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Thread: HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

  1. #1

    Exclamation HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

    I am about at my wit's end with my third baby. My first was bottle fed, my 4 year old nursed until she was about 18 months and then weaned pretty much on her own since I was pregnant with our 3rd and my milk seemed to dry up at about 7 months pregnant. After he was born she maybe latched one more time, but just lost interest and would refuse and tell me they were for the baby.

    My son now has been EBF. He took a bottle for like 1 week when he was about 5 months old, and then suddenly started refusing altogether and that was the last time we ever got him to take one. He has never taken a bottle OR a sippy, he will only nurse, and wants to do so NON STOP.

    I am not necessarily WANTING to wean him entirely, but at his 16 month checkup his pediatrician was extremely concerned. He is right now almost 18 months and only weights 19 lbs! That puts him in about the 3rd percentile for weight. He is tiny. He is extremely picky when it comes to solids, so we have really been working on that as much as we can, as it stands he will occasionally snack on cheerios, will eat Greek yogurt, and pudding, and every now and then I can get him to take a few bits of peanut butter toast. That's IT and only on HIS terms...if he would rather nurse...watch out world!

    I have tried just about everything I can think of. We offer him a variety of foods at every meal, and he will just play with them or throw them on the floor, and cry to get out of his high chair and want to nurse. I have bought and tried every bottle and sippy out there and tried putting pumped breastmilk in it, apple juice, whole milk, almond milk, soy milk, pediasure...you name it, it's been in a sippy and he has refused to even try it. We've tried regular cups, water bottles, straws, having his sisters show him its good, cheering if he will even put it NEAR his mouth...oh my gosh, its ridiculous.

    I am still producing milk, but I don't know how much, the few times I have pumped I seem to only get about 2 ounces out of each breast at a time, so I don't know if maybe he isn't getting enough from me, or what is causing his weight to come to a screeching halt. There is nothing more I can do bc I am nursing him on demand and it feels like every 10 minutes.

    His pediatrician told me I need to wean him completely so that he will take a sippy and eat more solids. We went about 24 hours one day trying the dr's advice on how to do it...and it was UGLY. He cried I think all day, and still never tried the sippy PLUS then wouldn't eat anything either..I don't see how that would help his weight any. I don't know what to do anymore. The dr says if I don't get him gaining weight (his recommendation is pediasure in a sippy) by his next appointment in a few months they are referring us to a nutritionist and therapy for him. I really don't personally think he needs that, he has hit all milestones, and as long as he is allowed to nurse, is a perfectly happy healthy boy, besides being skinny. Anyone else go through this? What can I do? I have read every breastfeeding book including "My Child Won't Eat" and nothing really seems to fit him. Most of those kids will at least TRY a sippy so they know they have another source of fluids! My husband calls him our "anorexic baby" that lives on air and boob juice. HELP ME!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

    His pediatrician told me I need to wean him completely so that he will take a sippy and eat more solids.
    If your doctor can provide evidence that weaning your child will make him eat or drink more (take in more calories) than he already gets with the food he eats plus nursing, that would be interesting to know about. To me it makes little sense to take away a perfectly healthy and appropriate source of calories and nutrition when the overall concern is the belief the child needs more to eat. Breastmilk IS FOOD.

    Do you like your pediatrician? Because the way his/her comments are presented sound kind of odd. Did his comments sound like threats? Doesn't he trust that you are trying to feed your son? I guess I am wondering why he/she is saying "get the weight up or..." If there is something concerning here about your child's health, why not get tests and therapy NOW rather than later?
    My husband calls him our "anorexic baby" that lives on air and boob juice. HELP ME!
    You read My Child Won't Eat- did you husband? This false idea that a toddler can be anorexic is dealt with specifically in that book. Also, did you look over the section about charting and what is and is not concerning or an issue? Do you have the most recent edition- the second edition, 2012?

    There are medical issues that cause poor appetite, for example, low iron. Has that been tested?

    I can see why seeing a nutritionist seems ridiculous if the issue is that your son will basically only eat a very little of a very few things, but what is your concern about therapy...do you think it is possible he might actually have some kind of problem with textures or with chewing or swallowing? I am not sure what therapy would entail, but maybe this would be helpful and should be done sooner rather than later.

    As far as drinking from a cup or anything else, is he ever actually dehydrated? I am sorry if I missed this, but will he drink water ? what about in the bathtub, or at a water fountain etc?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    484

    Default Re: HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

    There is nothing more I can do bc I am nursing him on demand and it feels like every 10 minutes.
    Yes!!!! This was my DS through about 2. He only started to eat more than a bite or two of solids around 2, and it was only around 2.25 that he would eat a meal a day. We strongly suspect sensory processing disorder.

