My child is underweight - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-13-2008, 10:05 AM
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So, I went to the doctor for Ares' one year check up. He weighs 19lbs, and the doctor says he is underweight. I really don't understand. Ares has chubby baby cheeks, chunky little legs and his fingers are also very plump. He doesn't look underweight to me at all.



I'm wondering how everyone elses child measured up at their 1 year exam. Could it possibly be that I'm lacking something in his diet? He's eating mostly vegetarian right now, his dad has been giving him tiny bits of fish and poultry after the doctor complained about his weight. This doesn't seem to be fattening him up though.



This is typically what Ares' eats in a day:



Breakfast: 1 Yo-Yo baby yogurt drink, 1 egg scrambled, 1 piece of toast w/ vegan margarine, half an orange

Snack: 6 oz milk, a few crackers or a sandwich cookie, chopped veggies

Lunch: 6 oz milk, half a sandwich, other half of his orange, chips (usually Cheetos or something equally gross), some sort of cut up veg (favors broccoli)

Dinner: 6 oz milk, whatever the family is having, smaller portions. Last night it was fast food. He had a grilled cheese sandwich and some french fries. Not exactly healthy, but not exactly what we eat every night.

Before bed: 6 oz milk
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#2 Old 03-13-2008, 10:30 AM
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seems to me that he's eating quite a bit, and i'm not sure how meat will necessarily help him put on weight.



is the milk that he's having breastmilk, whole milk, or just 2%/skim? because i would go for whole milk, possibly a milk-based formula (which i would make myself), or breastmilk (if you still make it, you can pump it and serve it if you'd prefer not to breastfeed).



and, i wouldn't worry too much if he doesn't have any "failure to thrive" symptoms. sometimes, a doctor may say "underweight" to indicate that he's below average for his age group, and not mean it as a medical diagnosis in any way. sometimes, they use it to coerce/scare someone into doing something that they want (such as introducing meat into the diet). sometimes, it's a real diagnosis indicating that the child needs something more.



overall, the diet seems pretty low in fat for a baby diet--so you might consider adding in good fats like avocados and such. but otherwise, it looks good to me.
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#3 Old 03-13-2008, 01:42 PM
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You haven't given his height, but working on just his weight he is around the 5th percentile for weight. This may be completely normal for him - if he's otherwise healthy then there's probably nothing to worry about. My elder daughter (prem baby) has never gone over the 3rd %ile even though she's around 50th %ile for height - making her even skinnier. She's healthy and I don't worry. If Ares has lots of energy and has hit all the developmental milestones at around the right times, ignore the number on the scale. Especially if you and his father tend to be lighter.



If you want more information about the sorts of food that are healthy, have a look at Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start



I definitely would not add more concentrated sources of fat or protein to Ares' diet. Even leaving out the dinner as you say it was atypical, he's got around 45% of his calories from fat (mostly animal fat) and at 40+ grams, more than an adult's requirement for protein (mostly animal protein). You could consider switching the animal fat to vegetable fat, but don't just add the avocadoes or nuts on top of what he's already getting.



You probably need to know that my perspective is based on being a dietary vegan for health. So I'm going to be naturally more prejudiced against the milk, eggs and cheese that you're feeding him. :-) I made completely opposite choices than you with my kids - they are allowed some meat (a few times a week) but never ever any dairy. Just thought I should let you know where I was coming from so you could feel free to take my comments with as much salt as you like!!



Oh, and another thing - they revised all those growth charts to reflect the fact that we're fatter from children than we used to be. They reflect actual weight distribution and that has little to do with what weights are healthy. I believe there are several pounds' difference between the older ones and the current, which would have put Ares right in the middle.
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#4 Old 03-14-2008, 07:49 AM
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I was digging around for his papers from his doctor's visit, and he actually didn't give me a height/weight chart like he usually does. I'll have to find a tape measure or something to get his height.



He's been drinking organic whole milk since he was about 11 months old along with formula that he had left over. He is out of formula now, so he's just been having the organic whole milk. I was going to start introducing soy milk because no one else in the house hold drinks milk.



