Kroger Shopping Trip – The “Operation Fatten Up Tyler” Edition

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on October 19, 2010

Shopping with the $5 Dinner Mom

So I mentioned a few weeks ago that Tyler was having some difficulty drinking from a cup/bottle. This crazy adventure began back in August when that mothers instinct kicked in…the one when you know something is wrong, but you’re not sure what.  I felt like he wasn’t getting enough breastmilk from our nursing sessions because they were extremely short and he was very fussy and unhappy after each session.  He would try to get more, but couldn’t, which led to further frustration on his part. (And mine.)

We made the decision to start supplementing him, and in doing so discovered a greater and deeper problem.  His suck-swallow-breathe pattern was all out of whack, and he didn’t have the strength and muscle tone in his cheek and lip muscles to suck the liquid from the fast flow bottle.

The muscle tone and strength issue are relatively easy to manage and overcome.  The suck-swallow-breathe dis-coordination is caused by an underlying neurological problem and little can be done to help it. I accidentally discovered that if I walk with him while he drinks from the bottle, that helps him with the suck-swallow-breathe rhythm…but it’s still not enough.  It makes sense, as his sensory system is all out of whack and I’m flashing back to 3 years ago when we faced similar sensory issues with Ryan. The difference being that Ryan had little difficulty drinking from a cup.

It is a struggle every day to get Tyler the liquid and calories that he needs to gain weight.  We have been on a whirlwind of a tour visiting different doctors, specialists and therapists trying to figure out what is going on… and trying to come up with a plan to get him the calories and fat he needs to grow and gain weight.   Because Tyler is only getting about 2-3 ounces of breastmilk or formula at a time (as opposed to the 6-8 that is age appropriate), we were referred to a dietitian by his occupational therapist and by our pediatrician.

We had his appointment with the dietitian yesterday and the verdict is…we need to fatten this kid up. And quick!  He has dropped from the 75th percentile in weight at his 4 month old checkup to 10th percentile in weight, as of yesterday. This is a concerning drop in percentiles.

So we are putting him on a high fat, high calorie table food diet to make up for the calories and fat that he is not getting from breastmilk/formula.  I’m very pleased with the plan, even though it means giving him foods that I might not normally give because of their sugar content. (Sugar = calories. And calories are what he needs most right now.) We are sticking to higher calorie, higher fat foods like soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy nut butter, avocados, organic dairy free cereal bars, and Soy Bright Beginnings (a 30 calorie/ounce nutritional supplement…the dairy free version of Ensure.) mixed in with a higher-calorie formula measurement.

Our goal is for him to get 1,000 calories per day to help him start gaining weight and catching up on the weight he needs to make up.  We also have an appointment with “the feeding team” (which is a group of about 8 specialists who will evaluate him) next week…and from what I hear, he will likely get the full workup, as they try to figure out what is causing the neurological/mechanical issues he seems to be having, and if he is having any other stomach or intestinal issues going on as well.

I have been so preoccupied and overly worried about Tyler that much of my energy has been spent on him and working with him, doing therapy with him, and sitting with him while he eats, logging what and how much he eats, and walking with him as he drinks from (or refuses) the bottle.

I am not a crier. At all.  But I have been reduced to tears a number of times in the past week, out of sheer frustration and exhaustion with the whole situation.  I am not a napper. But I took two 2 hour naps over the weekend…thanks to my gracious husband for allowing me to do so (even giving up his Sunday afternoon siesta.)

I know that I have to take care of myself, so I can take care of Tyler and get his nutritional and caloric needs met.  I’m grateful for the help from my husband over the weekends and during the evenings…and for the help from my dad this week too.

So as you will see, budget shopping was not high on my priority list this week.

Kroger


Here’s our cart from this week’s trip.

I took my dad along. Because he wanted to grill us some steaks for dinner, which we had last night. (Mmmm!) And while in the store, quite a few items that I don’t normally purchase…like paper towels, Coke, corn chips, cookies, double the salsa, …magically appeared in the cart. For my dad.

