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The skinny.

2007-03-13 - 8:36 a.m.

Headlines trumpet about childhood obesity being on the rise. Accordingly, we smiled and congratulated ourselves when our baby turned out to prefer water to the exclusion of all other liquids. Grommet only had breast milk up to the age of 6 months and after that we followed the “rules” to minimize allergies and establish good life-long dietary habits: no cows’ milk; formula is based on cows’ milk so none of that since she’s breastfeeding well anyway; juice is full of sugar so limit it as much as you can and dilute it if you feel she has to have it.

So, now we have a kid who doesn’t like milk, juice or any sort of formula. This would be great if she was bigger and older, but the fact is that she dropped from 50th percentile for weight at 9 months, to 15th percentile at a year, where she’s remained for the last month and a half.

No dairy or egg white for the first year? She doesn’t like yogurt, cheese, sour cream, or eggs now. We sneak that last into her via French toast.

Last week we saw a pediatrician who told us that we’d have to take away Grommet’s water and force her to drink milk or, better yet, formula. She “wouldn’t like it” for a few days, but she’d get used to it and it was for her own good. Well, she didn’t fuss. She also didn’t drink a drop for about 24 hours (well, except for the breast milk she still gets when I’m not at work). Finally I tasted the formula and almost gagged. “This,” I declared, “is disgusting! Forget it, we’ll stick with milk and introduce it slowly enough for her to get used to it a bit more gradually.” And that’s what we’re doing. And it’s working in the sense that she won’t immediately refuse a second sip at this point, though she’ll rarely take more than three pulls on the sippy cup holding the milk.

The doctor wants a follow-up appointment in a month and has stated that if Grommet hasn’t started to go up in weight relative to her age he’ll check her thyroid and have some blood counts done. I’m preparing to refuse him unless she’s dropped even further on the relative scale.

It’s not that I don’t have Grommet’s best interest at heart, it’s just that she’s healthy in every other way and I think that the pediatrician is over-medicalizing her situation. She had 3 bad colds within a couple of months and that’s when her relative weight dropped, and to me that already says it’s not her thyroid. Why have her go through a blood draw just ‘cause she’s a little bit little? There are worse things in life than to be a bit thin. And her father and I were always amongst the shortest/smallest kids in our classes until we caught up to an average size in our teens, so Grommet comes by it honestly. She’s eating a bigger variety of foods all the time and we make sure that we always provide her with healthy choices. And just looking at her you might think that she’s petite but you’d never think she looks unhealthy – she’s got sturdy little legs and arms that carry her wherever she wants to go.

And frankly, I'm not that impressed with this pediatrician. He stated that Grommet is 5th percentile for weight and when I pointed out that the WHO has released new growth standards based on breast-fed babies, and that, according to those standards, she's actually 15th percentile, he kind of dismissed it with a "we use these standards from the CDC”. I ask you internet, isn’t the point of having the new standards to avoid people who breast feed thinking that their child is underweight by comparing them to the usually-plumper formula-fed babies? And yet, isn’t that the mode of thinking the pediatrician is trying to steer me into right now? Bah.

Still, what makes us smile and congratulate ourselves these days is watching Grommet put a piece of high-fat cheese in her mouth and not spit it back out.

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