    I noticed this nursing pattern you describe above around a year. My son's growth had stalled for a few months, and I began taking 120mg of domperidone per day. My supply increased dramatically, and my DS gained weight and thrived until he chose to eat solids. (like you, I had tried everything short of hiring a circus and having acrobats feed him, it felt!) I don't think I ever truly had very low milk supply in objective terms; he had been EBF and grown well through about 10 months. I think his demand was just so high that I needed support to sustain it.

    I would get a second opinion, consult with a feeding specialist to see if there is a sensory or motor issue driving food aversion, and talk to a pediatrician who specializes in lactation about whether domperidone might be an option for you.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. It's terrifying to have a child's growth be slow and have the child refuse all food. I've been there. Thankfully, there was a light at the end of our tunnel, and DS began eating quite heartily around 2.5. Now, at 3.5, he is still a child who needs to be coached to eat, and he had poor recognition of his hunger, but he eats a wide variety of healthy foods. He never received feeding therapy (I requested, his ped thought he was growing and developing well enough on breastmilk alone that it merited a watch and wait approach.) He will not eat mixed foods, strongly prefers ground meat and fish, and prefers his food to be all one temperature (usually room temperature or chilled). These are relatively small accommodations to make for the prize of a healthy child.

    The two keys for DS were time and distraction. We read books constantly at every meal, and I feed him. Distracted eating goes against every bit of research, but you do what you must when your child won't otherwise eat. I would rather read books and have my child eat meat, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk than nothing without books.

  4. #4

    Default Re: HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

    I'm going through this currently. My son is 21 pounds and did gain a pound between 12 and 15 months, but didn't gain in height (unless there was a measuring error). My doc is a little concerned. He'll take a sippy with water, but not milk or juice. Only eats baby oatmeal cereal and yogurt and fish crackers, otherwise it's only a couple bites of anything else and then he refuses. I'm at my wits end! I'm actually wanting to see an occupational therapist because they can be so helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    61

    Default Re: HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

    What the hell is wrong with pediatricians?!?! For one thing percentiles dont mean squat. Who the flip cares if hes only at 3%. The only way % matters if is hes at high percent and then suddenly drops low. If baby has been consistently lower then thats his normal just a small baby. Weaning by force won't to anything to make him eat. You cant force your child to eat. Try a straw cup instead of a snippy for water. Pumping two oz at a time at this age esp when you are nursing full time is a lot. I'd suggest firing your child's doctor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    61

    Default Re: HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

    My opinion on occupational therapists at this age is that it's a crock and completely inappropriate for the child. Mine is over two and acts much this way with me and a lot if times will only eat a couple bites then done but he's doing fine imo. Listen to your own gut. Im not really sure where this perception of how much and what kids should eat as toddlers came from. They all vary in development speed just like in every other way and forcing or pushing them is teaching them to listen to us not their own bodies. They dont need to be drinking anything but water anyways. It is completely unnecessary to get them to drink alternamilks or juices but it's okay to offer. Many cultures they nurse til 5 and never drink anything but water. GGenerally speaking I feel peds offer very uneducated advice regarding eating and nutrition. They are not nutritionists and have received limited education. MDs only even receive one basic class on nutrition so idk why anyone with such little education on the topic should be speaking of it to patients.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: HELP PLEASE! 18 Month Old Will ONLY NURSE

    I'm going through this currently. My son is 21 pounds and did gain a pound between 12 and 15 months, but didn't gain in height (unless there was a measuring error). My doc is a little concerned. He'll take a sippy with water, but not milk or juice. Only eats baby oatmeal cereal and yogurt and fish crackers, otherwise it's only a couple bites of anything else and then he refuses. I'm at my wits end! I'm actually wanting to see an occupational therapist because they can be so helpful.
    Of course there may have been a measuring mistake, it is very hard to measure a baby, and I bet if you pull out a measuring tape and measure him a few times today you will discover how hard.

    Also, it is possible baby did not grow any in stature for a few months. This is not a reason to think anything is wrong. Is there something else going on?

    If your child is not eating or not nursing due to some sensory issues, then of course seeing an OT makes sense. But there is no reason to assume there is a problem based on a slowdown in growth and the child not wanting to eat much over all or only wanting a few things, which of course is very normal at this age.

    Does your baby nurse?

    As I did already above, I again suggest the book My Child Won't Eat

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