Posted by: Ingrid | August 16, 2011

If it’s not one thing it’s another

Or sometimes it’s both.

For our next baby I have requested the upgrade with no sleep malfunctions that occur at age 2 and a normal appetite.  I am still baffled at how hard it is to feed Isaac.  I mean, he eats, and he looks thin to me but not walking-the-runway-in-Milan thin, but I swear that when allowed he eats his bites of food and then burns off the energy consumed before coming back for the next bite.  Which is why I now have him velcro-ed to the wall – less energy expenditure.

No, I’m kidding.  Though the idea has merit.

This kid has been hard to feed since he lost interest in rice cereal when we started it at 6 months, causing us to go back to almost exclusive breastfeeding for about… forever, it felt like.  Now he eats, but he’s not really a milk drinker and just doesn’t eat a lot.  He has a sweet tooth but I can’t let him live off chocolate cake, frosting, cookies, and peanut butter, though that idea has merit as well.

We went to his two year appointment today, which might have gone better had he not finally fallen asleep at 10:00 pm and woken up at 6:00 am, giving none of us adequate sleep and leaving us incredibly grumpy, forgetful, (and for the pregnant one) emotional.  It wasn’t a huge surprise to me that he had dropped again on the weight charts, falling from the 25th percentile to the 10th.  I am supposed to keep giving him whole milk, add chocolate to it, feed him full fat yogurt (I’ve tried and he doesn’t eat it), not give him juice, and add butter to everything to at least hopefully keep him from dropping more.  I mean, he hasn’t even managed to climb over the 25 pound mark yet!  I am surprised that I didn’t fall apart sobbing in the doctor’s office, between the lack of sleep and the pregnancy hormones and the sheer frustration of what feels like this colossal project that I just don’t want to deal with.  Aren’t kids just supposed to naturally eat?  I have baby clothes to sort and a chaotic house and the last thing I want to do is count my toddler’s calories and shove things in his face every time he turns around.

So for a kid with a sweet tooth who won’t eat cheese and mostly won’t eat bread type foods or meat, what kinds of things would you add to the menu?  The peanut butter on a spoon thing is getting old.  Maybe there is some sort of elaborate shake type thing I can make with peanut butter and whole milk and chocolate that packs in 1,000 calories?  The problem with that is that Isaac probably would want nothing to do with it and I would end up drinking the whole thing because this is stressing me out.  How am I going to take care of two kids when apparently I can’t even adequately feed the one I have?

Parents with kids who were picky or uninterested in food and who were on the thin side, any advice on how to stay sane?  Are we really going to become that family where the child gets his own special plate of high fat food while the rest of us eat something balanced and normal?



  1. ugh, ingrid, i’m so sorry, that’s no fun to hear for any mama. i’m going to throw a crazy idea out there, have you ever thought about raw milk? that typically has more calories than whole fat milk even. (i have NO idea how you feel about that), but i could certainly give you more information if you were interested. i also make our yogurt from it, which has more fat, but it has a sweeter taste to it, and we add honey or jam to it. (take it or leave it, no worries) 🙂

    i think he’s doing awesome!! levi really doesn’t weigh much more than him. i think at his 2 yr levi weighed 27lbs. and maybe that was just enough that made us “ok”, i don’t know. keep doing what you’re doing, you’re a great mama! 🙂

    • Thanks, Jen. I need to ask you more about yogurt making – my several attempts have not worked very well!

  2. lucy was like that. odd how her thinness then was a problem whereas now doctors declare her perfect because she’s so thin. anyhow, she ended up loving cottage cheese with just about anything on top–honey, fruit, jam, etc.

  3. First, just . . . he’s probably fine. Some kids are string beans. My 7 year old and my 5 year old are within 3 pounds of each other . . . and neither of them is unhealthy. It’s just that one’s a string bean.

    Anyway, if he likes cake, have you thought about some of those healthier cake recipes? Or, if he likes cookies, have you thought of making them with applesauce or pumpkin substituted in for most of the oil, and maybe some whey powder for extra protein? I’d just take the stuff that he DOES like to eat and add calories/protein.

    Not an expert of course, just brainstorming. I’m sorry it has you so worried.

    • Thanks, Jess. I don’t know that it has me worried so much as annoyed and frustrated with being told that at the doctor’s office. It makes me wonder if I should be worried even if intuitively I think he’s just fine. Now that we are getting on towards autumn maybe I will try some baked goods and tweak the recipes a little bit. That’s a great idea!

  4. OH Ingrid I’m sorry your feeling discouraged. My first questions is he showing signs of malnutrition (loss of activitiy or developmentally behind) if the answer is no DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. PJ is still off the charts small but healthy as can be she just defies the curbs. Feed him healthy and make sure the calories he is consuming are doing something for him and let him be himself 🙂 Your doing great!

    • Thanks, Amie. That is originally why I wasn’t worried, since Isaac seemed to be doing so well and looks and acts healthy. Thanks for the assurance!

  5. I agree with several of the comments. He’s probably just fine. When Nat was a baby, I had a pediatrician tell me that any two-year old who ate three meals a day was eating too much! So I tried to quit worrying, and just let them eat every other meal if they wanted to.

  6. I’m not a mum….but have you tried puree-ing/blending smoothies with perhaps an avocado or different nut butter thrown in? Liquid nutrition tends to be a good way of consuming calories quickly…and it sounds like Isaac is tough to slow down! But like the others said, he’ll eat when he wants to. If you think there’s a chance he’s not absorbing foods then get a food allergy test done….otherwise, personally (again, not a mum) it sounds to me like that percentile system is as bad as weighing yourself weekly on scales…only serves to provide guilt in one way or another….

