Is this a normal "toddler belly"? (pics) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 42 Old 06-09-2008, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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x-posted in H&H

DS1 is 2.5. I have begun to obsess about his big belly as well as his slowing growth. He was in the 90th+ percentiles for the first year or so of his life, and since then has been slowing way down. He is now at the bottom of the charts.. between 5-10 percent for height and weight. He has not grown much at all in the last year. He now weighs 25 pounds and is about 33 inches tall. (I'm unsure of the exact #'s...can't look them up right now). His pooping is fairly normal I guess. Seems constipated a bit. Eats a well balanced diet... we cook most foods from scratch. Lots of fruits and veggies. Raw organic milk/homemade yogurt.
Then he also has this big belly! It gets bigger as the day goes on. We thought it might be gluten related, so DS and DH (who thought he might have a gluten issue too) got bloodwork done and both came up negative.
So now I don't know what it could be. Candida? Some other allergy/intolerance? He has never been on antibiotics (although I was given a shot of tetracycline during labor) or taken any medications. We have been on a gluten-free, all forms of sugar-free, fruit-free diet for about 1.5 weeks now and I see no difference (except he got nauseous and threw up on day 3). I know that may be a short time to see any sort of result.
So, here are some pics. Am I obsessing about just a normal toddler belly? Does he look normal to you? Please tell me what you think.

1
2
3
4



Oh, yeah.. his dr. doesn't seem terribly worried, just says we'll continue to plot his growth, but I don't like the wait and see approach if he has a problem we could be fixing now rather than later if/when it is worse (if a problem ever exists.
Am I a hypochondriac? (My mom is... so maybe it runs in the family...)
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#2 of 42 Old 06-09-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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Hi. My son is almost 2 (the 21st is his birthday) and although I don't take him to the doctor much, we have had a similar experience. He was 9 lbs. 10 oz. when born & was EBF for 6 months & didn't really eat meals until 8 or 9 months. He was top of the charts for weight/height until he started walking at 9 months. At his 12 month check up he had lost weight (a few ounces) but it was because he was SO mobile. They did blood tests for a TON of stuff but nothing was wrong. I kinda wish I didn't put him through all that poking for nothing. He is now in the 5-10% for weight & 50% for height (maybe more now; that was at his last appt. a few months ago). I am not concerned. He eats, but he is also still VERY energetic & on the go a lot. He weighs about 25-27 pounds. What I'm trying to say is from what I can tell your son looks perfectly healthy & normal. If you'd like to get a 2nd opinion from another doctor (especially one that is a DO or takes a more natural approach), then you could do that. There is only one "belly picture" that looks different than my son's. Even that one just looks like he is standing back with it pushed out a little. My son likes to do that too, which makes it look bigger. Otherwise, your son's belly looks like a perfectly normal big toddler belly. My son is so skinny but has such a big belly & we love it! It's just part of who he is. I hope this helps! Oh, he is adorable, by the way!!
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#3 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 01:24 AM
 
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My daughters belly is similar, but somewhat smaller/less pronounced. I think it makes her look like a little toad or something... As long as the Dr knows about it and checked him over, I would try not to worry about it. Does he have a 2 yr appt coming up to get looked over again? Maybe bring it up then, again. I bet that would make you feel more comfortable, that or have another Dr look him over for a second opinion. I know my office has lots of Drs to pick from.
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#4 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 02:21 AM
 
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Before fully reading your post, I thought it might be Celiac.
Blood tests have a high rate of false negatives, since it takes quite a bit a damage to show up in blood samples.

I tested through enterolabs.com (stool test) and my numbers were through the roof! I'm going to test my kids as well. You might look into that again.

I'd wait longer than a week and a half to see if you notice a difference. How are his bowel movements now?

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#5 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 02:23 AM
 
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Toddlers have big bellies, at least all the ones I have ever seen.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#6 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 02:53 AM
 
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Just wanted to say that I have no clue about this, but... I thought it might be worth it to TRY to send a personal message to Dr. Jay Gordon with these pics and description. He's a natural-minded ped that hangs out here sometimes and although he usually posts about vaccines, there might be a slight chance that he has a minute and will respond to your query. To find him, do an advanced search for user name and look up "Dr. Jay Gordon" and you can track him down that way. Just a thought - HTH
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#7 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 03:13 AM
 
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I don't know if its normal or not but it doesn't look like my ds who is close in age.

I think my ds is average in height and weight and he is about 35lbs and 40" tall. His tummy is a bit sleeker and older child looking than the photos you posted.

