How growth charts can help indicate failure to thrive in babies and children.
What is Failure to Thrive?
Failure to thrive doesn’t mean you have the smallest or skinniest baby on the block (though you might). According to Children’s Hospital of Philidelphia Failure to thrive “is defined as decelerated or arrested physical growth (height and weight measurements fall below the third or fifth percentile, or a downward change in growth across two major growth percentiles) and is associated with abnormal growth and development. The reason for failure to thrive is inadequate nutrition.”
I find myself constantly trying to explain to people that we are not worried about Apollo being small, but about his lack of growth. Looking at his growth chart here shows the problem so much better than words.
How Failure to Thrive Looks on a Growth Chart
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, sometimes a growth chart is too.
You can see that at birth, two weeks, and three months he was at 50th percentile…then at 3 months he drops down to the tenth percentile and by seven months he’s off the chart completely. The doctors consider a drop of more than two percentiles to be worrisome. And if you look at months seven through eleven, he keeps getting further and further away from the lowest percentile on the chart.
Yesterday afternoon he had his weight check appointment. The great news is he has gained a whopping pound and a half! You can clearly see just how much he jumped up on the chart. He’s been wanting to eat nonstop lately and apparently it’s been working.
A Sweat Test for Cystic Fibrosis
Let me try to explain the doctor’s reasoning. As you know Apollo has been having breathing trouble this week. It’s not his normal “noisy rattling in the throat” but more of a “deep wheeze”. I was so glad the appointment coincided with this so the doctor could hear what I was talking about. The doctor listened for a very long time and said he can hear mucus settled low in his lungs. He said he’s heard this before in Apollo’s lungs and it seems to move around to different spots. Apollo has had a scope stuck down his throat which tells the doctor everything is structurally fine and rules out several causes of the noisy breathing. He said his wheezing does not sound asthmatic. He said with asthma the noise comes from the exhale, Apollo’s noise is when he inhales. The fact that he is off milk, on reflux medicine, gaining weight, and doing well but STILL has this wheezing/trouble breathing points toward a mucus issue. Cystic fibrosis is essentially mucus that is so thick a person can’t remove from their body…it gums everything up.
So that’s where we are right now. I will be taking Apollo in today for a blood draw for a celiac panel and then we wait for a call about his appointment in Seattle.