29 July 2009

Lean and mean

I wanted to record this situation because I might forget it in future.

My boys both have skinny body types. Daniel was born weighing 8lb 8oz after I was induced 2 weeks early (can you imagine if I'd gone 2 weeks overdue?) But by the time he was a year old he was in the 0.6 percentile for weight - that means that 99.4% of babies his age weighed more than him. As you've seen from photos, he is still very lean. I think he's average for height, or just above.

Noah was 7lb10oz at birth, after I was induced 2 weeks early again. Although he became quite chubby as a baby, by the time he was a toddler he also became thin like Daniel. He is around 9th percentile for height (shorty!) and was following his own little growth curve of around 9-15th percentile for weight. At 4 years and 4 moths he currently weighs 15kg (33lb).

Unlike Daniel, Noah has asthma. This means that he has his height and weight regularly checked to be sure he's growing appropriately. Although his weight is well below average, he was following the appropriate curve nicely.

A little while ago his weight had dropped off his own curve (he wasn't gaining). The next time he was checked he'd been ill and hadn't been eating well and again he hadn't gained weight. The nurse practitioner became concerned and said I had to bring him for a check in 4-5 weeks again and if he hadn't gained weight appropriately then he'd have to have testing done.

I kind of shrugged off the concern thinking that he'd had a cold and was usually fine. Then I had a proper look at his health record book and realised that he weighed the same as he had a year previously! That kind of freaked me out a bit and I started to worry. I was trying to feed him up and weighing him at home to see if he would start gaining.

Fast forward to his checkup and he'd again picked up his own curve so the nurse practitioner said he didn't have to go for testing. We had a chat about what he eats and how much.

Now, I try to feed my family healthy food. I never fry anything, we don't use butter much, I cook Weight Watchers recipes and I try to get the boys and Grant to eat whole grains (although they're a little more reluctant than I am). I do bake a lot and Noah especially loves eating cookies but they don't eat much else in the way of junk food and I've been introducing more wholewheat flour into my baking. If I buy crisps (potato chips) then I buy the low fat ones. Going to McDonald's or out to eat is a very occasional treat. We generally drink water, never buy pop and seldom buy juice, although sometimes they have cordial (squash). I drink skim milk, the boys and Grant drink milk made up from powder - supposedly skim milk, but it looks much creamier than my fresh skim milk.

You know what the nurse practitioner told me? His diet is almost too healthy! How bizarre is that?! I told her I don't want to start feeding him more fat and sugar just to have the number on his chart look good. I didn't want him to gain weight at the expense of good health and learning healthy eating habits.

She said that I had the right way of thinking but what I need to do is reduce the whole grains I was giving him! For instance, he'd have 2 - 4 plain Weetabix for breakfast with milk and no sugar. She said he'd be better off with something like Frosted Flakes or Rice Krispies. I used to feel a little guilty giving him stuff like that as there didn't seem to be much substance to it, and she said that's exactly why he should have it. She said that all breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins so he was getting good nutrition from it, but that it wouldn't keep him feeling full for ages like Weetabix would, and he'd eat more. She said no more than 2 Weetabix for breakfast (personally I don't know how he ever managed more than 2 at a time anyway!) She suggested I keep him on white bread, white rice, white pasta, potatoes - nothing wholewheat which would keep him full for longer. He needs more carbs which will give him calories and energy but would be processed through his system quicker and he'd get hungry quicker.

I just had to laugh. Sometimes even when you are trying your hardest and think you're doing well as a parent you find out you're still making a mistake!

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