DD not a big eater, attachment, and sleep issues - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-13-2012, 03:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Mothering Family,

 

I'm writing because my DP is a bit concerned about our DD's eating habits. She'll be 14 months old tomorrow. She's BFing. I try to feed her all sorts of stuff these days, even venturing into foods I hadn't felt comfortable with before, for health and other reasons, just to get her to eat something.

 

I have never force-fed her anything because I don't agree with that. I try to tempt her with different kinds of things, as much as our budget allows, and have even allowed people to give her stuff I wouldn't totally be comfortable with, just to get her to eat. But she just isn't interested. She really likes to play with her food. And, it seems that she's actually regressed with eating foods because she used to feed herself yogurt and veggie/fruit purées, but now she won't even do that.

 

I used to feel very laid back about her not eating, thinking she would pick it up when she was ready, but she's now 14 months old, and most other kids her age, or even younger, that we see are eating a lot more than she does.

 

There's also the issue of attachment. DP thinks she is overly attached to me, mainly because I have the milk-bearing breasts. But, he's always thought she's too attached to me. Is there such a thing as going overboard with Attachment Parenting? Or maybe I'm doing it wrong? Is there such a thing as "unhealthy" attachment? Maybe I'm just letting his issues become my issues, but I would appreciate some help to figure this out because I am not that well-versed in AP or natural parenting, just kind of making it up as we go along.

 

I'm also facing sleep challenges. I'm writing this at 5:42 in the morning, been up for more than an hour because DD woke up and took forever to nurse back to sleep, again. So, being uncomfortable, I was no longer able to sleep and am now reading random Mothering posts.

 

Every night is filled with marathon nursings after which I end up totally physically uncomfortable, exhausted, and not able to sleep.

 

I would like to, not wean her, but maybe cut down on the amount of BF at night if it's possible. Maybe try some other ways of getting her back to sleep? I don't mind nursing her to bedtime initially.

 

Or maybe there's a way to continue as we are, but just not have it be so intense for me.

 

BTW, we do sleep together, DD and I.


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#2 of 10 Old 04-13-2012, 05:01 AM
 
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As far as the food issue... two thoughts:

1- DS didn't start eating solids well until he was 2 years old (at 14mos he ate virtually nothing). He also seemed to have a lot of sensory issues & would chew & spit out most foods that did make it to his mouth. At times it was frustrating for me, because all his toddler friends ate so much more than him (though they were typically picky etc.), plus there was the fact that he was still nursing 20+ times a day! But he was growing well and developmentally on-track/ahead so I chose to just push through & just keep nursing, and eventually he did start eating. I also didn't give in to the "anything to get them to eat" pressure -- I just continued to offer the foods the rest of the family was eating. I do think this paid off because now at age 3 he is the best eater I know, he'll eat just about anything & loves trying new foods! Maybe it's just a coincidence, but part of me thinks if I had started feeding him chicken nuggets & french fries (or spoon-feeding him while making airplane noises!), sure he would have started eating sooner, but his diet would ultimately end up much more limited & less self-directed. So, long-term over short-term is what I'm talking about here...

2- Do you feel like there is something more going on? A medical or sensory issue that is interfering with her ability to eat well or something? If you live in the US, call Early Intervention. It's completely free & they will evaluate her & provide feeding therapy or if they deem it necessary. DS was in EI for awhile (not for the feeding issues, they had resolved by then) & everyone was wonderful and it really is free!

No, I don't think a child can be 'too attached'... but I do hear a lot of dads make a similar argument to your DH's! Maybe something that would help would be to have your DH take DD for Daddy-daughter time very consistently -- perhaps every Saturday morning he plays with her while you go run errans, or they spend an hour every weeknight at the park together. The key seems to be having mom not present, because if you are in the house, she will always run to you first, even if she's in a separate room with DH. Also, if it's consistent & predictable, the time seems to be more effective in forging a bond & trust between dad & kid. (Plus: you get a break! Consistently!!)

