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My 14 month old son is allergic to milk, eggs, fish, sunflower oil, and sunflower seeds. He also suffers from acid reflux, and our pediatrician advised us that he needs to gain weight. He only weights 19.5 pounds and is 30.5 inches long. They only advice she gave us was to try to join a support group with mothers in my area with toddlers who suffer from some of the same food allergies.

We provide with him with similac go & grow stage 3 formula for milk, and I prepare a variety of meals three times a day for him including chicken, beef, homemade mashed potatoes and vegetables. However, no weight gain.

I'm at a loss.

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    Welcome to Parenting.SE, DeShaun. Can you clarify: is he not gaining weight at all between doctor visits (i.e. has been 19.5 pounds for a while), or is he just on a low weight percentile consistently and the doctor wants him to bulk up? Also, do you think his weight is related to his allergies, or are those just making it harder for you to think of how to feed him? – Acire Aug 3 '15 at 0:30
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    See also this question: How do we get our toddler to gain weight? It has some concrete suggestions for diet. As long as your pediatrician is only concerned enough to recommend a support group, not a more aggressive intervention (e.g. nutritionist, gastroenterologist) or diagnosis (e.g. failure to thrive), tips and ideas from other parents should be able to get you through. My daughter has always been skinny for her age, I sympathize with how worrying and frustrating it can be! – Acire Aug 3 '15 at 17:23
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My daughter didn't have allergies, but she did have quite bad reflux, and also had oral motor issues that made eating difficult (we feed her now through a g-tube). She also required anti-seizure medicine orally, so keeping her food down was even more important than just weight gain.

The tendency when a child is underweight is to overfeed, but this can backfire if it just causes him to throw up. Try serving 5 smaller meals instead of 3 larger ones.

Also, you want to focus on the calorie-dense foods, the fats and carbohydrates. Pretty much the opposite of what an adult would usually do to "eat healthy." One of my nephews overcame his underweight issues with sticks of butter dipped in sugar, wholeheartedly endorsed by his doctor. Don't get me wrong, children definitely need the vitamins in vegetables. Just don't fill up on them. This is a temporary measure for a year or so. You'll have plenty of time to teach long-term healthy eating habits later.

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The support group idea sounds good. To find an in-person group in your area, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) site has a page to help find one.

If you can't find one in your area, perhaps an online support group would be helpful for you. A forum where you can get ongoing interaction, suggestions and moral support from other parents. I don't know these personally, but they look worthwhile checking out:

Over time, you may find it helpful to track weight and height numbers. There is a nice calculator that gives you percentiles online at Baby Infant Growth Chart Calculator; I put in your son's numbers and got the 10th percentile.

It could be helpful for his doctor to give you a referral to a nutritionist.

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  • One point on a growth chart doesn't mean anything at all. If a child was at the 50th %ile and falls to the 10th %ile, that's indicative of a serious problem. Not saying that this is what the OP's child is experiencing; just saying this isn't how or why growth charts are used. – anongoodnurse Aug 3 '15 at 18:07
  • @anongoodnurse No argument there! Please note, I wrote "Over time, you may find it helpful to track weight and height numbers." – aparente001 Aug 3 '15 at 22:45
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    Again, just saying this isn't how or why growth charts are used. I just don't want anyone reading this response to be reassured by one point on a chart. – anongoodnurse Aug 3 '15 at 23:56

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