Possible Causes of Failure to Thrive


What are some possible causes of the very general diagnosis of “failure to thrive”? At 7 weeks, our daughter is still 7.5 ozs below her birth weight and none of the “experiments” our doctor has tried have helped her to gain any weight consistently. We were advised to try eliminating all dairy products from my diet, then supplementing formula after each breastfeed, and now give up nursing entirely and formula feed, but none of these is making a difference. I might also note that she began life with very loose, mucousey stools while nursing, and now has quite firm, round, rubbery stools with the formula..neither of which seems normal in my experience. Further, she is more fussy since we switched to the formula only routine; she is not as contented as she was previously and cries out in her sleep.
Angela Quinn – Tipp City, Ohio

Dr. Greene's Answer

When I see a new baby in my office for her first visit, her parents often get more excited about finding out their child’s weight than just about anything else. The scale becomes the focus of the visit. “Is my baby growing okay?” is an urgent question for parents until they are sure of the answer. This deeply rooted concern makes sense.

Growth is central to childhood. In fact, an organism is considered “a child” during that period of its life in which it is growing.

Growth is particularly noticeable and rapid during the beginnings of life. In the first four to six months, a baby typically doubles her birth weight. She will triple her birth weight by the time she is a year old. Maximal brain growth also occurs during the first six months of life. The brain grows as much during a child’s first year as it will during the entire rest of her life.

A child is failing to thrive when she is not growing at the expected rate for her age, or if her weight is disproportionately low compared to her height and head circumference.

A simplistic but very useful way to look at growth failure is to consider that in order to grow, a child must take in adequate calories, absorb those calories, and use them for growth.

If a child is not growing well, first consider whether she is actually taking in an adequate number of calories (and other nutrients). What is she being fed? How much is offered and how often? How much does she actually take? Is she able to suck and swallow adequately? Most cases of failure to thrive in infants can be solved by carefully addressing these questions. It sounds as if this is what your pediatrician is focusing on.

If caloric and other nutrient intake is adequate, consider whether the calories are continuing down the gastrointestinal tract, being digested, and being absorbed into the body. Sometimes the food is vomited back up either due to a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract or a condition called gastroesophageal reflux, in which food travels backwards from the stomach to the esophagus. Sometimes the calories make it through the stomach, but are not absorbed — they are lost out the other end — either because of diarrhea or because of an inability to absorb the nutrients. Possible underlying causes for this include viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection, a digestive enzyme deficiency, a genetic disease (such as cystic fibrosis), or a milk protein intolerance.

When adequate calories are consumed and absorbed into the body, the calories could be spilling out in the urine, if the kidneys are not effective at holding in the protein. If the fuel remains safely in the body, the body could still be burning it at a faster-than-normal rate, leaving insufficient calories for growth. Possible causes of this hyper-metabolic state include hyperthyroidism, chronic infection, congenital heart disease, or malignancy.

Some children will even fail to thrive in the face of adequate calorie absorption simply from extreme neglect. Kids who are not hugged, held, and cared for don’t grow. This has been clearly demonstrated in orphanages where the adult-child ratio is very low. Even if these children are being well nourished, they often fail to thrive, simply because they lack personal care.

So, as you can see, growth requires the smooth working together of many systems throughout the body. The specific causes of failure to thrive are quite numerous, with problems in every major organ system represented. The most common causes for failure to thrive vary with age. In the first three months of life feeding difficulties, infections, gastroesophageal reflux, inborn errors of metabolism, cystic fibrosis, and milk-protein intolerance top the list. Simply switching to formula is not a sufficient solution if your child doesn’t respond with steady growth.

Many infants regain their birth weights by one week of age. Most regain their birth weights by two weeks of age and have a steady weight gain thereafter. A child who has gone seven weeks without regaining her birth weight deserves a thorough work-up to determine the cause. This work-up should begin with a detailed feeding history and a careful physical examination. If the cause for failure to thrive is not apparent, the next step would be to run some simple screening lab tests including a Complete Blood Count (CBC) with differential, urinalysis, and a measurement of serum electrolytes, BUN and creatinine.

