Doc told me to stop bfing and give whole cow milk - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is this crazy? My 15 mo ds is 20 lbs and hasn't gained weight in the past 3 months. Ped saw him today and told me we need to stop bfing and if I want to " bond with my baby, maybe I should just nurse at bedtime." He said my baby isn't gaining and that this is concerning and often the case with BF babies b/c he's nt getting enough calories and that I need to switch to whole cow milk. I didn't know what to say, except that BM has now been found to have stemcells and I intend to nurse til DS is 2yo. Doc looked at me like I was looney and told me I need to stop. What could I have said? Now my DH wants me to stop too. Nursing is the best thing for my baby.

Should I be worred about DS not gaining weight? I figured he was ok b/c he's been walking now and crawling like crazy and basically just burning more cals. Should I be supplementing with cow's milk? I'm confused. My gut tells me keep nursing, but I'm not sure what to tell the doc or my hubby.

Thanks for any advice.

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#2 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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Unfortunately many doctors are uneducated about "extended" breastfeeding. If weight gain is a concern, there are many other things you can do to help without weaning.

Make sure the solids he is eating are nutrient dense, and high fat.. like avocado, bananas, beans, whole grains, fruits and veggies. Full fat dairy like cheese and yogurt. Add fats to his diet by putting coconut oil or olive oil and butter on things, etc.

FWIW, my DS gained weight really quickly in his first year. He was 9 lbs at birth, and 27 lbs by a year. We just had his 2 year checkup, and he is now 30 lbs, so he only gained 3 lbs in a whole year.. but he is still in the 75th % for weight.. After the first year, weight gain slows down a LOT, and that is totally normal. Also, is he charting on the WHO charts? They are better for breastfed babies.

Here is a great article from kellymom.com on the benefits of extended breastfeeding.

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#3 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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how would a cow offer a human baby more calories than his own mother's milk? Especially as you would give him 3% milk, which has way less fat than raw (natural) milk.
I'm not a doctor but it doesn't make sense to me.

I had the same reaction from a doctor who told me that I was breastfeeding my ds for my own selfish reasons. After 1 y/o, they usually slow down their weight gain, my ds didn't gain almost anything for a couple of months after he turned 1. If your ds is healthy and happy and meeting milestones I wouldn't worry about it.

HTH

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#4 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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What percentile is your son in for weight and height?

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#5 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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There is no disadvantage of nursing past one year, but there are many disadvantages of NOT nursing past a year. Offer your LO nutrient/fat dense foods (fatty oils, avocado, nut butters, etc), and continue nursing as long as you'd like.

I usually tell people that give me a hard time about nursing past one year that The World Health Organization recommends all babies of the world to nurse until AT LEAST the age of TWO, and continue after two years of age for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.

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#6 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the encouragement.

EdnaMarie, DS is 15 mos and 97% for head (this has stayed the same), 4th perc. for weight (down from 15th 3 mos ago), and 9% for height (down from 15% 3 mos ago). He wasn't walking or crawling much 3 mos ago, and now he's almost runnning around so burning cals more.

I should also say, my other children are very petite, like off the charts petite, but I know docs get unsettled when they see little or no growth at the well visits. DS has had viral diarrhea the past week, so I have to wonder if that's played into it too, but doc didn't think it would too much.

I'll definitely take your suggestions for food ideas. He's still in the "gee, look how much fun it is to throw all the food on the floor" phase with not a terribly voracious appetite, so it's tough to get him to eat a ton, but I'll work on it intensely now. Doc wants to see him in a month for a weigh in.

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#7 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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I would keep nursing and just tell the doctor what he wants to hear - yes he's drinking whole cow's milk and just nursing at bedtime now. I would not argue. Perhaps find another doctor if you don't like this one, but I would not argue. I have a friend who had CPS called on her for her child not gaining weight quickly enough after she expressed reservations to the doctor about following his instructions regarding nursing. IMO it's not worth arguing with someone who can cause you that kind of trouble.

I would take the weight gain issue seriously and try to beef up the calorie content of his diet in other ways. You can also consume more healthy fats yourself and the fat content of your milk may go up. You can certainly address his weight gain without interrupting nursing. That is the heart of the doctor's concerns and you can take the advice to address it...just not in the exact way he is pushing.

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#8 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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Your Ped is not educated about breastfeeding.

Breastmilk has *more* fat than WHOLE cow milk.

