Thursday, April 19, 2007

Issues of the dietary kind

Yesterday C had his 18 month check up with the pediatrician. He's 32.5" tall (50th percentile wow!), but he weighed in at only 21.5 lbs (5th percentile boo), so the doc was concerned that his weight had gone down. I'm not sure if it's because he was a little sick last week or what, but I promise, we do feed him.

She told us that we were going about it all wrong and told us to make some feeding changes such as:
-give him three six ounce bottles instead of two 10 ounce bottles.
-better yet, get rid of the bottles and use sippy cups exclusively
-no snacks between meals
-he must eat meals together with the rest of the family (not realistic because R works late, I eat late, C eats early)
-do not puree his food (we puree it because he only has 8 teeth, so he's not the best chewer in the world, so he takes FOREVER to eat just one bite).
-put the food on his high chair tray and let him feed himself, even if he makes a mess (not realistic, he usually throws the food, or ignores it completely).
-do not force him to eat, let him eat whatever he wants

In theory these things sound wonderful and dandy, but in practice it's another story. I don't see how he's going to eat more food with these changes. Perhaps if he has less milk and no snacks it will make him more hungry for meal times, but as far as letting him feed himself, all the food will end up in his hair, on the floor, or on his shirt. Whereas if we puree it, he generally eats it all and it only takes about 30 minutes to feed him. The downside of that is that it is usually a battle to get him to eat it all. From the first bite, he starts to nod his head no and closing his mouth real tight, before he's even tried it. We usually have to pile up about a million toys on his high chair to distract him enough to sneak the food in his mouth. Sometimes, that doesn't even work and I tend to lose my patience and let's just say, I hate meal time.

I told the Dr. that I would try to do what she said, but that I would come back in two weeks and have him weighed again to make sure he's not losing even more weight.

Tonight was my first attempt at "Operation feed yourself".

I put the (un-pureed) food on his tray, he started nodding no. I tried to keep a positive attitude the whole time and not lose my patience with him. I pretended like I didn't care whether he ate it or threw it. He ignored the food. I ended up having to feed him myself with the spoon. Once in a while he would pick something from the tray and eat it; that's a start I guess. He spit out the fish and the potatoes (see, if it's pureed, it's mixed in all together so he can't pull this little stunt). He only wanted to eat the pasta, so I had to hide the fish and potatoes under the noodles and feed him with the spoon. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. He also didn't want the pears (he usually loves his pureed fruit no matter what it is). The good thing is that he ate 80% of the food, the bad thing is that it took over an hour. OVER AN HOUR! He did eat some of the food on his own off of the tray, but for the most part I had to feed him with the spoon because he didn't really care enough about it to feed himself.

I hate to compare, but I see other kids his age eating and they practically devour their food as if they haven't eaten in days. Chris looks at it and couldn't care less...bleh. I really don't know what to do anymore. What can I feed him that has lots of calories and will help him put some weight on? Does what the dr says make sense? What did/do you do with your toddler?

Anyway, speaking of food here are some pictures from the picnic last Sunday. He didn't go in the bounce house, but he did have a great time playing in the sand box and was fascinated by the trees.

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Blogger AmandaDufau said...

you are right, all kids are different. It can take a while for them to catch on to dinner time, esp. when they are just now really exploring the world around them, what with being mobile and all.
I agree with your doctor, even if it takes an hour, you have to let him try to feed himself, and not puree the food. Not only will he learn about different foods, and their tastes, he will not be afraid of foods that don't look like mush. Don't get me wrong, I loved the mush as a child, and you know me, I'll eat practically everthing, but Brandon hardly ever ate pureed foods, and he'll pretty much eat anything too (except, ironically, pureed foods).
I would suggest, if you're going to let him feed himself, not to use the baby food jars, that's an obvious mess, use foods like noodles with no sauce, and meat cut up in teeny pieces, etc...
Let me know how it goes. I know it's tough, but it's part of the whole parenting gig. It's just one of those things you gotta do! =)
Oh, yeah, and invest in those vinyl thingies they sell at BRU for under the high chair. It will be less of a headache to clean up afterwards.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous elizasmom said...

Maybe he's just a kid who tends to be on the thin side, do they make any allowances for that?

I fully understand how irritating it can be to have a doctor issuing orders from on high.

That said, We've just had a very interesting experience dealing with a different but not unrealated food issue, which I offer here to suggest that they may be right about the snacking thing.

Eliza is a picky eater and is mainly interested in carbs and sweet things. Proteins are apparently for chumps. We would always give her pretty big snacks thinking, well, she eats so little at meal times... One of my co-workers kind of helped me look at it another way: maybe she eats so little at mealtimes because she snacks so much.

Huge difference nearly immediately. I'm not saying she's eating foie gras or sushi, but since we cut back on the snacks (she gets a box of raisins or a couple of animals crackers at most now) she will at least try, if not eat, everything on her plate. I've gotten her to try lentil soup and broccoli soup, discovered she LOVES sauteed carrots, she eats cantaloup and honeydew melon by the bucket, and she will reliably eat or at least try chicken and sausage.

Every kid's different, and who knows if it would make a difference for you, but I was surprised to see how it worked for us. Unintended bonus: she actually sits and eats with us, instead of shouting to get down and go play after 5 minutes at the table.

Good luck!

10:21 PM  

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