Given your child’s unusual stools, it might be useful to have the stool examined for evidence of a malabsorption syndrome. If all of these studies come back normal, and your daughter is still not growing, then a further round of tests, possibly including thyroid function tests, liver enzymes, ammonia, lactate, pyruvate, a sweat chloride test, urine organic acids and serum amino acids, and perhaps x-ray studies, would be indicated.

If a cause is still not found, your doctor will be able to direct you to an appropriate specialist for further testing based on your daughter’s symptoms, test results, and physical exam findings.

Every mom wants to make sure that her child is growing. This instinct runs strong and deep and is there for good reason. When growth is not proceeding apace, take steps to correct the problem or to discover its cause.

Last medical review on: July 08, 2008
About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

At 7 months my granddaughter only weights 11 pounds. She smiles but she still doesn’t try to sit up or crawl or reach for things. The doctor has ordered blood tests. And on her paperwork it says failure to thrive. So worried

My gilrchild now three months old,delivered via c/s at term.Birth weight 3.2 kgs,feeds well but shortly vomits everything. Currently weighs 4.7 Kgs…I’m devastated of this slow weight gain….your advice please.

Dr Greene,
my son is 9 month sold and weighs 14 pounds. will this cause problems with brain development?

My baby is 7month now and she’s not gaining any weight since birth. She was unconscious for days after 3rd day of birth and also on oxygen, but now low weight gain and also not develop.

Why does 6months weighing less than 9lbs don’t catch Dr. Eyes or throwing up blood child got sent home many times by her Dr.an hospitals until I refuse to leave at this time they need send to st. Louis feeding tubes brain small why

Dr Greene, my 14 almost 15 month old grandson has had a serious of issues, he weighed in only at 5 lbs when born and the Dr said he was basically “starving” inside his mother, shortly after that when he was 6 days old he was put back in the hospital due to staph on his head, then when he was 5 weeks old he had pyloric valve stenosis surgery because he was throwing everything up constantly even after they had changed his formula several times. They had put him on omneprazole and even that was not working. By the time he was 4 months old he had hernia surgery. Still to this day he was throwing up food as well as drink and they decided to have him to barium, they said that the milk was not going into his stomach for the most part and was backing up into the esophogus and decided that he needed to have surgery where they take the top part of his stomach and wrap it around his esophogus but decided to send him to a gastrintronologist instead. the gastro dr decided to put him on 3.5 mg of omniprazole in the mornings as well as .08 mg of erythomyacin, and add pediasure peptide, 16 oz daily as well as 10 ozs of reg. milk, solid foods because at 1 yr old he was weighing in at 15.9 lbs. The throwing up has ceased, he eats normal drinks normal but he is now 14 months old and one week ago he weighed in at 16.9 lbs. Then just the other day we took him into the Dr. and he is now 16.4 lbs. Needless to say the Gastro Dr has decided to bring him back in because they are concerned about his failure to thrive and the fact that he is not only not gaining but infact losing weight. We talked about an ng tube and then possibly a gj tube if that worked for him throwing up but they have decided not to do the scope or the tubes being as he is not throwing up. My concern is that I am concerned about him possibly having an enzyme deficiency I mean we know he has GERD, REFLUX however the meds are working for that..How do we know if possibly his intestines are not breaking the food down properly? We have an issue that when they do xrays of his stomach they say they can see bowel backed up but he has normal bowels everyday. Now he is on 1/2 lid of myrilax in the mornings with 4 ozs of juice. He has diarhea now. Im just frustrated because this failure to thrive, him not gaining weight and we are doing everything we are told to do? How do I get them to do further testing to see if there is an underlying issue? The gastro dr calls him a very skinny boy so at almost 15 months he is 30 inches tall and 16.5 lbs now.

My daughter is 8 wks 2days old and not adding weight properly infact she weighs 6.2kgs what can i feed her on to ensure a steady weight gain?

have a grandson who weighed 7lbs 8 ozs at birth and he stopped putting weight on or growing since he was 9mths of age he is nearly 14 mths and weighs only 16 lbs and 9ozs and the parents dont seem to worried

My baby is pre-matured, born at 1 month early than her actual birth date. She is active but difficult to feed. She sucks milk and other food but very difficult to feed. Now she is almost 9 months. She gained 6 kg when she was 6 months old and today at here 9 months time she is still 6kg.

