Doc said to start weaning my 11 mo

Jennifer - posted on 04/29/2010 ( 85 moms have responded )

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I took my son to the doc today and he told me that I needed to start weaning him in the next month or two. He said that because my son is in the 5% that he is not gaining enough weight. He said that when he bf he feels full and is not taking enough solids. He eats solids at least 3 times a day and bf about 5-6 times a day. I know that I am not ready to start weaning him, but am so confused. Help!

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Erika - posted on 05/04/2010

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Hi, Jennifer,
I agree with the majority here, trust your instinct and keep breastfeeding your baby!
On top of that, the WHO has a released a new growth chart that is based on breastfed babies, and maybe your doctor is not aware of it.

Lisa - posted on 05/03/2010

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I find it a funny notion to say that most doctors have a hard time dealing with the breatfed baby (or mom for that matter) since the only way babies were feed more than 50 years ago was at the breast. It's just this generation of doctors who have not encountered what once was the only source of food for a baby, and in the majority of the world, still the only way.

It's a priviledge to have the choice in our society of breast, formula or both. I wish doctors would remember and respect that mother's milk is the oldest form of food known to man, and shouldn't be treated as a second-rate food source. Just ridiculous.

Keep breastfeeding as long as its something you and your baby want to do. You can supplement with solids or formula. Its NOT the breastmilk that is the cause of your child's weight percentage. (and I agree with most posts about all the other signs of a healthy baby!)

Erin - posted on 05/06/2010

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One of my favorite Dr Sears' qotes:

"There are three questions you should not ask your doctor: 'Where should my baby sleep' 'How long should my baby breastfeed?' and 'Should I let my baby cry?' Doctors do not study the answers to these questions in medical school. Doctors are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of illness, not in parenting styles."

Clearly your son isn't ill, and I think a doc recommending weaning at such a young age would make me find another doctor! As mentioned before, the WHO recommends nursing for a *minimum* of two years. It drives me nuts how docs want every kid to be near the 'average' weight and height. It's an average, not an ideal, and if we keep pushing every kid towards the average then the natural highs and lows of the spectrum will disappear and the average will inevitably change.

Without a valid, unforseen medical issue, I always consider what I would do if I didn't have media and "professionals" and strangers giving me input - ie what would my instincts tell me to do. It sounds like your instincts are to keep breastfeeding - trust them!

Francesca - posted on 05/05/2010

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You know, my doctor said that often people put too much emphasis on the growth chart and not enough on the overall health. He said he wouldn't tell me percentiles and such and that I should be happy to know that my baby is healthy. When I expressed concern that my baby was smaller than her playgroup friends he reminded me that breastfed babies cannot and should not be compared to formula fed babies.

And he was right. I am happy to know she is healthy. Its good enough for me.

Find a new pediatrician. Your doctor needs to line up with your values, and this one clearly doesn't. And any doctor who disagrees with the WHO is always a little alarming. Breast is always best. There is always a way to gain weight without weaning.

Good Luck!

Faye - posted on 05/04/2010

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Shannon, some babies just love breast milk, its yummy time with their mum. My first child used to feed and feed all the time; and would just graze through out the day, and not eat much at main meal times. She too was what people describe as small, really tall even still but built like a chicken; not much fat on her. But that is just who she is. She is 3 and a half now and still has tiny amounts of breast milk at her nap time and just before she goes down at night. I know it is hard, but don't get too caught up in it; don't ever forget that YOU know YOUR baby best, no one knows him like you do. Consider changing doctors, find someone that is recommended who will empower you as a mum, someone who understands breastfeeding

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Celeste - posted on 06/01/2010

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That's GREAT news!! I'm so glad you found a better pediatrician. I think that can make a huge difference!

Jennifer - posted on 06/01/2010

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Thank you everyone for all of your encouraging posts. My son had his 1st appt with the new peditrician last week and I am so happy that we found a new dr. She is not at all concerned about his weight at all, she told me to continue doing exactly what I have been doing becuase he appears healthy to her. Thank you all!!

