When my daughter was a baby she had failure to thrive. It was one of the scariest, most awful things I have ever been through. She was born on the bigger side—7 pounds, 14 ounces. And for the first few weeks she was fine. She was growing normally. And then slowly she started to fall off the growth chart. 50th percentile. 30th percentile. 15th percentile. 3rd percentile. Until she fell off the bottom of the chart.
Every feeding session was a nightmare. Every pediatrician appointment filled with dread. As a mom my ONE JOB was to feed my child and keep her healthy, and I was failing miserably.
I'll always remember the pediatrician at her one-week appointment saying, “Such a healthy baby! There's no issue here!” Those words haunted me in the years that followed.
At a year my daughter only weighed 14 pounds. She was skinny as a rail. I hated moms with babies with chubby thighs and huge cheeks. Why couldn't my baby be thriving like that? WHAT. WAS. WRONG??????
We tried everything. She was tested for everything. Cystic Fibrosis. Holes in her heart. Various gastro illnesses. But nothing came back positive and nothing changed. She continued to slide off the chart. By 12 months she was so far off the growth chart her little dot would have been placed inches off the bottom of the piece of paper.
I was desperate.
And then one day when my daughter was almost 2-years-old (yes, this had been going on for YEARS!) a casual acquaintance mentioned an amazing pediatrician named Dr. Song. I called to get an appointment. Maybe this woman would be the answer to my prayers for my tiny baby. But no dice. She was booked solid. She wasn't taking new patients. But I wouldn't be deterred. Something in me told me this woman had to see my baby.
I called again. And again. And again. I called so many times begging for them to see my child that they finally caved. Yes, I can be that annoying.
We set the appointment.
On the big day I walked into her office, sat down with my tiny baby in my lap and told her the saga. Born normal. Not growing. Won't eat. Tested for everything. She calmly listened and then suggested I cut out dairy and gluten. “Huh,” I thought. “I don't know how that's going to help, but OK.”
A month after cutting out dairy and gluten my daughter had gained 2 pounds and grown 2 inches. Turns out she had some intolerance (to dairy in particular) that was constipating her and causing her stomach pain, so she refused to eat. And because she wasn't eating, she wasn't growing.
After her first successful weigh-in, I cried. Tears of relief. Tears of gratitude. I brought Dr. Song flowers and tried to communicate how grateful I was. After years of doctors and tests and worry it was all finally OK. My baby was going to be OK.
I recently had dinner with Dr. Song (yes, we've become friends because she's awesome) and she spoke about how she'd like to help more and more children, but she's only one person with a limited amount of time to see patients. So she recently started a website called Healthy Kids Happy Kids and just launched an amazing summit called the Thriving Child Summit where you can hear from her and other amazing experts on how to get your child to thrive. And for me, a thriving child is everything. So check it out. It's free. It's awesome. And you might just get information that changes your child's health.