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Failure to Thrive?

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As I write this, I'm sitting at Panera immediately after Asher's 9 Month well check. I'm trying to catch a few moments to myself and process after a few hard days emotionally. The latest wave to crash against me? Hearing the pediatrician mention the words "failure to thrive" in reference to Asher. I mean...have you seen this kid?

Is this the face of a child that is failing to thrive?


Sure, he may be on the small end, but what those growth charts don't tell you is that he's been crawling and climbing for 3 months. He's chasing an active big brother and would much rather play than snuggle up for an extended nursing session...unless it is nighttime and there's nothing better to do. Those growth charts don't tell you that he's clapping, waving, and giving kisses. They don't tell you that he's been saying "Mama" and "Bubba" for 3 months. They don't tell you that he's recently picked up the words "Bye-Bye" and "Go-Go". They aren't able to tell you about the depths of his belly laughs and the shrieks of joy when he's in the bathtub splashing.

Failure to thrive? Not the face I'm looking into.

Now, don't misunderstand me...

I am concerned that he doesn't have the rolls where he should. I am concerned that he'd rather play with his food than stick it in his mouth. I am concerned that he doesn't have cheeks to pinch. I do recognize that his low weight could be an indicator to something medically wrong, but failure to thrive? Really?

I'm just not sure.

You see, I've seen the children that truly aren't thriving. I've seen the empty eyes, the frailness, and the missed milestones. I've seen the orphan child that bangs her head against the crib rails or rocks back and forth to self-soothe when there isn't someone to snuggle when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

Matter of fact,  I have a child that might be rocking in a crib halfway around the world this very second.

No. I just can't accept the term "Failure to Thrive" in reference to Asher.

Low on growth charts? Yes.

Failure to thrive? No.

Not when there are 163 million orphans needing a forever family.

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Tuesday 2nd of October 2012

I totally and completely agree with you. My babies did not have rolls either... I did have a friend who was nursing the same time I was, and her milk was about half fat (when she pumped, to be able to see it), and mine was only 1/4 fat or less. So my babies were not chubby like hers were. (Hers have all now slimmed down just fine, and mine are not at all super skinny...just regular.) We didn't have any issues at checkups, fortunately...the public health nurses we visited seemed to be aware that nursing babies do not fit the regular charts. I hope your doctor can learn that soon too!

And I agree with another poster who mentioned about not trying to fatten a baby up by giving him sweet drinks...ugh. I say this out of lots of experience with sugar causing hyperactivity, distractibility, impulsivity, and difficulty task-switching. We have seen much-improved behaviour without sugar excesses. (We keep it to one 10-gram-of-sugar treat/dessert per day now.)

So glad you have a great dose of common sense, and perspective of what failure to thrive really looks like, as well as a great group of friends around you praying. My sister adopted 2 years ago emotional but intensely rewarding journey. Bless you!


Tuesday 14th of August 2012

I just found your blog today via a comment on Joy Prouty's instagram feed. My son Rhys was born Sept. 2 also! And at his 9 month check up the dr. told me he was failure to thrive as well! You had the same exact reaction as me. Rhys is the younger brother to 2 very active sisters. He started eating around 8 1/2 months, mostly table foods. So he was playing with his food a lot at that point. Comparing MY son to other children who are bottle fed and start eating at 4 months is just not fair. He is gaining at a quicker pace now that he has found a love for food! We really need to be supportive of each other as mothers and trust our instincts. I knew my little buddy would be fine and your little guys seems perfect too!