Hi. I have an 18mo who has always been pretty slow to solids and very picky. He doesn't seem to have any medical issues with swallow or anything, he just prefers BFing to eating!
My question is when do I start placing some limits on his nursing in the hopes that he will eat more solid food?
He can and has gone 5-6 hours stretches without nursing, but only when very distracted or left with DH. If it's just a normal day with he and I then he wants to nurse every 2 hours. And sometimes I even offer him a variety of food first, but he'll reject all of it only to ask to nurse 5 minutes later. I don't really mind this per se and have been glad that he has BM since he is so picky about food, but is he just getting filled up on BM and that's why he's not eating? Will he naturally transition to more solid food or will I have to "push" this. And how do I do that? He still also nurses 2-3 times a night.
At what point or age have you placed restrictions on your toddlers nursing frequency? And how did you manage it?
Me= crunchy mama to one rambunctious toddler, born on October 1, 2009. And one sweet little baby born January 19, 2012.
Sounds familiar. My son has never been a huge eater and up until about 16 mos definitely preferred nursing to solid food. It was super frustrating because I would take the time to prepare really healthy, thoughtful food for him and he's just throw it at me. I don't know what the "right" thing to do in this situation, but I just kept offering him food and would try to offer it before nursing him. Also, I've realized that breakfast is definitely his favorite meal, so I usually feed him first and second breakfast in the mornings and load him up. I've also started going with what he likes instead of trying to make him food that seems like he should like it or assuming he's getting bored. He loves beans, so I feed him lots of them. Beans and rice, whole wheat tortillas with beans, and i try to mix spinach or kale, avocado and other veggies in there. He's 19 mos and only nurses 3 times a day now and I just don't stress out if he doesn't eat much during the day. These little one's listen to their bodies and I know that if he's hungry, he'll eat. I'm always amazed by my friend's food-obsessed kids because I don't know what it would be like.
If he is healthy I wouldn't change a thing and allow him to consume whatever ratio solids and breastmilk that his body seems to need. I tend to think that we humans interfere with nature and biology sometimes, instead of trusting it.
Every child is different. With limited immune system maturity, some kids may depend upon breastmilk to fill the gaps more than others, especially if exposed to more germs. Some children may have family history of allergies and need the extra protection of breastmilk for their GI tract immune function. Plus the DHA in breastmilk as well as the human lactose (which becomes galactose) and the action of sucking on the breast are so important for brain growth, which is developing rapidly those first two years. It just seems there will be plenty of time during slower development to increase the solids intake, why not take advantage of all that breastmilk and the act of breastfeeding offers while baby is still so very interested.
mine is nearing 18mo and is kinda having the same problem. i get super tired of setting up meal a, back up meal b and c if she doesn't take a or b, and sometimes even c. she loves eating if it's something she likes and if she gets to feed herself. and i think she gets a lot more food than i think she does cause this doll is a pooping machine i tell yah! but seriously, she yells for 'boobies' (she says it in a different language) every hour, sometimes every 2-3, sometimes every 30 minutes. she'll plop on my lap, throw her body back into one of my arms and smiles. i can't say no to that! haha. but i was reassured by other breastfeeding moms and my LC from LLL that this is all normal.. but i understand, it makes you worry when they're somewhere around the 30th percentile for weight..(which i heard was normal for VERY active kids around this age)
Reducing the frequency of nursing would probably (not certainly) lead to him eating more solids, because he'd need to replace those calories that he's currently getting from your milk with calories from other foods. My question is, why? Your milk is one of if not the most nutritionally dense foods you can offer him. It contains the perfect balance of fats and proteins for his growing body and brain. Even now, it provides a large % of the vitamins & minerals he needs. Plus, it supports his immune system function & maturation, which no food can do; and nursing continues to provide closeness and connection with you, something else that no food can do. You'd have to work hard to offer him a wide range of healthy foods in order to make up the nutrition he's currently getting from your milk.
Toddlers growth slows a LOT and they don't need as many calories as many people think they do. And their stomach size is small, so they need to eat small quantities frequently. One good rule of thumb is that a serving size for a toddler is about the size of the first joint of the thumb (all pun intended, LOL). So a 1cm square piece of cheese, a couple spoonfuls of yogurt, a small spoonful of peas, a few bites of meat. . . not much! Sometimes it helps, instead of looking at what your DS ate during a meal or even over a day, to keep a week-long food log. You'll probably be surprised by the variety of foods he's eating.
Dr. Sears suggests a "nibble tray" - take an ice cube tray & fill each compartment with a healthy food choice. Keep out on a table near where your DS spends most of his time so he can easily take a few bites as he walks by.
His nursing pattern seems very much like all 3 of mine at that age. It wasn't until all 3 were closer to 2 years that I felt like they got more nutrition from solids than from breastmilk. And they still nursed often during the day and night until well into their 3rd year. I did set limits on nursing over time but not to encourage eating solids, more to enforce nursing manners and save my sanity!
DD and DS are 11 & DD is 4 Our car is a bike!
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