Your ds' tummy looks a bit like an old baby or younger toddler.

Could you take him to a pediatric naturopath?

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#8 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 03:18 AM
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I think it's more a lack of muscle tone than actual big bellies. My DD, 30 months, has a round belly when she is standing still. When she is lying down her belly is flat and you can see her little ribs abit. When she is reaching or climbing her belly flattens out too.
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#9 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 04:31 AM
 
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When you said "It gets bigger as the day goes on" it made me wonder if it could be gas.

Does he (and your DH since you mentioned it) have any other symtoms of celiac? Has your Dr run any tests other than celiac? Is he meeting all his milestones on time?

Eliminating fruit from a constipated slow growing childs diet doesn't seem like a great idea. Fruit is full of vitamins and fiber that people need. If your hunch about the celiac is right then eliminating the wheat proucts should do the trick, so it seems worth a try. However, you don't want to go overboard with elimination to the point where he starts having symptoms of malnutrition.

I always recomend the book My Child Won't Eat! for anyone with a LO having growth worries.

(As an aside you might want to take down pic #3 since this board is public and anyone can see it.)

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#10 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 08:49 AM
 
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Your son looks completely normal to me. Does he cry a lot? Is he active or listless? Does he vomit a lot? Is his development on track?

He is still in the normal range on the chart. The 50th%ile is only the 50th because almost everyone else is above or below it. At 9 i was 135cm tall, about average. At 14 i was 181cm - off the chart. There was nothing wrong with me at 9, i was just following my own mysterious growth pattern.

If you feel he has a developmental delay or is obviously ill then get a new Dr, but otherwise i'd try to relax.

And FWIW most adults in the world who are trying to lose weight/tone up weigh and measure themselves first thing in the morning because it is a known fact that we are at our lightest/smallest then, because our systems are empty. My belly gets bigger through the day too! It's because of eating!
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#11 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 09:32 AM
 
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My ds had the exact same belly at 2. He's now five, and we just found out he's allergic to gluten.

The slowed growth wouldn't concern me too much . . . Our pediatrician explained to me that kids have three different periods of growth: inutero, infancy-early toddlerhood, and then the rest of their lives. So, you could have a small baby at birth who turned into a big breastfed baby and an average-sized kid/adult. Or, like my kids: HUGE at birth (off the charts), HUGE in infancy (off the charts), and then gradually dropping lower and lower until, around 2 or 3 they hit about 25% and stay there. Birth weight has nothing to do with how big of a person the baby will turn out to be. And I guess the same is true for the infancy/early-toddlerhood period.

HTH!

Lex

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#12 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 10:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I think it's more a lack of muscle tone than actual big bellies. My DD, 30 months, has a round belly when she is standing still. When she is lying down her belly is flat and you can see her little ribs abit. When she is reaching or climbing her belly flattens out too.
:
Except my LO is a boy and he's 19 months.

He was right at 50% for weight and height for most of his first year and chubby. Now he's at about 15%, eats pretty well, is really active, and is, in general, skinny. But he has that little pot belly. It goes away when he's reaching or lying down.

So... I don't know if it's normal, but my kid's belly looks like that, too!

Also, FWIW, we were really careful with the introduction of wheat/gluten, since bread products have always bothered my MIL (dunno if she's ever had a formal diagnosis). We went really slow, and saw no reaction, so I don't think he has celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. (Sorry, I don't know if those are the same thing or not!)

Expat mama to my 7-year-old Halloween boy and my cheeky preschooler, who came before the midwife in January 2010... Gestating a new bean, debuting spring 2014!
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#13 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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Hmmm... interesting responses here. I always just assumed it was the normal toddler physique (DS takes after mommy- hee hee). DS is 2 this month and has super skinny little arms and legs, you can clearly see all his ribs, spine, and shoulder blades sticking out- he looks so thin to me, but them he has this big pot-belly when he's standing. It goes away when he lies down, when it becomes concave! I don't know how he does it! If he "sucks in" it'll suddenly go down like 7 inches or something- amazing. I have pics of me as a toddler with the same Buddha belly, I just never lost mine.

I don't worry about it because DS doesn't seem bothered, if he was having stomach issues or I suspected lack of protein or some other essential building block then I would take him in for evaluation. So, you sort of have to rely on your gut instinct I think.

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#14 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 10:54 AM
 
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Hi,

Could it be gas? Milk intolerance and a lot of fruits and vegies (fiber) could do this. Have you tried adding probiotics to his diet?

