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Thread: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

  1. #1

    Default Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    Hi, my 17 month old is still not really eating solids. She is being seen once a month by a speech therapist for feeding therapy and is at the bottom of the weight chart and has had low hemoglobin in the past. She is also very energetic, and hasn't really gained any weight in the last 3 months.

    I could just nurse her more and more, but she is very busy and doesn't really make her nursing count until the day winds down. She nurses all through the night. She had a severe nursing aversion from the time she was 2 months old to about 10 months old, so I think sometimes we're still struggling with that.

    She does take zantac because we think her original breast refusal was related to reflux, and she is eating a tiny bit more solids since we began the zantac meds.

    I have had two professionals tell me now (the pediatrician and the speech therapist) that since she nurses so much at night, she may genuinely not be as hungry during the day. The speech therapist said they see this same problem with babies that are tube fed all night, and don't ever get the opportunity to be "hungry." Both suggested night weaning her.

    I have had one AF, this month, actually, so even though I know periods can be sporadic still while nursing, it would seem my cycle is resuming. We co-sleep, as well. I just don't know anyone with this problem, so I'm asking for advice here. I don't really want to night wean her, as we're not done co-sleeping and nursing her is how she goes back to sleep at night. I am certain my supply is more abundant overnight, so I worry that if she night weaned, my overall supply would suffer, and then she *certainly* would not get enough calories in a day, and then there I'd be with low supply and with an older baby not eating solids. If she wasn't so low on (almost off) the WHO chart, I might be a little more willing to experiment with night weaning, but I am honestly scared to lose that milk and those nursings and calories.

    Any thoughts? Advice? Will night weaning make her want to eat more food and nurse more during the day? Or is it too risky? I don't want to wind up having to supplement her with artificial baby milk if the pediatrician and speech therapist are wrong. I know you can't "starve" a baby into eating. HELP!
    Last edited by @llli*midwestmama2010; April 22nd, 2013 at 10:10 AM. Reason: typos

  2. #2

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    I don't really want to night wean her, as we're not done co-sleeping and nursing her is how she goes back to sleep at night. I am certain my supply is more abundant overnight, so I worry that if she night weaned, my overall supply would suffer, and then she *certainly* would not get enough calories in a day, and then there I'd be with low supply and with an older baby not eating solids. If she wasn't so low on (almost off) the WHO chart, I might be a little more willing to experiment with night weaning, but I am honestly scared to lose that milk and those nursings and calories.
    It sounds to me that you know what you think is right, and night weaning is not it.

    Here is what I wonder about this advice you have gotten, to night wean.

    Either your is child capable of eating solids, but won't, or your child is incapable of eating solids, so she can't. And in either case, why would taking away nursing sessions-particularly those at night, which are about comfort as well as nutrition, help the situation? If she prefers breastmilk, is that really a problem? Breastmilk is food, and it is packed with nutrition.

    Also, Many many 17 month olds nurse all night and still eat lots of solids, and many children who do not nurse at all do not eat much of anything.

    I suggest the book "My Child Won't Eat." I am reading it now and find it very enlightening, and also a fun read. However, I am not dealing with a situation where my child is not eating nor gaining and I am worried. So ymmv. This book will not tell you how to get a child who has a physical barrier to eating to be able to eat. The focus is on the issue of how and why children eat or do not eat, how much is normal, etc. There is a very goood explanation of growth charts-including the WHO charts, and what they mean and what they do not mean. It has a short section on low iron and why that -the very low iron-can cause a child to not have an appetite and that supplemental iron might help. Reducing nursing sessions is not something the author suggests and as i recall he discusses why this is not helpful.

    Don't buy it on my say so. Look at the reviews on amazon positive and negative. It is about $10 US.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 23rd, 2013 at 12:57 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    I checked it out from the library today!

    She *can* eat. I see raisins and various other things in her poop occasionally. And when she has eaten some yogurt, occasionally like 1/8 cup, her poopy diaper is noticeably thicker. And something else the speech therapist noted was how she was not upset about her face or fingers being smeared up with food, so that tells us she likely does not have a true aversion to smooth foods or purees, but is just very picky.