I was thinking the same thing though. He may be "underweight" because today American's are a lot larger than we used to be. My mom said I was Ares' size/height when I was a year old, and the doctor never once said I was underweight.



I'm just worried because he was talking about possibly giving Ares' pills so he would be the correct size for his age. Maybe I should shop around for a new doctor that is OK with me feeding my child a vegetarian diet?
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#5 Old 03-14-2008, 08:28 AM
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The "average" weight for a one year old used to be 20lbs....so I find it hard to believe that 19 lbs. is under weight. My son was about 26 lbs. at a year, but he was still being breastfed, and he was tall. He was also being fed (all organic) whole milk products, eggs and almond butter.

One thing about my son (and me) is that we are solid, but thin. Meaning, I look like I weigh about 115 lbs, but I actually weigh 130. My son is a bean stalk, even with a "slim" waist band, we still need to use the adjusters to tighten it. He is 46" and 46 lbs. He looks as though he would be a feather, but he is a heavy little kid when you pick him up.

I really wouldn't worry at this point. 19lbs. at a year is fine. If he was 18-24 months, then I might start worrying a little. My friend's DD is a teensy little girl. My 11 month old DD is almost as tall as her 2 year old. Their weight is almost the same as well!! Mom is petite, both kids are petite, the doctor has made no indication that her child is anything other than healthy.

The only thing I would say, is to omit things like cheetos, sandwich cookies and french fries from your baby's diet, and replace them with things like string cheese, fruit (many restaurants will sub fruit for fries), cottage cheese, avocado, whole grain bread with a little agave nectar or fruit spread...maybe some almond or cashew butter. I'm telling you, feeding your LO junky food this young, is going to set you up for the frustration of your life. I waited until my son was a few years old before I allowed the junky stuff, and it's all he wants to eat now (at 5). It's a struggle every single day....and I don't even buy junk food!!! I'm holding off MUCH longer with my DD, if I can.

Don't stress...hang in there!
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#6 Old 03-14-2008, 11:14 AM
 
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What do you and Ares' dad look like? Are you naturally thin? 19 lbs in on the low end of the charts, sure, but if he looks fine and is otherwise healthy, I wouldn't stress.




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#7 Old 03-15-2008, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
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What do you and Ares' dad look like? Are you naturally thin? 19 lbs in on the low end of the charts, sure, but if he looks fine and is otherwise healthy, I wouldn't stress.






We're both fairly thin. I weighed 95lbs at 5'3 until I became pregnant with Ares, now I'm at 115lbs. His dad is 5'9 and weighs 140lbs.



The sandwich cookies we are giving him aren't terrible. They are organic/vegan "oreo" type things. He gets those maybe twice a week. The cheetoes, I know those need to stop though. It was an accidental thing he even had some. Now, he's hooked and everytime he sees a bag of cheetoes he grabs for it. The french fries are a very rare thing. If we eat out at someplace that substitutes fruit, we do that instead. The local diner in town doesn't even have fruit on the menu lol. Usually his dad ends up eating a good portion of his fries. He has maybe 5 fries cut into small pieces.



We stocked up on some healthier high fat snack foods when we went shopping last night. I got some yogurt covered raisins, cheese chunks and a few other things.



I don't know how concerned I should actually be because my doctor hasn't said anything like "you need to feed him THIS way" or "fatten that kid up!" He didn't even schedule him to come in ahead of time because of his weight. He's still just going in for his shots.



He's a really tall kid, so he's in 18 MO clothing, the pants just don't fit around the waist very well unless they are stretchy. I've mostly been buying him one piece outfits that are shorts/shirts built on together because his waist is even too small for the 12 MO clothing, but he's tall. Do they make baby belts?
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#8 Old 03-15-2008, 04:00 PM
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Do they make baby belts?