He is a bit of a paper towel fiend. After just the afternoon and evening, most of the first roll is gone. I’m really not sure how we are related because we don’t even use paper towels. Ever.

No. I kid.

We bought some of his comfort items for while he’s here…paper towels and “Laddie Juice,” aka Coke. (The paper towel thing is very much a running joke in the family. We kid about it all the time!)

And when it came time to check out, my dad was overly gracious and generous and paid for our groceries for the week.  I’m especially grateful, because I had a number of expensive new items in the cart that I’ll be offering Tyler in the coming days…as I try to figure out which of these new high calorie foods he will like, and which he won’t like.

I imagine that our grocery budget will go back up some because of Operation Fatten Up Tyler…I’m not sure how much, but I’m hoping not more than$75/week (up from $60/week). I’ll have a better sense in a few weeks.

But for now, I’m taking care of Tyler, his nutritional and caloric needs, and doing my best to get him back into the 50th percentile for his weight!

My grocery store’s ad scan

Thanks to Andrea at Mommy Snacks and Marcy at Stretching a Buck for posting the best deals and coupon matchups at my stores each week!  Find the coupon match-ups for your grocery store at The Frugal Map!

A

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele October 19, 2010 at 7:52 am

May the Lord bless you and sustain you during this season of your life! Praying for Tyler and rooting for a BIG weight gain!

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Kimberly E October 19, 2010 at 8:03 am

Okay, I AM a crier, and this post got to me. Can’t imagine how you’re feeling! Praying Tyler gets fat quickly!

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smolly October 19, 2010 at 8:18 am

My son has autism and has some *major* texture issues. He eats about six foods and those aren’t even always a done deal. I, too, have cried over his weight and his choices in food (chicken nuggets, cookies, and milk are his major staples). But I realize that the 1000 calories a day is my goal, and the vitamins I put in his nightly milk make up what he lacks. And that, ultimately, God will take care of the rest. (Not that that always allays my fretting…lol…)

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Justthe10 October 19, 2010 at 9:00 am

I wonder if he has a problem with dairy or wheats? That can cause an absorption problem sometimes and can express itself through breast milk. I have one alergic to dairy, and a few sensitive to it. They all display different symptoms of problems, but main one was weight loss. Its worth a shot. Do elimination diets.

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Dorothy October 19, 2010 at 9:04 am

I can completely sympathize with your frustration at Tyler’s struggles with weight gain. It is very hard on Mom to realize that she is not meeting her child’s needs as far as calories go. My youngest has different issues than Tyler, but the same problem: weight gain is problematic. One thing you can do is add olive oil and avocado to things. Another thing is making a very nutrient-dense bone broth (cook a chicken carcass + vegetables of your choice + splash of apple cider vinegar for 24-36 hours to pull the nutrients from the bones). It’s a darker color than store bought and will have none of the allergens in it. (and hello–very inexpensive!) I add it to everything to boost calories/nutrients. I have to get 1,300 cals into my 31 month old daily and that’s a chore. Hang in there; you’ll find a routine & it’ll be ok.

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Aubree October 19, 2010 at 9:07 am

I understand completely! While our situation is not the same at all, we share the same troubles. My child is older- and on ADD meds. He is now in 5th grade, but from first grade to fourth he weighed the same for all 4 years! By then, the Dr made us start a high calorie plan which pretty much means I let him eat whatever whenever. He gained about 12 pounds between age 9 & 10, so the Drs are okay with that. But he’s still very small, about 20th%. He’s in sports of course to run off his extra energy-it’s a must-so keeping ahead is almost impossible! We only give 1/2 the meds on all breaks & weekends to try and combat the issue. The med he’s on pretty much kills the appetite all together. On the other side: my other child does not need to eat like he has to, and this is also an issue! So hard to over feed one, while just keeping the other on track. Frustration abounds here! I wish you the best finding the right plan for Tyler.

