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Thread: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

  1. #1
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    Jan 2013
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    Default Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    Hi everyone, anyone who will help. I posted on the forum before, a couple months ago before my daughter was 16 months old. She was not eating ANY solids. She still doesn't. She just plays with the food or throws it on the floor. I offer several food items, several times a day, in different areas of the house (just to be sure the highchair isn't stressing her out). Well, she had her 18-month checkup today and the doctor didn't like her weight (just under 20 lbs), and told me I should completely stop breastfeeding. She says that my daughter is refusing to eat and holding out for nursing, and that the fat content of my milk is not enough for her at this stage. I told her I am not willing to completely stop. She told me that just cutting back will probably not help. I wanted to scream, but did so internally. Can anyone please tell me how often I should be nursing at this stage? By the way, we co-sleep and she nurses at night. The doctor does not know this last bit of info. I am sure it would go over horribly. Can anyone tell me if my milk supply will decrease if i don't offer her milk every time she asks during the day? I fear this not going well. I just cant bear the thought of her screaming and me refusing to breastfeed just so she will possibly get hungry enough to eat regular food. Any help is so appreciated. Oh, I am with her 24/7 as i am a stay-at-home mom. My daughter has not been sick the entire 18 months. Other than her being in the 5 to 15th percentile for weight at this visit, she is fine. She has also been walking a lot more since the last visit, but the doctor said she should weigh around 24 pounds regardless of her being more mobile. She will drink water from a sippy cup or regular cup with my help. Thanks again for any advice!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    I can’t help on the refusing to eat thing, it's just not my area of expertise at all. I think it is a bit concerning if a child of 18 months refuses to eat ANYTHING ever. Not even treats, like cookies or ice cream, or a savory treat like goldfish crackers? Will she ever eat anything if she is around other kids who are chowing down? I am not advocating a diet of cookies and crackers I am just trying to understand the depth of the issue. Toddlers are notoriously picky and can seem to live on air for days at a time, this is just normal. But nothing at all crossing baby's lips ever would make me think maybe there is something else going on, some kind of extreme food sensitivities or gag reflex, difficulty swallowing, or even sensory issues possibly? As far as playing with food -well, my 6 year old still does that. Way more food on the floor than past the lips is normal for 18 months I would think.

    But I do not understand the idea that breastfeeding prevents normal eating habits from developing nor the rationale of starving and upsetting a child into eating by abruptly weaning that child. Toddlers and preschoolers all over the world love to nurse, nurse all they want, and also love to eat solids. I would be interested in what evidence there is to support this medical advice. Is there a study that shows it is neccesary to wean some children before they will eat anything else?

    My kids both nursed around the clock at this age. At least 10 times a day. I had one early eater (6 months) and one late (14 months) and if anything, the early/bigger eater nursed more often.

    This article may be helpful but you have probably read it. Unfortunately It focuses a lot on the 12 month mark. I wonder if anyone has info about nutrition and the older toddler? http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starti...toddler-foods/

    ah ha! I have heard great things about this book, but had never read it because it was out of print. But it looks like a new paperback version is available now. http://www.amazon.com/My-Child-Wont-.../dp/1780660057

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    I have yet to see the scientific study which tests the hypothesis that removing breastmilk from the baby's diet will instantaneously result in more appetite for solids. To my mind, removing breastmilk just takes away the one thing that you know for sure your baby will eat!

    I think LLLMeg asked a really excellent question- is your child actually resistant to swallowing anything, or will she eat a few highly valued items? If the former, then I think it may be time to delve into the possibility of a sensory issue or a swallowing problem (I think one medical term for that is "swallowing dysphagia"). If the latter, then you're probably looking at more of problem with extreme pickiness.

    I'm really not sure about your doc's advice advice about your child's weight. There are healthy kids in all percentiles, from the 1st to the 99th, and the growth curve isn't something a kid fails because she's under the 50th percentile. Statistically speaking, there are just as many healthy kids in the 1st percentile as the 99th, and just as many in the 5th-15th as there are in the 85th-95th. So I don't see why your child "should" weigh 24 lbs.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    Thank you for all the information, advice, and support. So, I started solids when she was 6 months. She would only eat avocado and only did that for a couple weeks. In the last year she has literally only ate banana a handful of times (a few on her own by holding the whole banana and taking a little bite and a few times by us putting some banana on a finger and putting it up to her mouth--we keep trying this off and on and she won't do it anymore). Again, in the last year she has only a handful of times gotten food on her fingers (organic yogurt, pasta, or browned turkey burger in very small pieces) and put her fingers in her mouth, but won't do anymore than that. Just this past week she has put some food up to her lips by herself, like to kind of get a taste, but not sure how much taste she got (piece of pineapple, a piece of a roll, small piece of chicken). The pediatrician said she didn't think it was a swallowing issue as she takes the breast milk okay and will drink water without any problems. I even questioned that because it is liquid and not solids but like I mentioned, I have seen her eat banana and avocado, just not even on a monthly basis let alone daily or weekly. I have given her cheerios and goldfish crackers and animal crackers and all she does is play with them or throw them. She isn't around other kids a whole lot. I ordered that book, "My Child Won't Eat" that @llli*lllmeg suggested. I look forward to reading that. The pediatrician also mentioned I should do more of forcing food in her mouth, which I am uncomfortable with. My daughter really doesn't like me putting food to her mouth let alone trying to force a spoonful in her mouth; it doesn't seem right to traumatize her on this issue. She did suggest to get one of the food mesh things to see if she would eat with that, so I will give it a shot. I know my daughter is having a really rough time right now with top and bottom first molars and top and bottom eye teeth coming in at once. I feel so bad for her and just want to continue offering food several times a day and nursing her when she wants it. I appreciate, again, all the support. With the exception of my husband, the rest of the family is not on board with me breastfeeding her at this age.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    Force food into your child's mouth? That sounds like a great way to create increased resistance towards eating solids. At this point, I think I would see a different pediatrician, an otolaryngologist, and/or a speech pathologist. Not that I think any of these people are likely to be necessary, but because IF there is something going on, different people might be more equipped to pick up on it. It just doesn't sound like your pediatrician has such great advice or experience when it comes to food issues.

