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The State of My Boobs

07/22/2014

Belle

My sweet Bean having warm milk before her party got started.

My sweet Bean having warm milk before her party got started.

I really appreciate all the breast-feeding input you shared a few weeks back. I have mulled over it and slowly come to my own decision. Not societies decision. Not my parents decision. Not my friends’ decision.

I will continue nursing Sabine. Right now we are going through a period of extreme pickiness. She had been such and adventurous eater and was doing GREAT and then something changed and she went on a hunger strike. Currently she is eating very little solid food and instead has upped her day-time nursing. When she does eat she wants it to be noodles or bread. No eggs. No veggie burgers. No broccoli. None of her regular favorites will do.

It is insanely frustrating because Sabine is small. Like really small. Like everyone who meets her thinks she is 6 months old. At 12 months Sabine weighs 16 pounds and is 26.5 inches long. I just looked at a growth chart and I guess my doctor is still looking at a breast-fed baby chart because according to the CDC she is way off the charts in weight and only at 3% for height.

I guess this leads into a major concern I have – is something wrong with my kid? All her friends are passing her up left and right in size and milestones and here is my 12 month old – crawling around like a baby, looking like a baby, being mistaken for a baby. Our doctor is very hands-off and says Sabine is just fine but now I’m starting to worry. Is she just fine? Add in the recent hunger strike and I just don’t know what to think.

She will not drink cows milk. She refuses all puree. No smoothies. No yogurt. I would give her formula but she won’t take it. So I’m sticking with nursing. Right now these little milk makers are the only thing keeping her going and I just can’t take them away. In time, when she catches up in size a bit and is less of a picky eater/drinker I will start weaning her down to only nursing at home but for right now and the immediate future we are sticking with it.

Any of you lovely ladies have experience with a really tiny toddler? Any ideas on how to get her back to her solid foods? Tonight we had dinner in front of Baby Einstein, which is something I am avidly against and she ate a little more (3/4 of a veggie burger). Other than watching TV during meals I am out of ideas, though. I’d welcome some new tips and/or enticing toddler recipes!

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  1. July 22, 2014

    Have you ever tried egg banana pancakes? You can google recipes, but it’s basically just egg blended w/ banana (I used an immersion blender) and cooked like a pancake. My boys loved them at that age when they weren’t too into eggs yet. It probably won’t be the magic fix all, but maybe worth a try…Also I use to feed them sour cream occasionally when I worried they weren’t eating enough, it’s certainly full of calories!

  2. July 22, 2014

    I don’t have any great advice, but having read your blog and seen her adorable pictures it seems like she’s doing great. My pediatrician did say to expect them to eat a bit less as they become toddlers, so I think that’s normal.

    • Shinara #
      July 23, 2014

      You are a lover of toast. So is she! I would not worry too much. She looks happy and healthy. Plus, we all come in different sizes…small, medium, and large. So what if she’s small. I am having the opposite issue. My boy came out looking like a boy, hair and all. So, what?!? As long as our little ones are healthy and happy, that’s good.

  3. July 22, 2014

    Sabine looks great, and is such an active baby. Reg. food, is she teething? Babies go on a hunger strike when they teethe. My dr. asks me to not look at thr chart but rather see if the baby is maintaining the curve. If yes, then there is nothing to worry. Try feeding Sabine outside the house( in the park or some place) to distract her. I share your sentiment of not eating while watching tv.

  4. July 22, 2014

    I don’t have any great advice because I am a first time mom, but two cousins of mine had very small, off the chart for weight, one year olds. They both did testing and nothing was wrong with their babies. Both families were offering and feeding their babies what they themselves are, which was a very healthy, low carb low fat diet. In the end, both concluded that that they needed to purchase and offer higher cal, fat and carb foods for their kiddos. Their kids are still on the smaller side but I think they found it helped. I have no idea what your diet is like or if this could be the case for you, but I thought I would share. They were worried, like you, that something was wrong, and it all got better with full- fat cheese. Lol.

    • Shinara #
      July 23, 2014

      Oh, Yes!!! Babies and children need whole milk, full fat, etc. in order to feed their growing nervous system.