Quote:
Many nursing moms are told that they must introduce cow's milk at a year. Your nursing toddler is already getting the best milk he can get - mother's milk! Breastmilk has a higher fat content than whole cow's milk (needed for baby's brain growth), and all the nutrients of human milk are significantly more bioavailable than those of cow's milk because it is species specific (not to mention all the components of mother's milk that are not present in cow's milk).
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/so...ler-foods.html

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#9 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post
how would a cow offer a human baby more calories than his own mother's milk? Especially as you would give him 3% milk, which has way less fat than raw (natural) milk.
I'm not a doctor but it doesn't make sense to me.
Even if someone does give their baby cow milk then it does need to be whole milk. Toddlers needs the extra fat.

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#10 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
Even if someone does give their baby cow milk then it does need to be whole milk. Toddlers needs the extra fat.
3% (actually I think commercial, Holstein milk is 3.5%) IS whole milk. She isn't saying to give low fat, she is saying that grocery store whole milk isn't really whole.

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#11 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jeminijad View Post
3% (actually I think commercial, Holstein milk is 3.5%) IS whole milk. She isn't saying to give low fat, she is saying that grocery store whole milk isn't really whole.
You are right, I thought it said 2%

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#12 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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My DD was 19 pounds from age 1 until age 2, and it was never an issue! I would ignore that docs advice and keep nursing

Amy, mommy to Ava, 6, Gavin, 4, Lila, 2, and Baby #4 due in early November! joy.gif
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#13 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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check out your baby's growth on the WHO chart. The percentile is not important - following a curve is what matters (ie: following the 15% is just as good as following the 75%)

http://www.who.int/childgrowth/stand...boys_p_0_2.pdf

ps weights must be done on the same callibrated scale to be valid
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#14 of 29 Old 09-13-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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ps WHO chart has him more like 12 % for weight, but the curve is what you need to see.

eta: weaning is not the answer to slow weight gain! breast milk has 22 calories/oz! have you tried to increase nursing sessions? as well as increasing nutrient and fat dense solids?

i'm not even gonna comment about that ped
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#15 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jeminijad View Post
3% (actually I think commercial, Holstein milk is 3.5%) IS whole milk. She isn't saying to give low fat, she is saying that grocery store whole milk isn't really whole.
yes, that's what I meant, thanks

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#16 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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This is always mind boggling to me.

How is 16 oz of cow's milk (for instance) better than 16 oz of human milk?

That would be my question for the doc.

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#17 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by PatioGardener View Post
check out your baby's growth on the WHO chart. The percentile is not important - following a curve is what matters (ie: following the 15% is just as good as following the 75%)

http://www.who.int/childgrowth/stand...boys_p_0_2.pdf

ps weights must be done on the same callibrated scale to be valid
These are the charts that are now RECOMMENDED by the CDC, because they more accurately reflect healthy weight gain. Here is a link from the CDC's very own website about the new recommendation: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5909a1.htm.

"Use of WHO Growth Charts for Children Aged <24 Months

Use of the 2006 WHO international growth standard for the assessment of growth among all children aged <24 months, regardless of type of feeding, is recommended. (The charts are available at https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts.) When using the WHO growth charts, values of 2 standard deviations above and below the median, or the 2.3rd and 97.7th percentiles (labeled as the 2nd and 98th percentiles on the growth charts), are recommended for identification of children whose growth might be indicative of adverse health conditions. The rationale for use of the WHO growth charts for this age group includes the following: 1) the recognition that breastfeeding is the recommended standard for infant feeding and, unlike the CDC charts, the WHO charts reflect growth patterns among children who were predominantly breastfed for at least 4 months and still breastfeeding at age 12 months; 2) clinicians already use growth charts as a standard for normal growth; and 3) the WHO charts are based on a high-quality study, the MGRS."

I would highly suggest that you call or email your ped and be sure he is up to date on this latest recommendation! You very well might be helping out lots of other moms and saving them from this misinformation he's giving out.

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#18 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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If it makes you feel any better, my kiddo has barely gained a thing (maybe two pounds?) since she started walking 7 months ago. Her doctor isn't worried and ENCOURAGES nursing and loves when I do it at appointments to help her feel better.

I definitely agree with making sure the diet is filled with nutrient dense healthy fat foods. My little one loves scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil and made with coconut milk so if your family eats eggs, it could be a really awesome breakfast... or any meal honestly. I do it for meals and snacks and just change how many eggs and what I'm serving with it if anything. She won't eat avacado though unless I sneak it into things.
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#19 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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First- I totally agree with everyone else- don't wean until you are both ready.

But, when I look back at DS1 at that age, I realize that he probably wasn't getting enough calories. I was nursing, but he kept falling in the percentiles and getting really thin. I wish I would have encouraged the solids more. I thought since I was breastfeeding he didn't really need a bunch more. That said, I was also pregnant and I don't think I was actually giving him the milk I thought I was. I would try to focus more on getting him a bit more healthy fats, like someone else said- just to supplement.