I haven't seen any, but you can make them easy. You can use thin neck ties, wide grosgrain ribbon, or wide shoe lace fabric. Then, you go to the fabric store and find the 'D' rings or belt clasps. Cut your belt material to correct length, then loop the material into the chosen clasp, sew...voila!
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#9 Old 03-15-2008, 06:55 PM
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My kids all fell within the 5th percentile when they were 9 - 36 months.... I knew they were eating healthy. I also knew their father and I are both BIG, TALL people. Big bones, big frame, big hands, big feet... (no, not just *heavy*).



So I relaxed, laughed at the Doctors, and said they would be ahead of the charts in no time... My point is that sometimes you have to trust your gut. Dr.'s are knowledgable, sure, but they don't always know (or have time to know or remember) the WHOLE story.



It sounds like you and your husband are on the smaller-framed side and your child's growth pattern is reflecting that. I would relax and not worry, you're feeding your son perfectly healthy food and as long as the Dr. isn't in a panic about malnutrition or not seeing any pregression in growth, then you're fine.
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#10 Old 03-15-2008, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Fritemare View Post

He's eating mostly vegetarian right now, his dad has been giving him tiny bits of fish and poultry after the doctor complained about his weight. This doesn't seem to be fattening him up though.



Why would you expect it to? For the most part, calories are calories, whatever their source.

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#11 Old 03-15-2008, 10:10 PM
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hmm. i thought i put in a bit more about this.



first, considering that both parents are "ectomorphs" i'm less likely to be concerned about this situation. so, you'll have to ask yourself (your spirit) about that--tofu-n-sprouts style.



second, if you do think he needs a bit more, then consider changing out one of his milks for formula. it's a bit more "stick to the ribs" and so it might help for the next weigh in. if you want to switch to a non-animal milk, i suggest a good, fatty one like almond milk (more fat than rice, oat, soy). fortified almond milk would probably be a good idea.



another option is to consider poi. poi is a fermented hawaiian food (fermented taro root), and is used in the culture as a form of formula. i believe that taro dream can ship it to you, and it's pretty amazing stuff. you could switch out one of the milks for this, or just use it as a regular food and take out something else (as it seems he gets enough to be satisfied). it's also great for adults, so you might find the whole family get addicted (it's about the consistency of yogurt)!
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#12 Old 03-16-2008, 12:39 PM
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My husband and I are both smaller people and our son is small too. We have only been veg for five years and my son is twelve. Even before we went veg he was "underweight". When we made the decision to go veg we took him to a nutritionist who gave us great ideas about how to do it well. Kids needs are very different from ours.

Keep in mind that the little chart that they use judges your child in comparison to other peoples children. Most of our population is overweight. They make us look unhealthy skinny when we are actually the healthy ones.
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#13 Old 03-16-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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wrt the charts though, most infants are not overweight/obese, so it's not necessarily that the charts are bad. It's just that you have to look at the whole picture.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#14 Old 03-18-2008, 03:48 PM
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wrt the charts though, most infants are not overweight/obese, so it's not necessarily that the charts are bad. It's just that you have to look at the whole picture.









Ares seems to be eating a pretty healthy diet, so I wouldn't worry too much. There is a HUGE range of "normal", and if you and your hubby are naturally thin, it's not too odd that he is too.
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#15 Old 03-26-2008, 11:46 AM
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At 19lbs, your kid is NOT underweight. My daughter is underweight... She's a year old and barely 15 pounds. She's very lean and not very tall. She was born very tiny and at full term, it usually takes the little ones a while to catch up. I have to say 19 pounds seem HUGE to me!



Fritemar, your son eats tons more than my daughter does. He's just fine.



Don't let the doctors screw with your head. If you think he's eating good and he's healthy, don't worry about it.



Kids get so active by 1 year old, they burn off a lot, just keep giving him those calories to burn, his body will keep growing just fine.



And what's up with these charts making us all feel guilty about "what percentile my baby is in" anyway????? Screw it, just feed your kid and be happy.
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#16 Old 03-27-2008, 02:04 PM
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I wouldn't worry at all about it either...

My son was 18 lbs at 1 year old - he was fine.

He had a big appetite and a high energy level, still does!