We feed her rice with egg, noodles with egg 3 times and 2 times formula milk with and mother milk. But no progress in her weight. But she is developing her height.

Dr Greene. I’m at a loss. I feel like I’m not getting the proper care for 7 month old son. I even went to a specialist. Since birth he has been severely constipated. Screaming in pain all night and day. Vomiting through out the day eating or not. Will refuse food for days. So I find myself force feeding for. A week at minimum in.a month or less time. It took his 6 month check up for his ped to finally make a specialist referral. We have had many stool samples done. Food allergy panel, celiac panel. All came back negative. We just had our specialist appointment. All she did was put him on miralax. No test at all. She even sounded like she didn’t want to either. He is now pooping with proper consistency. But because he has had to push and work so hard for any stool to come out all his life it’s explosive and goes up his back. That’s not a huge deal. I’m glad he’s pooping. But he is still struggling with pain and he is so gassy. He’s crying more than ever now. He’s on nutramigen formula since almost 6 months old. He has a lot of problems digesting solids also. So are these the right steps? I mean it’s not normal to be on a high dose of miralax daily is it? Since he’s pooping I don’t want her to ignore his symptoms and his continuous pain.

How is your baby doing now? My son is on nutramigen and switched at the same age. It took him a month to gain weight. When he did it was quite a bit. He went from 12 to 16 in a month in a half!!

Possible hirschsprung disease. Or milk intolerance

Dear Dr. Greene,

I am a desperate Mother. My 4 year old has had some challenges in the health department, nothing severe, but he has pulled the short straw in our family (3 children-6, 4, 2)

Ethan was born when he was supposed to be. On my scheduled c-section. He was a happy newborn, no noticeable problems. Nursed immediately. But in the hospital we had him, the nursing staff would encourage rest for me and take him to the nursey. I thought that was nice. Until we went home and realized how wrong I was. Within hours of being home, we had never experienced this with our daughter and were so afraid. With every nursing, projectile vomiting. My husband stayed up with him watching him for 3 days straight. This cycle of feeding him and vomiting went on for years. We did elimination diet. Formula. Specialized formula, elecare. Still, the vomiting. So we seeked evaluations with allergists and gastroenterology, both locally and at Shands with the University of Florida. Dr. Karoly Horvath has been amazing since with moved to the space coast. But we still have GI issues.

Over the last 4 years some of his health issues include:
Bi-lateral trigger thumbs, GERD, Asthma, Atopic dermatitis, Allergies including 42 food allergies and countless environmental allergies, some of which (both food and environmental) are anaphylactic, FTT (he weighs a mere 2 lbs more than his 2 year old brother, he just lost 2.5 lbs in the last 2 months and is in the 3%), when he was around 3, he had bloody stool and had to go through a gammit of testing at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando, he gets bloody noses due to a blood vessel that becomes inflamed when irritated or dry, and just recently he has been complining to me about his back hurting. He does tend to get sick more than our other two kids and when he gets sick, more than half the time he ends up in the hospital because we can’t seem to control it with all the nebulizers, inhalers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories.

His biological but distant cousin has EoE and I have been asking his doctors for a couple of years if they think he might have this. They say his eosinophil levels are high but not quite high enough. His thyroid function is normal. I don’t know what else to do. We want to avoid a feeding tube aa long as we can because that comes with it’s own challenges. And it isn’t that he can’t eat. He just has a phobia (from all the years of vomiting) as per the nutrionist and refuses to eat. We are using weight gaining supplements which his GI has prescribed as well as appetite enhancers. But nothing seems to help.

If you have any suggestions at all, we would be so grateful.

I do trust in his medical team. But I am pretty sure they’re scratching their heads at this point too. I know that Dr. Horvath is one of the very best. And as I said earlier, he doesn’t have a major issue like cancer (God forbid, bless us), but all these little things are more than one young person should have to take.

Thank you for your time.

Randi V.
Space Coast, Florida

Try ostiopathy it can balance the digestive metabolic nervous immune system.

Dear Doctor
My son was born with a cleft lip and palate. However, his lip is already repaired two months ago. He is gonna be 9mos nextweek but he is still 12 lb.I am so devasted and I’m so desperate for someone to help me out here.I don’t even know what to do anymore.I’ve tried so many things to help my son gain weight but its not really working. A lot of times I felt hopeless &it always breaks my heart when people talk about my son. What should I do to help him gain weight?

