just breastmilk? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nak

just wondering if anyone has information on a maximum age/weight for exclusive breastfeeding; that is, until what point does just breastmilk stop providing enough nutrition and calories?

fyi: my dd (14 months) does eat some solids but is still primarily breastfed and though she's perfectly healthy, i do sometimes worry about how little extra food she eats
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#2 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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I was wondering the same thing because my 8 month old is EBF, but I was told he has to have solids now becuase his iron levels are low (they tested him) - I wanted to EBF for a year but I dont know if we can do that.
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#3 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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It stops providing enough nutrition and calories when the baby wants more food and is no longer satisfied on breastmilk alone.

Some babies want more food by 6mo, others are happy with almost no food at 18+mo. There's a HUGE range of normal.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#4 of 16 Old 03-13-2008, 11:47 AM
 
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DD is 14 months 2 weeks old.I was also a bit worried but I have been told by my health visitor that it's okay as long as I breastfeed on demand.Just recently (for 10 days or so) she has begun to demand more solid food.
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#5 of 16 Old 03-13-2008, 01:23 PM
 
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I feel it always provides enough nutrition and calories. Honestly.....how many foods are 20-22 cal per ounce? When children replace breastmilk with food they are usually getting fewer calories and nutrients than they were before.....this is because fewer calories and nutrients are needed as growth slows down.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#6 of 16 Old 03-13-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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My 20mo still gets about 95-98% of his nutrtional needs met through breastmilk. He sorta snacks on solids here and there by "tasting" and taking a bite here and there. He likes solids fine enough, but very much prefers mommy milk. His solids today have been a bite of banana waffle, a bite of pear, and a half teaspoon of Greek yogurt w/a bit of diced mango. He's healthy and technically "ahead" on his developmental milestones. Our doc isn't concerned at all.
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#7 of 16 Old 03-13-2008, 06:31 PM
 
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I've heard of a few 2 yr olds who were ebf... but i'm sure that doesn't mean every baby could or should ebf that long... some babies need solids earlier. But it is definitely more than a year, which you will hear is the max from sources such as LLL. DD just started actually being interested in food in the last few days, and she's nearly 16 months old. And by that I mean, taking little bites and actually swallowing them rather than spitting them out or just licking them, which is what she did from 8 months until now. She weighs 26 lbs last time I checked, could be more because she just went through a growth spurt. I'm assuming she won't be a big eater for quite a while, and a good majority of her nutrition will come from bm. I am just sooooo thankful I'm still breastfeeding!
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#8 of 16 Old 03-13-2008, 06:47 PM
 
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DD was EBF until 11.5m. She weighed 25lbs at one-year. Once she started solids, she maybe got 1/4-1/3 of her calories from them through 16m when she started to nurse in the early AM, have breakfast of 4oz yog, hard boiled egg white and some fruit...snack of fruit...lunch of pasta with chicken or beans and broccoli....some starchy snack....and then nurse before dinner, have dinner (similar to lunch) and then nurse to sleep and through the night.

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#9 of 16 Old 03-14-2008, 08:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
I feel it always provides enough nutrition and calories. Honestly.....how many foods are 20-22 cal per ounce? When children replace breastmilk with food they are usually getting fewer calories and nutrients than they were before.....this is because fewer calories and nutrients are needed as growth slows down.
:
Technically, I could survive very well on someone's breastmilk- I'm pregnant and bfing-- but, I enjoy solid food and the variety and pleasure it brings :
But, no, there is no point where breastmilk "tanks" and becomes "un-nourishing."

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#10 of 16 Old 03-14-2008, 09:31 PM
 
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I haven't read the position lately, but WHO basically states that all babies need to start solids at 6 months and they are at risk for anemia and deficiency in micro nutrients if solids are delayed past that point. I understand the risk for anemia- 6 months is usually when an infants iron stores run low, it can be much earlier esp. if the baby was premature or SGA.

I've seen babies do well with exclusive breastfeeding beyond that point, including my half sister, who was almost exclusively bf until she was 2 (she would take solids only if she was babysat and there was no boob available). She is very healthy today.

