Questioning Doctor's Orders

I’m becoming more and more disenchanted with doctors and the medical community in general. When we started taking Grayson to specialists at 3 months old, I had a lot of faith that these doctors would be able to run their tests and use their vast medical knowledge and experience to diagnose and “fix” my little boy.

Umm, it hasn’t quite worked out so easily. We have no real diagnosis, no real prognosis, and no satisfying answers.

And honestly, I can’t blame these things on doctors. I realize medicine is limited and doctors don’t know everything.

But. Sometimes I feel like these doctors aren’t really digging for answers. They don’t question slightly high blood levels, don’t (in my mind) try and link all his symptoms, and sometimes seem annoyed and brush off my questions (again, this could be just my perception, but it is- my perception). And sometimes the things they suggest, when I think about them for any length of time, just seem pretty dumb.

We saw a Gastroenterologist this morning. Poor Grayson was dead asleep when it was time to leave (he was so tired from traveling I put him to bed at 4:45 pm, he slept until 4:30 am, bottle, then back to deep sleep until I finally woke him at 6:15). The GI doctor was dry, to put it nicely. He didn’t say one word to Grayson, even when he was examining him. Weird. I understand not everyone is comfortable talking to babies, but you are a pediatric doctor.

Basically the doctor’s great diagnosis for G’s being underweight is he isn’t consuming enough calories. Well yes, I know that. G will often sleep 12 hours and then drink a whopping 3 ounces of formula. He’s 9 months old and has never taken more than 6 ounces in a bottle, and usually it’s 4 ounces. So I had several questions for the doctor.

Do you have any tricks or tips on getting him to drink more formula each bottle? No

What variety should I be feeding him in terms of solids each day? Doesn’t matter, a calorie is a calorie.

What?! Really? So you’re saying if I feed him a donut it’s as good as feeding him a bowl of peas? I don’t buy it.

Then a nutritionist came in to talk to us, armed with 3 samples of Pediasure- chocolate, vanilla and strawberry (Neopolitan! as Ryan called it). She wants us to feed him a bottle of Pediasure instead of formula before he goes to bed at night. I looked at the ingredients- guess what the second ingredient listed is, after water? Yep, sugar. Grreeaat. So you want me to feed my 9 month old basically a chocolate milkshake before bed? Sounds healthy to me! Oh, but I guess it’s ok, as long as he gains weight, right?

Then she suggested we start mixing a pat of butter in with his solids. I’m wary of this one too. As my friend (who has also gone through this with her daughter) said today, “Do we want our kids growing up to think peas taste like butter?”.

Her other suggestion was start feeding him Cheerios. Cheerios have no real dense calories- they are just going to fill him up. Plus he can’t pick up Cheerios yet. Ugh.

So tonight, I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated that a world-renowned hospital’s nutritionist thinks the solution to my baby being little is sugar and butter. That in a day that we are bombarded with warnings of childhood obesity and diabetes, our doctors aren’t offering very helpful advice on good fats and smart calorie choices. I sat down and googled “Good Sources of Fat for Babies”. Once again, Dr. Google was way more helpful than Texas Children’s.

And another thing. Every book, website, chart, etc. says babies are supposed to triple their birthweight by one year. G’s birthweight tripled would be 16 pounds, 5 ounces. He only has a little over a pound to go and almost three months to get there. So I guess now my question is (after thinking about this all day), is he really underweight? Is he expected to weigh as much as a baby that weighed 8 pounds at birth when he weighed not even 5 1/2?

Aren’t humans supposed to listen to their body’s cues to tell them when they are hungry and when they are full? Is it possible Grayson really does only need 3 ounces in the morning sometimes? If I start feeding him more than his body tells him it needs, is that going to screw up his system and possibly cause him to become an overeater later on? Of course I don’t want to deprive him of what his body needs to grow and become strong, but are we making an issue out of something that doesn’t need to be made an issue?

Any thoughts, comments and/or suggestions? Am I totally off-base here? Do you think I should feed Grayson Pediasure and butter?


  1. Sarah on July 8, 2011 at 1:41 am

    After 27 years of doctors telling me that my symptoms were unconnected and I was just "really unlucky" to have so many things wrong with me, it was a non-medical professional who recognized my celiac disease. Needless to say, I am newly skeptical of doctors as well. They are NOT infallible! And WAIT until I tell you the nightmare we just went through with L's pediatrician. OMG.I have no medical advise, but I can tell you to TRUST YOUR MOMMY INSTINCT! Keep looking for a doctor that can actually work with you to come up with answers that work for your family. That doctor is out there – I'm praying that you find him/her soon!

  2. Jillian Moller on July 8, 2011 at 1:59 am

    I ditto EVERYTHING Sarah said.This will sound weird – but look up healthy fats. Mad's and John's first food was mashed avocados. They are super high in fat and super healthy. They taste yummy too. And keep pushing. God will lead you to the doctor with answers. I know how frustrating it is. I am so sorry you are having to learn how to navigate this path.Hugs sweet friend. Love you lots.