Doctor wasn't worried a bit, Son was healthy - so no prob.
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#17 Old 03-27-2008, 03:02 PM
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My granddaughter weighs 18 lbs (28 inches) now at just over a year. Her doctor isn't concerned about it since she is progressing normally in other areas. She was small when she was born and has been gaining weight at a normal rate since then so he said she's fine.

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#18 Old 03-28-2008, 11:27 AM
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Yeah, after talking to some of the other ladies in our homeschool co-op and reading some of the comments you guys posted, I realize I may need to shop around for a new pediatrician. A lady named Sylvia in the group and I started to talk because Ares is just a few months younger than her daughter. Her daughter weighed 20lbs at her 1 year check up, and now weighs about 25lbs. Another lady pointed out that her son was 18lbs at his 1 year. Neither one of them gives their children any junk type foods or a lot of processed foods. I think those charts must be going on people that live a lifestyle of eating out constantly and not eating very healthy around the home. After looking at her child any mine, I can't imagine a child being so much larger at their 1 year check up and being healthy unless they were a lot taller.
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#19 Old 04-01-2008, 01:10 PM
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My son weighed 24.5 pounds at his 9 month checkup, and he's Vegan. But he's also 33 inches tall and his head size is in the 99th percentile. The point is, he's a big kid, but he's proportional (he's not fat, BTW). If your kid is proportional, is gaining weight, has plenty of energy and seems otherwise healthy, I wouldn't worry about it.



You might tell dad that flesh isn't going to fatten up your kid, but the nasty bugs like Listeria and E Coli in flesh might make Ares sick. My baby gets all the fat he needs from avocados, beans, occasional plain organic soy yogurt (no history of food allergies in my family, and no sign of food sensitivity in any of the 25+ foods he is currently eating) and from breast milk.
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#20 Old 04-03-2008, 07:51 AM
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Kelsey is 13 months and 21 pounds. She was also almost 10 pounds at birth. Each baby is different! My neice is 13 months and 18 lbs. I wouldn't worry. He's just going to be smaller. If he's meeting all his developmental milestones and happy don't sweat it!
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#21 Old 04-03-2008, 05:04 PM
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I just looked at the weight chart I have and for males at one year of age he is still on the chart. Its the bottom of the chart but hes on there. My daughter was in the 3% at her last appointment and the doc said she wasn't concerned at all.
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#22 Old 04-03-2008, 08:26 PM
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I am a Public Health Nutritionist and plot infants and children on these charts all day. One side of the chart has a weight section and a height section, both based on "the norm." On the other side of the chart there is a section based only on your child. it estimates your childs weight for lenth, basicaly it lets you know if your child is proportionate. so if your child plots at the 5th percentile for weight and the 5th percentile for height, your MD may tell you your child is underweight and short stature "for age." however, your child's weight for lenth will be at/around the 50th percentile, which means they are perfectly proportione but may be shorter than kids thier own age. hope that makes sense. from my experience in dealing with MD's they really have no clue when it comes to nutrition. it makes me very angry. next time the MD tells any of you that your child is underweight, ask about thier height percentile, chances are they are fine.
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#23 Old 06-06-2013, 08:42 PM
 
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Hi there. I feel your concern but not to worry. I just came from my daughter's wellness visit. She is just two weeks shy of being one. She weighed just under 17 lb. She is breastfed, vegetarian and just plain little. I do not feed her any foods with corn syrup, sugar, high fructose corn syrup or anything with artificial additives. She only eats organic veggies and loves them!

The charts they are using to compare babies are based on the "American Diet". If more than half of the babies were overweight or worst, obese, wouldn't it make since that yours is "underweight"? What does that mean in today's American standards anyway? I bet you in other countries your baby or mine would not be considered underweight. I'll bet cha!

 

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#24 Old 06-07-2013, 06:31 AM
 
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My little girl is almost a year old. Her head and weight are in the 2nd percentile and her length is in the 25-50th percentile, according to her 9 month check.

