Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Something different is happening.

My petite-since-birth, perfectly-5th-percentile-dwelling little Nora is... well, I think she's packing on a few pounds. :) At her 12-month appointment, she was 17 lbs., 14 oz., which was right on the 5th-percentile growth curve she had been following all along. The doctor used words like "perfect" and said she was "doing exactly what she's supposed to be doing" as far as eating, drinking, and growing.

Then, at her 15-month appointment, something funny happened--Nora had gained 3+ pounds, weighing in at 21 lbs. total, pushing her into the 20th percentile. Our doctor pointed it out to us, and said, "What do you think is different?" I shrugged and said, "Well, I'm not breastfeeding anymore." (I stopped completely when she was around 13 months.) She asked how much milk we were giving her, and I quickly estimated that it was maybe 21-24 oz. a day. She said that now that Nora is eating table food, we should cut back her milk intake to a maximum of 15 oz. a day. So, we did. No big deal.

Nora has been eating like an absolute champ lately. Ever since she recovered from being sick for that week in December, she has been shoving food into her mouth by the fistful. She won't eat everything we serve her, but when she likes it, she loves it. There are times when she seems simply insatiable, and we can't imagine how her little tummy is possibly holding all of the food that she's eating. But we've always been told that babies are very good at regulating their own food intake--if they're not hungry and they don't "need" it, they won't eat it.

{check out that buddha belly! watching the beginning of "Tangled" with my mom on New Year's Eve}

Still, I think Nora might be "filling out" a bit. Her little buddha belly is hysterically round (and cute!) these days, and I notice that she feels a bit more "solid" when I lift and carry her. I (very unscientifically) weighed her at home this week and I think she could be over 22 lbs. now--and it's been less than a month since she weighed in at 21 lbs.

What gives? Everything you read/hear says that babies all "grow at their own pace," but that they're considered healthy if they "grow on the curve." In fact, from the very beginning, our pediatrician said that assuming she goes through life eating healthfully with a balanced diet, Nora would likely still be on the 5th percentile curve when she graduates high school, for crying out loud.

Are these just normal fluctuations? Is she just "catching up" after being so tiny for so long? Is it a sign of an impending growth spurt? Or are we actually overfeeding her? These are the questions that are running through my head. She's only (almost) 16 months old, so I don't want to stress about her weight--but I guess I'm just paranoid given the whole previously "perfect" growth curve. I suppose you could say she's throwing us a curve ball. (hehe.)

{more round belly!}

Don't get me wrong: I do think she's healthy. I look at her and see nothing but a healthy, growing girl. And it's hard to argue with the amount of food she's consuming when she's eating things like broccoli, green beans, black beans, and oatmeal like it's going out of style. Avocado. Veggie burgers. Sandwiches with a little bit of hummus or peanut butter. Pretty much anything that we eat for dinner. We try to give her balanced meals as much as possible--protein, carbs, vegetables, fruit with every meal. She doesn't drink any juice.

So, who knows? We're just first-timers with this whole parenting gig, so we want to make sure we're doing everything right. I think we just have to wait and see what happens between now and her 18-month appointment. We're fairly confident with the way we're handling it, but still plan on checking with the doctor (and get her weight checked officially) when we take her in for her follow-up ear infection appointment next week. Until then, does anyone have any experience with this? I've been told by a few parents that kids "grow out, then up" so we should perhaps prepare ourselves to see her get a little taller soon? I'm hoping that it'll all even out in the end--maybe she's gaining faster now, but will slow at some point?

In the meantime, Nora's good appetite doesn't seem to be letting up. My girl likes to eat! :)


basebell6 January 4, 2012 at 10:43 PM  

basically, we can't win with these kids and making their doctors happy! either they are growing too fast or growing too slow.

at 18 months we still have not broke the 20 lb mark and trust me the doctor is not happy and neither am i after i paid $700 for a trip to a nutritionist and tests that declared "the child is perfectly healthy". gah.

i wish i had your problem!! she is definitely fine, don't stress! :)

Lindsay January 4, 2012 at 11:01 PM  

Everything I've always read/studied says the same thing, babies will NOT over eat. But I have no practctical experience because my baby is only 10 months old. What I do know though, is she is SO stinking cute!!! :)

Emily January 5, 2012 at 7:59 AM  

I have no practical experience, as our babies at 5 mo, but I really do believe babies/toddlers are great self regulators. They aren't exposed to pressures around food yet, etc. You serve healthy food. I wouldn't worry at all.

Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife January 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM  

I wouldn't worry, she looks great. My niece was an itty bitty peanut and didn't really start chubbing up until she was about 15 months old. She's almost 2 and has definitely gotten taller and thinned out a bit.

You have to remember too Nora is getting more active now and that requires additional calories.

It's so difficult as a first-time parent not to over-analyze or reading more into a situation.

Phase Three of Life January 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM  

I actually don't think going from 5th to 20th isn't all that big of a jump. Ryan has been all over the board. From 50th to 85th back down to 60th. Our ped thought it was odd until he looked at all the numbers over the course of his life and reasoned that it looks like he's finally evening out to his "normal." Right now it seems odd to you because she's been so steady in her growth, but I think it's pretty common to see jumps here and there. Like you said, it's possible she's about to grow in height soon. There can be so much at play with these numbers (impending or recent growth spurt, recent illness, activity level, etc) that I don't put a ton of stock in them. You feed her very healthy foods, and she's a happy and active little girl - I think that's the main thing. I bet next time you take her, she will have leveled off around 10-15th percentile.

Also? Love her belly!! Ryan has one just like it and it cracks us up. We call it his "milk belly" cuz the kid is addicted to milk. ;)

nikinikinine January 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM  

two things - when I stopped nursing, both of my kids jumped from the 7th percentile to 20 and 25, respectively and they've stayed there since.

Also, when my brother was little, he would pack on the lbs. right before hitting a major (height) growth spurt. So she could be just getting ready to get taller :)

There's nothing wrong with the 20th percentile! Reese is right there with Nora. And she's a tall, thin string bean. I can't picture her any smaller. As it is now the munchkin is beyond petite.

Heather January 5, 2012 at 8:22 PM  

Thanks for making me feel more reassured about everything, guys! I appreciate your comments. :)

Ashley & Andrew January 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM  

When my little boy was born he weighed 5 lbs exactly. He has always been in the "less than" 5th percentile. Around Nora's age he started chunking up a bit and caught up to the 20th percentile. Then at 18 months he went back down again. We just went in for his two year check up and he is back up to the 20th percentile just now reaching 25lbs. Our doctor gets really excited when he gets into the higher percentiles. We try to feed him very well and give him lots of fruits and veggies which he loves but the way I see it is as long as he is healthy and not overweight I am happy with just letting him be who he is meant to be.
Long story short...Nora is perfectly fine. As long as she is eating a well balanced diet don't worry about it! Plus I think a little Buddha belly is cute! She will probably go up and down with her weight the same way my little boy does.

Clint & Alicia McLaws January 15, 2012 at 12:35 AM  

My little porker is 5 months old, and she weighs about 17 lbs, hahaha! She was 8 lbs 5 oz at birth. Doctor says she's perfectly healthy, not overfed.....or underfed, no risk of that! :p She's just started oatmeal cereal, and she LOVES it!!! I just bought some veggies, so she'll be trying those here shortly! :D at any rate, she's always been in the 90+ percentile, since birth :p

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