Worried about 3 year old's weight(14 Posts)
My 3 year old is a fairly active boy who will eat a huge variety of foods but I'm worried about his weight and I'd like to hear from parents of older children who had this issue at a younger age to see how it resolved (or not).
He is rather plump with a large distended/bloated stomach. He had a health issue which the dr thought was the probable cause of this but it has apparently been resolved. He is short for his age.
We generally eat a reasonably healthy diet and although we do eat quite big portions, my husband and I are both slim and towards the lower end of a healthy bmi.
He used to never self limit his food and would constantly moan he was hungry. I thought it was a reaction to me limiting him so I let him eat as much as he wanted which seemed to help a little - and now it's really mostly with bread, cereal, pasta etc or sweet things eg puddings and fruit.
Friends and nursery workers, not used to children without self regulation, think it's great he eats so much and family members are dismissive saying he'll have a growth spurt and even out. Well, he's nearly 4 and it hasn't happened yet.
A typical diet might be granary toast with pbj or a low sugar low refined cereal for breakfast with semi skimmed milk, egg spinach and tomato on toast for lunch, fish rice baked beans and broccoli for dinner. Snacks may be a few pieces of fruit, a carrot, a few flavoured rice cakes, a yoghurt, a small piece of home made flapjack, some diluted juice (he's rubbish at drinking water). Occasionally we'll eat things like chips or a cake or biscuit in a cafe and on holiday or with family we'll relax and let him eat whatever / what everyone else is eating.
He will ask for more and more and say he's hungry minutes after eating a huge meal, I think he loves the feeling of eating tbh and it could be partly boredom?? I don't know whether he's really hungry thought and hate to deny him if he is so will offer something healthy if he persists - and I always offer a drink first.
He is often tired as he wakes early - often 5.30 - and i wonder if this has a lot to do with it but I don't know how to get him to sleep more.
I'm so worried I'm setting him up for a life of obesity and health issues. The dr is monitoring his height and weight but because it's not getting worse (although also not better) they don't have a lot of time for us.
Sorry it's so long. I hope someone can offer some help. My instinct tells me he may have a food intolerance but I know I sound like a faddy mum saying that.
So how is he fairing on the centiles? Could you ask for a dietician review?
Diet sounds really reasonable, but I don't know what size plates and bowls you are using! My ds is 3 and underweight. He is almost impossible to over feed so I struggle in the opposite way. We use the IKEA plates and bowls and if he has toast / sandwich it is typically one slice of bread.
We use IKEA stuff too usually.
I give similar or smaller size portions than all my friends whose children are all normal weight. The difference is their kids don't eat it all, at least not every day, and mine does (then asks for more) Yes sandwiches and typically one slice of bread. I try to limit snacks to twice a day.
Sorry meant to say - he is 50- 75th centile, but height is closer to 9th.
Is your ds at nursery? What do they say about his portions? A friend of mine was recently told her almost 3 year old had a high bmi and when she dug a little she found that they were giving her dd seconds, pudding and fruit juice at nursery. On top of the food they were having at home it was quite a lot of food. Tbh at 4 I would still go with growth spurt sorting it out. Is he actually thirsty rather than hungry? Why do you think it might be boredom?
My dd was just the same, but tall and on 95 th centile. She was podgy and I worried about her weight all the time. Now she's a well built 12 year old with an enviable figure. I also suspected boredom, and just massively enjoying her food, and didn't want to go down the whole restricting her to much, as I didn't want it to become abig deal. So I got her into the habit of lots of physical activity, and so far, it's served her well.
And thinking about it she was probably at her biggest around 3 and 4.
Nicky thanks for your reply. He is at nursery two days a week for breakfast and lunch. They do sometimes give him too much breakfast IMO (he asks for a really big bowl of cereal) and they are offered small seconds of food at lunch but it's really healthy stuff. I can't ask them to not give him seconds when other children are having them. They don't have juice and pudding is a single portion of eg a home made biscuit.