Now, my DS2 didn't eat ANY solids until around 14-15 mos. but he was so fat I didn't worry (and I wasn't pregnant)

Good luck and keep up that nursing!

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#20 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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Keep nursing momma. DD is 21 pounds at 13m and our ped thinks she is doing great.

If you are worried about weight, include more nutrient dense foods in baby's diet. Do you already use things like whole milk yogurt, cheese, avocado, beans, tofu, etc? Can you "dush" sauteed vegetables with quinoa? Most of her vegetables have a bit of butter or olive on them.

Personally, I'd find another ped. This one seems to have a really poor grasp of nutrition let alone the guidelines for his own profession.
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#21 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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I think I might not be able to refrain from telling the doctor, "Were you absent the day they taught nutrition in med school?" Yeah. No way cow milk is better for your kid than your milk. Give me a break.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#22 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks SOOOO much Mamas, for such great info and advice. I think I need to move to yet ANOTHER ped. I'm going to put together a letter to the practice to inform them about the errors of their recommendations to do with ending BFing and replacing with cow's milk. They already have my file "noted" as I've stopped vaxing for the time being too.

I'm stunned by this doctor and wish I'd had my ducks in a row at the appt yesterday, enough to tell him exactly why BFing is best for my baby--for ALL babies past age 1.

Anyway ... thanks again. I knew you guys would be able to feel confident in my belief and choice to BF.

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#23 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 08:56 PM
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If your child just was sick it would be totally normal to drop on the charts even a mild cold can do that!

DD was underweight, and we had a lot of trouble with her weight early on, which made us really worried specifically about weight. However, when she was just over 18 months old she had a cold and we took her to the Dr for a rash, Dr weighed her, and she had LOST weight. I nearly panicked, but the doctor told me this:

1. Between age 1 and 2 many children stop growing for a while, or even lose weight, after they become more physically active, they see it ALL the time.

AND

2. After even a mild illness a child may lose weight.

In the case of 1., it can take a while, but all of a sudden the child will usually go through a growth spurt. It is also very common that they might stand still in weight while having a growth spurt in height.

In the case of 2., you'd expect the child to be "back on track" within a month of two.

Remember, toddlers rarely starve, so the actual concern with weight dropping off (and not catching up) should be that something is wrong, and tests should be done. Cow's milk wouldn't help anyway. I thought that was an unusually bad suggestion, as filling up on COW'S MILK is common problem with toddlers without much of an appetite.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html

This page has loads of good info about extended breastfeeding:

Quote:
"Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant."
-- Mandel 2005

* "Breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first year of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins."
-- Dewey 2001

* In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
o 29% of energy requirements
o 43% of protein requirements
o 36% of calcium requirements
o 75% of vitamin A requirements
o 76% of folate requirements
o 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
o 60% of vitamin C requirements
-- Dewey 2001

* It's not uncommon for weaning to be recommended for toddlers who are eating few solids. However, this recommendation is not supported by research. According to Sally Kneidel in "Nursing Beyond One Year" (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):

Some doctors may feel that nursing will interfere with a child's appetite for other foods. Yet there has been no documentation that nursing children are more likely than weaned children to refuse supplementary foods. In fact, most researchers in Third World countries, where a malnourished toddler's appetite may be of critical importance, recommend continued nursing for even the severely malnourished (Briend et al, 1988; Rhode, 1988; Shattock and Stephens, 1975; Whitehead, 1985). Most suggest helping the malnourished older nursing child not by weaning but by supplementing the mother's diet to improve the nutritional quality of her milk (Ahn and MacLean. 1980; Jelliffe and Jelliffe, 1978) and by offering the child more varied and more palatable foods to improve his or her appetite (Rohde, 1988; Tangermann, 1988; Underwood, 1985).
All of this is copied from Kellymom.

Hope this helps!
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#24 of 29 Old 09-14-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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Luckily we had Msupportive doc when we were at the height of our weight concerns with DD. We kept nursing and just got creative about making sure whatever solids we could convince her to eat were high in protein and fat. We discovered she loves sour cream. I started putting lots of butter on things. Stuff like that. She is still thin, but at least to the moment we are little less worried.
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#25 of 29 Old 09-16-2010, 09:03 AM
 
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Hey there, I haven't read the other responses b/c I am pressed for time so sorry if I repeat what others have said. Keep nursing if that is what you and your want. there isn't really any downside if you are both happy with it. If he is also on solids, make sure he is getting enough fat (avocados, olive oil, etc). Also if he has recently developed a bunch of motor skills then he may be burning more and his body needs to catch up or he needs more calorie dense food. Sometimes kids plateau as well and after 1 year teh weight gain slows down any way. If you think that he is developing normally otherwise, just keep an eye on the situation and try to up his fat intake.