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Stephanie K. October 19, 2010 at 9:07 am

Erin, your story sounds all too familiar, except our daughter was born w/ low tone & cleft palate at birth, so there were issues right from the start. We actually had an ng-tube for her (tube through the nose to feed her her milk), because she couldn’t suck at all (from breast or bottle). As she got older, and was on formula (I pumped exclusively for months, but that took it’s toll on me, being that I have 2 older kids also to take care of)….she wasn’t gaining the weight they wanted her to gain. We increased her calorie intake by a more concentrated formula, more calories per oz, type of thing. That helped….adding butter, etc, was, in theory, a good idea, but it tended to just kind of pool at the bottom of whatever we were adding it to. And because of all her issues (developmental, physical & speech delays), she actually got a g-tube (stomach) at about a year, that way we could get her her calories & liquid, while also introducing her to foods, etc.
She was done w/ her g-tube by 3 yrs old, and is now 8 and eats EVERYTHING, and is actually overweight LOL…..so it will get better…..hope it’s a little easier for you though :)

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Stephanie October 19, 2010 at 9:10 am

Your post caught my very busy eye. I hope you are able to find the answers and solutions to Tylers problems. Our second/last child was born with alot of issues age had to overcome. Not major life threatening things just issues we had to over come like Tyler. Ella had weight issues and at first she was labeled failure to thrive. She was a very unhappy baby. Then she would not walk or crawl. She was FINALLY diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder which put a name on what she had and it helped a light bulb go off in our brains. It made it easier to explain many of our issues and learn how to deal with these issues. I am happy to report she is now three and age is a happy, healthy(albeit skinny) little girl. Hang in there you are a good mom because I see it in your posts. Trust yourself and the Lord. You will be okay and know you have touched our families thoughts and prayers.
A Bellbrook mom that feels your sitauation first hand.

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Jennie October 19, 2010 at 9:26 am

Both of my kids had weight issues as infants. I was blessed that we didn’t have any additional issues that other have. Feeling like you’re not feeding your baby is awful!

My prayers are with you both as you continue to do the best you can for Tyler!

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Rachel October 19, 2010 at 9:32 am

When my son had a large drop off in gain between 9 and 12 months our GI recommended BeneCalorie. It’s a liquid calorie supplement that you can put in almost anything (no, really I did) and at 330 calories a whack it was helpful. I ordered mine from Amazon but any pharmacy should be able to get it for you.

Thinking happy thoughts from New Mexico that Tyler will fatten up nicely! (And hang in there Erin, you’re a good Mama!!)

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Brooklyn~Allergies Schmallergies October 19, 2010 at 9:34 am

Sorry to hear about what is going on with your lil Tyler. While my lil Tinleigh is also labeled as failure to thrive, we are also working on fattening her up to. Her problem is food allergies. She is allergic to dairy, soy, peanut. She has since dropped to the 3rd percentile. She is eating a lot of mashed potatoes and steamed veggies with her special butter. I have taken away peas and grean beans and she has gained almost a half a pound in 4 days. This is huge for her. She only gained 8 oz from her 12-15 month check ups. Praying for you! I know it’s hard. If you need anything please feel free to email me Lovepeaceandsaving@gmail.com

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm

@Brooklyn~Allergies Schmallergies,

Wahoo…good for her and you! Hopefully that’s us soon :)

And thanks for the support and encouragement!

Erin

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Candi @ Family Stamping and FOOD! October 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

So sorry to hear your frustrations and concerns. We all have our own problems to deal with and you seem to know how to handle this. Do you think it’s related to the chiarri? I can’t remember if you wrote about that being confirmed with Tyler…

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm

@Candi @ Family Stamping and FOOD!,

No Candi…he does not have the same Chiari as the older two. The pediatrician and I are a bit puzzled by the whole thing now! But for now, it’s operation fatten up Tyler!

