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#1 of 38 Old 09-16-2012, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 24 months old, almost 25. One thing I've been wondering about lately is that she seems downright obsessed with food. When she wakes up, I am greeted by a chorus of "It's time to eat! Let's eat breakfast NOW! Apples and sausage and <you get the idea>". One serving is never enough either... if you let her, she could eat adult male-sized portions of food. Sometimes if I tell her ahead of time 'One more serving and you're done' she will usually stop... that is, until she's asking for the next meal or snack.

 

I didn't used to worry-- I figured kids will eat what they want and have an innate sense of hunger/ fullness. But it's gotten worse rather than better, so it doesn't appear growth spurt related, unless she is in a perpetual growth spurt :/ The comments from friends and strangers on her appetite are also starting to get old. 

 

It's gotten to the point that I have started measuring her food servings and trying to follow suggested 2-year-old diet charts on serving sizes, because she could easily put down 3x as much food without blinking an eye. As it is, we go slightly over what the charts recommend for proteins and veggies, but not fruits or grains. 

 

In between meal times, she plays with toy food constantly and is almost always feeding her dolls, stuffed animals, or cooking, or pretending to eat the food herself -- you get the idea. She really seems quite fixated on eating. 

 

She is not overweight yet, although her weight has steadily been creeping up on the growth charts. She is 85% for height, 80-something for HC, and was 80th% for weight at last appointment (previous to that, she'd been steady at 65th% or so for weight). She is tall and big for her age, at 35 inches and 29 pounds give or take a few ounces in either direction.

 

One other thing to mention: she has always been a good eater, ever since she started solid foods-- not picky, very adventurous, very interested in food, etc-- but it has gotten pretty intense lately. She is also on an elimination diet because of mystery food allergies, and so her current diet is somewhat limited but not extremely restricted given where we are on the diet (4 different fruits, 5 different veggies, 4 different grains, sweet potatoes and 3 different meats). She also gets fish oil, a multi-vitamin and some gut supplements for her allergies. Part of me wonders if an "obsession" is starting because of what she can't eat. Her diet is very healthy though -- no processed foods, no extra sugars -- the worst thing she occasionally eats is white rice :)

 

I guess I'm worried that we're setting her up for psychological food issues somehow, and I don't want to see her struggle with this. Am I overreacting? Thoughts? Or, any stories from other 'been there done that' moms whose kids were similar at this age but things turned out fine?

 


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#2 of 38 Old 09-16-2012, 07:56 PM
 
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is there any chance she has any metabolic issues that driving this?  a large eater i would worry about, but i do agree this seems like a lot, since her size and weight seem so good i winder where it all goes? is she really high energy as well?


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#3 of 38 Old 09-16-2012, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No she's pretty mellow actually... Definitely has her high energy moments but is one of those kids who'd rather color or read than tear around the room screaming smile.gif Not sure what you mean by metabolic issues... Anything in particular? I should mention my metabolism was nuts as a kid/ teenager. I was ridiculously skinny but always eating. In high school it sparked rumors that I was bulimic, actually. So that could be part of it.

I wouldn't say my daughter is thin though - she has definite toddler chub, but she is not overweight either.

One other theory: she's had some food allergy issues since about 1 year old. I suspect they've played some sort of malabsorption role to date. It would explain why her weight has suddenly began to track up quite a bit (corresponding with her stool being more solid.)
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#4 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 05:35 AM
 
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Nothing in particular, but thyroid and other things can do this.
Just because she has healthy toddler chub, it does not rule it out. I personally would take any large and sustained change in my kids eating as something worth looking into. If she is really eating that high of volume, it's frankly not good for her stomach size, it could turn into a vicious cycle of a e trended stomach feeling empty, even after a good sized healthy meal.
So while it justly be her normal to eat more than most, I think limits would be good for her. And then focus on ruling out hormone or metabolism issues though a medical person you trust, preferably one that has some specific understanding in this field. An Endocrinologist is probably the next person after a check in with your general health care provider.

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#5 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 09:49 AM
 
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my 24 month old DD is 36 inches and 30 pounds, I dont consider that she's in any "danger zone" of being or getting too big, my inclination is that soon she will stop eating as much, so just let it go and be happy she is eating :)
 

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#6 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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I know where you are coming from in terms of being so focused on food and diet because of allergies, being worried about malabsorption, etc, so my first thought is that perhaps she is missing something from her diet that her body is trying to get? My son has digestive issues too, and it sucks to always be second guessing everything.  And honestly, it could be that she is just going to have a growth spurt (I was born relatively small, but was a huge toddler; I think born about 6.5 pounds, but I was 36 inches or more by the time I was two, and I shot up in the weight department as well - I am totally healthy) but it could also be something more, especially since it sounds like you have a history with your metabolism. I guess you could ask a trusted doctor for advice.  It's so hard to know!