My pediatrician said as long as she's reaching her milestones we don't need to worry.

She's not a big eater and has never had meat (and has a dairy allergy.)
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#25 Old 06-07-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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The problem is not that we all seem to have "small" or "underweight" babies, but that we live in a culture where people seem to be proud of or not really understand the implications of having larger babies. Most of those babies will grow up to be large adults with many health-related issues and conditions. It is crazy to know that baby food companies, such as Gerber, puts corn syrup in BABY FOOD!!! Ok, so let's get them addicted right from the start so we can create a drug-dependent society. Do yourselves and your babies a favour and stay away from any type of corn syrup or sugar for that matter. It won't be long before sugar finally gets classified as a drug. Peace.

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#26 Old 06-07-2013, 12:58 PM
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Try plotting his measurements on the WHO (world health organization) growth charts. You are right that our charts are slightly inflated. I have a friend who was just told this at her son's 1 year check up. He was only 18 lbs 11 oz and 28 1/2 inches. Doctor told her to give pediasure (she's still nursing!) because he was underweight, only about the 5% for his age. When I showed her the WHO growth charts, he was actually between the 25th and 50th percentile. And he's chubby! 19lbs at a year is on the smaller side but it's not like ZOMG failure to thrive!!! And since you and dad are smaller...he's going to be too. My friend and her husband are small people.
 

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#27 Old 06-09-2013, 10:59 AM
 
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I think you should consider switching doctors. I know that may sound somewhat extreme, but if your doctor knows you are vegetarians or vegans or whatever, they may be biased against you. This happened to me. My first 2 kids were off-the-charts tall, and by the time they were almost one, they were both over 20 lbs. My son weighed 26lbs at 17 months old, but he caught a stomach virus that month and lost a pound (documented at this same dr's office), so that when we went in for his 18 month check-up and he weighed 25.5lbs, the doctor tried to diagnose him as FAILING TO THRIVE. Which was ridiculous and I fought him about it. Though later when I thought about it, I remembered that he had diagnosed my daughter as Failing to Thrive at 18 mos because she had not gained weight since one (she was walking and running and meeting all motor and intellectual milestones and my husband is 6'3" and weighs 145), but I was young and a first-time-mom then and I didn't know enough to disagree. We were lacto-ovo then and that doctor instructed me to give her sippy cups of milk all the time, and make it chocolate or strawberry flavored to make her want to drink it all the time. She gained 2lbs in a month.... and then he said we needed to watch her weight because she was getting "fat". WTF

Anyway, we switched doctors over an entirely unrelated debacle and when my younger son was born full term, but pretty small, and weighed only 18-19lbs at 1 (heck he's almost 3 and definitely weighs less than 30lbs.), the new doctor said he was fine and healthy and "some babies are just smaller than others.. not every baby is meant to be enormous".

So, sorry for the novel, but like I said, you may want to look into switching.

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#28 Old 07-07-2013, 02:13 PM
 
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We had this problem with my brother as an omni child(7 years younger). He's still pretty thin in highxhool even though he puts down the chow! Maybe your feeding your child too healthy? Let them "pig out" every now and then; veggie corn dogs. Full fat things like ice cream, French fries; all those horrible things kids love. Don't get me wrong I think it's awesome that your raising your kid to be a healthy happy adult; I don't think parents should let their kids become overweight so early on. But if you are worried, probably not a bad idea.
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#29 Old 07-07-2013, 02:17 PM
 
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Also, any digestive issues? Could be the culprit, many kids(luckily I wasn't one but my bfs entire family is) lactose intolerant. Nothing will cause you to lose weight like diarreah.
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#30 Old 06-20-2014, 10:38 PM
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My 20 month old daughter is considered under weight as she is not gaining any weight since 14 months old. I'm worried.

Doctor says soy... is NOT milk. 0o0

But she eats quite a lot: bread, cakes, biscuits, noodles...

Read some suggestions here. I hope it works. I'm gonna try giving her some junk foods and some chocolate/strawberry flavoured milk. Time to change our formula milk's brand too...
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