Thank you I appreciate all your help

Test for celiac thyroid maby look in to a genetic problem of fat absobtion Abetalipoproteinemia.

Hi Doc,
this may seem like an unusual question, I work as a support worker for a Aboriginal community service in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory out back,

I am working with a grandmother , who has got custody of her grandchild, the child , who was 5.5 months old when she gained custody, the baby went from breast milk to formula overnight, and the baby started loosing weight and due to the weight lose the welfare system is in the process of taking the baby due to failure to thrive, the grandmother is a traditional Aboriginal person who is a great carer, but I was hoping to know if this was a normal problem, the baby may also be experiencing separation issues as well, its hard for me as I am a man who does not know a lot about women and baby health issues , especially with no medical back ground. the grandmother comes from a Traditional Aboriginal society, where English is a 5th language and she does not fully understanding the western legal system. if possible could you point me in the right direction in regards to research papers or medical journals or even help yourself regarding your experience with weight loss issues when baby switches from breast milk to formula.
again this must be a weird request from the other side of the world, but I was just doing my own research and came across your website.


Dr. Greene says, “Grandmothers are unique to humans. Other species don’t have grandmothers. They are probably the reason we live beyond reproductive age. It’s not unusual for babies to lose weight when making a sudden change like this, but because formula provides consistent rich nutrition this usually turns around soon. I would be happy to speak with authorities there if that would be helpful. Being with family is a powerful good for the baby.”

I hope this is helpful.

Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom
Note: I answer a lot of questions on DrGreene.com, I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, Dr. Greene’s business partner and wife, but I am a not doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

my baby is 9 months old. it had been 3 weeks refusing food.I have tried my best to force her to eat but she just vomits.I took her to private clinic and they just told me that it’s because of teething stuff.but I’m not satisfied cause she’s loosing weight too much and there’s no sign of illness on her.
people say babies can’t loose weight just like that unless there’s something wrong hidden in her.
I’m so dying with worries.please help me
what kind of food can I introduce to her and what must I do

Oh my God same thing kept telling us she was going to be a tiny child change milk everything had in hospital come to find out one of nurses felt so bad she told me get professional children Dr.the specialize only with with children I thought I had she said no you dont you family Drs. When I switch my granddaughter got better.

Possible she suffered from shigela. Hidden ear infection sore throat trush on tung. Sometimes it can happen after veccinations and the anser would be homeopath or ostiophat. Check with blood test the CRP levels

He was born permaurity and he weight at birth was 2 lb and 5 oz.
My son is now 7 years old and he is still not gaining no weight at all and he has been taking away from me because of Failure to thrive but the doctor never referral me to any specialist to help him with his weight and never ran any testing on him. He has been eat a little things but still no weight gaining but his height he is getting taller. I just want to know how can I show any doctor or specialist that something is wrong with him and I need help with his nutrition and what do with him. What should I do get my son back to get him growing well and gaining his weight to be on track with other kids. Last time we went to the doctor he weight 29lbs. I try everything to gain his weight but nothing works. Can you please help me I really desperate and I want him back in my arms.

You need to see a gasto and a geneticist put your foot down and fight for your rights

My daughter is 3 months and 9.11 lbs. Its a struggle rk get here to eat every three hours. She makes eye contact and is starting to grab at toys, laugh, and smile.. her weight worries me and recently sshes been fussin and u cam always here her poop like its intense anss watery help me..

My son has been 7 kg’s for 6 months now

My son is 6 months old and weighs 13 lbs. He was 7lb5oz at birth. He carries the cystic fibrosis gene but his sweat test was negative. He was admitted into the hospital for a week for failure to thrive but released with no answers. He sweats excessively, he has extropia, his eye balls are measured at 12 and its supposed to be 10, he’s highly allergic to peanuts he does not ever throw up and has normal bowel movements and eats very well but still wont gain weight. So far he’s had an ultrasound on his stomach and brain, an eeg, a mri on his brain, extensive bloodwork, upper gi, sweat test, and was seen by an eye dr, GI dr and dietician. From what ive researched i feel it may be a genetic disorder but we dont have any local geneticists for me to take him to. I need to figure out whats going on with my baby please help. Any opinions or suggestions are very appreciated.