  5. July 22, 2014

    I think it is great that you are continuing to breast feed. It is a very personal decision and I definitely agree that she needs it right now!! I hope her hunger strike will end soon and she will get back to enjoying solids.

  6. July 22, 2014

    I’ve also heard that you shouldn’t look at the chart or compare to other babies, but consider whether she is following the curve. I think that’s the most important thing. Also, even though other babies may be passing her on their milestones, is Sabine still within the “normal” range? Certainly, it’s okay if she’s not walking yet! And is she continuing to move forward in one way or another, to learn new things? That’s what really matters (or so I’ve been told).

    If it makes you feel any better, Skittle is a BIG baby (off the charts, too, but in the other direction) and her doctor IS concerned that she’s “behind” on some of her milestones. Nine months old, not crawling, or pulling to stand, or using her pincer grasp. I’m not concerned, though (not really anyways). I’ve been here before and know that all babies are different and most of the things I worry about usually don’t come to pass. We’ll have her evaluated just in case, but I think everything will be fine.

    All of this, just to say: Sabine looks really healthy to me, even if she is small, but maybe getting a second opinion wouldn’t hurt? Not because I think there is anything to worry about, but because I know that peace of mind is worth a whole lot as a mother.

    • July 23, 2014

      Just a heads up that new guidelines recently came out for pediatrics and crawling is NOT a developmental milestone at all anymore — seems that a lot of babies just end up going straight to standing/walking instead. And they often don’t do that until 18 months anyway. So no worries!

  7. July 22, 2014

    She looks good. My son was born 5 weeks early but is almost 16 months, and he is not even 19 pounds yet. He’s almost always less than the 3rd percentile even for his corrected age, but thankfully his pediatrician has never made us feel like something is wrong, and never advised us to switch from breast milk to formula as I hear many others do. I’m sure she’s fine. Just petite.

  8. July 22, 2014

    My son is a stringbean — 8th% for weight, and everyone always comments on how “small” he is. I have a bit of a complex about it. I agree with other posters, Sabine looks happy and healthy to me. My husband is always quick to point out averages only exist when you factor in the smalls and the larges, and someone has got to be the little guy!

  9. Elizabeth #
    July 22, 2014

    My son is 16 months old now and we called him “skinny chicken” for many months. He only recently (at his 15 month checkup) looked “good” on the chart.
    He was also a “late” walker (only recently started walking full time) and still isn’t saying any words. But, he’s fine and healthy and doing perfectly well. I worry occasionally, just like I did when he was so tiny (barely 16 pounds at his 12 month checkup), but overall I’ve learned to relax. As far as breastfeeding goes, I say follow her lead. Breastfeed on!! :-)

  10. July 23, 2014

    Well I think you know I have experience here…Dylan was 17 lbs and 27.5 inches. My pediatrician’s mantra is to make every bite count which means added butter, oils, etc. Dylan wouldn’t suck through a straw until recently, but hopefully eventually Sabine will like smoothies since you can pack them full of calories. Have you done peanut butter yet? Is she drinking anything (water) out of a cup? Have you tried different types, sippy, straw, etc.?

    I think her weight should be something you pay a lot of attention to, but don’t immediately freak out! Is she meeting other milestones like sitting, crawling? Does she babble?

    Our current goal is 20lbs by 2…we are at 19.5 now and have 3 months left so I’m hoping we make it! If you want to talk in my detail, you know where to find me!