Jessi - posted on 05/23/2010

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I wouldn't wean if your not ready try and nurse him more if your concerned but breastfed babies usually are a little thinner than formula fed babies because the milk is much thinner. If your concerned than ask a nutritionest or call up the la leche league i'm sure they can help

Noreen - posted on 05/23/2010

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If you're not ready to wean, then don't! I'm sorry, but that doctor sounds like an idiot. Milk has WAY more calories then solids. My son Noah was in the 5% and I was given the same line. I listened to the Doctor thinking my baby was going to get very sick if he didn't gain any weight. So I breastfed him then topped him off with 4oz of high caloried formula until he was 12months and then did just high caloried formula until 15months. It didn't help, he was still in the 5%. He is now 4 and guess what! He's in the 5%! SO basically what I'm saying is that all children are different with different body types. It doesn't matter how much they eat or what they eat, if they have a fast metabolism, then they are going to be naturally thin. :)

Merry - posted on 05/23/2010

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Just a look on the flip side:
my son was born in the 50% but was over 100% by 2 months
he stayedover the 100% till 9 months and has been around 95%
he is 13 months and 26lbs and 33 inches
now here's the key- I exclusively breastfed him with no supplements or solids until 6 months
he has NEVER eaten a full meal of solids without needing to nurse after.
He nurses about 8-9 times a day which includes 2-4 times in the night.
He walked at 9 months and has met all milestones early.
He eats solids maybe 2-3 times a day but never much. And always a nurse after. He drinks water and no cows milk.

So the moral of my story is- breastmilk has what babies need. Solid foods are good to give, but breastmilk is the most important meal until 2 years old. Nurse more, solids less is the way to gain weight, not the other way around.

And Eric is not obese, he is his perfect size!
And I'm sure your son is HIS perfect size!

Ashley - posted on 05/22/2010

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As long as your son has consistently been in the 5th precentile then there shouldn't be a problem. Every child is different and grows at different rates. Shame on your doctor for telling you to wean when neither one of u are ready.

Ally - posted on 05/14/2010

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A lot of doctors aren't very well educated about breastfeeding. Breastfed babies do tend to drop off the older "charts" around a year, they thin out compared to formula-fed babies (on whom the charts are based). Could you ask your doctor to compare your son's growth to the breastfed charts, which are out there somewhere? Weaning will NOT make him put on weight!

Melanie - posted on 05/13/2010

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the american academy of pediatrics, the la leche league and even unicef asks that you nurse til your child is 2 years of age. i dont think i like your doc. some kids just dont eat much when they arent in a growth spurt. i wouldnt worry aboutit

Buffy - posted on 05/13/2010

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Keep breastfeeding if you and him still enjoy it. Maybe offer him solids first, and then nurse him. As long as he is still growing he is fine. Doctors expect every child to be exactly "normal". All kids are different, and grow at different rates. You are the mom, you are your son's expert... follow your instincts!

Kara - posted on 05/13/2010

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I would get a second opinion! I am still BF and my son is way older! He'll be 21 months old. I have a slender tot too. He is tall but only ways 28 lbs. He is not too skinny or too chubby. He was in the 25% since birth and was also premature. There are foods you could give him to fill him up like yogurts. BF also aids against obesity so this doc should just be giving you advice on how to introduce more solids not stop BF all together.

Jackie - posted on 05/13/2010

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Please do not stop breastfeeding if you are not ready. You should look up the local La Leche League in your area. They may have some advice for you. Maybe you should find another doctor.

Adrian - posted on 05/13/2010

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I breastfed my daughter until she was almost 21 months. Her ped also said that she was not gaining weight though she has always been small and said there is no concern for it. She said that I had lean breastmilk and told me to give her a bottle of whole milk at least once a day. I tried for months to get her to take a bottle before then but she refused! Then she found CHEESE... after that she didn't mind taking a bottle of whole milk about once a day. Perhaps you should give him one bottle a day and see if he begins to put on a little weight? Good Luck

Candace - posted on 05/13/2010

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My dr also told me to stop bf at 12 months. My daughter has always been in the 90+ percentile for weight and height yet still he wanted her on cow milk instead of breast. I think most doctors just "follow the book" instead of looking at the individual child. I changed doctors to one that is more supportive of bf. My daughter is now 16 months old, still nursing, eating solids three times a day but not much and growing and is very happy. Mother knows best. Finding a more supportive doctor really helped me though.