  3. Esperanza on July 8, 2011 at 2:30 am

    That doesn't sound right to me. I agree that things like avocado would be better. Also, if a baby is supposed to triple his/her weight by age one Isa is very underweight. Maybe that is why she dropped from the 98th to the 30th percentile in one year. She was 9lbs at birth and is now 20lbs when she should be 27 (if what you read is true). I don't know if that makes you feel better but I wanted you to know.

  4. Michael and Erin on July 8, 2011 at 3:25 am

    We have dealt with this with T her whole life too. She is just not motivated by food. We did add pediasure to her milk for a long time to beef up the calories. Although it does have sugar it is a good supplement. Erin and I have always agreed that we don't want to just feed her fried crap and sweets just to fatten her up. That does not seem like it will be teaching her the right way to eat. It does seem that doctors know a lot about to to help with overweight kids but not the opposite. Michael

  5. Erin on July 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Ahh, let me sit down and write a book here. Ha, we already had that conversation today…so sorry that you are having to deal with my three year path of food and butter and what should I do?? I too have heard that babies should triple their weight by one, and if G is so close, that is amazing, (just did the math and realized that neither of the girls made it…well shoot). And I agree, there is no way that babies who weigh 3 pds more at birth should be at the same spot at a year…again, I understand the curve and what that provides, but we know how crazy that can make me.My advice is that every calorie should count, which is hard when little G eats a lot of fruit and veggies, BUT for sure do yogurt, perhaps cheese on things, and I have a bunch of cookbooks I will look through when I get home to look for ideas for a 9 month old. And I still maintain that every adult is different and has different food needs, so I have to think we were that way as babies too…some people need breakfast the minute they wake up, some don't eat till 9am…so I think a lot of this is just who he is and what his body needs. Follow your instincts!!!

  6. basebell6 on July 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    ^^ Agree with a lot of posts up there. And just because avocado is the wonder food doesnt mean kids will eat it either. Blaine just spits the stuff out. Blaine barely doubled his birth weight in one year and I'm pretty afraid of our 1 year appointment and what they will tell me. At 9 months, we were given similar advice: put butter on everything etc. Sorry but I'm not putting butter on green beans and peas. And I catch my husband trying to shove chocolate cake and icecream down the kid's throat and I argue that it is bad for him and hubby says "yeah but he's underweight and can use the calories / fat". TRIPLE GAH.So sorry you are dealing with doctors that don't seem to give a sh*t about their jobs. 🙁

  7. Sweet B's Mom on July 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Hmmm…I'm definitely not the expert on this. You know that Sweet B had difficulty eating and gaining, hence the g-tube placement. We met with a dietician every time we stayed in the hospital, and we were never ever told to give her butter or pediasure. We supplement her formula to 24 calories. We started with 22 for a few weeks and then went to 24. Our feeding therapist did say to add canola or olive oil to her solids. As for the right amount of weight to gain, B would be 5 pounds now at a year! Our pediatrician said that weight gain does slow down eventually and that as long as she is gaining it is okay. When she was stagnant was when we were admitted to the hospital. Also, they checked and she was dehydrated. To put weight on her, we give her to fortified formula. I haven't put oil in her food because I don't feel comfortable with that yet. Can you look into supplementing to 24 calories or even 26? You have to be careful with 26 calories, because of the load on the kidneys, but many babies do it under a doctor's supervision. We give her Enfamil AR which has rice in it to keep it down. It doesn't work, but it's better than formula with no rice. I just rambled on and on…feeding issues consume me…maybe meet with a dietician. Giving him butter just sounds like not the best idea to me. Maybe once in a while? We give B mac and cheese a lot which makes me feel horrible and like a bad mother, but it is one of the only foods that she will accept in her mouth. I've often said that I will give her pureed oreos if she would eat it. But for the purpose of fattening him up, I think I'd stay away from the butter. There are other ways to do it. To get him to eat solids if he had that problem, then maybe I'd try the butter. In fact, I may try that tomorrow with B 🙂

  8. Maggie on July 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I am so sorry! I too get so frustrated with the doctors and their sometimes ridiculous advice! I have often left Camille's appointments (she sees 9 specialists, plus her regular pedi and dentist) and wanted to demand my co-pay back (not to mention time, etc). And I too get so irritated that these doctors (who are supposed to be amazing, fabulous doctors who have seen it all) cannot diagnose Camille, and not only that, but they have no real drive or desire to. I told my husband one time, "In what other profession does someone get to say 'I don't know' and have no real intention of finding out for you?" In my job, if I say "I don't know" to something, it better be followed by "But I will find out for you and get right back to you!". I am not really a big help on the eating thing because my daughter has a G-button. However, we still have feeding issues even then because the GI and nutritionist tend to want to overfeed her through her button, which makes her miserable. My sister is a Registered Dietician, and she works with adults, but she was very big on feeding her sons (when they were babies) avocado as well. Maybe you could also try mixing his formula at a higher calorie (as someone else suggested) because then you could get more calories in with less volume, which is always good for our babies who don't want to eat! I wish I could meet you in person and we could have a big gripe session about health care for medically needy kids!

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