  11. Jay #
    July 23, 2014

    Have you tried goat’s milk with her? It is MUCH easier to digest than cows milk, and has unexpected benefits (cow milk seems to hinder iron absorption,while goat milk does not). I cant BF my daughter since I had her via surrogacy, and I really LOATHE the composition of commercial formulas, so I came up with a home-made goat milk formula that incorporates as many of the goodies in breast milk as possible (lactose, lauric acid via extra virgin coconut oil, DHA, an ARA precursor, a very good probiotic), and one of the rather astonishing things here is the speed of height and weight gain. When I read the reviews on the Myenberg goat milk on Amazon, the one thing I see reported often is also a rapid packing on of the pounds in children who previously were not doing so very well in this department. See http://www.amazon.com/Meyenberg-Whole-Powdered-Vitamin-12-Ounce/dp/B001E5DZTS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406098437&sr=8-1&keywords=myenberg

  12. Mo #
    July 23, 2014

    I’m not even going to attempt assvice regarding food because Sabine is WAAAY different than Bunny on that front.
    But I will say that Bunny is TINY. She was a terrible eater because of her reflux, and she still hasn’t made up for it. She’s almost 11 months and people don’t give her more than six on most days.
    I stopped comparing Bunny to other kids months ago, and it was the best thing I ever did. Each kid gets there in the end. If she’s been to see a doctor lately then you really have nothing to worry about. If there were any red flags a ped would have seen it.
    As for the eating strike – I think it just happens sometimes that kids have a bit of a regression. Give it a bit, and try again. It could be a particularly nasty tooth coming in that’s killing her appetite, or maybe a virus that’s just making her tummy upset.

    If I were to venture a bit of assvice, I would consider actually laying off the boob. Taking away that resource may encourage bean to go back to exploring other sources of nourishment.
    Though of course – only if you’ve got a way to keep her hydrated.

  13. July 23, 2014

    A chart is a chart, it’s just a guiding tool for the professionals so they know when to get worried if at all. Sabine looks perfect to me a healthy happy little girl xxx

  14. July 23, 2014

    I have a lot of thoughts here, I’ll try to keep them brief!

    You said Sabine is crawling – that’s normal! Bryson is 13 months old and has taken ONE step on his own. ONE. Not count-worthy. Ha! Matthew was walking full-time at 11 months, so of course this should bother me. But it does not. They’re all different and Bryson is still within normal for walking. Is she cruising along things? As long as she’s doing new things “regularly” in regards to mobility, my doctor would not be concerned. Sounds like yours isn’t either, and believe me, that’s good! Too many docs get hung up on “normal.”

    Food is tricky. My kids are excellent eaters, like Sabine, but go through strikes. Bryson does this when sick or teething. When he does it, I nurse more like you, and just let him eat what he likes. He loves steamed zucchini and will eat it until the cows come home, so I just keep making it. He is teething now and wont drink cows milk unless it’s his brothers. Truly. Whatever. I just keep on nursing!

    You just nurse that baby as long as you want! There’s no rush to wean. She’s only 1! Of course, if you want to, then do – but there’s nothing abnormal about still nursing her now. I have no idea when I’ll stop – he just really likes it and it doesn’t bother me. So we keep doing it.

    Have you tried the pureed food pouches? I make my own but also buy organic ones. My kids (yes, Matthew too!) love them and they’re fun. Bryson knows how to do it without making a mess, so I just pop the top and give him one. He won’t eat the same applesauce by spoon, but does in the pouch. Worth a try. Infantino makes the pouch maker (fresh press?) if you want to make your own.

    Don’t freak out here… Sabine eats lots of grains. Has anyone talked about testing her for Celiac? My niece started showing signs at 11-12 months but no one caught on (she had a near-death experience that landed her in a coma for 6 weeks which was then subsequently blamed for her small size). For 2 years no one considered celiac but then did, and it’s very serious but now well-managed. It stunted her growth severely, so I’d suggest asking for a screening as soon as they can do it. If nothing else, rule it out.

    Don’t stress. You have a relaxed doc and you’re lucky there! Just keep trying different things with food, and ask when they can medically rule out celiac. Sabine is doing great! She’s just small. There’s nothing wrong with small!

