Food and Breastfeeding inToddlerhood

My son is almost fifteen months and he has no interest in food still. I nurse on demand and we co-sleep, so he nurses often through the night. He is right on as far as development goes, and is a very happy growing boy. I have no issues with him still nursing, but it just seems strange that he wants nothing to do with food. I often offer whatever it is that I am eating but he purses his lips and turns away. Sometimes he will take a bite or two, but that is it. I am a graduate student and my mother watches him when I go to school, and he does the same thing with her. He might eat a few bites, but he would rather wait for my milk. He will drink water from a cup and likes to suck on ice from a mesh feeder, but he won’t even drink expressed milk. He stopped taking a bottle of expressed milk from anyone at 6 months. He really is a heathy boy, and I eat well, so I know he is getting enough nutrition, I’m just not sure at what point I should be concerned. Thank you.

Congratulations on such a healthy boy. You are right. There are no nutritional concerns. Regardless of common comments about protein, zinc, iron, calories or whatever ideas there are about breastmilk inadequacy, breastmilk contains exactly the proportion of protein that is recommended for children and there are no common nutritional deficiencies found in an exclusively breastfed child. If you have any concerns at all, a blood test for iron levels would be the test to do. Only supplement iron for low hemoglobin, not for low ferritin alone. 

Avoiding solids is not uncommon for breastfed babies and I’ve seen many babies like this at 15 months, with a diminishing number of babies going up to about 18 months. I have known a couple who’ve gone nearly two years; with no apparent reason, and no health deficiencies. Some who prefer only breastmilk many months beyond one year are children who have experienced uncomfortable intolerance reactions to some foods they had been fed. Occasional toddlers wait because their swallowing mechanisms aren’t quite in gear yet. They eventually outgrow this. You would likely know whether either of these were the case for your child. It doesn’t sound that way. I think your baby just knows when he’s getting the best, and don’t worry; he’ll be gobbling pizzas in college with the rest of them.


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