How Over Nutrition Hindered Em's Development

If you've ever met Em in real life, then within the first five seconds of meeting her you probably exclaimed, "She is so tall!". Derek and I have always been baffled by her height as well because while I'm above average height for a woman at about 5' 6''+, Derek is only 5' 11'. Seeing as how we're not abnormally tall... having a child who was, has always been rather funny to us. 


Em was in the 100th percentile for height from about the age of one year, until about six months ago when she turned two and a half. Derek and I were talking the other day and realized that it seems like Em did all of her growing in between her first and second birthday, and then it was like she just all of a sudden stopped growing. 

We took her into the doctor yesterday because her "unexpected sick day" had turned into a full blown upper respiratory infection and so I figured while we were there we could talk about this growth issue as well. Em went from the 100th percentile in height down to the 70th, and she dropped from the 75th in weight down to the 60th. I'm by far not a medical expert at all, but one thing that I do know is that doctors don't like to see large drops, or spikes in the percentiles, and so I was obviously really concerned about this. 

He explained that he wasn't very concerned about Em dropping percentiles because visually when you look at her, she looks perfectly healthy, and isn't showing any signs up malnutrition. Her BMI is also in an acceptable range, which didn't throw off alarms either. He then asked if there had been any changes to her diet in the last few months and I mentioned that a couple weeks ago she finally gave up her nighttime bottle. 

While Em certainly needed that bottle for bedtime in terms of comfort and routine (and if you have a special needs child you know that trumps basically everything else), she didn't really need it nutritionally. Since most babies give up having a bottle at the age of one, Em had it for 18 months longer than most kids, and that bottle was basically being read by her body as "excess nutrition". Our Dr explained that a lot of times in kids when there is an abundance in nutrition like that, the body just reads it as a signal to grow taller and taller, which may have been what attributed to Em getting so tall after her first birthday happened. 

Our Dr then went on to say that kids who have poor muscle function like Em, can actually have a harder time being bigger and taller because it throws their center of gravity off and hinders their ability to learn new skills and develop at a consistent rate. Think of her as basically the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in toddler form. 

This totally made so much sense. I remember on Jay's third birthday, (one month before Em turned one), Jay, Em, and I were all playing at a friend's house when Em sat unsupported for 30 seconds on her own for the very first time. We were so excited that it happened, and thought that independent sitting would be right around the corner. As many loyal readers may know, independent sitting didn't happen for Em until this last February, 18 months after that 30 second sit we'd seen so long ago. And independent sitting happened right at the time that her growth seemed to be tapering off, and her bedtime bottle was becoming less and less of a nightly thing. 

I remember telling people so many times, "I'm pretty sure she could sit if her long legs weren't constantly in her way!" Do I think Em is going to magically get up and start walking now that her growth has calmed down and she doesn't have this excess nutrition? No, but I do think things will start to get just a little bit easier for her as she's learning to figure out and navigate her body. And if you've been following along on instagram, you know she's like thisclose to crawling, and that is pretty exciting. 

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