He doesn't look overly skinny to me. Apart from the belly he looks like my kids at that age....and I don't really watch percentiles...they tend to even out in the end! If he is mostly vegetarian he may be a little smaller than kids his age until he gets older.

mum to 3, 8 yo dd: 6yo ds and 4yo dd
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#15 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 11:02 AM
 
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When my boys were little like that any milk/dairy would make their belly extend more. We cut out the dairy and they belly went down.

Good luck! btw..he is too cute!
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#16 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 01:23 PM
 
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Your son's belly looks normal to me and he is so cute! I would not worry about his belly.
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#17 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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just from the pics alone he looks quite normal to me

Mama to Amelia - age 6

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#18 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, such a variety of responses! Reading through them feels like what has been going on in my head "gluten, no dairy, no yeast overgrowth, no he' normal...ahhhhhh!!!" Maybe I'll take him to the dr again (our ped actually specializes in food issues as well as being a DAN! Dr.) She is an hour away, though, so it is tough to get there with two kids.
I really don't feel like it is nothing. Noone in our family is celiac/gluten intolerant that we know of (although I know it is under-diagnosed). He did spit up alot more as a baby than DS2 does, and has always had major sleep issues. But never diarhea, which is listed everywhere I read about lactose intolerance. He is more on the constipated side if anything. Why is this all so confusing to me? I just want someone to tell me the answer. I'm tired of vacillating! Is the only way to determine a lactose intolerance through eliminating it? He loves our fresh raw organic milk. He is mostly vegetarian (I was raised veg*n, but we are transitioning away from that), so I worry about him getting enough fats etc.

btw, thank you all for your opinions and insight.

Ronna
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#19 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
When you said "It gets bigger as the day goes on" it made me wonder if it could be gas.

Does he (and your DH since you mentioned it) have any other symtoms of celiac? Has your Dr run any tests other than celiac? Is he meeting all his milestones on time?

Eliminating fruit from a constipated slow growing childs diet doesn't seem like a great idea. Fruit is full of vitamins and fiber that people need. If your hunch about the celiac is right then eliminating the wheat proucts should do the trick, so it seems worth a try. However, you don't want to go overboard with elimination to the point where he starts having symptoms of malnutrition.

I always recomend the book My Child Won't Eat! for anyone with a LO having growth worries.

(As an aside you might want to take down pic #3 since this board is public and anyone can see it.)
Yeah, his belly does feel gassy.

No other tests, just a full celiac panel including blood composition. Iron is on the high side of normal (13ish) protein slightly low, everything else I believe was normal, although the dr wrote a note about possible malabsorption, but refused to discuss her thoughts over the phone.:

Thanks for the book req. I think they have that at my local library.

Also, you are right about the fruits. I got freaked about the candida possibility. He has, though been eating the mulberries and strawberries from our garden... as you can see in pic #2.
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#20 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 07:04 PM
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He looks pretty good to me

DS1 had the same belly at 2. Now at nearly four it is still there but slowly slimming out. His pedi says it is an immature abdominal wall that is creating a bit of a hernia and that as he matures it will go away.


http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b1...l/100_0924.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b1...l/100_0927.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b1...l/100_0891.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b1...l/100_0926.jpg
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#21 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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Looks normal to me. Both my daughter and my niece had a belly like that, 'til they were a little past 3 years. My niece's was even a bit bigger than that.

This is her belly now, almost gone. She'll be 4 in a week:
http://s233.photobucket.com/albums/e...llieWater4.jpg
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#22 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ThreeBeans: OT. Your kids are so cute! And our babies are less than a week apart!
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#23 of 42 Old 06-10-2008, 11:30 PM
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Just out of curiosity what does Ez stand for?

My little baby is Ezekiel and he was also born at home
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#24 of 42 Old 06-11-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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Honestly, it looks pretty normal to me, especially for a smaller toddler. The little girl I babysit is almost 2, and is pretty low on the percentage charts, but she has this biiiiig ol' round belly that looks like it's going to pop after she eats.

I've seen MANY bellies that look just like that one on toddlers.

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#25 of 42 Old 06-11-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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My 2.5 yr old gets a big belly like that when his yeast gets out of control. My belly also looks like that when my yeast gets out of control. You could try something to kill the yeast, you will know if it is working in a few days. Other than that your boy's limbs look normal.