  15. July 23, 2014

    Archie is tiny too. He remains in the third percentile since about 4 months on. Your doctor sounds awesome. I’ve battled doctors telling me we need to fatten him up with cow dairy. Which is BS. Why would I feed my kid milk made for baby calf’s rather then give him the milk from my body which is designed perfectly just for him?! Its illogical and a result of our corrupt food industry. But that aside I’m proud of you for choosing extended breastfeeding. There are so many health benefits and most countries in the world recommend a minimum of 2 years breastfed anyways. Archie didn’t really start eating a ton until 15-18 months and now the kid eats like a horse… And eats anything! We did the whole “baby led weaning” thing and he just eats off our plates. Trust that your babe knows what she needs and will find a way to ask for it. Xoxo

  16. July 23, 2014

    Oh! And google “easy peasy paleo pancakes” they’ve been a staple in Archie’s diet for a long time. Good fats and no grains. And they’re delish!

  17. jak #
    July 23, 2014

    i dont’ blame her, i hate veggie burgers! why would you eat that when you can eat an actual burger? j/k;)

    first i will echo others here – teething means more nursing (pressure relieves some of the pain) and less eating. so consider that. then:

    have you tried avocado, yogurt, sweet potatoes? also, if can give some assvice (take or leave) – the more we as parents obsess over things, whether nursing or not nursing, what is my kid eating, what they will/won’t eat, staring at them while they are trying to eat, etc… the more kids ACTIVELY LOOK for our reactions. that is part of their learning. so if you are fretting and staring and worrying or even thinking, “she’s not gonna eat X, oh no, here it goes, look, she won’t take the bottle, she won’t eat the fruit, etc…” she’s gonna pick up on that. and she might read it as “uh-oh, mom is showing concern here, is something wrong? is what i’m doing wrong?”

    i’m sure our kids are different, but when i try to be the boss of what my kid eats, he waves his hands around his face and screams at me. when i do things that he can be in charge of and i back off, he loves it and eats like a champ. avocados, boiled sweet potato sticks, bits of peanut butter on wheat bread, sliced squash and zuccinni, mounds of spinach with butter and a tiny bit of salt. sure, it’s a hell of a mess, but he loves it and he eats, and he’s growing very well and is pretty much never sick. still nursing nights and mornings and when he feels bad, but actually really enjoying eating. anyway, for what it’s worth……. maybe try and relax and give the bean some space to be food boss and see how it goes?

  18. Amy #
    July 23, 2014

    High five on doing what works for YOU – I hope you don’t get any actual flak from those around you! Ike’s on the small side, but not tiny-tiny; I worry he’ll end up on the shorter side, but…you know, so what? :) I’d say, as long as your doctor can reassure you, and she’s following her OWN growth curve (she’s growing, at an appropriate pace, regardless of percentiles), try to let it go/let it be with the food stuff. Let her eat what she will, let her eat nearly nothing when that’s all she wants – the more you worry and fuss and stress about it, the more likely she is to pick up on that vibe and see food as an enemy rather than something fun and [at least potentially] delicious. Hang in there – I haven’t had huge food battles with Ike yet, but it seems like the best advice I’ve seen/heard/read so far basically says DON’T LET ON THAT YOU CARE. At all. Eat, don’t eat, whatever, all the same to Mama. The more you can let food be a non-issue, the less of an issue it will (should – I never say never!) be.

  19. Amy #
    July 23, 2014

    Oh – the only specific thing I was going to suggest trying was kefir, to maybe get her more into whole milk? I think the brand we can get here is Lifeway (?); it’s like a drinkable yogurt, smoothie type consistency. Ike is fine with milk but we don’t really do juice, so at home we’ll put a tablespoon or so of one of the fruity flavors into his sippy cup with milk. It does have some sugar, but a far cry from the chocolate/strawberry milk of my own childhood. ;)

    • Shinara #
      July 23, 2014

      ooo, Nancy’s Raspberry Kefir…my little man is in bliss when he sees me pouring that into his cup. He can’t wait to drink it all.

  20. July 23, 2014

    Iyla was 17 pounds at her 12 month appointment- always tiny! She has started to fill out in the past 6 months or so (she is 20 months now) due to whole milk. And having whole milk took a long, gentle time to transition to- I started doing 1/4 in bottles for a week (you can do that with breast milk), then upped to 1/2, 3/4, and finally all whole milk. Iyla didn’t crawl until 13.5 months old either- but is running around like a champ now! She is a cautious one physically. I had the pleasure of meeting Sabine last week and she just emanates so much connection, charisma, & intelligence- I am not worried about her! I remember your saying no teeth yet (Iyla was 15 months when she got her first tooth!) which could be a likely culprit for her softer food preferences. She may be feeling some of the beginning affects of teething. Iyla would get suddenly picky when she started to teeth too.