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#7 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I talked to her doctor about it today. They ran some lab work (blood sugar, thyroid, a couple other things) mostly to humor me.

 

Adorkable: I wouldn't call this a "large and sustained change" -- she has always had a big appetite and a willingness to eat. The obsession is new-- my doc thinks because we are talking too much about what she can't have, her elim diet, allergies, etc, around her. Her feeling was a) to stop doing that and b) to see where this goes once more foods are added back into her diet.

We do limit her but not excessively so-- 1/2 c of grains a meal, 1 oz of meat (sometimes 2) and 1 cup of fruit a day max. We don't limit veggies-- if she is still hungry after eating those daily amounts, she can have veggies.

 

BabySmurf: that's an interesting theory. It could be nutrient related. I look forward to expanding this diet quite a bit more! Or, yeah, this could just be her set point. Her feet are growing like canoes, so why not the rest of her body? :)

 

Graciegal, I like what you said. :) Very sensible.

 

I am trying not to worry too much but it is hard! I feel like one of the only moms out there dealing with this-- it's very frustrating. Would love to hear from anyone else going through this (or having been through this previously!)

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Not really the same situation (although sometimes my 3 yo DD eats more than my husband), but perhaps some insight into yours: if we have something in the house that either my children (3.5 and 18 months) can see and they can't have it, they become obsessed with it.  To the point that if they fall or start to cry for some other reason, the wailing will eventually be due not having X.  We have a pretty healthy menu and don't generally have sweets on hand, but on the rare occasion we have juice in the fridge or single serve yogurts, they're all about them until they're gone (DD once at 4 yogurts AFTER breakfast).  Are all of you eating what your daughter does?  If not, and she sees other food stuffs she can't have, it might not be surprising that she's obsessed with it (especially if she has such a varied palate and eats everything). 

 

Also, our play kitchen and play food is the go-to toy since we bought it in the spring....they prepare and feed play food to themselves and anyone else who happens to be around (human or otherwise).

 

Its really difficult.  I've had weight/food issues my whole life and want to avoid passing them on to my children.  I hope that this is just a passing phase for you!


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#9 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's a good point-- we're not always eating the same things. She doesn't ask for our food (she used to) but it really could explain why it's suddenly a huge percentage of her imaginative play. I'll be really, really glad when this diet is not so limited for her.

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#10 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 03:39 PM
 
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Many people on this site have advised me in the past to look at the fats in my daughter's diet (which are a good thing at this age).   I found I wasn't giving my daughter nearly enough fat when we dropped dairy. You've mentioned grains, fruits, veggies and proteins.  Is it possible that you're inadvertently limiting fats because you're concerned about your daughter's caloric intake? 
 

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#11 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nope, not inadvertently doing this. I wasn't worried about her intake until recently (it didn't occur to me to worry about it until people kept commenting on how much she eats). What sort of fats are you giving your daughter? We do occasionally do avocado, but not every day per the elimination diet.

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#12 of 38 Old 09-17-2012, 08:42 PM
 
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At this stage all fats are good for these little ones, even cholesterol! They are making a LOT of cells and need it all (good and bad) for energy and cell creation. Nuts are a great source of good fats, eggs are good (every day, eat an egg, dont worry only adults have cholesterol issues with them!) fish are great for good fats, olive oil (put some in everything, she wont notice it!). Really, it's all about fat as a source of energy and fats are needed to make cells, run cells, absorb vitamins, etc etc.
 

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#13 of 38 Old 09-18-2012, 06:21 AM
 
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I talked to her doctor about it today. They ran some lab work (blood sugar, thyroid, a couple other things) mostly to humor me.

 

Adorkable: I wouldn't call this a "large and sustained change" -- she has always had a big appetite and a willingness to eat. The obsession is new-- my doc thinks because we are talking too much about what she can't have, her elim diet, allergies, etc, around her. Her feeling was a) to stop doing that and b) to see where this goes once more foods are added back into her diet.

I agree with your pediatrician. Read "Your Child's Weight, Helping without Harming" by Ellyn Satter. It saved me and my family a lot of grief.

 

Some ideas of fatty food: butter, sour cream, bacon, salad dressing. Contrary of what society leads us to believe, eating fatty food does not make us fat. Restrained eating does. My kids eat sour cream as if it were ice cream. I have one skinny 7 y/o and one chubby breastfed toddler. I tried to limit how much dd eats and it backfired big time, her weight went up. Now I put the food on the table, let her help herself and keep my mouth shut, it was one of the things that reassured her. Her weight stabilized again, but still on the upper end of the chart.

 

GL to you and your dd. It's annoying when people start noticing and commenting. This is the real problem, not your dd eating habits.