Kayla - posted on 05/13/2010

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If he's always been on the lower side, and has hit all his milestones... there is no need to stop. If it was your breastmilk, the doctor would have advised you to stop long ago. He seems like he's just a small kid.

Carmel - posted on 05/13/2010

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I was 18 lbs at 11 months but then I lost a few ounces and because of this, the clinic sister told mum I should be taken completely off the breast. I suspect I was in the lower size percentiles when I was born because I was 6lb 14oz and 18 inches long.

I don't remember back to being weaned but from what mum said, I must have been somewhat traumatised. The clinic sister said I had to learn to eat more solids though.

Because I was weaned before I was ready to stop, I let my children wean themselves. Until I had children, I thought most just lost interest in the breast between 9 and 12 months of age.

As long as a baby is generally alert and healthy, there shouldn't be any worry about keeping on with breastfeeding. Generally, breastfed babies gain a lot of weight in the 1st 3-6 months of life and then the weight gain starts to slow right down. A bottle fed baby usually has a more steady weight gain.

Breastfed babies and toddlers are less likely to be obese when they get older and breastfeeding for an extended time helps develop their intelligence.

Flo - posted on 05/09/2010

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Absolute rubbish don't listen to him, is my instinctual advise. I got mastitis and the doctor told me I should stop, when every where I read, even the NHS website told me stopping was the worse thing to do. Remember not all doctors know much about breastfeeding and are usually projecting their own beliefs and prejudices rather than giving sound medical advise. A lot of toddlers don't eat much to begin with because they are still exploring what food is and it is important to let them experiment and explore. Your milk guarantees he is topped up with all the nutrients and anti bodies he needs, as well as giving him confidence. Look at your childs whole well being. Is he a happy active child? If so then be confident that you are doing the right thing for your baby. Weaning when you and your child aren't ready can be traumatic and damaging. A fantastic book is How weaning happens by Diane Bengson. Get hold of copy (I borrowed it from my local Sure Start centre) she give plenty of good advise as well as how to find more support from well informed experts. Good luck and stay strong. xx

Virginie - posted on 05/09/2010

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An 11 months old is supposed to nurse 5 or 6 times a day. At meal time, you might want to try solids first and then nurse. My younger son does not want to be fed, he is quite stubborn about it. It might be because he sees his older brother eating on his own. He would not eat pureed solid food if I tried to feed him with a spoon. I gave him the spoon and also started to give bits and pieces of things instead (shredded or diced cooked vegetables and meat, pieces of cheese ...) Once he was in charge, he started to eat quite a lot. My doctor's concern has always been that the kids follow a curve and gain weight versus the percentile. Some of my older son's friends are almost 3 and have always been in the 4-5% range but they are growing, at their own rate, and doing just fine.

Natalie - posted on 05/07/2010

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Hi Jennifer. I'm glad you have a pediatrician who is supportive of your decision to continue to breastfeed. As others have said, 18 pounds at a year is fairly normal for a breastfed baby. Only my third was over 20 pounds at a year. The other two are now 12 and 7, healthy, intelligent, and average height. They may be a bit under average weight, but considering the obesity levels in our society, I'm taking that as a good thing! As long as your child is active and happy and producing wet diapers, you shouldn't feel any pressure to wean.

Melanie - posted on 05/07/2010

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Don't stop. What I would suggest is trying feeding solid food before a breastfeed, so that bub hopefully will take more food, then ofer the breast after.

Kirsten - posted on 05/07/2010

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if he is having his 3 meals a day then that's average isn't it my kids only eat 3 meals a day. When they are active they are burning more it's not about weight it's about health and if he is getting what he needs then why force him to eat more food. If your happy just stay with it and if he isn't loosing weight it's not a problem.

[deleted account]

i'd get a second opinion!!! plus, no that i'm into it, but you could always top up with a bit of formular. a friends girl was in low percentile and she was told to go to formular to put weight on. never changed, she's still tiny. do solids before bf as well.