  21. July 23, 2014

    Ditto what Amy said: High five on doing what works for YOU! We breastfed until Paxlet was 18 months and he stopped it on his own (by letting me know he didn’t want it anymore by biting me). I’m glad we went as long as it work for us, not that I ever had anyone suggest I should stop sooner/later.

    My friend’s little girl is a skinny Minnie. Part is due to genes, but I know part of it is due to reflux/colic/allergies to every food (seriously) that she had in the beginning. She is still quite small, but she is doing well and growing at rate the is forward and consistent for her. Oh, and she never did crawl (she did butt scoot some) and only started walking around 18 months or a bit later.

    Listen to your heart and mind, your doctor and do what is best for you all. She’s a cutie and seems to be growing/progressing like all little kids do (from what I know from reading your blog).

  22. July 23, 2014

    Bravo for making a decision that is right for you and your little girl.

  23. Amy #
    July 23, 2014

    Babies are all different. Stop looking at those growth charts! If she’s happy, don’t worry. My 4 year old is still in the 3rd percentile (up from well below zero) & my 2 year old is in the 60th…same parents, same care, just different babies. Assume you are doing it all right-chances are, you are!

    • Amy #
      July 23, 2014

      Ps. Where did you get that gorgeous nursing friendly dress you have on?

  24. July 23, 2014

    Oh my gosh I wish I had good advice for you! My little guy is also starting to eat less for some reason and I’m really hoping he’s just cutting a new tooth — which is definitely what makes them switch over to more breastmilk instead of solids. My friend’s baby is also about 5th percentile for both height and weight and has been told it’s not a problem at all, so I wouldn’t worry about Bean’s size. But of course your natural tendency is to want her to bulk up and be a great eater — I totally empathize. If I had maybe one suggestion, it would be to get her on three square meals a day plus one snack (ie. at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.) and don’t get into the habit of constantly slipping her snacks throughout the day. She’ll work up a better appetite if there’s some space between all her eating times. And if she doesn’t… well, I still wouldn’t panic! :) She looks great to me.

  25. jesicabrennan #
    July 23, 2014

    I don’t have any great advice because half the damn time I have to stick my kid in front of the TV to get him to sit still long enough to eat a meal. So…don’t feel bad about that. And Jett went through a crazy hunger strike right around the same time, it lasted for almost 4 months (12-16 months) and when it was over and he finally started eating again he had 4 new molars, so…teeth, those fucking teeth. I kept nursing for the very same reason, Jett is skinny and I couldn’t see NOT giving him milk when he was barely eating anything and in the 10% for weight. Try not to worry, as long as she’s not dropping percentiles she should be fine, like if she’s consistently been 3% and is continuing at 3% then she’s fine, she’s just little!

  26. July 23, 2014

    I just love your posts! I find them so relatable. I also get lots of gratuitous comments on the size of my baby (small). So frustrating!

    So, my baby (almost 13 mos) ate like a champ from when she could really start eating finger foods until about a month ago. I was so proud of all the healthy and balanced meals she would eat. Then she became very discerning and I think realized that she preferred the taste of some foods over others. Foods that are now out: pretty much all vegetables (especially broccoli), most fruit (the kid used to not be able to get enough fruit), most beans, pretty much everything. Foods that are in: every possible noodle and cheese. It’s really frustrating because they are still too young to be reasoned/negotiated with at mealtimes. I can’t bargain with her to eat more veggies. I could feel myself getting frustrated with her. Especially when she rejects fruit. I kind of understand the vegetable thing, but fruit?! It’s all really inconsistent. One day, she’ll love blueberries; the next, she’ll throw them from her tray like their mere presence offends her. I know a lot of food rejection happens because of teething etc. I think with mine it’s a demonstration of her own will. I’ve read that a lot of toddler pickiness is a result of the toddler trying to exercise control. Eating can quickly become a power struggle. So I’m trying really hard not to stress about her eating the stuff I want her to eat because I don’t want her to see how much it affects me (thus giving her more power; although we do cheer pretty heartily when she eats the good stuff). I’m just going to continue offering all the healthy stuff and making sure she sees us eating it. She’ll eat what she’ll eat. This is one of my biggest stresses, too. I do the pouches, too. Sometimes it’s the only way to get fruits/veggies in her.