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Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli October 19, 2010 at 9:39 am

My dad is a paper towel fiend too. He uses them to wipe the dishes and cutlery before putting them in the dishwasher. Wierd?
Good luck with your plan. It sounds like you’ve got a good team that’s helping you get the job done.

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Stacy October 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

Our twins were born at 35 weeks (they are now almost 3 years old). Born healthy, but needed to stay in the hospital for 11 days because they weren’t taking their feedings by bottle. Once they came home, it was feed them, feed them, feed them. They have always been good eaters, and within a healthy percentile. At their last checkup, they had gone from the 75th percentile to the 65th and 50th. We don’t know if it has anything to do with them being born at 35 weeks or just the fact that all our kids have really high metabolisms. To be on the safe side, our pediatrician suggested we keep them on whole milk until they are 3 and add whatever extra calories in we can — add a little extra butter (not margarine) to toast, potatoes, veggies, etc.; give them chocolate milk (Ovaltine or Carnation Instant Breakfast); add some extra Parmesan to spaghetti or extra cheese to tacos. Those types of things. It is basically add any calories in and bit by bit, they add up and make a difference. I give them extra meat, extra eggs, an extra cookie at snack time, or juice instead of water. They will be going in for their check-up soon so we’ll get to see where they are at.

I’m looking forward to the day when it’s not in the back of my mind, “Did they eat enough? Did they get in enough calories?”

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Jennifer October 19, 2010 at 10:09 am

Poor Tyler and poor mommy! I can not even imagine going through something like that.

I am glad to see that other people have to bring up their budget sometimes too. Nursing didn’t work with this baby and being a working mommy, so we are buying formula. I feel so bad sometimes when I read all these other moms get great deals and have a $40 grocery budget. Then you make me feel so much better when I see that someone else has to have a larger budget too just because of “life”. Thanks so much for being real!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

@Jennifer,

The goal is to keep the budget as low as possible. And “real” food, with food allergies involved, costs! But it doesn’t have to break the bank!

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Rhonda Hall October 19, 2010 at 10:10 am

Saying a prayer for Tyler that he’s starts gaining weight, and remember to take care of yourself..I am not a crier either but sometimes I take a long shower and just let it all out…
As far as paper towels, OMG, I need to stop using them, I can go thru a roll in 2 days, not very frugal…

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm

@Rhonda Hall,

Thanks Rhonda! And yes, by all means…cut that $10 out of your budget and switch to cloth dish towels :)

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Darcy October 19, 2010 at 10:30 am

I am a new follower but love your site! :) I will keep you and your little one in my prayers. My little guy has been problematic for us regarding his weight and so we have to keep him on whole milk and Carnation Instant Breakfast. It used to be 3x + a day (at the worst when he fell off the chart for being so low) to now we are to at least 1x a day more if he doesn’t eat much and always whole milk. Not sure if your little one has any problems with cow’s milk but the Carnation Instant Breakfast could help. My pediatrician said it had more than the Pediasure in vitamins and such.
I know mixed the way it is supposed to be(with 1% milk) it has like 240 calories or so per cup. Good homemade stock like suggested by another poster was something else I was told. I would think that more whole foods would be good as well.
I pray you get some comfort and things start to even out for him. You will be covered in prayers from this end! :)

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Mary Beth October 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