Susan - posted on 05/06/2010

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I didn't read all the comments above so this may be a repeat. If he has been in the 5th %ile all along than that just might be him but if he dropped from a higher %ile to 5% then I can understand the concern.
I am weaning but want to keep morning and evenings. I cut out the afternoon nurse so far. My son is a year old and weighs 21.5 lbs.
Here is what I do:
*bfeed when wakes up

*breakfast 1/2 to hour later give solids---try egg (good fats and proteins), half mini bagel with cream cheese and some fruit plus whole milk in sippy

*nurse at mid morning nap

*mid morning snack--offer milk again, fruit/veggie

*lunch--offer milk again, some whole wheat tortilla or other grain, some protein

*afternoon snack--milk again, yogurt, cherrios

*dinner--milk again, protein (beef, pork, chicken whatever we have for dinner), grain (pasta in sauce or a bit of olive oil), veggie (broccoli)

*nurse at bedtime

I offer water all day long. I offer food until he says no more. He is still getting used to the sippy.

Good luck!

Tara - posted on 05/06/2010

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I agree with the woman who questioned adding cows milk. It really is intended for a baby cow and your milk is for your baby. Your milk is the perfect food for your child.

I disagree that a child who is walking and talking should not be breastfed. It is our society that makes breasts such a sex symbol when in fact their sole purpose is to nourish our babies! I proudly continue to BF my very verbal, very smart, walking and talking 2 year old.

Good luck with finding a more supportive pediatrician.

If you have time read this article about the truth of Cow's Milk. We are being mislead by the industry that it is a healthy food. We are the only mammals that drink milk after weaning and it isn't even the milk from our species!!

http://healthmad.com/health/milk-is-an-u...

Joette - posted on 05/06/2010

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I would also like to add that it is very important to have a pediatrician that supports your decision to breastfeed and will encourage and help you come up with a solution instead of telling you to stop. I switched pediatricians 3 times before I found one that supported my decision.I am pregnant with number 2 and I will be nursing until she decides she is ready to stop.

Joette - posted on 05/06/2010

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I strongly disagree with anyone telling you to put your son on cows milk!! Number one it is full of hormones and cows milk can cause alot of health problems. I breastfed my daughter for over 3 years and I would encourage any one else to bf until you are ready to stop. With that said I would encourage healthy solids before you nurse. A nursing baby will pretty much always want to nurse. Another thing, you said that he only nurses 5-6 times a day. Maybe you should nurse him more. My daughter nursed around the clock. It seemed like she was always attached at the breast.

Sarah - posted on 05/06/2010

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I agree that he should not be making that decisionfor you! Perhaps try feeding him solids first and then breastfeeding? That takes care of the problem of your little one filling up on milk first AND you can still breastfeed!

Ashley - posted on 05/06/2010

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Don't choose!
If he's a little skinny. . .don't stop anything, add to it. My 2yr. daughter knows nursing is our special time. (Most folks don't know she still does) As adults, our food-radar's kind of rusty, but his is right on. Mom's milk is good for him! Make sure that he gets to eat wonderful food that you eat too. "Mmmm, yummy", ham it up, let him feed you. Nursing is so wonderful, eating regular dinner sometimes does need some promotion. BTW, watch out for the day he weans himself! Be looking for other ways to share intimacy - Bathtime, Massage, Storytime.

Jennifer - posted on 05/06/2010

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Thank you so much, it is always great to be reassured that I am doing the correct thing. I think I have found a new pediatrician, who encourages breastfeeding. I will continue to bf as long as we both want to!!

Beth - posted on 05/06/2010

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Your doctor is not well-educated on breastfeeding. The growth chart is based on all babies, including formula fed babies and is not accurate for BF babies. There is absolutely NO reason to wean your baby. Give solids as he will take them. Do not feel pressured by a pediatrician to stop breastfeeding. I would find a new doc. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until 2 years old.

Tama - posted on 05/06/2010

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My daughter was also in the lower part of the percentile chart. She is a completely healthy 7.5 yr old now and she nursed until 2.5. (I weaned her b/c I was about to have my son and didn't want to tandem nurse b/c I had a lot going on at the time.) My daughter was barely 15 lbs at one year. She was always at the bottom of the growth chart. My son was BF the same way (exclusively until about 7 mos when we introduced solids) and he was way chubbier. Now he's 5 and very average in size.

I agree w/ the others who said that Dr's often compare BF babies to FF babies, which is just wrong. Also, my 1st Ped was so worried about the growth chart and how long I was planning to BF (and this was a female Ped) that I dumped her.