And anyway my point is nearly all of the other kids there are clearly much more in proportion and are offered the same. There are a couple of quite overweight children but without passing judgement their parents are very overweight too which suggests either a genetic thing or they are fed too much at home? Tbh we work hard to get his bmi where it is, if we always let him eat what he wanted he would be bigger.
I always offer him a drink and he will drink loads of milk and very dilute juice.
Boredom probably not the right word but I think he loves eating, he eats EXTREMELY fast and "I'm hungry" is just a default phrase when he doesn't know what else to say I guess. For example, if he's watching TV and I say we are going to switch it off, the second I do he will say he's hungry even if he had a three course meal with seconds half an hour before.
Ohyes I would worry so much less if he was tall tbh, not to dismiss your feelings but I see a lot of sturdy tall kids. He is one of the shortest in his nursery and that concerns me as much as the weight, in combination at least, as he should be taller - when taking into account mine and DP's heights he should be 75th + percentile.
Oh and re physical activity we do try to go to the park or soft play or even just a walk every day and he never stays still at home. I've got a very demanding baby so we don't get out/ I don't run around with him quite as much as we used to tbh but the weight concern predated this.
One strange thing is he often says his knees hurt if we walk longer than half an hour and he has to rest. I do believe him as well, it seems genuine and usually with anything like this it falls apart upon questioning but this doesn't.
Puglife, with him being on the 9th centile, and the bloating I would seriously consider an allergy / intolerance. It may be that he's not absorbing the nutrients hence slowed growthand feeling hungry. My ds was 90th centile for weight but about 7th centile for height. This was AFTER we'd pulled out all the things he had immediate allergies to. Wheat turned out to be our final culprit. Stopped wheat entirely and he finally slept through the night and he grew 2cm just the following 2 months. He's now 4 and slightly taller than average and no longer so chubby. Plus he's grown out of some of his allergies.
Oh, and he started sleeping through the night for the first time ever after we removed wheat (about 18 months old). And his ear infections stopped.
When is he 4? Mine was worrying me a few months ago. He loves his food and he is with a nanny in the morning and at nursery in the afternoon so I wasn't able to really monitor what he was eating. Other than lunch we have at home together and a light meal in the evening all his snacks were at home/nursery. My older children are on the skinnier side so I never worried about their food intake. Since turning 4 though he thinned out, he has knees now and looks longer and thinner. He eats a lot more than your son but is taller on the 95th percentile.
peripatetic thanks -that sounds really similar except his growth only really started to slow around 18 months. By age 2 he was average to short and by 3 it was very noticeable.
I'm worried we may have stunted him by leaving it so late if that's the case with DS'
He also often has loose poo and lots of it which may fit with an allergy.
Does your son have Coeliac disease or "just" an intolerance? And was it gluten or just wheat? Without an official diagnosis I'm concerned that we wouldn't be able to stop nursery or school giving him a special diet.
I am actually avoiding gluten at the moment funnily enough as I think it gives my ebf ds2 reflux and bad nappies...
Sorry, i wrote on my phone but managed to lose the text ...
DS had multiple ige and non ige allergies, including anaphylactic to several. Wheat was a non ige allergy. Neither coeliac or intolerance in our case. I'm not sure what you mean about stopping the school/nursery... Ours just fed him what i sent in with him. I didn't think it was their responsibility to figure it all out (though we had extensive issues), i made food that he ate with the others when they ate their food; sent in alternatives when they were doing 'cooking'.
The gold standard for diagnosis is a food diary. If you google it, you'll find instructions pretty easily... it's a faff, and you have to read every package you touch, but if you get everything written down, and take note of all reactions (bearing in mind some might take up to 4 days to happen), then you'll be able to take it to the GP and show them the link, then they'll follow it up. It will also give you your own feedback so you will know if there is a pattern or not. No pattern, then probably something else.
Best of luck!
Join the discussion
Please login first.