I am 100% with you on this one. When I was nursing, my son had rashes, they told me to cut out all of the high allergen foods. His weight gain started to slow then. My milk supply started to dwindle when he was only 4 1/2 months old, but I kept trying. I had to supplement with formula. The day I tried it, I figured I’d use the free can from the hospital. Milk based. 4 ounces later and his body was covered in hives. Even his teeny ears swelled! Now we know he’s allergic to milk and eggs. He is 4 1/2 years old now and only 32.6 pounds…for the last 6 months. He was 9 lbs. 3 oz. when he was born. He’s thin, but his growth has remained consistent over the last few years. Around age one we took him to a nutritionist. I am a patient person, but I wanted to scream at her. She knew about his allergies and then would say things like, “Oh, does he like carrots? Give him carrots with ranch dip!” To which I would reply, “Ranch has milk.” Then she would say, “How about strawberries with whipped cream?” Again, I would say “Milk.” She was a lovely woman and had admitted that though he was thin, that Gabriel was looking alot better than most of her patients. I never went back. Since then, we go with what we know. He gains weight slowly, but is getting taller very consistently. He’s grown a 1/2 inch in the last month. Zero ounces of weight. Try to boost calories how ever you can, but don’t let it consume you. I did this and it was really hard to stop myself. I even gained weight because I was so concerned about always getting a big meal ready so he could try many things. Please please email me if you have any questions. I would love to share how we are combatting dairy free on a budget!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:38 pm

@Mary Beth,

Thanks for sharing Mary Beth! I know once we get established with new snacks and a new routine, we’ll be good…and I won’t let it consume me! I hope!

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Darcy October 19, 2010 at 11:58 am

So sorry, had time to read again. I cannot imagine having to battle milk allergies. Not sure if you can do it but we have looked into other milks just because and found that almond milk is really good. It is lower calorie though so I am not sure if it would help. My MIL cannot have milk and has found that she can drink goats milk. I have heard that oatmeal(tho now looking at soaking since it helps absorb better) and alfalfa(we are looking into sprouting) are supposed to be good weight gainers as well. Will continue prayers for you!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm

@Darcy,

Thanks for the ideas Darcy. The older boys drink almond milk, but I’m holding off with the baby til he’s a little older. I’d like him to switch to rice milk, but it doesn’t have enough calories! Soy for now…

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Cheryl October 19, 2010 at 11:58 am

I’ll be praying for you & Tyler (&the rest of the clan). It can be so frustrating & exhausting for mommy.
My oldest was a big baby but then a small toddler & now a very skinny kindergartener.
One thing he loved to eat was kidney beans not even mashed–straight from the can (rinsed). I would also make a meal of brown rice, beans & avocado chunks. The ‘dressing’ was butter mashed with avocado & it would kind of melt. He loved it, the ped loved it & he gained weight (:
Later I added shredded chicken to it.
Warning though now at 5 he can’t stand beans.

Budget is just one more thing to stress about; can you not for awhile?
You can just tell us all to heat up pasta & jarred spaghetti sauce (it’s under $5) LOL
I’m sure we would understand.

Again I will keep you in my prayers

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm

@Cheryl,

LOL! Yes Cheryl, I won’t be stressing too much about the budget. Getting him healthy and growing is much more important!!!

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Milk Donor Mama October 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I have experienced a similar problem with my son, who is 3.5 months old. He broke his clavicle during birth, and had significant jaw and facial trauma due to his face first presentation. After 12 days, he’d lost a full pound- we discovered that he couldn’t transfer milk from the breast. I started pumping, and he was able to take milk from a bottle. Only in the past few weeks has he been able to effectively nurse. The lactation consultants and pediatricians all just said that maybe he needed time for his injuries to heal in order to breastfeed.

Good luck and my prayers are with you.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:34 pm

@Milk Donor Mama,

Yeah that he’s nursing now :) And yeah for you for pumping through it!!!

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Sarah October 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Your comments about your dad and paper towels made me laugh because we buy paper towels specifically for visits from my parents and in-laws. We have a drawer full of cloths that my kids and I think are far better, but I’m not one to force my way on the people who raised me and my husband!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm

@Sarah,

Love it Sarah! Totally get it :)

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Christina October 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Check with your insurance for me my twins formula was covered to suplement EBM due to the early arrival and the need for one baby to be higher calories. We made the switch to milk at a year adjusted and one did great my littlest did not she never sat on the growth chart but then began losing the weight so I paid for the pediasure after 4 months we finally got the insurance to fund it! They needed to know the reason why for nus it is her CP which burns bazillions of calories a day in her spasticty level. As of nbow we are on 1000 cals a day of pediasure and about 800-1000 a day of solid food ALOT for a 19 month old who still weighs 8 pounds less than her twin. But is slowly gaining!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:32 pm

@Christina,

Great idea Christina…I’ll look into it :) Thanks!

