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BFing toddler and dehydration

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My DD is almost 14m and still BFing 4-7 times per day.  A few weeks ago I was away for 5 days for work and with the pump I got about 21 oz per day on average.  I've been pretty sick (cold, stomach flu, cold #2) for the last three weeks, plus I ovulated, so my supply has dropped a little bit, but I think that it is coming back now, although I haven't measured it by pumping. 


My MIL, who watches DD during the day while I'm at work, keeps pressuring me to give DD fluids other than BM.  I do already do that somewhat - she has a sippy cup with water in it that she can drink from at any time (she doesn't seem all that interested in it except to take a few sips every  now and then, but maybe she just doesn't like water, or doesn't like sippy cups), and if she has already emptied my breasts and is still asking for more milk, I will give her some soy, coconut, or organic cows milk in a bottle (we're going to try to transition to a straw cup with that over the next few weeks).  But I don't offer her other fluids unless she asks for it (she can sign "milk" and often does when she is thirsty/tired, etc). 


MIL says that she gives her about 12-15 additional oz of soy or cow's milk during the days she is watching her and insists that I need to give her more fluids.  She says, for example, that DD was really cranky after she got her this morning, and that she immediately drank up 7 oz of milk when she gave it to her after they came in from playing outside.  DD was very happy and nursed several times before I dropped her off, and wasn't asking for additional milk at that time.  She says that DD's poops are "very dry" on days after she has spent all day with me.  I haven't noticed any difference - sometimes her poops are more or less solid, but they always look fine to me, and she is definitely wetting diapers regularly, although I haven't counted the number of hours specifically between wet ones. 


I'm not opposed to offering DD additional fluids, but I also don't like getting all of this pressure to feed DD a bunch of other milks that are not BM.  What do you guys do - do you offer non-BM fluids regularly, or only when the kiddo specifically asks?  


If you do offer without waiting for the kiddo to ask, how do you decide how much to give when?  (I think DD will basically always drink a bottle, whether she is thirsty or not... :))


And any tips on how to respond to concerns that a nursing toddler is getting dehydrated?  (I feel like there is this implied criticism of BFing - as though by continuing to BF DD I'm somehow dehydrating her, and that makes me feel defensive, which I know isn't helpful...)


Thanks for reading my post! 

post #2 of 4
Your milk and an available sippy cup of water if she's thirsty should be plenty. If she's thirsty, she'll drink the water. My older child never drank any milk other than breastmilk. She nursed and had water if she wanted something else, and then switched eventually to just water. I never forced water on her, I just had it available, and she never had problems with dehydration. My younger one did have a bit of raw cow milk or almond milk sometimes, but I don't think that young. I think just breastmilk and water at that age.

I think the big issue here is whether it's worth having your MIL babysit. If she doesn't overstep here, it'll be somewhere else. You'll have to decide what's worth fighting and what's not. Good luck!
post #3 of 4

She may relax (or not, if she's decided this is to be An Issue) that BM is something like 80% water.


Our two year old gets BM, water, and the occasional coconut/almond milk mixed with water.  MIL has been very confused and critical about this and even argued with me that juice didn't have any sugar in it since it didn't list "sugar" on the ingredients.  Once the bad press came out about apple juice and FIL mentioned it, I haven't heard anymore about it.  She thinks it is nuts that DH and I don't drink cow milk.  She used to give DH's nephew cow milk when she babysat him, even though he was allergic to milk protein.  He often got diarrhea when she watched him.


I am sorry you are having to deal with this.


Look up the signs of dehydration and give them to your MIL, but she may not care if she believes she is right.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies mamazee and McGucks!  We've been trying to just give her BM and water, and I've been working on MIL.  She was somewhat convinced when she found that the LO ate more solid food when she didn't give her milk, but she still insists on giving her milk when she seems tired and is ready to go down for her nap.  I've been stressing that even if she really thinks she needs a bottle instead of a sippy cup, she can still drink water in a bottle instead of milk.  I haven't succeeded on that one yet, though.  I'm not totally against milks, I just don't want too many calories coming from any one food (except BM) as a general principle.  So that's where we are. 


McGucks, I totally know what you mean about the juice - we had this discussion with MIL earlier, and luckily she was convinced after I explained why the sugar in juice is bad, and that DD should only have fruit when it is whole.  I have reactive low blood sugar, so I never drink juice (since that just brings on an almost immediate sugar crash), and I remember being in the hospital once where the nurse kept insisting that juice didn't have any sugar in it and I got so frustrated!  My MIL and I also had to go back and forth about fats - when I told her that DD had to have full fat versions of things, she kept insisting that all animal fat was unhealthy in any quantity for everyone, but she is pro-BF, so I had to point out that BM has tons of animal fat in it. :) 



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