Our baby was gaining weight steadily up until 6 months while being breastfed exclusively. She was between the 15 and 50 percentile curves and a picture of health. We started solids around 6 months when she showed interest and was sitting up well on her own, along with continuing breastfeeding. Ever since then her weight gain has slowed substantially and is now hovering just above the 3 percentile curve (14 lbs, 14 oz at 9.5 months). I know the weight gain slows after 6 months, but she has now essentially dropped two curves. The past month she has gained about an ounce a week, but her most recent weigh in showed that she lost 2 ounces in one week.
She has a bowel movement about every 3-4 days and they are generally soft & shapeless with a sheen, leaving a greasy stain on her cloth diaper inserts. A few times she has struggled to push the stool out and bled from straining to push. She has had a runny nose and cough for the past month and went on an antibiotic for 10 days. Yesterday was her first bowel movement since getting off the antibiotic and there was definitely mucus throughout.
She still breastfeeds regularly throughout the day and night, probably around every 2 hours. But her appetite for solid food has decreased dramatically despite the variety of foods we offer her. She usually picks up pieces and puts them in her mouth, but then spits them out. In addition, she will only eat a few teaspoons of a puree before refusing.
She is struggling to sleep more than ever before, only sleeping on our chests or while nursing in bed next to me. Even then she wakes up every half hour to hour and cries out. She seems to have horrible gas throughout the nighttime and thrashes around unable to get comfortable despite being clearly exhausted.
We have an appointment with a pediatric GI nurse in a few weeks, but I'm not sure we can make it until then. She is getting more and more fussy by the day, which is so unlike her, and my husband and I are beyond exhausted. We just want to figure out what is going on so that we can help her heal and get back to her normal, cheerful self. We've tried probiotics and seen a few doctors who say that she is healthy despite her persistent cold and low weight. She is still doing great developmentally and shows interest in everything around her, but I just can't stop thinking that something might be going on. Any ideas?
Your baby is healthy and fine, but clearly not tolerating something(s) in her solid food diet. I'd go back to near-exclusive breastfeeding for a bit, if you're both up for that. If it worked well before, it should again. Then try re-introducing her solid foods, one new food every few days, watching for her reactions in mood, stools, etc. What foods are you feeding? If you/she still want some kind of solids, maybe green beans, avocado, or yams would be OK, or some turkey, if you do meats.
I'm a little concerned about that word "greasy." Do you think it's really greasy, like fatty? or just a moisture ring? A sheen really suggests "grease." See if the stools float when you plop them into the toilet. Has the color of her stools lightened up much? The first thing that would come to mind is gluten sensitivity (the proteins in wheat and some other grains), though there are a few other considerations as well. The whole symptom picture you describe, if you would consider her as having any difficulty breathing (you describe prolonged cold symptoms), is a bit suggestive of cystic fibrosis. It's probably very unlikely, but I'd mention the greasy stools to your GI nurse when you see her, or to someone sooner, if a return to exclusive breastfeeding doesn't turn her around.
Keep up the probiotics, for breastfeeding mom and for baby.
Linda F. Palmer, DC
"The Baby Bond"