I also wanted to add that my dd2 has a dairy intolerance that caused her not to gain weight when she was younger (3 months old to 6 months old) It doesn't mean its the case for your lo, just something to look out for. I had no idea that could be a symptom.

Good luck mama!

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#26 of 29 Old 09-16-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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My kids both slowed WAY down in growth at a year. It started when they began crawling, and they just kept on burning calories.

I agree with getting additional calories into him, since the doc is worried about weight gain. Yogurt is good, and can be made into an easy-to-drink smoothie by adding milk or juice. Also trust yourself about whether or not your baby is thriving.

My EBF daughter went down from like 75 percentiles to 25. Since she was then consistently 25, the docs agreed that it was her new normal.

The nurses asked me if she was on "whole milk". I said yes, because (duh!) she had been on whole milk since day one!!

Whole human milk is obviously better for a human baby, than whole cow milk. It is just laughingly ridiculous that the docs would advise otherwise. It is just bizarre and doesn't make any sense!!

Basically, I don't use the doctor for parenting advice. Nursing, CIO'ing, etc. are parenting decisions. I leave the doc out of the loop on what I am doing on those things. I keep the conversation to the relevant healthcare issue.
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#27 of 29 Old 09-16-2010, 10:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Penny4Them View Post
Thanks SOOOO much Mamas, for such great info and advice. I think I need to move to yet ANOTHER ped. I'm going to put together a letter to the practice to inform them about the errors of their recommendations to do with ending BFing and replacing with cow's milk. They already have my file "noted" as I've stopped vaxing for the time being too.

I'm stunned by this doctor and wish I'd had my ducks in a row at the appt yesterday, enough to tell him exactly why BFing is best for my baby--for ALL babies past age 1.

Anyway ... thanks again. I knew you guys would be able to feel confident in my belief and choice to BF.
Good luck mama. But like I said above, this inaccurate thinking is very prevalent in mainstream America. Sometimes you have to choose your battles. Your letter won't even phase them. If you like them otherwise, just omit/lie about breastfeeding, and use them for illness issues. Use your own research about breastfeeding issues, and breastfeeding during illness.

In today's healthcare, you have to read, research, and be completely informed about everything yourself. You have to take charge of your own healthcare. Even with the good docs!!

I feel no guilt about lying/omitting because it is a safety issue for me. Plus, if they are ok lying to me, or posing their opinion as fact, then I should be able to too! I am an educated woman, and totally confident in my ability to make my own informed decisions. Remember, doctors may think they are all-knowing Gods, but they are only humans. They are also swayed by their own experiences.
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#28 of 29 Old 09-16-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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Hey, you already got a lot of great advice from everyone else, but I thought there was one important thing that wasn't addressed... your DH.

I would find it very difficult if my DH wasn't supportive of my nursing relationships with my kids.. I was wondering if your DH's doubts were simply caused by what your doctor just told you? By showing him solid research and helping him to understand things like the fact that breastmilk has more calories than cow's milk, not to mention that it is raw and formulated specifically for your child's body to digest and use, is he / will he be back to supportive of your nursing? (I'm assuming he was supportive in the first place?)

I really cannot fathom how anyone, especially doctors, could possibly think that another animals milk intended for their own baby should be better for your baby than your own milk that your body provides for your baby! Seriously! Without scientific proof, without research to back it up, without "experts" to prove you right, doesn't it simply make sense!?!? A cow has 4 digestive compartments in her stomach, your baby has one. A cow has an entirely different diet than humans, indeed, a diet that a human could not survive on. So.. why should her cow milk be better for your baby than human milk?

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#29 of 29 Old 09-17-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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I'm amazed at the difference in attitudes of drs, I shouldn't be they're only human. My ds is 12mo, and is 20%tile for weight and 5th for height - he's down from what %tiles he was at his 9 month visit. he didn't gain any weight from 10-12 months and is increasingly mobile (walking and climbing now). our doc didn't say anything about the lack of weight gain or the drop in %tiles. they did ask if he was on whole cow milk yet and I told them no, asked if he was on formula (no) and were happy when I said he was still nursing and the only milk he gets is human. I guess I should be thankful that we have a laid back ped who doesn't dole out bad advice (parenting or otherwise), the more I read here the more grateful I am.

IMO it is not a big deal that your son didn't gain weight - it doesn't seem like anything to freak out about unless he is showing other signs that he isn't doing well. if he's active, alert and meeting mile stones I'd say he's ok. like everyone else said, your milk is better than cow milk. you're doing fine!

I hope you can find a ped that better suits your needs.
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