As far as night nursing... it's hard because she's still not eating much. You could night-wean and only nurse during the day. I'm not sure how this will affect her eating, she may eat more, or she may want to nurse more during the day, though I think regardless she will find some way to compensate (in other words, I don't think she'd likely lose weight or anything)... I waited 'til DS was eating well & partially night-weaned (5 hours) a little after he turned 2, but 2 years was a very long time to go without sleeping!! You could also pump and put it in a cup or have DH bottle-feed her in the middle of the night, though I'd be careful about creating a new pattern that you may not want to continue long-term.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#3 of 10 Old 04-13-2012, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Crunchy Mommy, thank you so much. I appreciate your input.

 

So, based on some of the things you said, how do I also get all this to work out in light of us trying to get her less dependent on me so we can get away a little bit? Of course, I definitely need my breaks, and in about a year or so, I will need to start transitioning into work. I want to be confident that she's going to be ok when the time comes, that it's not going to be a trauma. But also, DP and I have not had much alone time together since DD was born, and we realize we really need that for our relationship.

 

I totally get your point in #1. I just need to go back to being confident in the natural process. But, can you tell me about sensory issues? I am not familiar with this, which leads to #2: What is Early Intervention, and will they understand Natural Parenting (that I may not want to pressure my child to eat before she is ready)?

 

As far as the attachment, we do actually do what you suggested, but probably need to add consistency, and subtract me from the picture.

 

Thanks for the input on night-nursing too.

 

May I ask, are you a SAHM? Do you/have you worked while raising a baby? How did all this stuff work for you?

 

:)


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#4 of 10 Old 04-13-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PachaMamita View Post

So, based on some of the things you said, how do I also get all this to work out in light of us trying to get her less dependent on me so we can get away a little bit? Of course, I definitely need my breaks, and in about a year or so, I will need to start transitioning into work. I want to be confident that she's going to be ok when the time comes, that it's not going to be a trauma. But also, DP and I have not had much alone time together since DD was born, and we realize we really need that for our relationship.
It's such a tough balance! One thing I want to point out is that they really are still babies until age 2, 2.5... In just one year, so many things will change, she will become more confident, more independent, less needy... Just like a 1yo is nothing like a newborn, a 2yo is also vastly different from a 1yo! So don't get ahead of yourself worrying about next year. But, I do get your need for time alone & time with DP. There are definitely ways to make this work... Are you worried more about nursing or about separation anxiety? If it's nursing, certainly you can pump so you can leave her. If it's more about separation anxiety, this age is a prime time for that & many kids grow out of this after age 1.5 or so. That doesn't mean you have to stick to her like glue in the meantime! Just that you need to be prepared for some crying etc. and be sensitive in choosing a caregiver/sitter. Choose a relative or close family friend if possible -- someone she's already comfortable with -- and make it a routine thing so she will come to expect it. The first few times may be tough but it will get easier! Alternatively (and this is what I have done), you can get alone time by leaving your child with her dad, and you can get couple time by setting aside an hour or two after she goes to bed (or before she wakes, if that makes more sense for you) for a 'date' at home...
Quote:
Originally Posted by PachaMamita View Post

I totally get your point in #1. I just need to go back to being confident in the natural process. But, can you tell me about sensory issues? I am not familiar with this, which leads to #2: What is Early Intervention, and will they understand Natural Parenting (that I may not want to pressure my child to eat before she is ready)?
OK so hopefully I explain this right... EI is a national program (in the US, that is!) for children age 0-3 who have any kind of delay or special challenges. With my DS, he had some social/emotional issues, and that is mainly how he qualified... he was ahead or on-track in all other areas except sleeping (eating was no longer an issue by the time we contacted them). I was really worried about them pushing us on natural parenting issues like co-sleeping, extended nursing, no CIO, etc. but they were really great about it, it was all about helping DS within the framework of our parenting style & comfort level and actually said multiple times that we were parenting really well & doing all the right things! smile.gif I'm not sure how this would work for feeding issues, if you contact them for help with feeding, I assume they will try to get her to eat. I think most people in the US assume that children need to be eating well by a year old or so, and I'm imaging EI would feel similarly, but they shouldn't use harsh methods or anything, they use tools to help like a vibrating stick to provide a certain kind of sensory input before feeding, for ex.