    Sabine is adorable and appears to be thriving. Frankly, how could she not be? You are doing such an amazing job with her.

  27. July 23, 2014

    I was about Sabine’s size and I’m all good! Short, but good! I was formula fed, in the 70s so there’s that. People still think I’m way younger than I am. A blessing and a curse. Annie is looking like she’s going to be just as tiny. We’re hoping for 14 lbs at her 9 mo visit this week.

    You’re doing fine! As long as she’s following a curve, even if it’s her own curve, she’s all good. That’s what our doc has told us… once she took a look at the tiny people who produced this tiny person. And she just turned one. Crawling is fine!!! Give her time. Enjoy the babiness while it lasts.

    Hugs, woman!

  28. Romy #
    July 23, 2014

    I don’t have the time to read all the comments so I’m sorry if it’s already been suggested but have you tried unsweetened applesauce? It may be a Dutch thing but pretty much every kid I know from back home grew up eating it with almost every meal. If you get organic and unsweetened it’s really not bad and it has helped a tonne for my 13 month old. Whenever he has a day where he doesn’t want to eat what we are eating and I think it’s important for him to eat it (he’s not breastfed either and I want him to get his servings of fruit and veggies), I add a little applesauce to every bite of veggies and he eats it.

    • Shinara #
      July 24, 2014

      Yeah! Apfelmusss!!!!

  29. July 24, 2014

    My little Loki is also a small one. And unlike Sabine, Loki has never had any beautiful fat rolls, pudgy belly, etc. My biggest stress was always her ever-visible ribs! I think the hardest time was between 10 months and 15 months, when she stopped growing altogether. Thankfully, our doctor knew this (and often eating hardly any solids) was normal — especially since my partner & I are both tiny people — and told me how especially valuable breastfeeding was for our situation. So we stayed the course, and I am so thankful we did! She suddenly started eating more solids at around 14 months, with another surge again around 17 months. At this point (almost 19 months), I’d say Loki is just starting to get more of her total nutrition from solids than from breastmilk. (But there are certainly days when she eats NO solids whatsoever, and is just fine! I love finally feeling laid back about it. (Don’t worry, you’ll get there! At some point you will see her thriving and just *know* it’s time to relax.)

    Anyway, this article was really reassuring to me, and also gave me some great ideas for encouraging toddler eating:

    http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/feeding-infants-toddlers/feeding-picky-eater-17-tips

    The muffin tin/dipping ideas have *reallly* saved us! What a mess, but so much fun for little food learners!

    Love & hugs. You ARE doing the right thing, because you are going with your instincts rather than anyone else’s. Way to go, Strong Mama!

  30. July 25, 2014

    At this point you may feel overwhelmed by advice, but here’s my personal experience, for what it’s worth…

    It’s interesting that you find Sabine eats better while being entertained (in this case, the tv). I found early on with Seamus that it was almost impossible to get him to eat unless he had something else to do. Just eating seemed to be too boring for him, but if I offered him measuring cups, measuring spoons, or even the occasional toy to play with while I fed him, he did much better. Once we became fully immersed in finger foods and him feeding himself, he turned into a bottomless pit, perhaps because eating was now interesting to him – it became a whole tactile experience for him, along with the smell and taste. I don’t know if you’ve already tried those things with Sabine, but I say if she needs additional stimulation at meal time, go for it.

    Or it could just be as others have suggested and she’s going through a phase brought on by teething.

    Whatever the case, you’re doing the best you can and she looks absolutely perfect and healthy to me. :)

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