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#14 of 38 Old 09-18-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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oh yeah, i would definitely look more at the fat intake..the one other source i wanted to add was coconut oil...also, if she will take it, fermented cod liver oil is a great supplement.  i give it to my son with a small amount of orange juice for a chaser.  the first couple of times he tolerated it...now he will ask for it if i forget.  the fat and cholesterol is super important in cellular growth, in the body, but especially in the brain.  AND the fat is essential for assimilating nutrients, fat soluble vitamins in particular.  if that's the issue, then it should be easy to fix!

 

it also sounds like her being around food she can't have may be adding some subconscious pressure...and if her feet are big, the rest is sure to follow! 

 

it looks like you have some good stuff to work with, so hopefully this clears things up :)

 

good luck!!


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#15 of 38 Old 09-18-2012, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are really helpful, thanks so much.

I hope one day we can do butter/ sour cream-- but alas dairy is one of her worst allergies right now. I keep my fingers crossed that she will outgrow it as I did as a kid.

Coconut oil and CLO are GREAT suggestions, thank you. We just started a fish oil supplement that she really likes. I hope that helps the situation.

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#16 of 38 Old 09-18-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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 She doesn't ask for our food (she used to)

Can't she have what you are having? If it's because of allergies, can't you eat the same food as her?

 

My dk would go nuts if we ate something they weren't allowed to eat.


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#17 of 38 Old 09-18-2012, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can't she have what you are having? If it's because of allergies, can't you eat the same food as her?

 

My dk would go nuts if we ate something they weren't allowed to eat.

I am 37 weeks pregnant, so no, not all the time. My doctor got very upset at me when I suggested that. :) My hope is that as we add more variety into her diet, we're able to eat what she eats more often.

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#18 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 04:10 AM
 
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I am 37 weeks pregnant, so no, not all the time. My doctor got very upset at me when I suggested that. :)

Why? (If you don't mind my asking) Because your diet wouldn't be good for an allergic kid, or because your dd's diet would not be good for a pregnant mother?


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#19 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Because she is still on an elimination diet, it would be too limiting for a pregnant mother who is also still occasionally breastfeeding.
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#20 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 06:11 AM
 
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I have to admit I don't know anything about elimination diet, but even I, as an adult, would constantly think about food if I had to sit at a table where people eat French fries and hamburgers while I see my portions measured. I'm not saying you are doing that, but maybe this is how your dd perceives it. Please don't take it as a criticism, I'm sure we all want our children to have the best, wholesome nutrition while we (especially when pregnant) get a free pass at icecream and pickles. I'm of normal weight, but I've tried all kinds of diets and the worst thing are the cravings for what you can't have. Whenever I lost control, I used to overeat the "forbidden food".

 

Obviously I'm no expert, just thought to offer another POV. Lately I've been quoting Ellyn Satter a lot on MDC, but it helped me tremendously with my kids: http://www.ellynsatter.com/mastering-family-meals-step-five-avoid-virtue-i-77.html

 

"All children know how much to eat: the large child and the small child, the big eater and the small eater. All grow in the often surprising way nature intended. Your child will get hungry, eat, get filled up, and stop eating (even in the middle of a bowl of ice cream). Whether your child needs a lot or a little, she instinctively eats as much as she needs. If you follow the division of responsibility with feeding she will automatically eat the right amount of food to grow and be as active as is right for her. Provided you don't try to control her, she can even make up for her mistakes in eating. To be competent with eating and therefore to do well with her lifetime of eating amounts that are right for her and weighing what is right for her body, she needs to be allowed to preserve her sensitivity to her internal sensations of hunger, appetite, and satiety.

Children who eat and grow at the extremes make their parents so nervous that they often interfere. It backfires. In our weight-obsessed culture, parents may try to restrict a robust child with a hearty appetite because they assume that enjoying food and eating a lot means she will get fat. It doesn't, and it doesn't work. Children who don't get enough to eat - or fear they won't - become preoccupied with food and tend to overeat when they get a chance. So do children who are deprived of high-calorie "forbidden" foods. At the other extreme, parents may try to push food on a small, thin child with a small appetite, assuming she is doing poorly and thinking they should fatten her up a bit. It doesn't, and it doesn't work. Children who have food pushed on them become turned off by it and tend undereat when they get the chance.

