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Clean protein powder? Weight gain help?

Jessica Wurth Tiemann

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Does anyone know of a protein powder good for kids that isn't full of weird stuff? I need to figure out how to make my own pediasure for my 15 month old that doesn't have such ridiculous crap in it. I found some home made recipes online for it, and also via our pediatrition, and they call for protein powder.

It's a long story but the short of it is my baby has been failure to thrive since 5 monthes old (33 weeker preemie stopped growing at 30 weeks IUGR) and over the last few months multiple dr's and specialist are growing more concerned about his weight. I've been scolded big time over and over for not following the calorie packing list from the different GI specialists (corn syrup, pediasure, margarine?!, no thanks) even though he eats really well (kid will inhale 3 eggs for breakfast and then eat his brother's left overs) and good high fats. I have until his 18 month check up to show a decent weight gain on a high calorie diet, and then if even on one he hasn't gained well, it's time for more invasive tests. He's already had a biopsy done that shows no gluten or dairy allergies or diseases like Chrohns, but we try to stear clear of them when possible, though he does drink a whole milk/coconut milk combo. I personally tend to think he has a really high metabolisim, and so the GI doctor wants to really put on the calories to see if that's the case, that he just needs a lot more calorie wise, hence the pediasure.

Any one have some protein powder advice? I looked over some at Good Earth and got really overwhelmed. Thanks!

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Jessica -

This must be so frustrating for you! I'm sorry to hear that your little guy is having such a struggle. I have a question: Other than his weight/size, is he considered healthy (developmentally, immune system, etc.)? You say he's a good eater, which is awesome, so is he showing signs of malnourishment? I only ask because there are some who would argue that the weight/size standards set by the American (I'm just assuming you're in the States, but correct me if I'm wrong) medical community are arbitrary at best. If he's otherwise healthy and happy, there is the option to just do your best to keep him fed and see how things develop.

If there are other health issues, or if you feel as strongly about increasing his size as your doctors do (which is totally cool, too), then things like coconut milk, avocado, ground beef (higher fat percentage), nut butters, and homemade mayo are great sources of fat calories. As far as protein goes, a pure egg white protein might be a good option for you. Or, if you feel comfortable, a grass-fed whey protein.

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Robin, thanks for the quick reply! He actually is doing super well developmentally, and actually is on par with his actual due date and not adjusted (walks, runs, climbs everything, is starting to say multiple words, etc) He is doing so well in fact that he was dropped from the early intervention program here because they felt he was doing so well, they had nothing to really offer him. At 15 months and 16lbs, he's not on the charts at ALL at the doctors office, which seems to stress our ped out lately. I've been pretty good about shrugging all the concern off because I see what he eats at home, but I think it's starting to get to me (After his latest round of specialists, the stress gave me shingles last week. WOO!)

He does eat insanely well, his OT that would come to the house was always amazed at the food he would pack away. We go through about 10 avocados a week in our family, we love them so. Ghee or coconut oil goes into EVERYTHING for him just to add some extra goodness. We journaled his food for a week, and even the specialist admits that based on it he eats a high number of calories, even though we don't follow his food recommendations (I kid you not, the nurse there told us to give him Pirate Booty or cheetos for a quick hit of calories. So gross, I'll stick to coconut cream thanks). He agrees that it may very well be metabolisim based coupled with just having small kids (our 4 year old has never made it past the 20th percentile, he was a preemie too), but wants more "proof" I guess, hence packing on the pediasure since food wise I'm not sure how much more we can force on the poor kid.

I have been feeling the same way about the weight guidelines here in the US medical community (my ped could tell you how often I would complain that his growth chart is based on formula fed babies). Having multiple doctors scolding me about it has been wearing me down I think and causing a lot of stress. I get defensive when people exclaim how tiny he is and does he ever eat, and when a ER visit for stitches turns into the doctor concerned he is malinourished (he's not, all his blood work is perfect nowdays). All this stemmed from a SEVERE case of reflux that was not caught for months and months, and so he started just nursing JUST enough and ended up in the hospital needing two blood transfers due to no iron in his body. Once they scoped and saw how bad it was, he went on meds and BOOM, starting eating like a horse (this was in May). I still maintain that months of barely eating to get by coupled with being a IUGR baby makes it hard for him to catch back up.

Anyway, rambling aside, hearing you voice how I feel myself helps. I look at him and see a healthy, insanely active kid who just is......... small. After this shingles thing, my husband thinks that maybe it's time to just take a break from all these medical professionals and revisit it next year if at his 18 month check up things still concerning, for the sake of my own health :) I may look into a whey protein source, just so I can say I did "sorta" follow what they told me to do.

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First, I totally feel your pain. I have 3 small kids. My last two were actually born several weeks late (homebirthed) and were over 10 lbs at birth...and then didn't grow well. The two girls were 16 lbs at 12 months, and my son was 17 lbs. My youngest daughter is almost 20 lbs at 20 months - she still hasnt doubled her birth weight!

We did lots of tests and fretting with all 3 - even though we'd been down the same road before. All 3 are smart and developmentally normal. But I totally know how you feel when the doctors freak out. It weighs on you.

I would look for a new pediatrician. When I was worried about my youngest, our pediatrician told me, "I wish you could see what I see: a healthy baby." Find someone who can use their eyes to see the healthy child in front of them.

I have a friend who has a micro preemie who is still quite small at 2 1/2. Like 20 lbs. (but he was born at 23 wks - miracle baby.) She has had success recently with help from the Westin A Price Foundation. She has him on a homemade formula with raw goat milk and coconut oil, among other things. He has been gaining great lately. I would try contacting WAPF to see if they can help you.

Another thought - allergy testing in little kids is often inaccurate. What about taking out ghee and all dairy? I find that ANY dairy gives me allergies. Just a thought.

Lastly, my 12 year old daughter, who was below the chart for much of her early childhood, jumped to 40th percentile for height. Still 15th for weight, but at 5'-1", she's a normal adult height. I was so worried that she would be crazy tiny when she was a baby. But she's almost average now. Hopefully that is reassuring. Are you or their father petite? My husband is on the tall side and I'm average, but I was small as a kid. I have seen pediatricians fret about a small kid with small parents - makes no sense!

Good luck,


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