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Thread: Weaning because of son's GI issues

  1. #1

    Default Weaning because of son's GI issues

    I am nursing a 14 month old who has significant GI issues that require both of us to be on a strict elimination diet. This diet consists of roughly 15 ingredients. I've been eating these foods since roughly the beginning of April and if I make a mistake my son pays for it. We are working with a GI doctor who prefers that I wean to avoid obscuring the results of our food reintroduction process but I have continued to nurse thus far. I am getting to the point where I don't think I can continue to nurse my son for several reasons. I am thinking of getting pregnant again but don't want to be on a strict diet while pregnant. Also, I am tired of not being able to eat normally and also tired of worrying about making mistakes in my diet. I also want to have more control over my son's process by cutting out the nursing variable - that way we can trial foods with more clear cut answers as to how he's doing. My son is an avid nurser and nurses all day and night long. How can I gently wean him without traumatizing him? Some have suggested just going away for a weekend but I don't think I could bring myself to do this. What are other things I could do to wean him quickly?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,962

    Default Re: Weaning because of son's GI issues

    15 ingredients? Yikes!

    You say that when you slip up, your child pays the price. What does this mean, exactly? Does he get sick? Lose weight? Break out in eczema? The reason I ask is that it is very rare for a mom to have to limit herself so severely for such a long period of time. I'm wondering if, at this point, it might not be worthwhile to start adding some foods back into your diet and seeing if things change for your child. If you had some more freedom in your diet, or felt less responsible for your child's issues, maybe you would be able to handle the challenges of nursing better? If adding foods back in doesn't work- meaning that your child fares much worse after you add in more ingredients- well, maybe that provides you a clearer incentive to pursue weaning.

    It's often very tough to wean a 14 month old. Babies that age generally aren't eating a lot of solids yet and they can be quite picky. And your child is potentially facing a very limited menu of solids to choose from. It's hard to predict whether or not he's ready to be on an all-solids diet. I'd recommend talking to a nutritionist, one recommended by your child's pediatrician, before pursuing weaning. At the very least, you need to know how to offer him a balanced diet of solids when the safe choices are so few. Does he need supplements? If so, which ones are the right ones?

    Another reason weaning a young toddler can be tough is that they know what they want and they will fight for it. You could be facing a very sad, very anxious kid while you pursue weaning. How will you face negative toddler behaviors without nursing, which is your mommy superpower, the thing that can reliably get your child to sleep or ease him through a hurt, tired, or cranky moment?

    Weaning do's and dont's:
    - Don't vanish for the weekend. It could be traumatic for your child and might not even work- he might decide to pick up where he left off as soon as you are back!
    - Don't use aversion tactics (e.g. making the breast scary or foul-tasting) as these can also be traumatic.
    - Do go slow, because a slow weaning allows your milk supply to gradually decrease without increasing the risk of plugged ducts or mastitis.
    - Do be extra loving, offering lots of love and cuddles to make up for what your child is missing at the breast.
    - Do enlist substitute caregivers to give your child love and attention and to distract him when you do not want to nurse.
    - Do avoid your customary nursing locations, as these can trigger a child to want to nurse.
    - dO stay busy and out of the house as much as possible- most babies nurse less when out and about in new and interesting surroundings.
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,430

    Default Re: Weaning because of son's GI issues

    Hi ksmiths, I get it if you are done. If you are done you are done, and there are ways to wean that are more gentle and gradual than others and that is what is suggested when mom is wanting or needing to encourage weaning along, rather than "quick" weaning. In the rare cases abrupt weaning is needed, here are some suggestions for mother, as this can cause health issues for mom: http://kellymom.com/ages/weaning/wean-how/weaning_mom/

    good books about weaning that cover any age or situation are How Weaning Happens and The Nursing Mothers Guide to Weaning. For support during this process, should you decide to wean, please let us know how it is going.

    It sounds to me as if your child is telling you that he is not ready to wean. So I also wonder if there are other options?

    If you are already not eating the foods that your child is allergic too, or suspected to be allergic to, how is there a "nursing variable?"

    What if you wean, and food introduction goes poorly? I just do not get this reasoning. If baby is so allergic to most foods that he is reactive to food proteins via breastmilk, then isn't it a concern he will not get enough calories on the extreme limited diet he can eat? Especially if he does not like the foods he can eat? If your child starts losing weight because he cannot eat enough to make up for those lost calories from no longer getting your milk, is your GI doctor going to apologize for telling you to you wean your child when it is too late to do anything about it? I doubt it.

    weaning is not needed in order to take a weekend away, a night out, or to otherwise get a break. Nursing mothers do these things all the time. I agree with mommal, weekend away as a weaning method might be too traumatic for both of you.

    Pregnancy and new babies are often stressful and tiring situations as well as very hunger inducing, so I very much understand not wanting to deal with an extremely limited diet in that situation. But knowing several families where one child is very allergic to certain things, I can tell you that in many (although not all) of those cases, those foods stop being part of the family diet. They are not in the house. It is just too difficult otherwise, especially with multiple children to cook for.

    A growing child needs a certain variety of nutrients as does a nursing mother and pregnant mother, so while a limited diet makes it much harder to get enough calories in many cases, neither you or your child should be on a diet that is not balanced, nutritionally, now or when you become pregnant. Also, if I had a very young child with severe allergies I was still trying to figure out, I would be thinking about waiting a bit before introducing a sibling, simply for my own sanity! But that's me.

    Anyway, Here is the protocol on nursing and allergies from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, which may be worth a read if you have not already. it is written with the exclusively breastfed child in mind, which your child is not. But that does not change the info about allergens and breastmilk. http://www.bfmed.org/Media/Files/Pro...ish_120211.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; June 23rd, 2014 at 10:18 AM.

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