We create our own reality.
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#26 of 42 Old 06-11-2008, 01:38 AM
 
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It *does* look normal. But at the same time, the OP said:

Quote:
He was in the 90th+ percentiles for the first year or so of his life, and since then has been slowing way down. He is now at the bottom of the charts between 5-10 percent for height and weight. He has not grown much at all in the last year. He now weighs 25 pounds and is about 33 inches tall. (I'm unsure of the exact #'s...can't look them up right now). His pooping is fairly normal I guess. Seems constipated a bit
Of course this could all be normal as well, but these can also be symptoms of something else.
Celiac in kids sometimes presents itself as slowed growth, distended belly, not gaining well despite a good diet.

Hope all is well OP.
My dd (5) has the same symptoms, including rashes on her arms, and we are having her tested by blood first and if that comes up negative I'll do the stool test.
s

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#27 of 42 Old 06-11-2008, 02:24 AM
 
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He looks pretty good to me

DS1 had the same belly at 2. Now at nearly four it is still there but slowly slimming out. His pedi says it is an immature abdominal wall that is creating a bit of a hernia and that as he matures it will go away.
I was going to mention something about a hernia, but I didn't want to scare you (not that a hernia is a really scary thing) and add even more to the pot. The first thing I thought when I saw your DS's pictures (aside from how cute he was!) was that it looks like his abdominal wall is not "holding it all in" so to speak. It looks similar to my mom's belly and she just had hernia surgery. But it very well could be something that will correct itself like this poster said.

Anyway, good luck in the search!
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#28 of 42 Old 06-11-2008, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all. It is so helpful to hear the opinions of others. I don't know many kids DS1's age, so I don't have much to compare him too. The kids I do know or see at the playground are taller than DS1 and don't have such a huge belly. I know a lot of that is just genetics. It is so hard to know where that line is between normal and not.

I did some reading yesterday on milk protien intolerance and it does sound like it could be that. All of these things have such similar symptoms! It can make a person go crazy!

So for now we have okayed fruit, but I am going to try to limit the really sweet fruits and keep out all refined sugar. (I really feel he may have a candida issue. I do, and I worry that I may have passed that on to him, and the antibiotics I got during labor would have made that worse)
We will keep him gluten free and also milk free now to see if that makes a difference. He had no milk products yesterday and seemed much more agreeable, and slept fairly well last night (always has been a horrible horrible sleeper)

As I look back even over the past couple weeks I can kinda see a behavior pattern. Last week we ran out of milk before the milkman returned, and I remember thinking that DS1 was really chill and easygoing for 2-3 days. Then at the beginning of this week he went on a milk craze. It seemed like that is all he wanted to eat/drink for 2 or 3 days. Those days were completely crazy! NO impulse control! Lots of screaming, hitting his brother, throwing himself around all.day.long. It was insane. At the time I didn't really connect the milk, but now as I think back about what he was eating and drinking over the last week or so......

I worry about him not getting enough fats in his diet being off milk products. He weaned at 17 months (I was pg.. milk left me) so he is no long bfing. Any suggestions?

I guess after we've cut gluten and milk out for a bit we can test it by feeding him some to see if there is a reaction. I really really hope it is not celiac. Gluten free is so so hard. I gotta give it to the families who deal with that.

I so appreciate all your input!


ThreeBeans: Ez stands for Ezreal
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#29 of 42 Old 06-11-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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Well, that post really makes it seem like he has a dairy intollerance!!!! You seem to be aware that the abx you got in labor can predispose a babe to food intollerances since it damages the gut in mom and babe - and the whole yeast thing is yet another issue that of course only gets worse with abx. To start with, you can replace dairy fat with lots of coconut and avocado. I use coconut milk for smoothies (to die for!), coconut oil for baking, etc. Not that you need an invitation but I invite you to join in the fun on the allergies board to get lots of good food ideas and how to start healing his gut if, in fact, it has been getting damaged this whole time.

Still a sleepy mama to my fabulous 2 year old girl
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#30 of 42 Old 06-12-2008, 01:06 PM
 
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I'm not going to win any fans here for suggesting this, but if he's been getting raw milk, you might want to have him checked for intestinal parasites. Is your doctor aware that you use raw milk? (Reason I'm asking is if he isn't, he'd never think to test for anything like that.)

As for the fats issue, I'm trying to get my dairy-allergic son to drink this one brand of hemp milk I found at the health food store. It has 7g of fat per serving, almost as much as whole milk! It's the Hemp Bliss brand (vanilla flavor), from Manitoba Farms. It's stupidly expensive, though.
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