I agree that you can add more fat to the solids he is eating and continue nursing. I'd not worry about the cow's milk unless you want to. My kids did drink cow's milk in addition to nursing when they were toddlers, but lots of people choose not to and that's fine too.

I also don't agree that after one year you have to pump and give babies breastmilk in a bottle. I'd never bother with that! Mine have always gotten it straight from the tap - as that bonding is so lovely and part of what they love about nursing. :) My 5 yr old still nurses twice a day -- though lately he's cut down and sometimes only nurses once right before bedtime.

Carmel - posted on 05/06/2010

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Hi, mum weaned me at 11 1/2 months for much the same reason. I now know I was just small for my age anyway. Mum says I hurled the glass bottle when she tried it and "fretted" for quite some time after.

When my older daughter put on only about 500 gm between 3 and 6 months, I was also advised to wean her off the breast. She was otherwise healthy - just very tiny. She is now grown up and healthy but not especially tall.

I think your boy is taking plenty of solids and believe it would be traumatic to wean him now unless he is really ready to give up the breast. Some children will happily breastfeed for several years as mine did but others gradually or quickly lose interest much sooner.

Daphne - posted on 05/05/2010

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Please don't stop if your are not ready. My son is also in the 5% his paediatrics said that i should keep on breastfeeding as long as he is gaining weight.

Jessica - posted on 05/05/2010

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Mom knows better than anyone when it is time to wean, listen to your instincts. As long as he's moving steadily along his own little growth curve and not stopping growth, I wouldn't worry. Some doctors just aren't very supportive of breastfeeding and don't really have all the facts on breastfeeding. All those lovely immunities you are giving your son through breastfeeding are absolutely wonderful for him and something he won't get from any foods!

Keri - posted on 05/05/2010

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My daughter has maintained a 10%tile her whole life. She is 20 months, we're still breastfeeding 4xs a day and when he doctor encouraged me to ween, I politely said no and stated my reasoning, which like so many of the other amazing mothers on here have mentioned. Go with your instincts - sounds like they're serving you well! :o)

Meghann - posted on 05/05/2010

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Keep in mind as well that often those growth charts are based on formula fed babies. Don't wean until you and bubs are ready but get a new doctor now!

Celia - posted on 05/05/2010

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The World Health Organization reccomends breastfeeding till 2 years old... dont wean!
Glad you are going to find a new doctor!

Joey - posted on 05/05/2010

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Part of your dr's problem is that he's male!! When we went looking for a dr for our new twins i made sure that not only was our ob female but our pediatrition was also. Find a new dr and remeber-they work for you!! You can tell them no all you want!

Sarah - posted on 05/05/2010

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Hi Jennifer, my son was in the same boat. He has always been at the bottom of the charts and has never tasted formula. My Doc suggested I feed him more, fewer times a day to help his stomach grow thus increasing his weight. I know it sound backwards. And I admit I was feeding him all the time in hopes he'd gain. So, at a year he was eating three solid meals a day, and nursing three times a day. But instead of spaced out, the feeding would be grouped together. In the a.m. Does this make sense? My son is now 16m old and still nurses twice a day, I'm planning to wean in the next two months.

Jennifer - posted on 05/05/2010

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18 pounds sounds fine. My son is 11 months old today and he weighs 18lbs_ _ oz (not sure exactly). Our doctor hasn't expressed any concern at all about it. That weight is perfectly healthy - particularly for breastfed babies - it's right in the middle for weight - see this chart: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/gro... . Wean when you and the baby are ready. If he's healthy, happy, peeing, pooping, and meeting all milestones (which you say he is) there should be no cause for concern - it sounds like your baby is doing great! I'm surprised your doc even brought it up! No worries!

Jemma - posted on 05/05/2010

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Don't worry too much about percentiles - some people have to be small! If you are concerned you could always offer solids first then bf when he has finished so he has a 'morning and afternoon tea' as well as his 3 meals. Or try higher calorie solids - at 11 months avocado is a good one - add cheese to his veggies - lentils for protein. If he is otherwise healthy and active and developing well what's the issue? Some children grow at different rates.

Katrina - posted on 05/05/2010

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Keep BF and just add baby food like the fruit kind to a bottle of juice to help fatten him up. As long as your baby is growing and nothing is stunted then you are fine. And if the Peds is worried have them prescribe you pediasure to help him gain weight. Good luck!

