I happily breastfed my son until after I was pregnant with my daughter (a little after he turned 2) and have happily breastfed my daughter for the 16 months of her life so far.
My son was a skinny kid with food texture problems who fell off the growth chart for a while. It took a lot of effort to get him to eat nutritious food but we put in a lot of effort. He still, at almost 4 years old, is a picky eater who doesn't always notice when he's hungry.
My daughter, on the other hand, will try just about any food, but she doesn't eat much of it. She won't drink formula or milk from a sippy, but she'll drink apple juice. She's developmentally doing great- runs around, learning to talk, etc. But she hasn't really gained more than a few ounces since she was 8 months old, and she's way, way off the growth curve.
At six months she was around 12 lb
At 8 months she was around 15.5 lb
At 12 months she was 16 lb
At 16 months she is 16.5 lb
When you look at her growth curve, it has a sharp turn where she was growing until 8 months and it has been a flatlined growth curve from 8-16 months.
Her doctor was really patient at first, but is now deeply concerned. It's just gone on too long to be a growth blip, and even kids who fall off the charts are supposed to gain weight, just on their own lower "curve", and growth charts aren't supposed to have sharp turns for the worse (gradual curves maybe, but sharp turns are alarming).
We ran a battery of blood tests and found nothing wrong.
We kept a diet diary and it does seem as though she's not getting enough calories in her diet. We've been adding butter, fat, and cream to everything she does eat... and I suspect she's now eating even less.
Her doctor thinks my breastmilk has fallen in caloric content so much that by filling up on breastmilk she's leaving little room for foods of denser nutritional value, and that's why she's flatlined on the growth curve. Therefore he wants me to wean her from as many feedings as possible. This doctor was supportive throughout the last 4 years of both kids extended breastfeeding, so he's not a head-in-the-sand type. But he says kids who literally don't grow at all look developmentally fine for a good long time, and then can crash suddenly, where a flu ends them up in the hospital or something.
I don't want her malnourished during these first few years of life. But my gut feeling is that he's totally wrong this time about what approach to take to this growth problem and the accelerated weaning process has been wrenching on my family. Does anyone have advice for me? For example,
-many, many of you have posted similar stories about kids who didn't grow for a 3 or even 6 month stretch and were totally fine. Anyone out there heard of a 8 month or more flatline on the growth curve?
-does anyone have data showing a correlation between failure to thrive toddlers weight gain when weaned or not?
-does anyone have experience with starting a supplemental feeder of formula for a kid like this, to help her learn to like and drink formula regularly from a sippy? (Not the usual intent of supplemental feeders, I know... but if my breast milk supply is insufficiently caloric it's a less emotionally trying way to wean, and it's not like I'm trying to keep up my supply)
-does anyone know an easy way to get my breastmilk tested for its caloric value so I can see if his theory has any validity at all?
Honestly I don't know where to begin. This doctor has been so supportive in the past that I have trouble not following his direction to wean, but every day feels like hell.