As far as sensory issues with eating, you may be better off googling it, I don't think I can adequately explain it, but it includes things like problems with certain textures or temperatures, reluctance to put food in their mouths, spitting out foods, gagging, problems chewing, etc. My DS had a lot of these issues but I felt strongly that if we just continued to let him lead the way, he would grow out of it. Some kids may need extra help & certain kinds of stimulation to help them eat, but DS did indeed conquer the issues without intervention. Also, I was able/willing to nurse him 20 or 30 times a day in the meantime, while he learned to eat, so DS never had any weight issues. If you can't or just don't want to nurse enough to keep up with the demands of a toddler who isn't eating, you may want to push the eating more! I strongly believe in 'baby-led weaning' and DS fed himself and chose whether/what/how much to eat. Until 14mos, he really didn't eat anything, and from 14-18mos he'd occasionally have a bite or two, maybe a tablespoon of food a day. Around 18mos, we chose to push food a bit more to give me a break & sometimes offered food when he asked to nurse, or occasionally distract him a bit (read to him while eating), etc. but nothing major, and we didn't make an issue of it if he protested. We offered him only the foods we were eating, not "kid" food or specially-made meals, and almost never fed him (let him self-feed instead). At age 2, right around his birthday in fact, he started eating normal toddler amounts and things only improved from there. He likes veggies, fruit, spicy Indian or Mexican food, he loves tofu, he'll eat any kind of meat, eggs, fish (he was vegan until recently but is loving trying new foods!) and eats a ton. smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by PachaMamita View Post

As far as the attachment, we do actually do what you suggested, but probably need to add consistency, and subtract me from the picture.
LOL I always said the same thing -- "I'm already doing that!" but the real key to it all actually IS you not being there, and it took me awhile to accept that. As long as you are available, she is going to want you. And the consistency, while not absolutely necessary, WILL help her settle into Daddy-time much more easily & happily.
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May I ask, are you a SAHM? Do you/have you worked while raising a baby? How did all this stuff work for you?
I do consider myself a SAHM but I worked (from home) full-time for DS's first year+ and currently work part-time, 20 hours a week. Working from home has been a huge help in all this, DS's anxiety would have made it so difficult (if not impossible!) for me to work out of the home. I'm really lucky that I am able to have the arrangement I have. Once DS got to be a bit older, it got harder to work without another adult, but I worked while he slept (right beside me while I was on the laptop.. he wouldn't stay asleep if I wasn't beside him!) and now DH has an off schedule (he works afternoons/evenings) so I'm able to work in the morning & once DH wakes up he takes DS while I finish things up.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#5 of 10 Old 04-13-2012, 05:25 PM
 
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Also, have you been to any LLL meetings? I started going when DS was your DD's age actually. It was great to have support with nursing a toddler & also be reminded of how nutrionally complete breastmilk is. smile.gif We have a great leader who agrees that kids can survive just fine on solely breastmilk, even into the second year. There haven't been others at my local meetings who have had the experience I had with nursing so much & eating so little but I still found it a great place for support & it's been nice to be able to share my experience with others who may face the same issues when their newborns get older!

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#6 of 10 Old 04-15-2012, 05:09 PM
 
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You got great advice from CC. I'd also like to add my experience, ds ate almost no solid food at 1 y/o and is now at 25 percentile or so at 7 y/o. Dd on the other end is at 90 percentile at 2 y/o, she is still nursing, but loves food. Both are (were) nursed on demand. It has to do more with the child and their genetics than breastfeeding.

I have friends who weaned their babies hoping to make them eat better. At 3 and 4 years old, they are still pressuring their kids to eat more.

 

Also, you run the risk if you wean your baby, that she'll still be very attached to you, but you won't have nursing to calm her down. Breastfeeding does miracles for tantruming, cranky toddlers.

