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3.5 y.o. prefers breastmilk to food, esp. now, with new sibling

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My 3.5 y.o. dd has always had eating issues, food intolerances, picky eating, eating microscopic amounts, etc. She has described having reflux recently. When my milk dried up during my pregnancy with her now 1 mo. old brother, she started eating a lot more.

Now that my milk is in again, she hardly eats anything at all. I have explained that the baby can't eat any other foods and that's why he needs to nurse more than she does. I'm trying to limit nursing her to 3-4 times a day (in addition to the 3-4 times a night). I have said that people with bigger bodies, like her, and us, need to eat other foods to have energy and grow. That hasn't helped.

Can she thrive on breastmilk alone? Not that I want her to...I need some space, but don't know how to go about it. Suggestions...?
post #2 of 6
Human milk isn't going to harm a human child, even if she's not eating much else. The only "problem' I've ever heard about human milk and toddlers or preschoolers is that it's not calorie dense enough- a 3yo on a 100% breastmilk diet is likely to get full (no more space in the stomach) before getting enough calories. But, since she IS also eating some other foods, that isnt' really a problem for her. Even a few bites of solid food a day may be enough to fill in this "calorie deficit."

So, there's no physical harm to her by nursing this much. Chances are that, if you do nothing, she'll slow down on her nursing within a few weeks, once the baby is less "new" and she's feeling more secure about her place in the family. Certainly, if you're worried about the baby not getting enough milk, let the baby nurse first and then let her drink the "leftovers." But that may not even be necessary, depending on what your milk supply is like.

If you're overwhelmed by her nursing and want her to cut back, that's a whole separate issue. Personally, I think the best bet is to let her nurse as much as she needs/wants to for the next few weeks, while encouraging her to eat frequently. Every time you eat something, offer it to her as well. A reasonable limit for a child that age is to ask her to eat or drink something before being allowed to nurse. But if you try to "cut her off" while the baby is nursing, she may get resentful.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thats what I needed to know. I didn't think the breastmilk would harm her, just the lack of other food and nutrients. If a couple of spoonfuls of food a day is enough, then, I guess she's o.k. I have noticed that the more I try to cut her back, the more she wants to nurse, so, pretty much, its on demand, except that I can't nurse both at the same time because its too overwhelming. So, if the baby is eating, she has to wait. She's o.k. with that, with some protest sometimes but not as bad as others might have predicted for me.

Milk supply is fine, so not worried about the baby getting enough. Tried your suggestion about asking her to eat before she nursed at lunch today and she forgot that she wanted to nurse by the time lunch was over and her brother had nursed.

I guess I'm just weary. All of a sudden my 3.5 y.o. baby turned into a really big kid, and so demanding, when the new baby was born. I didn't expect to feel like that. Also, no support for CLW in my neck of the woods, so the challenges are even more challenging, with no one that understands what I'm doing or to listen to my concerns/venting.

So, thanks for doing that.
post #4 of 6
I just wanted to say that after my DS was born and DD was nursing tons she actually put on 15 lbs and became very chubby ( wrist rolls)
I wouldn't be concerned unless she seemed to be losing weight, lethargic, ect.
Can you give them each a designated side each time maybe?
Not sure if that is an option at this point ( that is what we did from day one)
That way they are both getting a balance of fore milk and hind milk.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply mommy2twobabes. They don't have a designated side all the time, because they way they nurse and the times they nurse is too uneven, but the baby nurses only on one breast per nursing session to make sure he gets the fore and hind milk he needs. My daughter will then nurse on the other side if she's nursing at the same time, and then if necessary, the side my son was on to even things up. She drinks way more than he can, and I am producing like a jersey cow. She is definitely anything but lethargic, and now that you mention it, seems to be growing like a weed.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by eko_mom View Post
Thanks for your reply mommy2twobabes. They don't have a designated side all the time, because they way they nurse and the times they nurse is too uneven, but the baby nurses only on one breast per nursing session to make sure he gets the fore and hind milk he needs. My daughter will then nurse on the other side if she's nursing at the same time, and then if necessary, the side my son was on to even things up. She drinks way more than he can, and I am producing like a jersey cow. She is definitely anything but lethargic, and now that you mention it, seems to be growing like a weed.
LOL at producing like a jersey cow.
I know I had a huge oversupply when DS was first born. I was actually expressing milk to keep comfortable on top of nursing the two of them.
Sounds like all of you are doing great
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