failure to thrive - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-11-2004, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Mamas, I could use some support. And advice if you've got it.
My sweet little 18-month-old daughter recently lost almost a pound after a series of viruses wiped her out. She had been declining in the weight percentiles ever since birth, but she was at least hovering within the third percentile for several months. Our doc didn't seem concerned, and we tried not to be too concerned either, given that she was on track developmentally, generally had a good level of energy and alertness, and was pretty happy most of the time. Plus, I know we're not supposed to pay too much attention to the growth charts, since they are based on FF babies (I BF till my dd basically weaned herself at 11 months).
But when she got sick, she stopped eating and drinking, and became really lethargic. She went from skinny to emaciated. She's now officially in the "failure to thrive" category.
THe doc has started looking into underlying problems (even though we pushed her to look into ideas four months ago, when we were concerned that her weight was basically stagnating). Even though she matches a lot of the symptoms for celiac (gluten intolerance), tests have turned out negative. We've know for 6 months that she's highly allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts, but that's about all we know. We're consulting a nutritionist next week, as well as an endocrinologist and her allergist.
But I really feel frustrated and helpless. Even though her energy levels and mood have improved greatly, she's still not eating nearly enough. She weighs 17 pounds, 10 oz, down from 18-4 back in January. This is a baby who will be 19 months old on April 18.
Does anyone have any experience in bringing their "failure to thrive" baby back to thriving? Can you offer me any words of advice or encouragment?
I really appreciate it.
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#2 of 6 Old 04-11-2004, 05:50 PM
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My close friend has a daughter who is extremely small for her age. She is 4 years old now, and I don't think she has gained any weight in the last 2 years. She's seems healthy, other than a lot of colds and such. I remember her telling me that she had weaned her at 11 or 12 months, and her Dr. told her to start nursing again because she was starting to loose too much weight. (She had only weaned for a week, so it wasn't too hard to start up again.) I'm not telling you to start nursing again, I don't think that's possible at this point. I was just thinking that your DD sounds a lot like her DD. The only other thing that I could think of was that my friend always tried to force her daughter to eat. Bribes and threats. I always felt it was better to let kids eat what and when they wanted. (You don't have to offer "bad" foods.......)
Sorry I don't really have any other advice for you. Some children are just small, and I know that being sick can take a lot out of them. My DS#2 just had the flu, and I know he lost at least a pound, and he was in the 10% to begin with. He's probably in the "failure to thrive" catagory by now. I havn't taken him back to the Dr. .......I'm thinking about going to a homeopath, because I know he has a lot of food sensitivity issues, and has a hard time getting over illnesses. The conventional Dr.s don't seem to be doing him any good.
When he was sick, I gave him some of the "Baby Jarro-Dophilus" from the health food store, and it really helped his tummy. Maybe that is something you could look into. I plan to continue to give it to him so that maybe he will start to eat better. Good luck. Hope you find some answers soon.
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#3 of 6 Old 04-11-2004, 09:06 PM
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What kind of symptoms does she have related to Celiac? Just curious. My 2 yr old dd is about 21.5 lbs. She has had frequent loose bowels for a while now, and I'm trying to figure out the problem. What other tests has your dr done?

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#4 of 6 Old 04-12-2004, 03:30 PM
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DD was pronounced 'Failure to Thrive' by our doc. She was always underweight and small for her age. My dd ended up having parasites. She had runny poops and we started her on probiotics. L.reuteri helped her immensly(sp?) but then she shared a spoon with the dog before I could stop her. Her poops were bad once again. My ND suggested pumpkin seeds we feed her about 1tbs a day and she is back to normal. She has also gained a few pounds (not sure how much) but she has outgrown her clothes and we are now into a new size for her. Plus her face is full and she looks healthy again (like when she was exclusively bf) She started loosing when she started on solids.

Our naturpathic doctor does not recommend eating gluten grains eather. Even though she is not gluten intolerant. We have eliminated wheat and we only eat oats. I have not found a good substitute for that yet. We have her on Floradix multi and iron supplements.

I do not recommend seeing a nutritionist. We had gone to see one and she had recommended that dd eat all day and to feed her more carbs. and not to worry about high carb intake. The food pyramid recommends to much carbs IMO. This has resulted in tooth decay for my dd. A naturpathic doctor will be able to counsil you in diet as well as help diagnose what the problem is. The supplements and ND care are expensive. But I have seen with my own dd what the benefits are. I think she has gained at least 2lbs in the last couple of months and we are battling her tooth decay with natural and homeopathic remedies.

If your dd is eating well (like mine) and not gaining weight I would focus on the digestive system. DD would eat and eat and eat and not gain weight. Make sure she is absorbing her food and has good intestinal flora.

That was my experience with my dd who at 19mo weighed 19lbs.
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#5 of 6 Old 04-12-2004, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all to the input.
To Mat4mel, regarding her symptoms that match those for celiac, she has been extremely constipated ever since she started solid foods, though I've come to realize that has more to do with her refusing to drink a lot of fluids, and the iron supplements we've been giving her since her iron levels dropped several months ago. We took her off the iron at the same time we stopped the gluten, and she became regular almost immediately. But now, 2 1/2 weeks after we stopped all gluten, we put her back on the iron, and she's locked right up again. So no more iron.
The other symptoms she has are a big belly while being super-skinny, waking up in pain in the night for no apparent reason, and having very little interest in eating (since babies with celiac are often in a lot of pain, and thus don't want to hurt themselves more with food). We also thought the celiac explained the anemia, since the small intestines don't absorb nutrients when people with celiac consume gluten.
But we're finding that these symptoms can fit lots of different ailments, so we're still trying to figure it all out.
Vegmom--congratulations on your daughter bouncing back! (Although I would be over the moon to even get her up to 19 pounds by 19 months.) It seems that the problem is not parasites. They tested her stool for that last week and found nothing. Unlike your daughter, she doesn't eat much at all. It seems like I try every food under the sun with her, and she's just not interested in most of it. I'm very aware of not making it into a power struggle with her--dh and I cheerfully withdraw every food she says no to, without making a big deal of it. We just try to provide her with a wide array of food to eat throughout the whole day. But just when we think we've found something she's crazy about, she decides she no longer likes it. And the allergies she has to so many foods make it that much more difficult. That's the reason we're interested in the nutritionist coming in at this point, just to see if she can give us any fresh ideas about what to feed dd. I like the idea of a naturopath as well, though. I'm about through with traditional medicine and doctors.
I'm definitely going to try the jarrodophilus as well. I've been reading a lot of old posts on here about it, and it seems like it could really help her.
Again, thanks to everyone for the helpful comments.
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#6 of 6 Old 04-13-2004, 03:00 AM
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We are also currently struggling with FTT, and are working with a nutritionist. We went through all the tests for celiac's and Cystic Fibrosis, which came back negative. She is recommending increasing my sons caloric intake with fat sources, such as yogurt (Minigo), porridge with butter and half-and-half milk added, and just to try and make sure that whatever he takes in is nutrient dense, not empty calories(ie:starches). He is just under 14 months, and weighs between 18 and 19 pounds, and was not even registering on the charts for weight. Since starting this regimin, he is now around the 3rd% for weight. I am not trying to push the benefits of dairy or fat, as I realize all that goes with them, but it is working for us at the moment.
Just wanted to offer you a (((hug))), as I understand what a difficult thing this is to go through. When our little ones are not where they "should" be (and I use this term loosely) we as mothers feel responsible, even when for the majority of cases, there is nothing we've missed - sometimes our babes just follow their own internal developmental charts.

I hope things look up for you and your daughter soon. Just know that you are doing a great job mothering her!

China white.
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