    I did point out to her about other babies nursing all night long and still eating food and her remark was just that some ppl really won't eat unless they're hungry. I tend to agree with that since I am that way too. I hate to stop eating. And I will put off my hunger sometimes until I'm ravenous because I feel like I don't have the time. :-/ But my baby can't afford to do that!

    Thanks so much for replying!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    I am glad they had it at your library. Is it the latest edition? Just curious. I doubt it matters much but there are a few differences I gather, because the author (Carlos Gonzalez) mentions a change here and there in the edition I am reading. Mostly about what latest research says about how and when to introduce certain foods I think, no big changes I don't think. The latest one is published by Pinter and Martin 2012, the first edition by La Leche League 2005. These are the English translations I am talking about.

    her remark was just that some ppl really won't eat unless they're hungry.
    But....do you want to teach your child to eat when she is not hungry?

    also- I just re-read your op, and your baby's speech therapist is equating tube feeding with breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is entirely voluntary (as anyone who has tried to get an unwilling child to nurse knows) and (however much it may be needed in some individuals) tube feeding is basically force-feeding, in the sense that it is putting food into the stomach of an individual who is too weak or otherwise unable to eat enough for survival on their own. So this does not seem like a logical comparison to me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    I am glad they had it at your library. Is it the latest edition? Just curious. I doubt it matters much but there are a few differences I gather, because the author (Carlos Gonzalez) mentions a change here and there in the edition I am reading. Mostly about what latest research says about how and when to introduce certain foods I think, no big changes I don't think. The latest one is published by Pinter and Martin 2012, the first edition by La Leche League 2005. These are the English translations I am talking about.
    It's the LLL one so it must be 2005. I am waiting for my toddler to fall asleep or I'd run and check the book.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    But....do you want to teach your child to eat when she is not hungry?
    No, I don't. But she needs to learn to eat solids. It's important to the development of her mouth and development of speech.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    also- I just re-read your op, and your baby's speech therapist is equating tube feeding with breastfeeding? Breastfeeding
    is entirely voluntary (as anyone who has tried to get an unwilling child to nurse knows) and (however much it may be needed in some individuals) tube feeding is basically force-feeding, in the sense that it is putting food into the stomach of an individual who is too weak or otherwise unable to eat enough for survival on their own. So this does not seem like a logical comparison to me.
    Yes, she is equating the two, or at least using it to illustrate her point. And I know firsthand how it is trying to get an unwilling child to nurse. This is the same kid. She would've starved if I hadn't nursed her in her sleep when she was refusing. She was that adamant about refusing. I am hoping I haven't messed up her own personal hunger cues, but it was nurse her in her sleep, or wind up EP'ing, and I don't think I could've hacked that.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    I admit to not knowing a single solitary thing about eating solids mechanics and their relation to speech development, speech delay, speech issues, or any of that. I knew I was treading somewhere I had not knowledge so I hesitated to even mention it, and I am really sorry that I came off as overly critical about the speech therapists suggestions.

    I really don't think you could have messed up her personal hunger clues. Even if she will only nurse when asleep, that is still different than tube feeding or even bottle feeding in sleep. Unlike the bottle, a baby has to be actively involved in getting milk out of the breast, and of course it is normal for a baby to do this when asleep (maybe not usually ONLY when asleep) but babies can and do nurse when asleep-and those who are allowed to, do it at night. It's an entirely normal part of breastfeeding, so it's an entirely normal behavior.

    Also if your child has physiological issues with her speech or ability to eat, I would suspect that the fact you breastfeed rather than ep could only have helped normalize any issues as much as they possibly could have been, as breastfeeding promotes the best jaw and oral cavity development possible given the potential a person was born with.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    I admit to not knowing a single solitary thing about eating solids mechanics and their relation to speech development, speech delay, speech issues, or any of that. I knew I was treading somewhere I had not knowledge so I hesitated to even mention it, and I am really sorry that I came off as overly critical about the speech therapists suggestions.
    No problem. Really! I am always over critical about their suggestions. I think *so* little is known (by them) about an older baby nursing, that if anything is going a little weird, nursing is the easy scapegoat. I am skeptical about their suggestion, that's why I asked here.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Also if your child has physiological issues with her speech or ability to eat, I would suspect that the fact you breastfeed rather than ep could only have helped normalize any issues as much as they possibly could have been, as breastfeeding promotes the best jaw and oral cavity development possible given the potential a person was born with.
    Based on their evaluation, there is no physiological reason she won't eat, except for maybe reflux, but I guess that's medical, not physiological. Her mouth can work food to the back of her mouth.

