Last month I took my little babe to the doctor for her 18-month check up. As usual, we chatted about what new skills little Z had acquired, then the doctor weighed and measured her. After plotting her new measurements onto the growth chart, the doctor started talking about how he sees she is growing, but was concerned that Z had fallen right off the curve for her growth, and was now plotted on the curve below.
To keep an eye in how she was developing, he asked us to come again in two months, rather than wait for her 2-yr appointment.
Leaving the doctor’s office I was dismayed. I felt like a terrible mother for all of those meals and snacks where Z just didn’t eat much of anything. Parents are supposed to help their children flourish, not watch as they waste away to nothing.
Talking to my mama friends about the appointment and my worries for Z’s growth, I was reminded of some helpful points to keep in mind. I would like to share these viewpoints, as they were very helpful to me in calming my anxieties over my toddler not thriving, and reminding myself that I am a good mom, and my daughter’s slow weight gain is not a direct reflection of how I am doing at being her parent.
If you have a little one who has taken a leap or a dive on your doctor’s or health unit’s growth chart, please consider this.
Look at your child. Is it apparent that they are overly skinny or malnourished? Mine has “fallen off her curve”, but has chub and a ponch and is very happy and active. She is healthy, and is growing into HER body shape – not a “normalized” one. How could we expect our tiny tot to measure up to her peers who’s parents are quite a bit taller than myself and my husband, who are small adults – myself a whopping 5’2 and my hubby at 5’9?
One of my friend’s comments resonated with me the most. She reminded me that it’s amazing how we all start off weighing around the same when we’re born, and we all grow into vastly different shapes and sizes. It’s ridiculous to think we all grow at the same rates and curves.
A couple days ago, I took my little one to her 18-month vaccination appointment, where she was weighed and measured. It seemed that my daughter’s previously plotted growth chart was misplaced (I think we actually took it home last time), so her new height, weight and head circumference were put on a fresh chart. The experienced nurse who we saw that day had no concerns about little Z’s measurements, saying that she seemed to have very “normal” measurements. Perhaps our little one had a big burst of growth at the beginning, and has slowed down to grow into her own individual body shape. Her own “normal” for the genetics she was given.
While I recognize that we all have our unique journey of growth and development to become the unique individuals we are as adults, I would still like to see my little bean sprout eat more and more varied healthy foods. I think there is a fine balance of relax and concern that is part of successful parenting. Balance is so important to all facets of life.
Here are some of the things I’ve been offering my picky eater and slow gainer, which seem to have helped increase her consumption of healthy, nutritious foods. Click in the hyperlinked titles for more information about each idea.
1. Toddler Banana Protein Pancakes – Good straight out of the pan (after cooking, of course) or saved for on-the-go snacks later.
2. Protein Power Balls – You can throw all kinds of nutritious food in these little balls that will give you or your little the protein and energy needed.
3. Arbonne Supplements – Arbonne carries protein shake mix, fibre and concentrated greens that are great for sneaking nutrients into food and drinks. Remember that protein powder is made to fill you up, though, so save this for when your little one really hasn’t eaten much of anything.
4. 11 healthy and easy breakfasts – You won’t find baby cereal on this list of different breakfast ideas suitable for youngsters.
5. Homemade smoothies and purées – these fantastic reusable squeeze pouches really help me get more food into my toddler.
6. Quinoa-psicles – Sneak protein, greens and more in with these popsicles, made with quinoa and kale.
7. Whole Wheat Hemp Heart Pancakes – These healthy pancakes are more like a pan-fried bread and are perfect for serving with something sweet, like sugar-free vanilla yoghurt.
What other ideas have you tried that helped get more nutrition into your little ones? Please share in the comments below, to our Twitter account @TheBigToDoList , or on The Big To Do List Facebook page.