Underweight or just different??

(33 Posts)
Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 20:59:26

My DSS (5 1/2) seems terribly underweight. He is very active, however I worry that he is too skinny. I was away during his last visit so hadn't seen him for a month. He hopped into bed with DH and I this morning and even through his fleecey onesie his bones were prominent to the point of sharp! As I was dressing him later I noticed that his knees are bigger than the widest part of his thighs - surely this is not right?? I know some children are naturally skinny - my son was completely the opposite at the same age and now at the tender age of 11 shares shoes and some clothes with DH, so I have no benchmark to work on.

We only have him for two weekends a month and relations between the two households are very strained, so we are unable to discuss our concerns (we tried in the past but were told to get lost!!). Before it got to this stage there was an email last year from his mother saying that he hadn't gained any significant weight since he was 2 1/2. He hopped on the scales at the vets when we took the dog there a few weeks ago and he only weighed 17.8 kg - less than my sickly dog!!

Am I just being paranoid or is this something to be seriously worried about??

SteamWisher Sun 10-Nov-13 21:01:48

Hard to know without knowing about his other home. Why are you concerned? What's his mum like?

headinhands Sun 10-Nov-13 21:19:27

According to growth charts for boys that weight, while being the average for a child of 5yrs 0months, could be the weight of a healthy 3yrs 3months up to a healthy 6yrs 9month year old so alone it's no cause for concern . He sounds like he has plenty of energy. Any other issues?

Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 21:23:19

I'm concerned because he is painfully thin! My opinion of his mother is really not relevant - I don't want to get away from the primary concern here and muddy the waters.
His other home is rather chaotic as building work started just after they moved in some months ago (June) and DSS and DSD have been sleeping on the floor in the hall since. He said that he isn't sleeping well but I can't imagine that would have a big impact on his weight?

Thants Sun 10-Nov-13 21:27:40

How does he eat when at your house?

Sirzy Sun 10-Nov-13 21:29:19

how tall is he? that weight doesn't sound particularly low for a 5 year old

Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 21:32:25

Headinhands - that makes me feel a bit better! He is just so much the polar opposite of my DS that Im not used to skinny minis! I have other concerns but they are more for his behaviour.
He has always had a bit of a tendency to lash out in a thoughtless manner and ignore anyone trying to get his attention. We are careful not to raise our voices in any way other than to attract attention, then keep v calm when reprimanding however he has taken to cowering whenever put on the spot (did you hit your sister/chew the paint roller/kick the dog) no matter how gently. Even if we make it clear that we are not cross and just want him to stop the bad behaviour. DSD tells me that he gets shouted at and sent to his bed a lot at home.

lunar1 Sun 10-Nov-13 21:37:05

ds1 is a couple of months younger and slightly lighter. he is very fit and active. the walk to school is 1.5 miles each way and he still has loads of energy for sports. i would look at how active he is and if he is full of energy or if he tires easily.

Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 21:38:08

He eats really well with us, but has very different food. This weekend was Scrambled eggs/Pancakes for breakfast, Sandwiches for lunch then home-made Spag Bol/Full Roast chicken etc for supper. DH calls every other night when they are at home and it is always pizza, nuggets, potato windows, chips - little or no fresh meat/veg to my knowledge. I thought that would make him fatter though?!!

hettienne Sun 10-Nov-13 21:41:16

Weight isn't meaningful without height too. Children are supposed to be "skinny" though - you should be able to see ribs etc. Our idea of what is normal has become a bit skewed as childhood obesity increases.

AndiRee Sun 10-Nov-13 21:48:02

My DD is 6.8yo and is 14.7 kg. I would love her to be 17.8 kg! However it is just how she's made. She has been tested for all sorts of things but the Paeditricians have now agreed she is just tiny. As long as your DSS eats well, not lacking in energy, he's probably fine.

PukingCat Sun 10-Nov-13 21:49:15

I think the cowering is worrying. Does he have packed lunches or school dinners?

Skinny on its own wouldn't alarm me because i was a very skinny child and both my children are skinny. The weight you give is a bit more than my slightly younger child. Each child is different though.

Do not think he is undernourished?

Could your dh take him to the doctors? They could do blood tests. Would likely piss off the mum but if a dad is concerned about his child he has every right to get them checked out.

SteamWisher Sun 10-Nov-13 21:49:31

Sorry I was clumsy in my wording. I meant is his other home stable etc etc? Because he could just be skinny or actually something is going awry.

headinhands Sun 10-Nov-13 21:52:44

I don't think a dr would order blood tests just on the strength of a parent's say so would they? There'd have to be a reason for the dr to suspect a problem.

Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 22:01:10

We worry that taking him to the dr would get back and cause problems. He eats packed lunches - cheese sandwich, fruit string, bar of chocolate (same every day) but I don't know if he finishes it. It is not so much the weight as it is - more the fact that his knees are wider than his thighs and he has grey bags under his eyes. DSD is similar, but has gained a bit recently - she tends to fluctuate more.
Not sure of the stability of his other home Steamwisher - they have moved twice in 14 months, both mid-term so very disrupted. Would this have an impact?

hettienne Sun 10-Nov-13 22:05:18

I would establish if he is actually underweight first - measure his height.

PukingCat Sun 10-Nov-13 22:08:14

headinhands. No but if the Dr agreed he was underweight.

PukingCat Sun 10-Nov-13 22:11:58

That's a bit of a shit lunch! What about if your dh offers to pay for school dinners? At least then he would get a churned variety. Costs about 10 quid a week. Well worth it in my opinion.

Im surprised the school allow chocolate bars, my dcs school doesn't.

Bags under eyes is concerning as well. I think the Dr would be interested in that.

Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 22:24:14

School meals are not an option - they are a bit fussy and only get encouraged to explore food every other weekend! DSS announced today that his favourite veg is broccoli and roasted carrots (through an enormous mouthful of the aforementioned!!) but he never gets them at home.
I was quite surprised about the chocolate bars being allowed too PukingCat - and it is a shit lunch! My DS has everything from soup in a flask to sushi in his!

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Nov-13 22:31:52

17.8kg seems fine. I have a skinny 5 yo who is around 16-17kg (his twin sister is 15). They are half Asian so petite runs in the family. My elder son is also quite small. Their bones stick out of their spine, despite eating well and very healthily. One of my ds is super fussy, the other isn't, but they are similar sizes at the same age. If anything ds2 (the good eater) is a bit skinnier, but he also has more energy. They both have school dinners and eat a proper dinner at night as well. My dh is not tall, and I would be very petite (a size 8 is not underweight for me, though sadly I am not!). What is your dh and his ex p's build like? Are they small ie. not tall and potentially petite?

PukingCat Sun 10-Nov-13 22:32:52

My oldest was fussy too and school dinners really helped. Seeing their friends eating the food and getting exposed to new foods really encouraged my oldest to try stuff. It took a few months but then she has learnt to like quite a few new things. Am now doing the same with my youngest who is also fussy.

Some days are good with something they love and others are more tricky. On those days my youngest chooses what i encourage him to get or he gets what his friends are having. If he doesn't like it at all there is usually yogurt, bread, salad, veg, fruit etc to have plus some days there are chips and always dessert. So they don't go hungry.

One day a week is pizza day and one day is fish fingers, one is a roast etc. Usually 3 options so they have a choice.

(just realised you have an older child so probably know all this)

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Nov-13 22:35:04

Grey bags don't sound good. Neither does never having brocolli at home. My kids have veg every night, and at school dinner. I have also recently put my kids onto the vitamin drops, just as it will either go through them, or could provide some additional nutrients if they are needed (partly because ds1 has some developmental problems). Is this something his Mum could do? Obviously ideally it all comes in the diet, but if it isn't then this would be the next best thing, better than nothing.

Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 22:48:47

DH has just pointed out that DSD and DSS are very prone to little illnesses (colds etc) - DSS also had a rash around his mouth that he has had off and on since he was very little (I have only known them for 18 months).
MerryMarigold - we do vitamins but that is only a few days a month. They aren't given them at their other home. DSS has suspected (as in it was flagged but never seems to have been acted on - or at least we haven't had any info passed on) Dyspraxia, I know that fatty acids are supposed to be helpful.

Jiltedjohnsjulie Sun 10-Nov-13 23:04:17

Have you measured his height? The other things you mention are worrying but its impossible to comment on a child's weight without knowing their height?

Does getting get breakfast at home? Could you have him at yours more often, say alternate weeks?

Asteria Sun 10-Nov-13 23:37:46

Jilted - he is back with his mother for a fortnight so I would have to measure him next time he comes to visit. We had moved closer so as to try for a more 50/50 split on time, but shortly after their mother took them over 70 miles away (her previous move 14 months before was about 200 miles - we cannot move again as it would disrupt my DS's education too much and there is no guarantee she will stay where she is) so we struggle with contact as it is.

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