July 28, 2009

Packing on the Pounds


From the minute my daughters were born, they have needed to gain weight. At birth they weighed between 1 1/2 pounds and just over 2 pounds. Needless to say that's very small. Now here we are nearly 4-years-old and weight is still an issue.
Why am I bringing this up? This country clearly has an obesity problem... I'm not trying to belittle that... but it can be just as frustrating trying to help a young child put on weight.
The girls started out on a special formula which helped them gain weight. Once we switched to milk we did the requisite whole milk with a switch to 2% milk when they turned two. At their next check up their pediatrician advised me to put them back on whole milk. I think their 3-year check up was the first time any of the girls were "on the chart" (just barely) for their weight.
As an adult it can sound thrilling to be told you need to put on weight. Imagine the possibilities: cheese, ice cream, chocolate, you name it. But trying to help a child gain weight is a little trickier. You can only give them so much cheese.... I know because I give them a lot of cheese: a slice of cheese with lunch, cheese mixed with veggies, extra cheese on their mac and cheese. While I want them to develop at a "normal" rate, I don't want to clog their arteries and contribute to future problems. Our pediatrician suggested adding creamer to their milk, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to do that. Right now my daughters gladly drink their milk. As someone who hates drinking milk, I'm afraid to take too many chances.
One of my biggest concerns is body issues. I don't want my daughters growing up being obsessed about their weight. whether it's gaining it or losing it. The other day they saw me working out and asked why I was exercising. Rather than say "oh, mommy wants to lose weight" my response was "mommy's trying to stay healthy." Little girls don't need to be thinking about their weight or counting calories. Hopefully as they grow and develop I can build the ground work for them to be healthy and confident.

8 comments:

Sadia said...

I hear ya! I think we're fortunate to have less pressure to get our preemies to grow because I'm 5'0", 115 lbs at my non-pregnant heaviest. Melody finally made it onto the chart at the first percentile at her 3-year checkup.

For a while, I did add olive oil to the girls' milk, but quit when came to peace with the idea that small was fine, as long as they were healthy.

I too use the "feel/be healthy" rationale for exercise.

MaryAnne said...

My daughter is always barely on the chart for weight. Our pediatrician advised adding olive oil to her food for a while when she was dropping percentiles (4th to 1st), but for the most part he says not to worry about it so long as she keeps meeting developmental milestones - she's thin and that's just her build. I think it helps that our pediatrician has a similarly thin build...

Quadmama said...

I've slowly started to come to terms with the fact that they're simply going to be small... at least for now. Who knows what will happen as they age. Summer can be hard for me, though, because they're so active that I have to really work to maintain their weight.

Stephanie B said...

Too many kids are way too focused on weight. My daughter is and some of her friends' parents are unbelievable.

Quadmama said...

It amazes me the number of young girls I hear talking about dieting.

Becky said...

Great response!!!!

jayewalking said...

It's definitely something we think about when raising girls, isn't it? I've always tried to teach my oldest that she can be whatever she wants to be. Then she came home from kindergarten and told me she wanted to be a fire truck. LOL. It's hard to find the balance between giving them a healthy self esteem and making them conceited or self conscious.

Quadmama said...

You're right, jayewalking, we want our daughters to be strong and independent, but we don't want them to be the egotistical "mean girls." Raising little girls is hard work!

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