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Thread: Stopping day feeds

  1. #1

    Default Stopping day feeds

    Hello all, am after some advice as we seem to be in a vicious circle with bf. My son is 20 months and bf has been going really well. He has never been a great eater though and would much prefer boobie to anything else. I would really like to cut down on the day feeds (he probably has 4-5 in the day and none through the night) and encourage him to eat more at mealtimes. Am happy to keep feeding morning and night and for his nap and that's where I would like to be.

    I have tried saying no, and no boobie until bedtime etc but he just cries and cries, made worse by the fact he is hungry! I have tried distracting him with toast, cereals, a drink etc but he just refuses. I can distract with strawberries and blueberries but he can't live on those! I'm just worried now what to do. Should I just let him get hungrier and hungrier and just keep refusing? Should I cut out day feeds all at once like this and remain strong? Cutting out one feed at a time doesn't seem to work because he has been bf on demand and I think it is confusing him. I just feel really mean

    Any advice would be greatly received x

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Stopping day feeds

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    What is your main concern? Are you worried that he is not eating enough solids, and therefore you want to cut back on breastfeeding to try to encourage solids? Or do you think he "should" be breastfeeding less by now?

    Toddlers differ a LOT in their solids uptake. Some toddlers really get into solids from the beginning of their second year, others prefer mostly nursing for a long time into the second year (and beyond). One of the great things about toddler nursing is whether your toddler likes solids a little or a lot, you know they are still getting great nutrition from breastmilk! And, nursing 4-5 times in a day is a perfectly normal amount of nursing for a 20 month old - again, some will nurse more, others less, but there's nothing unusual about this frequency. Keep in mind, too, that toddlers also love to nurse for comfort and connection, not just hunger.

    If it were me, I'd continue to encourage solids by offering (and re-offering) a variety of foods. Some "tricks" that can help a reluctant solids eater is to make mealtime fun (arrange food into a smiley face, for example); bring a mixed plate of solids onto a table in the play area, so that your LO can graze and eat at the same time; etc. I'd also continue to let baby nurse on demand. I don't think refusing breastmilk is going to help with getting him to eat more solids, more likely it's just going to make him really cranky. He WILL eat more solids and nurse less eventually, if you let him take the lead you'll get there with less fuss and stress.

    If you do want to limit nursing at certain times of the day, some limiting strategies are distraction (not with food, but with fun activities/playing); or telling baby he can nurse until you sing a song x number of times or count to a certain number.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Stopping day feeds

    Thank you so much for your lovely reply... and yes, I suppose there is an element of feeling that he 'should' be eating more solids and nursing less, particularly when compared to his little non-breastfed friend who eats and eats. But like you say, they are all different. I shall relax a little about pushing him and let him lead while trying to make mealtimes more fun! Your reply also reminded me that 12 months ago he was feeding 4-5 times in the night too - how far we've come!! And he is still, quite little. Thanks again.x

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Stopping day feeds

    Please check out some of my recent posts. My son is 2y8mo and has only truly begun eating more than a bite or two of solids about 2-3 months ago.

    My approach was to support nursing as often as he liked while offering foods with tastes, temperatures, and textures that appealed most to him. The key is careful observation. Be a scientist doing field work!

    His first favourite food was ground beef, either in meatloaf or with Mexican chilli peppers. Our second gateway foods were berries--particularly strawberries and juicy blackberries. After that came fish (especially salmon cooked with olive oil), bananas, watermelon, pitted cherries, seedless grapes, whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce or home made Mornay sauce, avocado, apples, roasted carrots, butternut squash, chicken, and whole wheat bread.

    The key was to really carefully observe his preferences, to have a completely stress and pressure free approach to feeding, and to nurse on demand. Basically, I behave as though it doesn't matter whether he eats solids, and offer only excellent food choices so that regardless of what he selects, he's getting high-octane food.

    Meal times need to be really leisurely for us--45 mins+--and we often read 10 or more books while we eat. Some days, when DS is hungriest, we're at the table for an hour and a half. DS needs to wait a minute or two between bites. Don't be afraid to spear food onto a fork and offer it to your son. Let him decline if he wants. It's a gentle way of helping him without forcing.

    We usually do 3 meals a day in addition to nursing. We eased into some meals by eating them in informal places, like on the sofa or in bed, to communicate the relaxed attitude to eating.

    I think a large part of this equation is personality. DS is a strong-minded child who needed to make the decision to eat himself, in his own time. Once he did, he was off to the races.
    Last edited by @llli*alphawoman; June 26th, 2014 at 01:57 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Stopping day feeds

    Excellent, excellent advice from the PPs!!! I just want to add that nursing 4-5 times a day at 20 months is a very normal nursing frequency for a toddler. There are certainly kids who nurse less than that, but there are many who nurse much more often! I'd say your LO is pretty midrange, when it comes to nursing frequency.
    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
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Stopping day feeds

    As a benchmark, I'll add that DS2.8 nurses probably 5 to 8 times during the day and 2-3 times overnight in addition to his solids. So, lots of nursing.

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