Baby NOT gaining weight!!!! HELP
01/21/2009 at 13:53 PM

Hi... Hope somebody can help because we are very very worried.... My niece was born at 7 lbs 6 oz. Mom had gestational diabetes and delivered 2 weeks early. She was told everything was ok but they did have concerns with her breathing at first, but she was sent home as planned. She has had eating problems since birth. She has never latched properly to anything. They tried every bottle known to man and even breast feeding and it never made a difference. She has been underweight for most of her little life. She is no longer on the growth chart. She is now 11 1/2 months old and has gained NO weight in the last 2 months, she only weighs 15 pounds. she has been under a pediatrician's care since she's been 6 months old. They ran all sorts of blood, urine and sweat test and those have all come back normal. She still cannot support her own weight, she does NOT stand, she cannot sit alone for more then 5 seconds without toppling over. She has been on solids since 6 months and that has proved to be difficult for her as well. At 9 1/2 months mom was told to add butter and mayonnaise to her food to add extra fat in her diet to hopefully help her gain weight. Well apparently that has done nothing to help since she has failed to gain any weight. MOM is pretty much force feeding her to get food in her, she doesn't know what else to do. She is waiting to see a Neurologist. They are also waiting to see a geneticist. Unfortunately there are waiting list and it will be 1 month before she can see the neurologist and 3 months before she sees a Geneticist. Has anyone else ever had similar problems??? Any suggestions??? We are really worried about our little peanut...

It sounds like these parents are doing all the right things. They may also want to consult a nutritionist. I never faced this problem w/ either of my children, but if I were in their shoes, I'd be exploring all options as well. Have they tried a Developmental Pediatrician or an ENT?
Cld this be something physical maybe? Or possible a sensory problem? What about when she does eat? Does your niece gag or spit up her food? Does she have any other reactions? Also, what is her disposition like during the day, and especially during feedings? Does she seem uncomfortable, irritable or like she's in pain?
If the parents can't get to these drs right away, they shld consider taking their daughter to a children's hospital for more tests. If she had breathing problems at birth, maybe there's an obstruction of some kind that's interfering w/ her eating. I don't know. I can only guess. However, I wouldn't overlook any possibilities. The parents shldn't wait either.
Keep us posted on how your niece is progressing.


When it comes to solid foods she seems to get them down alright. She still spits up as much as my boys did back when they were 3-4 months. When it comes to her bottles, she sucks in so much air trying to get the nipple in her mouth properly that she ends up throwing up due to air bubbles. She is constantly flailing her arms and legs around to the point she is very hard to hold. Last time I babysat her, I ended up swaddling her like an infant, hands in and everything, as tight as possible so she couldn't move, that was the only way I was able to give her her bottle. She still has no teeth so it makes it difficult to give her a variety of foods right now. But all her food is homemade.
As far as her disposition, she is teething so she has been a little whinny, but overall she's a very happy baby. Both mom and dad have done everything they've been told to try as far as feeding her. They've also tried everything other people have suggested and still no changes. She is seeing a Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist as well. Everyone keeps saying the same thing "she should be progressing but she's not" They've all done everything they apparently can do... Trust me, we are far from giving up on our peanut, it's just very frustrating and scary when the doctors and therapist give up. I believe she has an appointment to see specialists at a children's hospital as well, we are very anxious to hear what they have to say. It would be nice to have answers. Thank you for your concerns... I'll keep you posted as I get more info...


You mentioned a vast array of specialists, but no Speech and Language Therapists. Do you know if she is being seen by one. SALT's deal also with eating and can help with feeding problems.

It certainly sounds like her parents and family are all doing everything they can for this wee girl anyway. Keep us posted on how things go for her please.



My son was born premature at 34 weeks old. He had heart surgery. Later (at home) we were feeding him every other hour to help him gain weight. We have even hired people, at great personal expense to get him fed. He is about 7 months old now. After two- four months he was having a horrible time gaining weight. We met with the pediatricans office nutritionist. She beefed up his calories by increasing the formula (more powder to obtain nutrient rich calories). We moved to MCT oil (adds more calories, $80\bottle)added to his formula. She insisted we wake and feed him every two hours, but it was taking an hour to feed him, so it was absolutely no sleep for us. It was a nightmare.

