.enzymestuff.com
It could help him with digestion and absorbing nutrients. Some parents even use it in place of a gluten free/casein free diet.
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katielady View Post
Have you thought about adding protein powder to juices etc?
Protein powders contain MSG.
post #18 of 45
our son went from the top of the growth chart to the bottom by his first year, by his second he didn't look healthy and was very small and thin. By his third year I was very worried, he was very picky with food, had awful itchy eczema, and only craved sweet starchy foods. We were so desperate to get food into him we would even go out of our way to feed him fries! Things turned around when I learned about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Traditional foods and started following some of their protocols. I have always eaten what seemed to be a very 'healthy' health-food store sort of diet, but the foods were starchy and not very nutrient dense.

Our son is now five and a half and pretty healthy, though I must always keep on top of his diet. The three things that have helped him tremendously are cutting out gluten completely, adding kefir and homemade yogurt, and adding coconut oil and cod liver oil. His celiac test was negative, but the difference in his behaviour and health when he eats it is dramatic, so I am telling you his story - it may well be worth your trying. One pitfall of gluten-free 'replacement' foods is that they are often very starchy and questionably nutritious. We always have a few little treats about, but the replacement foods are not part of his daily diet.

I started fattening him up with pancakes made with almond flour, with blueberry sauce and coconut oil on top, smoothies, chicken wings, creamy yogurt, quinoa cooked in bone broth with lots of oil in it, and anything cooked with good bacon or sausage in it.

You'll find a way to help your son, best best wishes. I thought www.pecanbread.com had some great, crazy nutrient dense, simple food ideas for kids.
post #19 of 45
Thread Starter 
So many people are suggesting to try a gluten-free diet. My concern is that he is really picky and eats the same few foods. If they aren't exactly the same he won't touch them. And almost all the foods he eats have gluten. I know there are replacements in the gluten free section, but they aren't going to be close enough for him to fall for that trick. So, my question is how long would I have to run this experiment to see some results???? My fear is that by removing all the foods he actually does eat and if gluten isn't the cause of his problems that he will lose weight and since he has such a hard time gaining weight that is the last thing I want to do. How long does it take to heal the intestine so it can absorb the nutrience properly? We could handle a week or two (though we don't have a scale that will notice a pound or two difference), but more than that could be devastating to his already tiny little body. Does anybody know of someone with a gluten intolerance who didn't show any other symptoms except failure to gain weight??? Wouldn't he have other signs? Because he has no other symptoms at all!! It seems like such a drastic measure to take for something that seems so unlikely to me. Am I wrong?? I could easily remove gluten from my diet - no problem. I've been through an elimination diet before (when he we were first diagnosing his food allergies) and it was no big deal to me, BUT it would be really hard to do it to a picky eating toddler.
post #20 of 45
I will disagree that 1 test is enough for CD dx. There are always false negatives. The tests themselves are very inaccurate and even more inacurrate in children under age 4.

With that said, the best test is a trial of Gluten Free to see what happens. GF for 3 to 6 months.

Other things to try are Probiotics and enzymes to ensure a health digestive track.

What if the child just is not absorbing nutrients from the food eaten? There really is not a 100% test for this. There used to be a sugar test, but it has been long off the minds of doctors, even GI docs.

Blood tests worth wild - Metabolic panel with PreAlbumin added (be sure there is a creatine level taken).
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