|Don't you just want much on those cheeks???|
|Rolls of baby fat!|
As with all children, the fat tends to melt away as they grown in height and age. The baby face disappears. Usually, the big belly follows, but in the many cases of those with low muscles tone and Down syndrome, the buddha belly is a permanent accessory through adulthood.
Now, my Chunky Chicken has skinny little chicken legs and skinny, little bony chicken wings for shoulders. Her upper ribs are sticking out of her chest. She is "chunky" chicken no more. My almost 6 year-old daughter barely weighs 30 lbs and is in 3T-4T clothing! She is pretty much wearing the same clothes that she wore last year except for a few items that are now too short.
|No more baby face as Ellie is now a "big girl"|
Growing up, I was always a skinny little runt. I barely registered on the growth chart for both weight and height. So it would have been no surprise if my own daughter was a bit on the petite side. For Ellie, she barely registers on the growth chart (typical and Ds chart) for weight and is around 70% for height on the Ds growth chart (okay, she is now 50% on height). She wasn't always that tiny. Over the past 12 months, I have watched her weight plummet and then has super tiny growth spurts of gaining a few ounces, dropping a few ounces. I know that I blogged about this last year when we were dealing with GI issues.
|This is a Down syndrome growth chart for girls ages 2-18 years|
You can see that she has fallen off and flat lined this past year with her weight.
For her length, the velocity of growth is decreasing and she fell from 75% to 50%.
|How her numbers look on a typical growth chart [ Right] as well a calculation of her weight:height ratio [Left].|
As you can see, the Ds Growth Chart gives a more accurate portrayal on where she falls within peers her age who also have Down syndrome.
The GI issues haven't changed much other than there have been no new hospitalizations related to constipation (a huge success in my book). She has a few good weeks of regularity followed by either explosions running down her leg into her boots (we have gone through more pairs of shoes this way) to then 4-9 days of being completely blocked up. That being said, when she does go a while without a bowel movement, we have seen success with either 2 suppositories or 2 nights of enemas vs. the usual 3 enemas or hospitalization.
The thing is, 15 months ago when things were really bad, she didn't lose any weight. July of last year was like a light switch went off. Ellie had anorectal manometry under anesthesia to rule out Hirschsprung's (which she doesn't have) and then didn't go for 9 days. In one week, she lost 1.5 lbs and then continued to drop through September, reaching 28.5 lb (original weight 32.5). With us diligently staying on top of her constipation, implementing various feeding techniques, and trying to add calories to her diet, Ellie's weight has finally crept back up to 30 lbs. However, we learned at her follow-up GI appointment last week that she only gained 2 ounces since her last office visit . . . 6 months prior. This is frustrating because Ellie is actually eating more (still not as much as a typical 5-6 year old) - both in quantity and in variety of foods. Because of this, Ellie gets to keep her Failure to Thrive label and we are starting her on Periactin.
|This is how Ellie's BMI falls on the pediatric chart. |
I have no idea if there is a BMI chart specific for individuals with Down syndrome.
Periactin or Cyproheptadine is a type of antihistamine that also has anticholinergic properties and an affect on serotonin. So yes, it is used to treat allergies, but it also has great success in the treatment some psych related issues such as serotonin syndrome and also treating in pediatric migraines. One side effect to Periactin is weight gain. It is considered to be an appetite stimulant for people who have poor weight gain. We have discussed this med periodically in the past year, but were reluctant to start her on it as one of its major side effects is constipation. Right. . . . let's put the kid who doesn't poop for 9 days on a med that causes constipation! However, we are at a point where even though she is eating more, it still isn't enough and she is not putting on the weight.
|She still fits in the dress on the left, but it is a bit shorter.|
Same shoes and still too big!
As her doc has been saying repeatedly "if she doesn't start to gain weight in the next x # of months, we will do an upper GI to completely rule out celiacs" -- well, those x # of months keep changing and I personally feel it is time to officially rule out celiac, especially since her upper GI from 22 months of age showed small white blood cell focalization of the small intestine which could have been an early indicator. Why is he dragging his feet? I am not sure, but we will revisit the upper GI in 6 months if she doesn't start putting on the pounds.
|My little picky eater ate 5 bits of brisket this past weekend and tried raw onions.|
Truth: she spent more time playing with the onions and pickles than eating - telling us "circle".
*Update: We are day 5 into the periactin and haven't really seen anything yet. In fact, it has made her constipation worse and she is eating less than before this medication. I can provide her with opportunities to eat, go through all of the techniques we learned speech/feeding therapy and in the end, I cannot force her to eat orally. Right now she only gets it at night because it can cause fatigue. We will be increasing it to twice a day by the end of the week. I am told that can take a few days to increase her appetite so fingers crossed that we start to see some big changes in her appetite and in turn, weight.