Finally I said, "Enough, this just can't be sustained" and the pediatrician fully agreed and refd us to Childrens Hospital. We were sent with the diagnosis of Failure to Thrive, a very common term. We have done a littany of tests and are working with a geneticist. This is the most frustrating feeling...not able to help our son gain weight and more imporantly catch up weight and growth despite severely increasing his calories.(His formula is like pancake batter. I think he is exhuasted trying to suck it via a nipple. I think he has a slight aversion to eating. He also tested positive for Aspirating his fluids). Our next appt I assume they will suggest a GI feeding tube placement. I do know it is important to do that growth so he has energy to develop.

Also working with a geneticist. Have you had any luck yourself with your situation since the last post?

I am looking for support groups..or just people to touch base with. It is incredibly difficult to deal with.



Hi! Just want to give you support and tell you to hand in there. My oldest son was low on the charts and I was also told to put butter in his milk and also ice cream too. He did everything developmentally on time, but was small. Around 2 or 3 he started catching up and now is right up with the other kids. I remember I worried to death.

As I think back I wonder if some of his problems were sensory issues. He didn't like meat for quite some time, but eats it now.

Another thing that was suggested for my son at one point was those ensure shakes so he got the calories.

Could this little one take a sippy cup? You may have better luck with this then a bottle if she is having problems sucking. Also a straw could eventually make things easier. Could she be tongue tied?? Did they check that out?

I would wonder if she is having trouble tolerating the food and something is either wrong in the stomach or maybe she is having digestion problems. Did they do any scans on the little one? Sometimes lack of muscle control is diagnosed at CP.

I do wish you guys the best. I know I was in constant worry with my son and unfortunately the pediatrician in my case made it worse.

Hang in there.


If you haven't already, tell the hospital staff your concerns about the fatigue problem. Often, family members are aware of things that the professionals are not. That is one of the reasons that people who are hospitalized recover more quickly when they have family members stay with them most of the time.

I hope you are able to spend a good part of every day with your son. I know that can be difficult to arrange, but he will do better if you can spend more time with him.


I care for a baby whom I would diagnose with failure to thrive, although I am not a doctor, merely a caregiver.This baby is 9 months old, has the scrawniest chicken legs, hasn't gained weight in about 6 months. She looks pale, but is otherwise very happy. Lately she hasn`t been able to keep much food down. She throws up everything at least once a day. Her mother was nursing her for a while but as the baby stopped gaining weight, she started supplementing with formula. The mother then started adding baby cereal to the bottle and recently some sort of carbohydrate powder meant to pack on the calories. In my opinion there has been no change in her weight gain since I began caring for her two months ago. In addition her muscle control is extremely limited. She can roll over front to back and back to front and hold her head up while on her stomach, but that`s it. She can not sit up, her neck control is very poor, however she can wave. She just looks so frail, I`m extremely concerned about her. Her mother, in my opinion is just now beginning to see that her baby might be facing a serious health problem. Until now she has been in denial about her baby`s condition, afraid of having her baby poked and prodded, but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! It`s been 6 months and she`s just not thriving. Her muscles are so weak that she just lays around most of her waking hours (when we're not holding her). It takes too much effort for her to move so she gives up. I feel for her and her worried parents.

Any suggestions?


so i read your post and it has been one year? how is she doing?
my one year old just got diagonsed with "failure to thrive" I didnt even know it existed until my little one. He hasnt gained any weight for 5 months and the pediatrician that we were seeing had no concern considering he was meeting his developmental milestones. As a mother, I knew fromt he time he was 4 months that he had eating problems. he will not nurse unless its during the time he sleeps .. so he nurses unconciensely (spelling questionable). He goes for his one year checkk up and I had a break I saw another doctor and he diagnosed my son. told me to add butter and fat in his diet.. how would i do that when my son refuses to eat. i force him to eat and its really energy draining for me. i am very curious to see how your niece is doing because I am so worried for my son. theyve taken blood and urine samples and those came back normal.
Please let me know how she is doing today.


It would be rare to get a reply from an original poster nearly a year later. Have you taken your child to see a developmental specialist? Is there a children's hospital such as A I DuPont in your area?


i figured its been a while.. but worth the shot. thanks for your reply. they found that he has a urinary tract infection and is under treatment right now. they took a huge tube of blood from him this past week for futher testing. i dont know what else to do but wait.. he's losing weight and wil NOT eat anything. the doc gave us some high calorie formula, but he will not take anytihng other than breastmilk when he's unconcious.. while sleeping. do you know of anyone with similar problem with positive results? i need hope. thanks.



i read your reply to the original post and my son s going through what yours went through. how is your son doing? we have an appointment with a GI specialist in a few weeks if all the tests that they are running turns out clear.. then they will take the next step. he did have a urinary tract infection and currently treating.. took 15 ml of blood from the little scrawny guy to do some tests earlier. my little one wont eat.. i have to trick him into eating my entertaining him somehow. its sooo exhausting. he'll be one year in two weeks and hasnt gained any weight since 6 months old. i hope you had some positive results. i dont want to give up.. but im wearing out, physically and emotionally. i cry at least once a day trying to get him to eat or drink anything.