Did u ever figure anything out my 2 month old has many of these symptoms

my son is almost 3 months old when he was born on 6-22-16 he weighed 6 pounds and 9 ounces. When we left the hospital he weighed 6 pounds 4 ounces and at his two week check up he was at 5 pounds 15 ounces. we just has his weekly weight check today and hes up to 9 pounds 6 ounces. my problem with all of this is he was put on a higher calorie formula that is for premature babies but he was over due i went 42 weeks with him. And he eats 4 ounces every 3 1/2 hours so I feel he should be gaining more weight,

My son was born on the same day and our babies are now 8 months today EST (2/22/17). He is only 16lbs and the doctor say he’s in the 2nd percentile. I exclusively breast feed and prior to this appointment, I was concerned about whether he was growing or not. I think he was about 13lbs at his 2-month appointment. So in 6 months, he has only grown 3lbs. I tried introducing formula but he had an allergic response. The doctor prescribed zyrtec and Hydrocortisone for his skin during a breakout, so I decided to try the formula again, this time with breastmilk and see how he respond. If there is a reaction, I would give him the Zyrtec. Nevertheless, he is eating pretty well. I feed him baby cereal, table food, and the veggies from the jar or what I steam for him. I’m just really worried.

I have the same exact issue and my baby was born on the same day. Has there been any progress on your end? Thank you!

Hi how’s your son doing now? I’m asking because I have similar concerns. Thank you

I must say that your response is so detailed and so clear. It really helps us understand what has to be done and why. It clears out any misunderstanding’s that might exist. I have been through so many sites but this is best response I have read.

Hey my daughter is almost 6 mon and weighs 11 pounds even she’s been to gastroenterologist they say everything is okay. She threw up everything her first 3 mon of her life. They found she was allergic to milk and soy, now we are on neutrimigian but she still isn’t gaining much weight. She’s had a ctscan it showed nothing, she had an upper gi it showed no reflux, we just think maybe she will be small? But even with her petite should she weigh 11 pounds at almost 6 mon she will be 6 mon September 11th. We are just stuck and don’t know what to think anymore.

I know this was several years ago but this is my current situation with my 5 month old. She is only 11 pounds and 23in long, they are concerned due to poor weight gain and overal growth. No tests have been performed yet but we recently noticied night time vomiting and screaming fits. What ever came of you baby diagnosis? Was she just small?

Dear Sir,

My son was born on 12.12.15 with a birth weight of 1.28 kgs. he was pre term. The present problem is that he is not gaining weight properly. he is only 3.85 kgs after 7 months. Since, last 3 weeks he has not gained any weight even though he is taking feeds, celerac, banana properly. Barium swallow test was also done which was also fine. he is passing urine and stools properly.

Please suggest

Dear Dr. I read all the replies are very well explained and I have a doubt about my grand daughter’s weight. She is 26 months old and she is 17kg. In weight 36 inches in height. Her head circumference is very normal. Is the weight is normal or abnormal. Please clear my doubt. Thank u very much in advance.

According to the CDC Growth Charts, your granddaughter is in the 75% of weight for height. That means 74 girls out of every 100 of that age and height weigh less than your granddaughter and 25 girls out of every 100 of that age and height weigh more than your granddaughter.

It’s good to watch her continued growth and see how it changes over time. If she’s creeping up, it would be wise to talk to her doctor.


My daughter is 7 months old noe and weights just now 12 lbs. At burth she was only 6 lbs 11 oz. We had he diagnois with milk protien allergy but she only eats about 20 oz of formula a day. She is on a high calorie mix but she still isnt gaining weight. She is in the 0.6 percentile on growth and i dont know what to do. She acta normal and is hitting all her milestones at good times. She has 2 teeth so far and is about to crawl. She is very active but the growth is just worrying me.

I know it has been a couple years now but how is she doing now? I have the same issues with my daughter I don’t know what to do?. ANY ADVICE ??

How is she doing now? Our daughter is dealing with the same issue.

