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Thread: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

  1. #1

    Default Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    My son is 27 months old and our pediatrician recommended we seek early intervention at his 2 year well check. He was not speaking very much at all so we agreed and he stared seeing two therapists. His speech therapist is great and a breast feeding advocate and said she saw no reason to wean him even though I am 6 months pregnant. He only nurses before nap time and bed, and throughout the night if he wakes (we co-sleep). His occupational therapist made a visit yesterday and said his speech delay was most likely caused by the fact that he still nurses. I find this highly unlikely and can't find any evidence to support this. He always refused a pacifier and stopped drinking from a bottle by age 1... He does still use a sippy that isn't ideal since its not a straw or tilt cup and requires him to suck. I know the sucking mechanism for using a bottle or pacifier or even his current sippy can delay or affect speech, but I cannot find any evidence that supports breast feeding is the same. If anything I'm seeing quite the opposite since a different sucking mechanism is used when nursing. She told me to wean my son as soon as possible. I'm quite shocked and confused. Is this really truth, can breast feeding cause a speech delay? I have a hard time believing her or taking her advice because she also initially diagnosed my son with a sensory delay, which after a few weeks she told me he didn't have any signs of at all. She also made comments like "you don't want to have to be nursing both children" and "if you don't wean him now, he will be jealous when you nurse your new baby". Wouldn't the last statement be the opposite? I'm 3 months away from delivery and if I wean my son now, when he sees me nurse the new baby I would think he would feel jealousy and mild abandonment, especially since he can't communicate well enough to understand the concept. I really don't want to stop because it's the only comfort my son has and we have tried to put him to bed without nursing and it's nearly impossible. Granted it's become frustrating since his latch is no longer strong and he will commonly gnaw on me with his teeth, but my discomfort is the least of my worries. We are thinking of transitioning him to a toddler bed soon and I think that plus weaning AND a new baby would surely traumatize my son. Should I take this woman's advice, or politely tell her I've done research and don't feel comfortable weaning at this moment. Ultimately I want to do whatever is best for my son.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    350

    Default Re: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    If it were me, I'd fire the OT and find someone competent. She's making up nonsense and trying to pass it off as professional advice, AND taking your money for it.

    The refereed literature actually has found that extended breastfeeding enhances speech development, not delays it.

    http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/speech-development/

    I wouldn't hesitate to report her to the college of OTs, or whatever her profession's governing body may be called. Unless she is an oral-motor specialist, she isn't qualified or licensed to offer the type of advice she seems to be dispensing, not to mention that her advice runs counter to current guidelines. Who knows what other wrongheaded advice she's given you, or whether she has actually caused your child harm.
    Last edited by @llli*alphawoman; April 26th, 2014 at 12:53 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    350

    Default Re: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    I'll also add--and this isn't medical advice, just the opinion of a mother of an SPD kiddo--that those traits around oral defensiveness sound SPD-ish. When you find a new OT, I would encourage you to have your LO re-evaluated for SPD, as the credibility of the soon to be ex-OT is seriously in question.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*alphawoman View Post
    If it were me, I'd fire the OT and find someone competent. She's making up nonsense and trying to pass it off as professional advice, AND taking your money for it.
    x 1000! Even if breastfeeding could cause a speech delay, how in the world could it be a problem for a kid who is only nursing a few times and mostly at night?! And how does the OT know what tandem nursing is like, jealousy-wise, or whether or not tandem nursing is something you want to do?

    I would fire her if possible. If there are no other OTs in your area, just retain her and tell her you're not going to wean, period. She'll just have to work around the nursing.
    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!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    I am shocked.. Keep up the good work you are doing Hmm one suggestion - get his ears checked for an ear infection? My doctor tells me that speech delay is sometimes caused by infection or/and lot of earwax, cause they don´t hear good enough. But in my opinion I dont think that all two year olds should be pro in talking.
    Good luck
    Sweet, strong willed girl born in dec. 2012

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Central FL
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    Default Re: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    is it no speech or talking AT ALL? Or just not really talking much beyond a few spare words?
    My little brother didn't really talk till he was about 3 but when he did start talking it was pretty much in full sentences, Apparently he didn't have enough to say before that.
    Does he understand and respond to verbal communication?
    I think the hearing test is a good idea though.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2014
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    Minnesota
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    Default Re: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    If the SPEECH therapist doesn't think it is a problem, and this is her specialty, I would not give any credence to what the OT is saying. She would by nature of her training know less about the subject. Jus tell her "his speech therapist says it is fine to keep nursing and that it won't hurt his language development, so I am following her advice since she is the expert." If the OT isn't satisfied with that then fire her. Or fire her anyway because she gave you such awful advice in the first place. What business of hers is it how "hard" it will be for you to nurse two babies?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Extended breast feeding causing speech delay?

    Thank you I agree! Unfortunately it's through the state and I didn't technically hire her. He talks a lot more recently. Point to object and asks for them and knows a lot more words. I think he excelled in motor skills early and wasn't as natural with speech. He seems to be saying something new everyday so I'm starting to believe he's just following his own curve. He does enjoy his "play" time with them so I'll let it be but kindly tell her I don't plan on weaning until he's ready!

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