Don't try to control the amount your child eats. It's her job to decide how much to eat, not yours. Instead:


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#21 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah we are definitely not doing that... We don't tend to eat much around her honestly, but knowing my DD, forbidden foods are probably pretty intriguing. I think your theory is really interesting. I wish I knew how to solve for it without destroying the progress we have made on the allergy diet. I don't want to go back to the days of chronic loose stool either greensad.gif
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#22 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 08:52 AM
 
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I have to chime in that it sounds like there could be a real link between the dynamic and her obsession. My husband is on a very restrictive diet to eliminate health issues, and while he was trying to do his elimination stuff, he found it so much easier when we'd eat together...the same stuff. And then I'd just use other times to get different food in me. Kids use play to process what they're trying to master and understand. You said she used to ask for food with you but doesn't any more...I doubt this is because she doesn't still want to but rather she knows the answer already. Eating is very social. Consider whether when you sit down to eat, you can all eat the same things as a way of supporting her emotionally during a difficult time of deprivation (as percieved by her) and using snacks and non-social eating time to get other foods into you to support your growing baby. At 5 my son still struggles with wanting foods other kids are eating even if he has an allowable similar food...at 2 she has very little ability to control impulses like the desire to taste. I also wouldn't worry about how much she's eating unless weight is clearly an issue, which it doesn't sound like it. I'm not sure why you're limiting her fruit intake, but fruits are an incredible source for young children for a huge variety of nutrients, enzymes and such, and I totally agree that finding ways to get fats into her is important at this age...even if it's a coconut butter Popsicle (on a spoon, and the kind that still has flavor in it). Good luck!
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#23 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Ginger. Her naturopath suggested we limit fruit intake because she's struggled with yeast overgrowth as part of her gut issues. So we allow one piece a day.

Anyway last night she had a new food as part of the elimination process (beets) and we all ate beets, amaranth and filet mignon together. She still begged for a bazillion servings but I'm sure this will be a long journey towards progress.

We might also consider doing testing to rule out Prader Willi syndrome, just in case -- although she does not have other hallmark signs of the disorder, like short stature, hypotonia during infancy, motor issues, small hands/feet, etc. So it's a long shot but worth ruling out.

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#24 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 09:13 AM
 
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Re: fats in the kids' diet - I'm not sure if anyone mentioned nut butters, as long as they are not on her elimination list.  I mix nut butters (sunflower seed butter, cashew, almond) into my DD's yogurt and also put a lot on her toast.  Nut butters seem easier on her tummy than eating plain nuts.  My friend makes a smoothie with a banana and nut butter, adding raw kale to it sometimes.  It's surprisingly tasty.
 

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#25 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Re: fats in the kids' diet - I'm not sure if anyone mentioned nut butters, as long as they are not on her elimination list.  I mix nut butters (sunflower seed butter, cashew, almond) into my DD's yogurt and also put a lot on her toast.  Nut butters seem easier on her tummy than eating plain nuts.  My friend makes a smoothie with a banana and nut butter, adding raw kale to it sometimes.  It's surprisingly tasty.
 

 

So far they are on the elim list but we will be challenging almonds soon... hopefully it goes smoothly and we can add some almond butter!

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#26 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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I love beets too. Sounds like a lovely dinner. I would let her have more if she wants to!

 

As I said before, my dd has a huge appetite. Doctors that we've been to say she's doing fine, so no medical worries here, thank God. One doctor suggested that we limit milk to 400 ml /day (or something like that), including breastmilk, so I started offering water with meals and refusing when she asked for milk. Then I realized: what am I doing? Other parents that I know would do anything (including physically forcing their children) to get some milk into their kids, and here I am, refusing milk to my child. Then the milk obsession stopped. (I still offer only water between meals, so I won't spoil her appetite.)

 

Two days ago we had vegetable soup for dinner and dd gulped down two full bowls. Then I gave the kids chocolate for dessert and she refused her share. She refused dessert last night too. When they get what their bodies need, they will stop asking for food. I threw away my Food Pyramid recommended food quantities when ds was a toddler and wasn't eating half of what was recommended there.
 

It's not an easy journey, that's for sure. We still have our issues, but they are mostly mine.


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#27 of 38 Old 09-19-2012, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really like your attitude about it, it's very inspirational and makes a ton of sense. Thank you so much for sharing your perspectives, they help a lot! Once we clear any potential medical causes (and expand her diet a bit more) I think I'll feel a lot better and hopefully, so will she.

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#28 of 38 Old 09-22-2012, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A couple updates here:

  • We got her labs back and they showed normal thyroid/endocrine function and normal (in fact, low end normal) blood sugars. All good news. The doctor is not on board for further testing but we might push just to cover the bases.
  • We saw a pediatric nutritionist last week (were lucky enough to get squeezed in for an appointment!) and they too felt fats were significantly lacking in her diet. So we've developed a plan to "challenge" more fatty foods in her elim diet first, in order to make sure those get added soon. The nutritionist agreed fats were crucial for feeling satiated. In the meantime, she basically said "let her eat if she wants to eat."

Hopefully we're on the right track!

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#29 of 38 Old 09-22-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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I'm so glad to hear she's healthy! Some of us have just been blessed with good eaters :)
 


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#30 of 38 Old 09-22-2012, 06:51 PM
 
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fantastic, you really sound like you are doing just what you need to and taking the smart steps, glad the tests showed a healthy girl


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