    • I am definitely going to give smoothies a try and see what Isaac thinks. Great idea!

  7. I agree with Cherelli! The percentile system is totally over-rated and interpreted so differently by all the doctors. La cocotte is one month older than Isaac I think and weighs 23.5 pounds (and she’s long, 75th percentile in height or something) and when I ask my pediatrician about whether I need to put some weight on her, she (the pediatrician) rolls her eyes at me and tells me la cocotte is fine.
    Evolution has insured that toddlers will not starve themselves.
    Try not to worry! It sounds like you have a lot on your plate.
    Belated congrats on your 5 km! Glad you could at least run one race,

    • Thanks for the congrats. 🙂 Good to hear that La cocotte trends the same way, that makes me feel better. I personally think Isaac looks fine and I like your pediatrician’s take on things – very refreshing. And Isaac can definitely put food away when he’s hungry, so I really don’t have concerns about him starving unless I am particularly sleep deprived…

  8. I’m so sorry – I know how stressful it is to have a doctor tell you your kid isn’t eating enough. But as much as I still worry about M., I look at her development and I know she’s fine (and she’s on her way to being a less-than-25-lb.-2-year-old, too). I don’t know your kiddo well, but he seemed happy, energetic, and developmentally just fine when y’all were out in Denver. If you’re at all like me, the temptation is to make every meal into a fight, and I don’t think that’s worth it for anyone. So breathe, then feed Isaac as much high-cal., healthy fat stuff as he’ll eat, and let it go. If your pediatrician gives you a lot of trouble, try another one. Seriously, it makes all the difference in the world.

    • Thanks, Sarah, I do know that Isaac seems to be healthy and happy and deep down I don’t think I’m really concerned about it. I am more frustrated that it was brought up and now am second guessing if maybe it should be a concern. But really, what am I going to do, create a peanut butter IV?

  9. I’m going to say a big “ditto” to everyone on this one! You know they say they are to triple their birth weight by their first year…Daniel did it at 2 years. He was 24 lbs at his 2nd birthday. (8lbs when he was born). All toddlers are so active and just burn everything off. My second one is trending that way too. Still hasn’t doubled her birth weight at 6 months 1 week. As long as he isnt’ showing signs of malnutrition- he should be fine. Daniel never ate until he was 4.5 years old. He just turned 5 and had 7 (yes, 7!) pieces of fruit today. Go figure.

    • Thanks, Stefanie. Isaac seems to be healthy in every way and very active. I just don’t like hearing how we have to closely monitor things from a doctor and re-weigh in 3 months. It feels like it puts more pressure on than I want right now.

  10. yes… my kiddo is 2.5 and generally a good eater, but some days, he’ll have what seems to be 25% of his normal calories… there are percentile ratings for a reason…. some kids have to be 0% and some have to be 100% and some have to fall outside those norms to have any norms… so if he’s healthy, not sick all the time, happy, and running around, he’s likely juuussst fine.

    when my kiddo vetoed yogurt (after snarfing it daily for more than a year), i added it to smoothies with bananas, a few types of frozen fruits, and spinach. he loves them, gets to use a “real straw” and a fun cup with a lid… could easily add peanut butter or almond butter, crushed flax seed, and an avocado to that for more calories, healthy fat, and smoothness… if he needs it sweeter then add your fav sweetener…???

    clif “z-bar” bars are also a favorite on the days he won’t eat anything…

    good luck!!!!!

    • I will definitely be trying the smoothie route! Thanks for your comment, I know that toddlerhood opens up a whole lot of changes and I think I forget that sometimes.

  11. Hi Ingrid,

    Katy just had a doctor tell her the same thing about Nathan. She argued with him to try to convince him that Nate was a good eater (which he is). Like you, she left that appointment so frustrated. I told her not to worry about it because Clarissa, her & Marky were all under 25 lbs. at age 2. Honestly, you don’t want you kids getting hung up on food at such a young age. Just keep doing what you are doing and maybe try some of the ideas that others have suggested and Isaac will be just fine!

    We miss you all!

    Love you,


  12. Ugh, ped visits can be so stressful sometimes. Fwiw, Bella continues to drop in weight percentiles over the past year. They don’t comment because this means she is actually on the charts at 95th percentile now, but I. Would think that pattern of dropping in weight percentiles would be common for many toddlers. Did you see the guest post on my blog from my friend with a picky eater? Some good ideas there. Also- pick up ellyn satter’s books for reassurance. Along the smoothie idea- try freezing them and making healthy Popsicles. Finally, maybe a high calorie supplement like ensure for kids or carnation instant bfast might come in handy in the short term. Good luck!!

  13. In Australia they have ‘child health nurse’ visits and pile on the guilt if your child has bad sleep habits/eating habits/doesn’t get read to every five minutes/you get the idea.
    10th percentile is still not underweight and don’t forget the include that the percentile chart includes formula fed babies. I know that in a week the worry returns to normal levels after the check-up but have you tried pancakes?
    When I got tired of puree at 10 months I started feeding my daughter pancakes – you can grate in apples or add berries or whatever you/he fancies. You can also do savoury polenta pancakes with cheese and corn/spinach. Add different flours, extra eggs and milk and spread with peanut butter? 😉 we also love them b/c you can give them on the go, in the car, on a walk and they can carry them around while playing.

    I hope he starts eating better for you and sleeping too!

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