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Our Baby's Weight Gain Struggle (And Helpful Resources!)

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Our baby dropped from 50th percentile at birth to under 1 percentile by 1 year. If this is happening with your baby, please know that you are not alone! Read our story and see how we turned this around!

Pinnable image of how we helped our baby gain weight.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my disclosure.

From 50th percentile at birth to < 1%

Our son was born right smack in the 50th percentile for weight, length, and head circumference. We were elated that we gave birth to a perfectly healthy little boy. And I was grateful that he was not over 8 pounds, like the ultrasounds predicted. Because ouch.

Right from day 1 our baby was a great eater and I was a proud mama. Going to the doctor for his well visits was always an exciting day because I’d get to see how well he was growing.

Then around 3 months, our son started spitting up. A lot. (Read more about his story with reflux).

His weight gain slowed down, but he was still growing so we were not too concerned. He was now 23rd percentile for weight. Our doctor said to add some baby cereal to his milk, so we did that.

Our son kept growing, slowly, and reached 16 pounds by 7 months. Not bad. (10th percentile)

graph of baby's weight gain struggle

But then our son's weight gain completely stalled. He wasn’t too into solid food, and wasn’t drinking enough breastmilk to compensate. He still spit up a little, which didn’t help with keeping his precious calories in him. He started crawling everywhere nonstop and he was a super active baby. He would spend hours pulling himself up to stand and squatting. He’s definitely got mama’s strong legs.

On top of that, our son started going to daycare 2 days a week so that I could focus a little on my food blog Babaganosh. And of course he started getting colds from daycare, as expected.

The problem was that our son didn’t want to eat much for about a week every time he got a cold. So he would go through these cycles of gaining a half a pound between colds only to lose those hard-earned ounces again.

small baby swinging with mom

Just look at those skinny legs!

Right before his first birthday, we made the decision to pull him out of daycare. It was a tough decision because I needed some free time to not lose my sanity, and also because our son was always in such a good mood after daycare. He never cried there. The teachers adored him. And the best part – he ate more solid food in daycare than he did at home.

So our son stayed home with me full time, and during this time my sole focus was on feeding him. Through distractions and pressure tactics (I know, I know, this did backfire later) he gained 3 pounds from the time he was 12 months until he turned 15 months.

And then he totally stopped eating. At 15 months, he was 19 pounds (0.9 percentile). At 16 months, he was 19 pounds (0.5 percentile). It was stressful to see the numbers, it felt like my baby was dwindling and wasting away.

Failure to thrive

No parent wants to hear the words "Failure to Thrive" from their doctor.

Our son was a teeny tiny little thing, but thank goodness he was a happy little guy with lots of energy. When we went on vacation to Mexico City, a kid came up to us on the playground and said "chiquito pero peligroso" - small but dangerous. 🙂

Luckily our son's head circumference growth was still going strong, hovering around the 45th percentile. And he was on track for most developmental milestones. He walked early, at 10 months. He was a little behind on speaking but he was making good progress. You can't be the best at everything, right?

Just a side note about the growth charts. The percentiles I’ve been listing in this post are according to the CDC growth chart. Now, we know that Americans are larger than most people around the world. There is another growth chart from the World Health Organization (WHO) that has lower weight expectations for babies 0-2 years old. Doctors in the US are actually starting to use the WHO growth chart for tracking growth so as not to encourage childhood obesity.

Our son's ranking on the WHO growth chart was a bit better, so I sometimes used that to calculate his weight percentile, just to make myself feel better. I know, that makes no sense because it doesn’t change how much he actually weighs!!

Finally, a breakthrough

So anyway, here we are now, at just over 16 months. Our son had a breakthrough with eating recently thanks to a few changes we’ve implemented (keep reading for lot of helpful articles and tips!!) and I am excited and hopeful to track his growth further.

baby eating in a high chair

We’ll see how things go in the next few months! You can only take things one day at a time with a picky eater.

Here is a link to the CDC growth chart calculator and the WHO growth calculator. The website looks like it was built in 1992, but it works pretty well both on the computer and on your phone. Just be a little patient with it, it takes a few seconds to load.

Helpful picky eater resources that helped us:

What does your baby’s growth chart look like? Are there gains and plateaus? Do you see a pattern of when your baby gains weight and when your baby stops growing? Tell me all about it in a comment below!


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