 

HTH


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#7 of 10 Old 04-15-2012, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Crunchy-Mommy, thank you so much! What you've told me sounds real and I'll be keeping it in mind. I'm going to share all this with DP, and start relaxing right away, and hope he can too! wink1.gif

 

As far as LLL, I really don't understand why my city proper does not have a group! It's totally the kind of city that would/should have one. headscratch.gif The nearest group is in the suburbs/outskirts of the city, and it's a pain in the booty to get over there. I've honestly thought about doing whatever it takes to start a group here, but just hasn't happened so far. On the other hand, there is a great Natural Parenting boutique near my house which hosts Milk Parties a couple of times a month, and I've been really remiss in not attending. Gotta make it happen. 

 

Thank you again! love.gif

 

 


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#8 of 10 Old 04-15-2012, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks TM! I appreciate your personal example. 

 

Trust me, I have no intention of weaning just yet. Unless DD wants to. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post

You got great advice from CC. I'd also like to add my experience, ds ate almost no solid food at 1 y/o and is now at 25 percentile or so at 7 y/o. Dd on the other end is at 90 percentile at 2 y/o, she is still nursing, but loves food. Both are (were) nursed on demand. It has to do more with the child and their genetics than breastfeeding.

I have friends who weaned their babies hoping to make them eat better. At 3 and 4 years old, they are still pressuring their kids to eat more.

 

Also, you run the risk if you wean your baby, that she'll still be very attached to you, but you won't have nursing to calm her down. Breastfeeding does miracles for tantruming, cranky toddlers.

 

HTH



 


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#9 of 10 Old 04-16-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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Just have a sec, but wanted to pipe in on the solid food thing.  DS2 is two years old and STILL will have days where he eats very little solid food.  He nurses a lot, is offered a wide variety of foods, is usually extremely healthy, and is in the 97% for weight.

 

When he was ill recently, breastfeeding was the only thing that kept him nourished and me sane.  Nothing else comforted him and he wouldn't take any other foods or liquids. 

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#10 of 10 Old 07-17-2012, 12:38 PM
 
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Just found this post...

 

I've been a bit concerned about my DS who is 22 months old and eats almost no solid foods.  He nurses lots, including many, many times during the night.

 

 He also does a lot of the putting food in his mouth and spitting it out, even treats like fruit (although he did happily suck on a lollipop the other day).  DS was in the 95-99% for both height and weight for a long time, although at his 12month and 18-month visits his weight percentile is dropping and he is definately looking skinnier.  I've been told it is normal for a toddler to thin out as they are more active, but wouldn't that be reflected in the growth charts?  Anyway, his 2-year pediatrician visit is coming up and I want to be prepared in case she says something about him not gaining enough weight.  He is looking skinny to me (although I was always a very tall and skinny baby and child, so it could just be how he is made).  I really wasn't concerned at 12 months when he wasn't eating anything, but as he approaches 2 I'm a bit more concerned.  He tested anemic at 12 months (I forgot to get him tested at 9 months :(  ) and I gave him iron supplements.  He levels came back up and I was told I didn't need to supplement anymore, although since he is barely eating solids that doesn't make much sense to me.

 

I think I'm just looking for other moms who have BTDT to tell me it is OK that he still gets 90%+ of his nutrition from nursing right now and that he won't be like this at 3 or 4.  :)  It is helpful to see some of the PP who have chimed in about that.

 

OP- I hope things have improved for you.  I don't have much advice on the eating, but as for the sleep and nursing.. my experience with my DD is that 14 months was really different than 23 months, which is when I night-weaned her.  She started sleeping much better after that, and DH was then able to help with her wake-ups.  This made a big difference in my quality of life.  :)    Neither of my kids would have been ready to night-wean at 14 or even 18 months.  As she neared 2 she could understand so much more.   At that point I also felt comfortable putting limits on her nursing during the day, as in... we will nurse before your nap, etc. and she could totally understand it (although she wasn't necessarily happy about it). 

 

Edited to add: I'm not saying you have to or should wean her or put limits on her nursing, but that she might be ready for it as she approaches 2 if you are ready for it.  One big reason I wanted to cut down on my DD's nursing was to get my cycles back so I could have another child, which is obviously a different situation than what you have posted about. 


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