Erin

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lynn October 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I often wonder when reading about your budget (I’m a recent subscriber) how low I could keep our grocery bills if I tried to set a budget, because my son has such unique (expensive) dietary needs. (He’s allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame, and oat, so we do a lot of Whole Foods snacks, for instance, which are not cheap). For what it’s worth, my son was way up in the percentile for weight – at least 60, but even sometimes 80, and has been at 10% for quite a long time. His pediatrician doesn’t think it is an issue at all. As he weaned, and got more active, the drop just came naturally, and she says he is “just a slender kid.” I’m sure his food allergies contribute to his skinniness, but I try not to drive myself crazy trying to fatten him up. Mentally, he’s smart as a whip, and he manages hikes up mountains with his daddy (at age 3), so I think he’s fine. But I don’t know anything about those swallowing issues. It sounds like your son is lucky to have such a devoted mom, though, for sure! He’s in the best of hands.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:31 pm

@lynn,

Being on a “different diet” can certainly add strain to the budget. We are dairy free, drink almond milk and avoid dairy in all snacks. I do quite a bit of baking with dairy free margarine. I have also done GFCF diet. I’d shoot for $100/week (if it’s just the 3 of you)…and see how far that gets you!

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Jessica October 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I read through your post and had a thought – you are focusing a lot on soy-based foods. If you’re adding in a lot of higher-calorie snack foods as well, you may be over-doing the soy. I read a study that showed a link, in boys particularly, between soy-based products (formulas, etc) in infancy and early-onset of puberty. Just wondering if you had done any research yourself on that. Not that I want to add stress, or anything, just wondering.

Praying for your family!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:29 pm

@Jessica,

Thanks for your concern Jessica! I’m aware of the issues, but there are few other dairy-free options. I will be exploring other possibilities! I appreciate it :)

Erin

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Jeannine B. October 19, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Do you have an early intervention program where you live? It is something to check on. I am a pediatric physical therapist and I contract with an early intervention program in Kansas. We have many therapists who specialize in feeding and nutrition therapies for children just like your son. Plus, our services are free! Our therapists go directly to families homes and help families develop strategies to overcome their concerns. If you want to email me, I can help you try to find a similar service in your area. Sometimes, it is as easy as asking your pediatrician, or checking with your school district’s Parents As Teachers Program.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm

@Jeannine B.,

Yes Jeannine…we have that ball rolling! My older two boys did Help Me Grow (EI) in our area.

Thanks for the suggestion :)

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cherie October 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm

What a challenge

While I’m certain you and Tyler will get this all settled eventually you’ve got my prayers that it’s sooner rather than later . . . sounds like you’ve got a lot of folks on tap to help you get there.

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Alicia October 19, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Oh my, my heart goes out you & your son. I hope you find out what you need to get him fixed up & fattened up asap. :)

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Brown Thumb Mama October 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

You take care of that sweet baby and don’t worry about budget gunk. Family first!

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Danny J. October 20, 2010 at 1:08 am

When I was a baby I had trouble gaining weight & had a lot of health issues such as intestinal issues & a reaction 2 my DTP shot(haven’t had a shot since).My mom & I’ve been off wheat,gluten,dairy,casein & soy for 2 years,it has helped,my mom has no Asthma.If I eat any wheat or gluten my stomach’ll hurt so bad & if I eat dairy,casein or soy I get stuffed up.Have u ever tried getting ur son tested 4 Celiac Disease?Get ur son tested 1st,then take him off wheat & gluten.I tried getting tested 4 it,but nothing showed up cuz I’ve been off wheat & gluten 2 long.U can try a wheat free gluten frree diet 4 a month 2 see if that’s the problem.Soy’s not good 4 babies.So Delicious has a really great coconut mik & cocnut yougurt that’s non dairy,my mom & love it & use it all the time.Hope this info helps.If u need anymore help feel free 2 e-mail me anytime.Good luck.May God bless you and keep you.God Bless,Danny J.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