    I guess I just need support just as much as I need answers. She was so hard to nurse for so long, I welcomed solids with open arms, and was looking forward to some relief around 12 months when I could offer food first, nurse second, and that nursing could be more about comfort and still alot of calories and all of that, but here we are, still in survival mode. I am still just trying to keep her growing and gaining, which she has not done for at least two months, I think, close to three.

    I almost wish the pediatrician would order a barium test so I could know for sure and either move forward with the reflux remedies, or just drop all that completely. But it sounds so invasive. I hate giving her drugs, and now we've even started Prevacid, which is not even FDA approved for babies. Today was her first dose and it *did* seem like she ate more food today.

    It's also hard because I am offering her food all day, and she might get a little bit, maybe just enough to take the edge of her hunger off, I imagine, but then I try to nurse her and many times, she's just not that into it. She'd rather be playing. So it's weird. I feel like overall sometimes she's not getting enough milk but the cause of that is because I'm trying to get her eating food, which is time consuming.

    I am worried about my milk supply too. She can go for a long time in between nursing, and since I have had one period, I am afraid that means I'm not nursing enough.

    I just need a break!! I'm exhausted.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    Don't worry about having had your period. You can get your period back even if you nurse very frequently, and the longer it's been since childbirth, the more likely it is that you'll get your period. I got mine back at 15 months with both babies, even though they were frequent nursers at that point.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    Have you finished the book? What I got from it was, a child who is otherwise healthy, who can eat, and is offered food (but not forced or coerced) will eat enough-for her. Even if it is a tiny tiny amount, if that is all she wants-and she is healthy-then it's enough, despite charts and scales. At least, that was my takeaway from that book.

    I know our situations are not exactly the same, but for what it is worth-My 6 year old son who barely ate anything but breastmilk until he was 14 months old and even then took to solids slowly is a tremendous eater now. Asking for multiple helpings type kid, and while he certainly has his favorites and is very opinionated about that, he is not all that picky really and is quite willing to try new things. My 9 year old son who started eating solids eagerly at 5 months and never gave me any 'trouble' with eating early on, now never finishes his plate (even when I try to give him only what I think he will eat-or less!) and is so thin, it worries me even though intellectually I know he is perfectly healthy. He just got braces on his teeth which of course lessens what he can eat and I am worried all over again! So it really helped me to read my child won't eat.

    oh I forgot something funny about my 9 year old. Even when he comes to me saying 'i'm starved' and wants a 'big' snack, he will eat one little piece of cheese OR one HALF of a pear-(while I am making a sandwich or warming up some leftovers or something for him)-and then he runs off again! I say, what about that snack? and he will say "I had enough already."
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; May 2nd, 2013 at 12:18 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Night wean 17 month old not eating solids

    I am still working on the book. It does seem like she falls into this category of just being small, active, and a grazer. We did start Prevacid and she has gained weight now. I can feel it in her midsection and the scale says so too. She also seems to have increased her nursing some overnight. Her wet diapers in the morning are ridiculously heavy and wet. I honestly have no idea how much she nurses at night, right now, because I barely wake up. But I'm guessing it's at least twice. My breasts never get a chance to be engorged. And she has eaten a little bit more food, too. I am just not creative enough I feel like. She will eat bites of pizza, sausage, guacamole on chips, greek yogurt, and some other strong flavored things, but it's hard to come up with strong flavors for every single meal. I am the same way, though. I always want some thing salty and crunchy.

    She has an 18 mo well child check at the end of the month. I hope she's still trending along her same little pattern and then I won't be worried.

    The pressure though is getting to me. Sometimes she won't ask for hours to nurse and I get busy. I hate that panicked feeling, of being stuck out somewhere and it's been 4 hours or more and she's not asking, but knowing I should offer. She's not demanding and it's easy to lose track of time.

    Thanks for the encouragement of your own children just needing small meals too.

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