My baby does not want to eat and hence not ganing height/weight

Neelima - posted on 08/10/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My daughther was born Aug 21 2010, 6 lbs and 12 oz. I read that they should triple their birth weight by 1 year, now she is nearing her birthday and she is still 17 lbs. She looks and behaves normal, but she does not want to eat solids or drink milk ever (breast milk in bottle or breast directly). I have tried all fruits, vegetables. The only thing I sort-of manage to make her eat is just plain oatmeal cereal with breast milk mixed. There have been days that she did not eat for 8-12 hours at a stretch, she just does not want to eat/drink. Due to this, now my milk supply has also started to drop. Should I switch her to formula? I am very concerned, please help.

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Anna - posted on 08/26/2011

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You baby was being a normal 6-wk-old baby -- she's lazy and sleepy lol Mine loved the breast but he was constantly falling asleep on the breast and the min I'd latch him off, oh boy, the whole floor in building heard his complaints so pretty much the first 2 months he was on the breast much more than he was off the breast. Until babies become effective at sucking from the breast, the bottle seems a much easier solution as they don't need to do much work, the milk drips down on its own. However, trust me, in the long run, you will thank yourself for putting in the extra effort now to learn the art of breastfeeding.

Neelima - posted on 08/26/2011

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Oh ok. Well she ws prefering bottle over breast when she was 6 weeks old and I had to stop the bottle altogether at that time and take time off work to get her back to breast. I feel that she doesnt want to do the work and she prefers bottle. I hope that it is temporary as you said and she comes back to the breast. I would have loved to continue to breastfeed. I am still pumping 4 times a day, but maybe just pumping will affect the milk suppy?

Anna - posted on 08/26/2011

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Preferring the bottle over the breast might very well be temporary. My son had that phase when he was 9 months old and now there's nothing that we can do to get him to take milk from anything but the breast. My nanny literally has to stick the bottle in his mouth while he's napping on the days that I'm at work. This could all be due to teething. Just keep offering the breast and pump in the meantime to keep up your supply.

Neelima - posted on 08/25/2011

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Thank you all for the enouragement and the suggestions. It seems like she suddenly got a big growth spurt last week (right after I obsessed about it !) and now she seem to be eating and drinking milk better. The only catch is now that she doesnt want to nurse at all. She prefers the bottle, but I guess is ok since she is now 1 year. I would have loved to continue to breatfeed, but clearly she prefers the bottle/sippy cup over breastfeeding :(

Anna - posted on 08/15/2011

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Whatever you do, don't switch to formula or else you'll lose your milk. Your daughter is probably teething. It's totally normal for babies to lose their appetite when they're teething. I used to pump when my son refused the breast to make sure my supply stays where it should be. Just be patient and make the breast readily available to your daughter all the time.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/13/2011

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I agree with Lori, my first daughter was 6lbs 8oz at birth and she was maybe 20lbs at age 1. She also had to be formula/ bottle fed because she wouldn't latch on and was losing weigh. BUt I have to ask if you've spoken with your pediatrician or family care doctor about this problem because it's not normal for a nearly 1 year old to go so long without eatting.

Lori - posted on 08/13/2011

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As a side note about sizes, I'm not sure where you heard that baby is supposed to triple their birth weight by 1 year old. My 3 year old was born 8 lbs 8 oz. She was 2 years old before she tripled her birth weight. At 12 months she was 19.8 lbs. And between 8 and 11 months her weight gain slowed drastically - she gained only a tenth of a pound each month for 4 months in a row. But she was still getting taller, and I knew she was eating OK and she'd started crawling, then walking so was being much more active. I know her weight was only part of your concern, and I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned if she is not eating. Just saying tripling birth weight isn't a great measuring tool as to how well she's doing.

ALISHA - posted on 08/12/2011

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Based on what you described I would be concern as well. If you are not pleased with the doctor's response seek a 2nd opinion.

Robin - posted on 08/12/2011

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Yeah, this could be her normal growth but I understand your concern. Both my kids are little (but I'm a little under average and my husband is quite small). My son did have many food allergies, thrush, and reflux. My daughter has had none of these and is still tiny (born 4 wks early at 6 lb and now at 11 months is only 14.5 lbs). As she was early, she started out to rather sleep than eat and has never become a very demanding feeder since. She is starting to enjoy finger foods though! :) To complicate things I've had thyroid hormone issues since my son was born and that has affected my milk supply off and on.

So, based on what you mentioned in your post I would wonder about a few things. 1) Was she born at term or very early? Preemies don't have the same hunger drive as a term baby. 2) Any signs of thrush?...a whitish coating on her tongue that doesn't wipe away with a washcloth. Some babies don't really notice this but for others it can be quite painful. 3) Does she have reflux? This could make her throat burn and makes some babies refuse to eat (others might eat excessivly to "wash" the burning feeling away). Other signs of this may be grunting a lot especially when lying down, drooling excessively, spitting up excessively, coughing, etc. 4) Does she have food allergy or intolerance? A true allergy can do anything from cause a rash, tummy discomfort, or even cause anaphylaxis (severe breathing difficulties, sweating, dizziness or passing out, etc. and is an emergency, i.e. call 911). An intolerance is a less severe but discomforting chemical reaction that the body has to a kind of food like acidic things, onion, lactose, etc.