@Danny J.,

Thanks Danny! I like your coconut suggestions…will look for those :)

Erin

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IreneD. October 20, 2010 at 5:38 am

Erin, you’re doing a good job with your son. Trust your maternal instincts, they are always right. I have a 20-year old son, who wasn’t diagnosed with high functioning autism until the age of 13. No one could pinpoint what the cause of all his “issues” were. I always knew there was something wrong and kept persevering. It was a relief when we got the diagnosis. You should feel the same, because now you can combat the problem.

Best wishes I’ll keep your family in my thoughts.

P.S. Take all the help (i.e., naps, grocery money, etc) that people offer. Don’t feel guilty about it, they only want to help.

And finally, before I get off my soapbox, it’s alright to cry every once in a while, it’s good for the soul.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

@IreneD.,

Thanks Irene!!!

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Tracy October 20, 2010 at 7:24 am

We had a lot of weight gain issues with our first. By 9 or 10 months, we basically had to do what you are doing. Fatten the kid up. We bought hot dogs, cookies, cooked all of her food in butter. Anything we could to get her to gain weight. It was so stressful. I feel for you. ((hugs)) (but, she is a happy and healthy 5 year old now. small, but healthy.)

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Mary Beth October 20, 2010 at 8:43 am

I just remembered one of the things I used to give Gabriel. When I gave him soy yogurt I would literally dump about a 1/4 cup of the baby rice or oatmel cereal into it to thicken it up, adding some calories too. Now that he’s older, I always use soy milk to make his oatmeal instead of water. He also now loves these little frozen burritos by El Monterey. They have a beef & bean variety that has no cheese!

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Heather October 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I laid in bed last night thinking of how you, coupon queens, do it ALL the time. I was thinking of writing in asking for an oops picture of your shopping trips that didn’t save you all that much. Thank you for showing your vulnerability and normalcy that ALL moms go through!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

@Heather,

I’m all about transparency and vulnerability. Nothing to hide here :) And there are definitely trips where I save very little…and even times when I go into the store with no list or coupons!!!

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sandy October 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Because of a time squeeze I couldn’t read all of the comments (sorry) so I may be repeating. First, I will keep Tyler and all of you in my prayers. Rest assured that God is watching over all of this. Second, can a mother worry too much when her baby’s health is at stake. I think God put that worry there so that the species would survive:). Third, I bet one of the reasons your Dad wanted to buy the groceries is because he is worried about HIS baby as well as her baby. This allowed him to do something concrete to help. I am sure it was a comfort to him. And what’s a few paper towels and junk food between family:).
Cry when you must because you need to lett all the stress out. Nap when you can, it is your escape from a stressful situation and gives your body respite.
Remember, tomorrow will be better.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

@sandy,

Thanks Sandy! I appreciate your kind words!

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Danny J. October 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Hey Erin,U can get the coconut milk & coconut yogurt @ Whole Foods & Henry’s Marketplace.My Twitter is dannysmyhero. God Bless,Danny J.

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THarkey October 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I have a special needs son who is also “Failure to Thrive”, When he was much younger we had to specially make formula. At first no dairy, only organic stuff. So Organic Rice or soy milk (we preferred rice), Carrot Juice (or any higher calorie juice), then we added all kinds of stuff avocado and beans and banana were are favorites. Add pasta and rice. We added fruits or fruit juice and then we added a liquid vitamen. For fat EACH bottle had 1tbs of olive oil and 1tbs of natural maple or corn syrup. As time went on we added Dry organic milk and he was fine with that. Sometimes the system needs a break from something then it can tolerate it. We did have to get a feeding tube. Even though he gained weight on our special formula, he never got over the 1%, he has reflux and high metabolism. We gave him this special formula for 5 years and he was the healthiest. He now is on pedisure soy based.
Put all that wonderful stuff you feed you kids into a blender and put it into a bottle or one of those food bottle pusher things our son did better this way because a true liquid is harder to handle or smash it up for a spoon.
We will be praying for you and your son!

