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Archive for October, 2010

Here’s the Skinny

Milo is a long, skinny baby.  He is currently 10 1/2 months old and he weighs just under 16 pounds.  He’s fallen off the growth charts.  Granted, these growth charts are predominantly Caucasian babies and Milo is half Asian.  (Asian and Latino babies tend to be smaller than Caucasian babies.)  Still, the low weight is a little disconcerting.  It’s not like he doesn’t get enough food.  In fact, he eats about 1000 calories per day in solids, plus 4-6 feedings of breastmilk.

Our pediatrician is not too concerned at the moment, as long as there is an upward trend in Milo’s weight gain, however small that might be.  Also, he is on the chart in height–currently 27 inches.  We do note that Milo is an extremely active baby and always has been.  He is constantly moving, crawling, climbing, bouncing.  Our pediatrician thinks this could account for the slow weight gain–he’s just burning off the calories faster than we can feed him.

Both grandmas think we should be spoon-feeding Milo to get more down him (see previous post on Baby Led Weaning), but we are quite confident this is not the problem.  Milo has a friend, born on the exact same day, who is also feeding himself by Baby Led Weaning and he weighs over 20 pounds.

At this point, Milo refuses to be fed by the spoon anyway.  But he still eats plenty.  A typical lunch includes the following:

Milo stuffing his face with carnitas

  • 2 slices of pear with soy butter   (188 calories)
  • 2 pieces of roast beef   (100 calories)
  • 6 chunks of sweet potato  (100 calories)
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk yogurt  (85 calories)
  • 2 slices of cantaloupe  (35 calories)
  • 4 tablespoons hummus with pita bread  (150 calories)

TOTAL  = 658 calories

That’s a big meal!

Still, because of Milo’s high metabolism, we’ve been charged with trying to feed him even more calories.  In particular, more fat.  So now we pour olive oil into his vegetables and dunk his fruit into yogurt mixed with coconut milk.  We fry up his sweet potatoes in bacon fat.  We slather butter onto his bread.  It’s a totally different diet from one we might consider “healthy.”

I’m not entirely sure the added fat will make a difference, as I note Milo eating a little less when we make his food richer.  It makes sense.  He’s used to self-regulating his food intake, so he stops when he’s satisfied.  He’s not waking up hungry every hour at night (he feeds 1-2 times at night), so that would seem to indicate he’s getting enough food and calories during the day.

Hubby and I argued over the addition of sugar to Milo’s diet.  Hubby thinks allowing some sugar would get additional calories into him.  I have been adamant about avoiding sugar.  To me, it is critical that we instill healthy eating habits in Milo early.  His palate is very sensitive at this age.  He already gets plenty of natural sugars from fruit.  Refined sugar would be like crack to a baby.

But after one discouraging weigh-in (he gained only 1/2 ounce in a week), I relented and agreed to let Hubby try some added sugar.  We went to the health food store and got some “all natural” fig newtons and some organic whole milk ice cream.  Milo seemed to take to the fig newtons fairly well and now he eats maybe two a day (for a total of 140 calories).  Hubby was particularly excited about the ice cream, loaded with both calories and fat (and sugar).

One afternoon, when I was out, Hubby fed the ice cream to Milo.  Evidently, Milo liked it a lot.  He ate spoonful after spoonful and Hubby felt quite good about feeding all those calories to his skinny baby to fatten him up.  Until about 30 minutes later.  Milo, usually fairly mellow and even-tempered, started rooting manically on Daddy’s knee.  Rooting is a combination of sucking, slobbering, and shaking his head, searching for something with his mouth.  As a newborn, Milo would root for my nipple in order to nurse.  Rooting on Daddy’s knee was an entirely futile exercise, but under the influence of ice cream, it was essential to his survival.  He was like a muppet on speed.

After this episode, Daddy agreed to lay off the ice cream.  Like crack to a baby.

Other than the weight issue, Milo is a perfectly healthy baby.  He’s meeting (and surpassing) all his developmental milestones.  Our pediatrician is not too concerned.  She doesn’t want us to freak out.  Milo could just be a small baby and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that.

I do find myself (and everyone around Milo) overly anxious about what my baby eats.  I’m sure Milo must sense this.  It is important to me that Milo develops healthy eating habits, but maybe this is more likely to happen if everyone around him just relaxes.  We’ll do our best to feed him healthy foods with his share of fats and calories.  He feeds himself quite well.  And even though he refuses to be fed by a spoon, I note with particular pride that he will–quite happily–eat off my chopsticks.

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