Bring these up with your doctor. Don't be afraid to express that you are really concerned. Be aware that testing and treatment for these things may be somewhat invasive depending on the route taken (like bloodwork, meds with potential side effects, etc). Generally, this is why docs may hesitate to start investigations when the growth looks reasonable. But the doc isn't home with you and you know your baby best so be clear to him/her what you're seeing and how far you want testing/treatment to go. It may be too that he/she can get a good indication of how likely any of these things are based on other information he can ask of you or based on the baby's exam. But it always helps to bring it up. "Could it be this? Why or why not?" In the end it may just be how she was meant to grow but be sure you're satisfied that underlying issues are at least considered. If your doc does not satisfy you with a good level of concern and investigation then do get a second opinion!

Terri Lynn - posted on 08/11/2011

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I was a small baby and very thin and active for years until puberty when I gained more weight. The same can be said for my own. Some kids are more high energy or less interested in food. Children are individual humans , not something that can be measured on a one-size-fits-all chart. Each develops according to her own body's timetable. Your daughter might be the petite sort or may have a big boost of growth later. Offer cereals, fruits, and veggies in small amounts and let her eat as she will. The human body is allergic to dairy so don't give any formula. No other species other than humans actually drinks the milk of another species and none drink any milk past weaning. She needs calcium, not milk. We are vegans and this is the healthiest human diet. Humans have herbivore teeth and a long herbivore digestive system. Check out Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care or else visit www.pcrm.org to see more info on feeding children and growth. Your child sounds as if she is healthy and you are doing a great job with mothering her.

Lori - posted on 08/11/2011

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Well - the first rule of taking care of a baby is "feed the baby". And while breastmilk is superior to formula in so many ways, if there is no (or not enough) breastmilk, or if baby refuses to drink it, but is willing to drink formula, then this might be an instance where it is a good idea to try. You never know - she may love it, or she may reject it just like she does other foods.

You said there are days that she'll go 8 -12 hours without food on some days. How often does that happen? Once a month? Once a week? Every other day? and after that stretch, how much does she eat and how often? Some babies are just too busy doing so many things during the day that they don't want to take time to eat, but they snack a bit or do more night waking to make up for it.

Also, if you're concerned - and it sounds like you are, but your Dr. isn't taking you seriously, it may be time for a second opinion. Make sure you bring your records of her growth with you and have written out any other questions or concerns so you don't forget to mention them while you're there.

Neelima - posted on 08/11/2011

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I said formula cos maybe she will like formula? Or maybe it has more calories to help her grow? She sometimes breastfeeds 3-4times in the night, but I am also wondering now if I have enough supply to help her grow? She is doing ~3 wet diapers a day.

Neelima - posted on 08/11/2011

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Overall she doesnt like to eat/drink. It doesnt matter if its fruits or vegetables or breatmilk in a bottle or breast feeding directly. She just does not want to eat/drink.

Yes, she has been gaining weight all throughout the year, very slowly, but she has been. She did loose weight once in between when she got flu/ear infection.

I am 5'5" and her daddy is 5'10"

She has been meeting her milestones, but a little bit later than what the "average" seem to be...

I have mentioned this to the doctor couple of times, but he seem not to be concerned. He says if she is gaining any weight, its ok. I am not sure I am ok with that.....

I would be surprised its a nursing strike, since I remember having to make a lot of effort since the day she is born to have her drink any milk. The day she was born, she did go without wanting to eat for 8 hours, and I had to pump and give her the few drops that I got.


I did stop drinking any dairy for the first 4 months, to avoid any gas issues if she may be having. Then I restarted taking dairy again after she was 4 months. I am trying to remember if that made any difference. Should I stop dairy again??

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If she won't drink breast milk from the breast or bottle then do you know if she would take formula? If she's not eating or drinking anything all day then you need to take her to a doctor. I don't see how she couldn't be dehyrdrated. Does she nurse all night long? How many wet diapers does she have in a day?

Lori - posted on 08/10/2011

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You're saying she is also rejecting the breast? And rejecting breast milk in a bottle? Or those are the only things you can get her to eat/drink along with the oatmeal.

Has she been gaining weight steadily throughout the year (even if its slow growth, is there some weight gain each month)? Has she lost weight? How tall are you, and how tall is her Daddy? Some babies are just not as big as others, and saying they should triple their birth weight by 1 year is a guideline but not all babies follow that - even healthy ones. Is she meeting milestones?

However if she's not eating at all - no breastmilk, no solids then yes there is cause for concern. Have you mentioned this to her Dr.? What does the Dr say?

Many babies will go on nursing strikes when teething or due to other illness. If she's not nursing, you should probably be pumping to keep your supply up. Breastmilk alone is usually enough nutrition for a baby for the first 12 months. However, the baby does have to be taking that milk of course for it to be enough for baby. Maybe she has a food sensitivity or allergy. Something you're eating could be something she doesn't like. Dairy products are a common offender, as is soy, but it could be any number of foods. Is there any family history of food allergies? If it's an allergy to dairy or to soy switching to formula would be the last thing you want to do. Maybe with a little bit more info I/we can be more helpful.

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