Exclusive bf sounds like a good idea, and definitely protects the milk supply and is protective in cases of severe family food allergies... However I have yet to see any research that supports it for longer than 8 months. Anyone care to fill me in?
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#11 of 16 Old 03-14-2008, 09:42 PM
 
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DD was EBF for the almost 13mo, it wasn't until she was about 15mo that she would actually start really eating solids. She's always been perfectly healthy and in a median weight range.
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#12 of 16 Old 03-14-2008, 09:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SarahLi View Post
I haven't read the position lately, but WHO basically states that all babies need to start solids at 6 months and they are at risk for anemia and deficiency in micro nutrients if solids are delayed past that point. I understand the risk for anemia- 6 months is usually when an infants iron stores run low, it can be much earlier esp. if the baby was premature or SGA.
If you do a PubMed or Medline search, you'll find studies linking reduced iron stores and anemia in infants to early cord clamping and not breastfeeding. This was a topic of conversation on or local parenting listserv recently because certain peds were recommending iron supplements for breastfed babies as a matter of course without testing them for anemia. When we compared notes, and parents went back to insist on testing first, it turned out that very very few babies were actually anemic and that's when we started putting the clinical research articles together to present to the pediatric clinic director to show the causal relationship between early cord clamping and not necessarily to breastfeeding. Also, iron supplementation from sources like Poly ViSol rcan inhibit the absorption of the iron that's available in breastmilk.
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#13 of 16 Old 03-15-2008, 02:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by YummyYarnAddict View Post
If you do a PubMed or Medline search, you'll find studies linking reduced iron stores and anemia in infants to early cord clamping and not breastfeeding. This was a topic of conversation on or local parenting listserv recently because certain peds were recommending iron supplements for breastfed babies as a matter of course without testing them for anemia. When we compared notes, and parents went back to insist on testing first, it turned out that very very few babies were actually anemic and that's when we started putting the clinical research articles together to present to the pediatric clinic director to show the causal relationship between early cord clamping and not necessarily to breastfeeding. Also, iron supplementation from sources like Poly ViSol rcan inhibit the absorption of the iron that's available in breastmilk.

That's an excellent point, I agree with low anemia rates and no universal need for iron supplements before 6 months. However, it may be wise to test for anemia at 9 months or so if exclusive bf is desired after that, because at some point infants need more iron than breastmilk provides, but it can vary widely.
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#14 of 16 Old 03-15-2008, 02:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by YummyYarnAddict View Post
My 20mo still gets about 95-98% of his nutrtional needs met through breastmilk. He sorta snacks on solids here and there by "tasting" and taking a bite here and there. He likes solids fine enough, but very much prefers mommy milk. His solids today have been a bite of banana waffle, a bite of pear, and a half teaspoon of Greek yogurt w/a bit of diced mango. He's healthy and technically "ahead" on his developmental milestones. Our doc isn't concerned at all.
We are in the same sit. with our 18 month old ds. Glad I am not alone. He ate 5 cheerios, two bites of toast with marmite, two bites of pizza, a couple diced tomatoes,10 multigrain mini crackers, acouple bites of almod biscotti, H20 and a few bites of a dumpling.

:CLC,Doula :Mama to 2
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#15 of 16 Old 03-15-2008, 10:27 AM
 
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there's a good book out by the LLL called "my child won't eat!" by carlos gonzalez.

and you hear alot about how if you just make a good range of food available to your child and let them help themselves, they actually won't end up eating less than they need (ie they'll get enough)...

but i read that a child over 1yo needs extra dietary iron, but most else is provided by bm even then.
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#16 of 16 Old 03-15-2008, 07:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SarahLi View Post
That's an excellent point, I agree with low anemia rates and no universal need for iron supplements before 6 months. However, it may be wise to test for anemia at 9 months or so if exclusive bf is desired after that, because at some point infants need more iron than breastmilk provides, but it can vary widely.
I'm actually a bit obsessed with the whole connection between breastmilk/breastfeeding and anemia in children. I've been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for the past seven years and very much anemic this entire time as well. Both my hemoglobin and ferritin levels are in the single digits. Yet, in spite of this, neither of my breastfed children have ever required iron supplements nor have they been anywhere close to anemic. So if my breastmilk -- which my ds gets nearly all of his nutrition from -- is able to maintain his hemoglobin levels at 13.3 (measured at his 18mo visit) while mine are well below 10... what gives? He has never had a drop of formula, we rarely consume animal products so he's not getting it there (and I'm practically vegan anyway) ...

There's an interesting academic text called "The Anthropology of Breastfeeding" that I read years ago before I had children. It discusses breastfeeding from a sociocultural perspective and one of the things it goes into is how women from all walks of life from various cultures and socioeconomic statuses and walks of life are able to provide, nourish and sustain their children on breastmilk even when they are practically malnourished themselves. I wonder what percentage of their children are anemic and exactly how direct that correlation is between breastfeeding and anemia. To be honest, I'm not 100% convinced that we have it right.

There are so many other factors that go into iron absorption like dairy -- this society is so huge on dairy and so many nursing mamas in the US are chugging down dairy products in some way, shape or form, that I wonder if that's where the connection really is? Because it is a fact that dairy does inhibit the absorption of iron. Could it be that mothers who consume more dairy produce breastmilk that has less bioavailable iron for the nursling? I don't know. I really don't. But I'm not sure that we have the final answer here and that we should, perhaps, be asking more questions.
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