Underwieght Son's ped wants me to stop nursing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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My son is a year and a half and 19 almost 20 lbs. He has been slipping in percentiles for months now, he is currently in the negatives but he was born in the 50 to 55th percentile (not entirely sure since we had him at home) and spent a lot of time in the 25th percentile. My self and my husband both slip in and out of being underweight. I am a vegitarian but my son and husband are not. Before I nursed him on demand and fed him on demand. I never pushed him to finish his plate, he hates high fat foods (the higher the fat the less he'll eat), and he loves fruits and vegetables. He almost pulls the plate out of my hand when I offer him peas and corn.


After our last visit to the ped she sent us to a dietitian. She seems very VERY conserned. My husband had to go by himself since I was in school. Whatever the dietitian said to him seemed to have scared him enough to think that I need to stop breastfeeding him. The dietitian said that it was because of my breastfeeding that he was underweight, that I should deprive him of his night time feedings so that he wakes up starving so that he can expand his stomach. I refuse to give up the night time feedings and my husband hasn't made me but I now find myself having to sneak away with my son to give him a few scant nursings. I hate this and I don't think it is healthy. He has never had much of an appetite and the milk starvings don't seem to be working. Its been a little more than a week and he looks smaller to me. My instincts tell me to nurse him, that and the vegetables are the only things he has an appetite for. The "pros" however are starting to gang up. We are low income so I cannot take him to see anyone else. He has an appointment with a gastroenterologist and I'm afraid what he'll do to him. My friends are supportive and seem unconcerned with his weight, even my bf's husband who works for child protective services.


What do I do? I can't stop worrying about him. He's not gaining weight and I even find myself trying to force feed him. I don't want myself to become that mother. I want to nurse him. I can't imagine how this is healthy.


Help! I don't know what to do!

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#2 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 01:00 PM
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If he's falling off of his curve or never established a growth curve to begin with, then yes, something is wrong. That said, at 18 months and about 20 lbs, he's still on the charts, albeit on the low side.

The dietician should have given you lots of tips on how to increase calorie loads on things that your LO is eating and drinking. Things like adding a little butter or olive oil to things, adding cheese, increasing avocado, etc. You would be surprised how a few extra calories here and there can add up!

You can also space apart nursing sessions without starving him... at 18 months, he *can* sleep through the night, and that may help him nurse/eat more when he wakes up. Trust me, I didn't want to believe it either, but night-weaning my 22mo really did help her relearn to listen to her body and recognize when she's hungry. There is nothing wrong with a vegetarian diet, but you can still include proteins and more calorie-rich foods... sweet potatoes, for example are pretty popular for this age, and it's easy to add some fats and calories to that!!

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#3 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 03:42 PM
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I don't know much about underweight toddlers, but your breastmilk is full fat, and one of the few sources of fat in his diet (if I read your post correctly). I would try to follow the dietician's suggestions except those re: breastfeeding.


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#4 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 03:48 PM
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Your breastmilk fat content continues to go up the older he gets and whether or not he will eat more solids if you take it away is not certain. My three yo was weaned earlier this year and the only thing she increased was her water intake. 

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#5 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 06:35 PM
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My son is barely 20 lbs at 16 months and my pediatrician told me that breastfeeding should not be cut out in the case of an underweight baby because breastmilk has more calories per oz than many solid foods.  So cutting out breastmilk only to replace it with something that has fewer calories/oz is not very helpful.


Maybe some of the more knowledgeable mammas will respond but I've also heard that food allergies/sensitivities can keep a child from gaining weight properly.

Jamie, DW to Jeff, birth and postpartum doula and Hypnobabies instructor.
4 years and 5 IVF cycles in the making, Elliott was born at home in water on 2/2/11.
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#6 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 07:25 PM
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I would not stop nursing. It sounds like he really likes fruits and veggies. Cutting his one high calorie item he consumes (breast milk), will likely cause him to replace it with more fruits and veggies. That's what people eat when they want to lose weight, not gain. Definitely keep nursing!!! Have you tried buttering his veggies. Maybe offer a yogurt like dip for his fruit? Personally, I'd nurse him more, rather than less to ensure he gets all he can. 

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#7 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 12:47 AM
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IMO your instincts are RIGHT. I have read that in other countries when a child isn't gaining weigh they never recommend weaning, but focus on improving the mother's diet. Can you increase YOUR healthy fats? The type and quantity of fat in your diet is reflected in yourbreastmilk. And I agree that there are many ways to sneak some fat in a little at a time for your little mans diet too. Blueberries and cream? Veggies with olive oil and a very little bit of salt are pretty irresistible for all. Popcorn with lots of olive oil is amazing. Not sure if chocolate is altogether healthy or not- depends on the chocolate? But it could be motivating! And is a lovely way to add some fat to your diet in any event....Smoothies with avocado base... Smoothies with yogurt and cream....we always put a very little bit of cream in our oatmeal...
All of that said, there are medical reasons for poor appetite, and poor weight gain, so please don't avoid having him checked out. Whatever that gastroenterologist does to your son, be there with your boobies to help him through it!
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#8 of 10 Old 07-23-2012, 06:10 AM
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Medical doctors understand next to nothing about breastfeeding. Or anything natural. They know how to treat disease with medicine. If anything, nurse MORE. And definitely follow some of the previous advice about upping yours and baby's fat content. Let your hubby that doctors are untrained and ignorant when it comes to breastfeeding - ESPECIALLY over a year. Good luck!
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#9 of 10 Old 07-31-2012, 04:31 AM
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I have to agree with the posts. DON"T stop nursing. I have an underweight child (i posted recently) and when we wento oversees a couple of months ago, my milk was practically ALL he accepted into his mouth. It saved me dearly as I knew he was getting some food. If I wasn't nursing, he would likely not eat at all! Nursing was what kept me sane throughout his underweight little life.


I have noticed that he eats more when he's at grandmas, but that is because he knows I'm not there to nurse him. My guy would have a fit. He would not think : "oh, momy won't give me milk so I will have this other food instead, even though I would rather have the milk"


He would have a FIT!


But my heart does go out to you. Which state are you in? Sometimes there are doctors that don't charge much for a visit if you don't have insurance. If you are worried about what the doctor says, you can always say that you tried to do it but the baby cired and cried and would not eat the regular food when starved.....which would likely happen. That might be necessary if you don't think that your doctor will understand your concerns.


I must sayt that I have tried to increase fat into my diet but have failed miserably. I am not a person that keeps track of her food well, I just eat when I'm hungry. If you find any helpful hints let me know.

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#10 of 10 Old 07-31-2012, 04:51 AM
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Check this website out. On the bottom there are charts for weight, height and BMI for boys and girls who were encouraged to nurse! From what I can chart about my guy, he's not as underweight on this chart as on others :)

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