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Traci October 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm

My son(his name is Tyler also!) had the same issues, so I know exactly how you feel! He would never eat more than 2 oz at a time and he vomited constantly so it was hard to keep weight on him. He went from the 95th percentile in his weight at birth (10lbs 2oz) to about the 5th percentile, he was even hospitalized at about 4months for “failure to thrive”. He finally came around though and now he drinks 6oz at a time. His nutritionist recommended Dannon LaCreme yogurt because it has the most calories and adding Carnation Instant Breakfast to his milk. She said the Carnation Breakfast was pretty much the same thing as Pediasure but less expensive, and soon after adding it to his milk he started gaining weight immediately and is now finally in the 40th percentile!

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Elizabeth October 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

Cracking up over the paper towels! My father-in-law is the same way! In February he came to visit us and bought us an 8 pack of Viva towels (he’s also a brand snob!) I ran out a few weeks ago because we don’t use them that often and panicked because they were coming back for a weekend, so I picked some up. He used two rolls of towels in 3 days. Best of luck with the little guy-I hope by now you are starting to find the things that work and he is putting on some chunk!

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Sara Ojala October 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Hi, my son Russell had a similar problem putting on weight. I would breast feed him constantly and he was always hungry. The doctors were also concerned about his slow growth as he had a heart problem and they didn’t know if that was related to his heart, or just not getting enough calories. Long story short, he didn’t like bottles too much, although he benefitted from the calories, so I nurse him with a supplemental nursing system. It is from Medela and you wear a special bottle like a necklace and a small tube goes into his mouth so he gets formula while he nurses. You can even make the formula with more powder than they recommend so he gets extra calories. Anyways, after 4 weeks of doing this he jumped 40 percent on the percentile chart! It seems the only way he can be coordinated with sucking/breathing/ etc is when I am using this – it also drips milk into his mouth when he is not sucking, which makes it easier. My son could only drink a little bit from the bottle because he gets worn out from sucking so long. Even if you don’t make much milk, (which was one of my problems), the baby still loves to be close and feels like he is truly nursing. My son (now 10mths) loves to nurse even though we use this somewhat tedious device. I started using it (the supplemental nursing system) with him at 6mths and we had introduced solids at 4mths, because of his slow weight gain. He eats and eats! However, now he is pleasantly satisfied between meals, and the doctors are pleased. I highly recommend using a device like this, because it allows you to continue breastfeeding, you don’t have to use as much formula as if you were strictly formula feeding (which saves money), and baby seems to put on weight from it. If you have any questions feel free to email me. I am so glad I learned about this product, as I didn’t want to wean my baby, but was also truly concerned about fattening him up!!
Sincerely, Sara

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Jennifer N November 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Sounds very much like my son. My son is adopted and I didn’t breastfeed, but he struggled with eating from birth. At 6 months old we FINALLY got a video swallow study done and found that he has dysphagia. His weight drop wasn’t as dramatic as your son’s, but he was 99% at birth and dropped below the 25%. (He also had an MRI of his brain, upper GI, etc etc)

Now, at 29 months old, we still have issues with eating, even though the dysphagia is resolved. We took our son to the Interdisciplinary Feeding Team at Cincinnati Children’s hospital. We live in the Dayton area and started at Dayton Children’s. Although a fine hospital, they are not equipped to handle complex feeding issues. If you have any questions about anything, please don’t hesitate to email me.

I’ll be praying for your family and that you get answers quickly!

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