Hi my daughter is 8 weeks old and is only drinking 2 Oz every 2.5 to 3 hours. I don’t feel as if she is gaining any weight and it’s a struggle to get her to suckling properly. Also she’s on nutramigen formula because Similac was so hard on her tummy. She was 6lbs 9oz at birth and I believe she is 8lbs now. Is that enough weight gain??

My daughter is now 5 weeks old. She was born @ 35 weeks with d weight of 2.170 kgs. After a heavy water breaking, my wife had to go a premature emergency c-section cause. However my little one didn’t cry much after birth and they had to provide emergency oxygen aid. After 2 days of NICU care she was released with proper health. Now she is only 2.30 kgs. She is fed on breast, pees and poos are normal and at 10 to 12 times in a day. Everything seems normal. As she grew underweight and not grown much I wonder if the weight @ this age is okay. Plz response.


My daughter is 7 months old noe and weights just now 12 lbs. At burth she was only 6 lbs 11 oz. We had he diagnois with milk protien allergy but she only eats about 20 oz of formula a day. She is on a high calorie mix but she still isnt gaining weight. She is in the 0.6 percentile on growth and i dont know what to do. She acta normal and is hitting all her milestones at good times. She has 2 teeth so far and is about to crawl. She is very active but the growth is just worrying me.

My baby is now 8 weeks and only weighs 3kg….she was born normally with 2.9kg…then she dropped to 2.5kg….then started adding on to2.7kg…..now at 8 weeks she is 3.1kg…..she feeds quite often daily, but cries alot during the day….is there a reason to be worried….she does not seem to be sick though…!

Hi Dr. Greene,

I want you to share me about a case with F.T.T. My patient is 16 mo. old his B.W was 3 kg. now his wt. 7.4 kg. length 70 .cm. H.C 45 cm. According to parents he was doing well till 12 mo. he was taking formula and other foods , at 12 mo. they changed the formula after which frequent episodes of vomiting occurred.

Now he has severe anorexia takes 90-120 Ml formula milk (Nido) 2-3 times per day refuses other foods, there is no diarrhea or vomiting, no fever, his developmental milestones are within normal, has 5 teeth in his mouth, moderately wasting, no focal infections, no signs of rickets, no history of recurrent RTI, good sleep.

The family history, the father has 2 male siblings from first marriage , the 2 boys had history of chronic diarrhea and F.T.T, and diagnosed celiac disease and put on gluten-free diet , they are doing well now without diet??? according to parents. There is no consanguinity between parents.

I want to read your comment and your experience in managing such cases.

Thank you in advance.

Dear Doc,

My son weighted 2.2kg when he was born, he is now 6 months and weight 6,2kg we are worried because he eats very well and not gaining much weight, is the any test we should do to check if he’s getting enough nutrients.

Ask your pediatrician to listen for a heart murmur. That ws found with my granddaughter. 14 lbs at 11 months

My son is now 17 months exact and he is 11.4 kg. Is that an ideal weight for his age?

Ask your pediatrictian about congenital heart defects

Dear Dr,

My son is 2.5 yrs old and is currently 85 cm tall and weighs 8.9kg.

We have diagnosed him having adenoids which is causing him to snore when he sleeps.

He is still not talking except a few words but understands pretty much everything.

Hes very active and eats reasonably well.

What could be the reason for the low growth.

Do let me know

Thanks in advance


Hi Dr, My son turned 4 and since last 1 year he is in the 27 to 28 pound range. he drinks milks and eats raw vegetables and fruits. Why is he not putting weight? he is active and loves running around.

I would like to follow this if you don’t mind my Daughter is the same and we were referred to a nutritionist but my daughter eats really well so I don’t know what they will be able to tell us.

Hi. My son is 11month old and weight 6•5kg.in early 4month he gaind weight but after 6month of age his weight is not increases properly tell me the reason.

I have the same issue with my son. Any improvement yet?


Hi Dr,

My daughter is 13 months old and she was born with birth weight of 2.89kg and we did the current weight and found that she is just 8.1 kg and that makes more concern about my baby growth ,we are feeding her properly but she is not going weight.

Can you please advice us what could be the reason?


hii doc my baby girl is 9 months now and she is just 7.4 kgs. she eats well. is there anything wrong with her because her mates are now 9-10 kgs.