I hope you are getting some help from your family or friends.

I know people say they would do anything for the children, but few people are called upon for real sacrifice.

Try to get some rest, and some fresh air. You've got a lot on your plate.


they think he has cystic fibrosis.. something so new to me. i have few family and hardly any friends considering where i live has a large religious population that i am not a part of. they dont like to befriend us once theyve learned that we are catholics. i am stressed beyond measure and i have to go back to work in january. and dont know how to go about that with all the doctors and specialists appointments for future testings. did your baby end up gaining weight? i need hope.


I have just recently started doing some research on babies not gaining weight and came across this blog. My son, Jackson, is 15 months old and weighs 19 pounds. He was born weight 7lbs2oz and at that time was in the 25th percentile. He was gaining weight at a normal pace until he got to 5 1/2 months and then he started to slow down. Once he reached 10 1/2 months he quit gaining weight and has been at the same weight for 5 months now. He is also meeting all his milestones and is a GREAT eater. He will eat just about anything and everything you put in front of him so this is why we are concerned! We have an appointment to take him to a pediatric gastroentoligist in a couple weeks and am worried out of my mind as to what they will say! I will definitely be watching for any future posts from you all and hope the best for all your little ones! Please let me know if you have any information on what we are going through or know of anyone with similar problems!


hi.... i do have the same problems with my daughter she stop eat when she was 3 months ,her doc told me she has refluxe i tried zantac doesn't help she is 15 months now and she stop gainig weight when she was 9 months really i'm so tired i feed her just when she's sleeping i give her everything in bottle vegg soup milk everything, please help me i want her to gain weight plzzzzzzzzzzzzz help


get them to do a contrast study (an x ray where they watch the swallowing in action all the way down) it sounds very much as if it could be a form of tof which is a connection between eosopagus and trachea. there are many variations of this. my son has oesophageal artresia which is a gap in the oesophagus which is now fixed although he is still struggling to swallow.Hope this helps - just a sugesstion.


have just posted a reply to prev and would say the same here too.sounds as if could be a form of tofs. get them to do a contrast study to watch the swallowing.


My son was born 9lbs 10oz. I also had gestational diabetes. My son was only 12lbs at 6 mo. We had all kinds of test ran. He was in the hospital and they couldnt find anything. At one point they thought it was cystic fibrosis. He was vomiting all day, I was nursing and at 6 months the dr put him on a special formula but it still did not help. After his 1st birthday and the doctors basicly having us shove food down his throat he starting to gain. He is now three and you would never know. The boy loves to eat now and I have to stop him from eating now.


Hi mkendall92... I came across this blog also. I have a 12 month old son who weighs only 15lbs 8oz. He is not gaining any weight. He is a very happy baby and is meeting his milestones. In June he had blood test done checking his thyroid, liver, kidney, anemia,etc. and everything came back perfectly normal. Now he is being refereed to Childrens Hosp to see a pediatric GI specialist & his appt is a few weeks out. I am so worried about him and I was wondering how your son is doing now and what the outcome was? Or has anyone else had to go through this same experience? Thanks


I came across this also! Im going through the same thing with my son. i didnt have diabetes or any coplications. my son is now 9 months old and weighs 13lbs! he eats formula just fine. but he has trouble eating solids. hes got high calcium levels and high pottasium levels. we also know hes not absorbing anything. weve been taking him to a gastrologist and he told us last week that he might have williams syndrome! which is genetic. me and my husband have no idea which side it comes from. my son can crawl but he cant sit very long by him self with out falling over. its so frustrating to go through this. they also recomend Elecare formula. which i $32 a can! and not many stores have it. lucky they are get a case sent to us for free cuz we can not afford that. we are out of ideas. our next step is to get a second opinion but where do we go? i dont know what to do?


Find, or get a referral for, a pediatric gastroenterologist to evaluate your son. Hope this helps and you are able to get correct diagnosis and treatment for your child.


My twin grand-daughters did well with the Dr. Brown bottle. They're harder to clean, but well worth the trouble.