If you say "big belly," Marino pats his belly, which is fairly ironic, considering he is a skinny guy (we're working on that). Between 12 and 16 months, he fell back in the weight charts from the 25th to the 8th percentile (his net weight gain for 4 months was only half a pound). We put a lot of effort into getting him to gain some weight this month, since falling back on the charts is not a good thing (being small and staying small is preferable to falling behind). Our efforts paid off! He gained 2pounds this month, putting him up to 23 pounds, 6 ounces (23rd percentile for actual age, 40th for adjusted). YAY!
One important thing we did was stop giving him milk after 3pm (until his bedtime bottle at 8pm). He can drink water or a smoothie in the afternoon, but not milk. This has helped keep his appetite up for snacks and dinner. Usually he starts asking to "eat" on the car ride home from daycare or as soon as we come in the door (when he was taking a bottle in the late afternoon, we couldn't get him to eat 2 bites of dinner).
While Marino does not gain weight easily, we are very lucky that he is an enthusiastic and adventerous eater. In fact, there is nothing right now that he refuses to eat (he's not crazy about black beans, but he'll eat a few if they're mixed in with other veggies). When Marino moved to the Waddler room at daycare, EI therapists were doing occupational therapy with the whole class. Their first report to me was that Marino was a huge asset for the whole group, since they were working on self-feeding (using a fork and knife to cut and eat food) and Marino was so enthusiastic about eating, it was a big encouragement to the other kids. He loves food so much, in fact, that he makes lots of "yummmm" noises while eating!
Here's what a typical daily eating schedule looks like for Marino:
6:45AM - 5 ounces of whole milk (with PolyViSol, probiotic and Evening Primrose Oil added).
7AM - 3/4 slice of whole grain toast with unsalted butter
8:30AM - whole fat yogurt with fruit (usually something seasonal - right now its apples; he likes strawberries in the summer).
9:30 AM - 1/2 a banana or some goldfish crackers.
11:15AM - lunch: usually rice or pasta with vegetables and cheese (this week I made risotto with carrots, tomatoes, onions, unsalted butter and cheddar) plus a small container of unsweetened apple sauce and milk. *
2PM - 5 unsalted Saltine crackers with vegetable hummus and half a banana or string cheese.
3PM - offer milk (5 ounces).
4-5PM - Goldfish crackers, water, any leftover cheese, smoothie or banana.
6PM - Dinner. Applesauce first (I mix his Singulair in the apple sauce). Next, usually some sort of meat (chicken, ham, turkey, catfish) and toast or a starch (mac and cheese, tortellini) and mixed veggies.
7:30 or 8PM - milk (6 ounces).
The two major additions this month that seemed to help him to gain weight were the toast and the smoothies. He LOVES both of those things, and getting him to eat them adds in probably 300 more calories a day to his diet.
* Other regular lunches: homemade mac and cheese with broccolli and cauliflower, dal, pasta with pureed squash (instead of tomato sauce) and mixed vegetables. In my opinion, its much easier to increase his calorie/fat intake if I make him meals myself, since I can add in whole milk, cheese, butter, etc. for weight gaining purposes. I highly recommend the cookbook "Cooking for Baby" from Williams and Sonoma.