Shannon - posted on 05/04/2010

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I came to this site with the exact same problem...my son is 16 months old and has been in the 5th percentile for height and weight since he was about 3 months old. Every time I go to the doctor, they make me feel as if I am causing his small size somehow, and ask me detailed questions about what he eats, when he breastfeeds, etc etc. They have not come out and said to wean him, but they say it indirectly by saying things like "He isn't getting the calories he needs from breastmilk." At this point my husband and I are so stressed over getting him to eat solids that I think my son can now sense our anxiety. He likes most foods but does not usually want to make a meal out of solids yet, just bites here and there, and then long nursing sessions before and after naps. Thanks to everyone for giving encouragement to the OP because it helped me too. I am trying hard to not stress out about this.

Faye - posted on 05/04/2010

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The measurement on this should be do you have a happy baby? You know in yourself whether your baby is happy. If he was crying all of the time and clearly not very happy because something could be wrong that needs addressing. Some babies are tiny, some really big, some average run of the mill where weight is concerned. We all come from different genes, even from within the same family. If you are small and petite or your partner is or someone in the family is then you are more likely to have a baby that is similar in size. If you are happy breastfeeding and still want to continue then keep doing it. You aren't doing your baby any harm, in fact he is still gaining much benefits from immunity to disease by breastfeeding and all of the added emotional benefits of attachment to his mother. I have two children and they are both still breastfed, I love this time with my kids. Enjoy. You are doing a fabulous job, keep doing what you know is best in your heart. Take care

Katie - posted on 05/04/2010

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tell the doc to go jump in a lake and swallow!



as Mhairi said above, the world health organisation says to exclusively breastfeed till six months and to breastfeed with solids till 'at least' two years.



other cultures breastfeed for many years more than us westerners!!!



if you want to keep breastfeeding, dont let the doc stop you!!

best of luck!

[deleted account]

My doctor said the same thing. Which is why I have a new doctor. :-)
The WHO recommends Br/feeding until your baby is 2 years (if you are able to). I'd recommend baby lead weaning.

Kristin - posted on 05/04/2010

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I hope you've gotten a second opinion about this. Also, get in a consultation with a dietician. If you haven't please do so. I've got two boys that are both down in that range and they are both just fine and breast fed for 14 months and 18 months. Some kids are just small.

Maggie - posted on 05/04/2010

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weight is based on a few things. If baby is tall or short, dense bones, head size. Etc. My son is 5 months and weighs the same as a 2 month started with low birth weight but is as long as a 6 month and head of a 3 month. They all grow different but as long as he is gaining weight and is active you shouldnt have anything to worry about. Have you spoken to a pediatrician? Doctors don't know anything.

Stina - posted on 05/04/2010

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Keep nursing him as often as you are/as often as your son wants and look for another Doctor- both for the opinion and for the support to keep nursing. Some doctors have outdated information and opinions about how long babies need to breast feed. 5-6 times of nursing every day is AWESOME! If a second doctor is also concerned that he needs to put on more weight, concentrate on high calorie foods for his solid intake. Full fat yogurt, cottage cheese, cheddar etc. Avocados, mac'n cheese etc. Maybe ask for a referral to a dietitian for more guidance and ideas.

My one year old is still getting the hang of eating finger foods and drinking from a sippy. If I were to wean her from the breast so she could get more calories from table food, she'd probably loose weight.

Charlotte - posted on 05/04/2010

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I breastfed until 8 months but after my son turned 6 and a half months i cut his feeding down to once in the morning and once at night. it meant that he got used to eating 3 good sized meals a day.there is no need to stop b/feeding altogether but may be an option for you to just feed in the morning and at night?That way he is getting his 3 meals a day and also getting the goodness of your milk aswel.Once a baby reaches 6 months, breastmilk (or formula) alone isn't enough to fill them up so they need something else to help them grow.
Keep up the good work feeding but get more advice from different doctors before you make a decision :)

Nancy - posted on 05/04/2010

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I would go see a naturopath doctor first and if they think your son needs something else then do what you gotta do. Also make a dairy of what your son eats and for how long he nurses for and then take that to your doctor. SOme kids are just small but some kids shoudln't be.

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