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Thread: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

  1. #1
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    Default over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    Hi, I'm new here, although I've been visiting the website for ages.
    I don't know if I'm posting in the right place but I'm getting a bit desperate!

    A brief history is my beautiful little boy now aged 1 is not so little any more!! He is an avid breastfeeder, fed on demand and sleeps with us, although has slowed down a lot recently, but he weighs a whopping 37lbs which is actually more than my 4 yr old. He barely eats any solid food ( just sort of nibbles at stuff) and I've been keeping a food diary, so now I am utterly convinced that iti s just the way he is...
    However, the health professionals think differently, I've seen loads of health visitors, doctors ,peaditricians, and now I've got an appointment to see a nutritionist on Monday. All this is not my choice, I just happened to take him to baby clinic (something we have in the UK) to have him weighed and I've basically been referred on to other people for about 6 months now! They have prodded him and poked him and taken blood and allergy tests etc and have found nothing other than the fact that he is (apparently) vastly overwieght.
    Of course now they are saying that I should wean him as it is obviously me overfeeding him. To say I'm upset about this is an understatement.
    I'm torn between my instinct and the fact that maybe they are right and he's going to have all sorts of problems like heart disease and diabetes etc..
    Anyway I'm blabbing now, just wondering if anyone has experience of overweight breastfed babies / toddlers??
    To add another note, my dd was bf until nearly 3yrs old and is and always was as skinny as a rake (she also eats like a horse now), and I've done exactly the same thing with ds!! Also ds is developing normally, is crawling, babbling and general one year type things.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    I don't blame you for being upset. It's perfectly natural to be concerned when your child is far away from the "average" on any particular criterion -- and to be told that your breastmilk or your breastfeeding is to blame is extremely upsetting. I think it's also quite wrong.

    I read a discussion about this very topic recently on an e-mail list for lactation professionals (I just lurk there, I'm not credentialed myself in any way). The explanation offered in that discussion that made the most sense to me is that a breastfed baby who grows extremely rapidly, as your son has done, is probably getting a great deal of foremilk but -- unlike the average baby who will suffer from classic oversupply symptoms like green poops and fussiness and perhaps even slow gain -- the rapidly gaining baby has enough lactase in his system to keep up with all the lactose-heavy foremilk, and so he digests it efficiently and gains lots of weight.

    If his overall health is good and the various screening tests aren't showing any abnormal results, then a breastfed baby with lots of body fat doesn't necessarily have any problems that need fixing. Such babies tend to have a marked decrease in rate of weight gain as they become increasingly mobile and active. One mom in this discussion I was reading reported that her son weighed 40-some pounds at age 2, age 3, and age 4 -- he kept growing in height but stopped gaining weight for quite a while, and ended up being normal height and weight as an adult.

    I certainly would NOT advise weaning based on what you have told us. Weaning would deprive your son of the invaluable immune protection that only breastfeeding can give him. I would just take care to encourage him to be active and keep his non-breastmilk diet wholesome and nutritious, and then take a "wait and see" approach over the next year or two. And don't be surprised if his weight gain slows markedly or even plateaus for quite a while as he gets older.

    If you personally are concerned enough to try to take steps to slow his weight gain through changing your breastfeeding pattern, you might try a block-feeding approach, in which you nurse from only one breast for a set number of hours (start with two hours per block) and then switch to the other breast for the next block of time. This is the common fix for oversupply problems (which, again, you by definition don't have, because your son is digesting your milk just fine); in theory, what this would accomplish is getting more higher-fat hindmilk into your son, which might lead him to be satisfied with fewer overall calories and thus slow his weight gain.

    But I want to stress to you that this is in no way some kind of expert advice or proven method for fixing rapid weight gain, and also that it doesn't sound to me like your son necessarily has a problem that needs fixing. I also suspect, based on my own experience nursing a toddler, that it might be really hard to convince a 12mo avid nursling that he only needs one breast for a block of time -- they know what they want by that age and often fight to get it. So I wouldn't stress about doing blockfeeding if it doesn't work out or doesn't feel right for your breastfeeding relationship.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
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    Default Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    I agree with the pp.

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    LLLJacqui is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    I'd say before you do anything like weaning, get a second opinion from a lactation consultant, another pediatrician and a nutritionist.

    Sorry that you are having to go through this...