Hello Dr I just wanna say Im glad you brought up this topic when my daughter was born she failed to thrive she was 8lbs and dropped to 6lbs the first month of her life she got diarrhea it seemed the 2nd or 3rd week of life she had began to vomit as well we later learned after she got really sick she was diagnosed with wolmans disease a really rare genetic disorder known as LAL though there is not alot of new information on this disease because its so rare Drs were able to put us on a special formula and help us help her thrive she gets synthetic enzyme to help and thankfully now she is slowly but surely gaining weight she is 7 almost 8 months but she reached 14lbs. I hope people in the comments find the answer they are searching for! I just wanted to share my story if it might help. I know its hard not really knowing and my prayers are with all of you!

This sounds like our Skyler, she was born July17,2015 and weighing in at 5 pounds & 4 oz. She was born a few weeks early. But now we are into Feb and she isn’t growing. She weighs less than 9lbs. She has seen a Specialist, they put her on Similac Sensitive, she still throws that up. They have ran blood tests on her her red & white blood cells are low. Her overall health is good they say, but they are very concerned with her not being able to poop without suppositories and many times she bleeds while passing stools. It’s so heartbreaking. She goes to see a Gastoroligist in a few more weeks. I am really shocked she hasn’t been to see 1 before now.

Hi doctor,
My baby boy is 1 yr and 3 months old. He was born at 2.1kg and weighs only 6.5kg currently. Am so worried about him not gain enough weight. Moreover, he hasn’t been reaching his milestones on time. He keeps throwing up every 3-4times a week. Am worried he might have wolmans disease as he also has problem with his digestion. I am not sure what step to take next. I have had him tested for a CBC and stool test for malabsorbtion which shows normal. Can you please help me further. Thanks simis

I have a 4 year old who was born with cleft lip and cleft palate and has already 13 surgeries because of complications one being a punctured colon because of a G tube placement she has had every exam to find out why she cant hold no more then 2 ounces of milk via G tube and was even removed a hital hernia. We are lost and hopeless we have to feed our 4 year old 16 times a day in order for her to survive.

Hi Doctor

My daughter is 9 weeks old and she’s not gaining any weight, she’s only 7lb 4oz, she takes 1 oz or 1 1/2 oz every 2-3 hrs, her pediatrician referred me with a gastroenterologist… I’m already seeing a nutritionist and switched to different kind of formula and still trying to breastfeed but she doesn’t take much… Please help…

A very concern mom

Hi dr
My son weight was 7lbs 7oz at bitrth i tried brestfeeding for the first couple of days and he lost a few oz .hes now 6 weeks and today he had his 1 month check up well now hes only 7 lbs 12 oz they yook a ultrasound and there was m o blockage what can be the problem please help im so stressed out.

How is your daughter doing right now? What was her birth weight? Did the doctor find out why she was not gaining? I am king of in a somewhat similar situation. My baby girl was born full term at 6lb 8oz and gained weight rapidly the first 2 months. She then decreased her milk intake around 2.5 months and is now refusing bottle altogether. I am breastfeeding and bottle feeding breastmilk, but I have to work so cannot breastfeed her during the day. She will typically take 1-2 oz max if we use the bait and switch with a soothie. She is gaining very slowly and I am just worried. She is on medication for reflux and that seems to help a little. Does your daughter have reflux or allergies? These can lead to slow weight gain. Don’t know if your daughter sleeps through the night but mine does and I have to wake her up to nurse her just to get more calories in. Please let me know if you had made any progress with your daughter.

Hello doc,
My son son was born through an emergency CS at GA 36 weeks 5days weighing 2.4kg and he’s breastfeeding well but not growing as expected he’s now 1month 3days pls advice on what to do

My daughter will be completing 7 months after two days. She is 6.110 kg.her birthweight was 3.2kg.she is having grade 2 to 3 gastroesophageal reflux.she was totally fine till 3 and half months. And then started to vomit after every feed. My paed gave domeperidome.but she continued to vomit.at that time she was 4.8 kg.after one month there was no weight gain so we started her on PPI.She was fine vomiting stopped .was on thickened feeds.after one and half month PPI were stopped. After one month she was irritable and again no weight gain. She is now 6.110kg.she is only on breastmilk and now am not lactating well.not taking bottle feed.takes formula with spoon but only 2 oz.if more than thin she brings it up.can you please tell me how much solid food can I give her and her milk.as she has a poor appetite.she has attained her milestones bt stit sits with support n keeps her back straight. Teething has not yet began.can you please help .even solid food she brings up if given more than 60ml.her barium swallow shows grade 2 to 3 ger.no anatomical problem involved and Normal gastric emptying.