    It is totally possible for someone to be able to swallow liquids but not be able to swallow solids or to at least have difficulty with solids.

    Have you tried giving your LO those squeezable fruit pouches? This sort of thing: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index...ab&cagpspn=pla A pouch might be the sort of thing that your LO can control- very BLS!- but without the texture issues that come with a lot of solids.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    It sounds as if when your child has eaten, it was when she handled the food entirely herself. This is basically the theory behind baby led weaning aka baby led solids, which encourages bypassing spoon feeding the child and letting child do it all herself, with her hands, until she has the ability to handle a utensil effectively. There are lots of ways to do this, if your daughter likes things more runny or liguidy, I think the squeezy yogurt is a good idea, also maybe encouraging using toast spears, fruit or veggie spears or pretzels or cheese sticks as dippers for a softer/'puree' item like yogurt, hummous, salsa? What about smoothies?

    My late eater HAD to do it himself and completely resisted being spoon fed. He never had any issues with drinking from breast or cup, but he had an issue of gagging on food even to the point of vomiting for a long time after he started really eating solids-in fact, he is 6 and this still happens but very rarely. His weight gain was always fine (which it certainly would not have been if he did not nurse) so, while I worried, we never had him checked out by a specialist. If it had been more extreme, I definitely would have.

    If you are not comfortable force feeding your child, can you seek a second opinion?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    I haven't tried those particular squeezable fruit pouches but have tried Dannon Danimals shake. Taking the lid off completely just made her throw it on the floor. I put a little hole in the top of it as I noticed her putting it to her mouth. She got a little taste but then threw it on the floor. I will try those squeezable fruit pouches. I will also start looking into a different pediatrician. They have others at the same office but it may require a change completely. If my daughter doesn't make continual progress in eating, I will want to do something to help figure out what is wrong. Thanks so much!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    First, hugs to you Mama!!

    My son is just waking from a nap, so I will be back later with more comments.For the time being, I would pursue the following strategy:

    1. Not force feed your child, as the paed advises. This is terrible advice that will exacerbate any underlying medical issues, if present, or create new aversions.

    2.Continue to breastfeed on demand, including at night, while offering solids in a completely baby led way throughout the day with as little pressure as possible. This will ensure your LO has ample opportunity to experiment while guaranteeing a baseline intake.

    3. Find a new paediatrician.

    4. Get a referral to a feeding specialist who is qualified to do a gentle observation of your LO, just. In case. This may be unwarranted.

    5. Reach out to Jack Newman at the International Breastfeeding Center for his opinion. Ask him specifically about weaning. He may supply a chapter from his book, "The Latch", on toddlers who refuse solids. (I will PM you further info.)

    For reassurance, my DS is just shy of 18 months and only really picked up his solids intake around 15 months. We breastfeed on demand with BLS and he ate when ready, copiously. He weighs 22lbs and is always in the top 5%ile for height. He's cognitively very advanced and ahead in physical development, with what I'd estimate to be an 80% (this last week closer to 90%) breastmilk diet. We cosleep and nurse 3-4x per night. All this is to reaffirm the value of breastfeeding and appropriate medical assessment, as breastfeeding may not be the impediment at all!

    ETA: the first foods my son ate in large quantity were cheese, bread, berries, and meatloaf (with tomato paste or ketchup). He is still primarily a carnivore, which makes sense since meat is an iron rich complement to breastmilk.
    Last edited by @llli*alphawoman; April 12th, 2013 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Added "e" to "breastfed" typo, because we're still going strong

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    Thank you, @llli*alphawoman, for your advice. I appreciate the support on continuing to breastfeed on demand day and night while offering her solids throughout the day. I will definitely look into the other suggestions to find a new doctor and possibly a feeding specialist, and contacting Jack Newman. This all has been very reassuring and helpful.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Need Advice on 18-month-old refusing solids.

    i've got a reluctant eater as well. my LO is 14 months old and eats sometimes but most of the time is ends up on the floor. his solids have just started to actually seem like small meals. but it's been a lot of hard work and tears. sitting him down 3 or 4 times a day with things for him to pick up and eat on his own, soups, smoothies, steamed veg, yogurt... he does like to eat things he can hold.

    maybe your little one does not like sweets? yogurt, fruit, bananas are all very sweet. one of mine's first favorite foods was pickles. he loves savory & sour things sucking on lemons and pickled green beans. anyway, just a thought. try some plain keifer can be sipped from a cup and is a bit sour.

    i do agree with everyone else to get another opinion. force feeding your baby seems like parenting advice not medical advice and the 5th percentile is just that the 5th. right on the chart. keep offering as much as you can while you try a new ped. can she drink thru a straw if so those fruit pouches work really well.

    good luck, sorry my post is all over the place.

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