    Jacqui

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    Default Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    I agree with the first poster but have an additional concern that you should address with the nutritionist: IF you stop bf then what types of foods and drinks are going to replace the breastmilk??? How is that going to effect not only his weight gain but possible allergies. I am certain they see plenty of one year olds that are getting a junk food diet and the government is not trying to regulate that. How dare they make you feel like a bad mummy for bf!
    I had the opposite problem where they thought my daughter and previously dear son were not gaining enough weight. I was told not to wean by the nutritionist because if I did then it would be replaced by less nutritious foods and the weight gain could be even worse. Pediatrician wanted me to wean and she wanted to do all kinds of tests. I didn't argue but I didn't go back either.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with my children and now that they are 3 & 8 no one seems to be bothered by their thinness.
    If you can politely tolerate their imput and thank them for their help then you can decide what is best for your child. If they ask about nursing habits tell them you are making excellent progress with weaning. Weaning began the day he ate his first bite of solids. I think if they are asking for specifics then you may have to be cooperative but vague, after all if you are like me you certainly don't count and time feeds. He is not getting milk all the time because some of his sucking is non-nutritive.
    If you do nothing his weight will level out anyways because in the next year he is going to spend more time with other children being active, learning to run, jump and ride trikes. He will naturally begin to eat more solids and nurse less often. You can also try offering drinks and solids before nursing now and before he asks to nurse. You can also suggest stories, play dough, cartoons or other activities. If your family is not already active then the entire family can take a daily walk or time at the playground or swimming pool.
    In the end your son will grow and be whatever size he is genetically programmed to be. Just think how much more he would weigh if he had been on formula for the first year! So much childhood obesity is caused by artificial infant milks and seperation from the mother. The child never get's their needs met and is constantly seeking solace from the artificial nipple and milk.

    Here is a big cyber (((((HUG)))) of encouragement!

    Momuvseven

  6. #6
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    Default Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    I can tell you that I got the same advice but on the opposite end of the scale. My underweight son was clearly not(according to the proffesionals) getting enough calories during the day and should either cut back on bfeeding or be weaned and put on homo milk. It seems that unless your baby is average someone always has advice. I would say that your baby knows what he needs and some kids are bigger than average and some kids are smaller than average. If you are happy and your child is happy and healthy(It doesn't sound like your child is sick) then keep up with what you are doing. I finally stopped going to my son's pediatrition and we started going to a different doctor who supported my decision to bfeed. Chances are your son't weight will normalize and at some point and everything will be fine. There was a woman here whose 8 month old wighed 30 pounds so I wouldn't say that 37 at 1 would be all that different. My husband finally said to me "Since when is skinny an illness". I would add "since when did a big baby become an illness". I thought the advice about seeking more advice was a good suggestion.

  7. #7
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    Cool Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    Okay, I'm no expert but I've ridden this train.

    My ds, my first child, was HUGE. He was born 6 weeks early at 6 pounds 9 ounces. Carrying him to term was just not an option. I'm only 5 feet 5 inches tall and I weigh about 118 not pregnant. Pregnant I didn't gain to 150 even. I was ALL baby. Anyway, he was small at birth, compared to term babies. By three months he weighed 22 pounds. 99 percentile in height and weight. I quit nursing there on the advice of all specialists, my doctor his ped my sitter etc. I only weighed about 98 pounds and was drained. It was a mistake. He continued to be a bigger child and now at age 3 is a size 5. He weighs 45 pounds and is almost four foot tall. He looks like a kindergartener but is totally proportionate and in my mind, totally healthy. He does not eat excessive amounts of anything and we don't have too much unhealthy stuff around. I've decided as long as he's proportionate, I'll listen to none of that junk.

    Now here we are with dd. She weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce and was full term. She's now a bit more than 2 months old and weighs right about 15-18 pounds. I'm nursing her exclusively and she's doing very well. People continue to comment on what a "big girl" she is and in fact, my family is on a tear about her being overweight already. The quote is "It's hard for a girl to be bigger..." My response is "She's a very healthy baby." If pushed I've been known to say, "So, should I starve her?"

    I would maybe get a couple more opinions, continue to track what he eats (that's just a good practice sometimes when you're concerned about weight) and make your OWN decision. Don't let the specialists shake your mother's intuition.

    hang in there!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    You know I have never met anyone who regrets nursing too long~ but I have met lots and lots that have serious regrets that a health professional or family member pushed them to wean prematurely.

    I know you will make the best decision for yourself and your precious son.

    momuvseven

  9. #9
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    Default Re: over weight baby, doctor wants me to wean!(long sorry)

    My health visitor always says it is impossible to overfeed a baby on breastmilk. I hope she is right!

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