My son is almost 9 months and at the weight of 13.12oz. He was 3 weeks early and I’ve tried Similac soy, Gerber soothe for sensitive tummies and nothing seems to be working.

My daughter is going to 6 month now and is not gaining weight, is unable to feed through the mouth.she was diagnosed of microcephy at birth and miconuim.my doctor seems not to tell me any thing about inability to feed if its a thyroid problems or not and what is the way out.

My Granddaughter is almost 2 weeks old . She weighted at birth 5 lbs 12oz. She has lost 11oz. The doctors are worried because she is losing weight. She was born 3 weeks early.Any helpful answers. Pls help. Ty

Please help. Baby not gaining weight. Born c-section at 38 weeks. 4.07kg. Drinking badly from start. Tried breast feeding. Would not latch cried a lot. Week 2 started crying 14 hours a day. Called pediatric went to hospital fed him nan ha. Then neocate, no difference tube fed, cried less gained 200 grams in 4 days left hospital, no weight gain. They cut under his tongue, made drinking better use to drink only 10-20 ml now on 60 ml if we are lucky back on nan ha. Drinks every 3 hours. Dr says its sensory I don’t believe it. Tested all organs/ reflux drank barium no luck. Went to see chirp/ occupation therapist and speech therapist. Still no weight gain 6 weeks old now 4.9 kg since birth. Tried different bottles and teets. What am I missing. Going out of my mind. In South Africa. Hope you can help. Who do I see next. A dietician??? Help. When you give Colin drops or panado makes no difference sounds like person who is hungry the way it drops into the stomach. Nexium no difference spits up slimy milk no just milk.

Hi doctor,

I have an 11 1/2 month old son who currently weighs 18 lbs; birth weight was 7 lbs 14 oz. Should I be concerned about his weight? He is tiny but his Pediatrician seems like it’s not a concern even though he’s dropped on his growth chart. Not sure if maybe we need a second opinion.

Dear doctor,

my daughter weighed 5lb 1oz when she was born and failed to grow adequately due to a vsd…

she had a vsd repair done at 3.5months…however she is still not growing well enough…she is now 5.5months and weighs 9lb 7oz…HV has referred to dietician and I have been advised to start o solids and higher calorie milk….

what could be the cause of her failure to thrive…

a very worried mum


Hiprobiotimy daughter was also diagnosed with failure to thrive . But after I changed her diet with all organic and GMO free my.daughter has gained weight. Also, I give her raw probiotics.

My son was born with normal weight of 3.3kgs however at week 4 he has lost to 3.1kgs. Doctor said it was failure to thrive and advised me to feed the baby. I am feeding the baby but he’s not gaining weight.

What can I do to make sure he gains weight?


I have a 3 month old son. He eats every 3 hours. Sometimes, actually often, he fights eating. He is breastfeeding. He weighs 9 pounds and 10 ounces. He was delivered via an emergency c section do to meconium. At birth, he weighed 6 pounds and 4 ounces. He is in the lower 5 percentile for weight, but in the 25 percentile in head circumference. With all that said, he is very alert and engaged. He smiles. He follows sounds. He recognizes voices. He sleeps.

In out most recent visit to the Ear Nose and Throat specialist, she confirmed (through a scope) our pediatrician’s diagnosis of reflux.

We have been giving him the reflux medicine, but it’s not working. As I stated before, feeding is a challenge.

I Google a lot. There are so many ominous things out there. Could this be failure to thrive? Am I missing something?

Has anyone examined your baby’s mouth for a lip or tongue tie?
This can also be the cause of slow weight gain and symptoms of reflux.

My baby hasn’t gained any weight in a month and she just now turned three months old what should I do.

Can you please recommend any advice?
Thank you,
A very frustrated and concerned Omie

I am working with Early intervention 0 to 3 yrs all and i am interesting in all topics regarding this age range. thank you