Refusing to eat real food & nursing non-stop.

Esther - posted on 09/02/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 22 months old, she has always been on the small side for her age. She is growing but at 21 months old she was only 25 lbs. She LOVES breastfeeding.. as I do, too. She was exculsively breastfed till she was about 8- 81/2 months old. We tried giving her cereal, but she just wasn't interested. Now, she loves some food, but it's starting to bother me that she'll rather nurse than eat real food. She won't eat unless she can feed herself but then she gets frustrated and throws it. The only thing I can feed her myself is grits with butter, parmesan & cream. Yes, I know it's unhealthy. But she is so skinny that I feel the need to "fatten' her up. Really, it's almost the only food I don't have to fight her to eat. She used to eat veggies with gusto. Peas & green beans were her faves, but now.. its a chore. They all get smooshed on the high chair & I feel like I'm cleaning up more than she eats. My dog is getting so fat! Am I wrong for wanting to cut down on her nursing... sometimes I feel like I'm chained to the couch. I got stuff to do!
I feel like if I just limit her nursing to naptime & bedtime she'll eat more. But she pats the couch & says boobie.. usually that means shes tired. So I'll just lead with that. But we watch tv together with the boob... I feel like its the only form of togetherness we share. When we sit together & both my boobs are out I"m just feeling used sometimes. Wait.. Does that make sense? Because she DEMANDS that I give her the boob she wants.. that she points to & asks for.
I don't mind nursing till she's over 2 years old. But I would like to stop soon after. My hubby kind of expects me to start weaning her when she's 2. I, on the other hand, am willing to let her go till shes 3. But only 1 or 2 times a day. Because for the sheer reason SHE'S RELYING ON IT TOO MUCH. I don't mind that she does it for comfort. But she's substituting meals for booby. I know that's not good for her. She needs more than I can give her now.

My plan is to try to avoid giving it to her unless its after lunch (naptime) & at bedtime. I am I right for doing this? I'm a SAHM & i have a touch of agoraphobia, so I don't go out much. Its not like I can just leave her with a sitter & wean her like that.. which in the heat of a few moments I have thought of.. but I would never do.

I'm at wits end. I feel like I'm an open snack bar for my toddler. Please, any advice would be greatly apprieciated.
Thank you,
Esther

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Gillian - posted on 10/12/2013

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I know this was posted a few years ago, but I'm sure glad it's still on here! My DS is 20 months old and he is addicted to the boob and rarely eats solids. He weighs around 22 lbs and the doctor isn't worried, but I am! I decided to try to night wean him, because I am pretty tired too ( I work part-time), but the 3 nights I tried to cut out just his first feed (around midnight) became an hour of crying :( I did my best to calm him, but he wouldn't have it, finally I gave in, because I just couldn't handle his crying anymore, I was crying too at one point :(. So, I am at a loss. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Or the Moms who posted, did your kids eventually just start eating on their own....what did you do that worked? I just need a light at the end of the tunnel, I think.
Thanks for listening!

Jen - posted on 09/10/2010

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Hi Esther,
My daughter just turned 2 last week. I took her for her check-up on her birthday and she was 21 lbs 0 oz, but the doctor said she's growing fine even though she is little. She too is addicted to the boob, and she too will say "boob" when she wants it and then will say "other one" when she wants to switch. I don't necessarily have any advice for you, just camaraderie in knowing that you're not alone. I can tell you that she won't go to kindergarten wanting the boob. Life will move her on. My daughter is our 7th, and our oldest is 25, so just try to enjoy her because it goes so fast. I know it might seem like she will be wanting the boob forever, but she won't, you'll move on to new problems. I too am trying to limit nursing to before nap, bedtime and early morning (she sleeps with us) but sometimes I give in just to get something done on the computer or not have to hear her.
Just wanted to let you know you're not alone,
Jen

Lori - posted on 10/12/2013

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Gillian - I didn't read through all the other answers/posts on here, so if I'm repeating something said already I apologize in advance.
My younger daughter is now 35 months old. When I started her on solids she wanted NOTHING to do with puree's, nor would she accept anyone feeding her. Because of that, we stumbled onto baby led weaning (which I think would be better to be called baby led feeding) But basically, we offer her foods, and if she wants it she feeds herself. If she doesn't feed it to herself, she doesn't eat it. Worked very well for us. But even throughout her 2nd year there were still breastmilk only days. Those days got fewer and fewer as she approached her 2nd birthday.
When she was about 18 months I attempted to night wean her. It was a disaster. However when I attempted night weaning again at 24 months, it went much smoother and it only took a few nights before she went from waking 2 to 3 times per night for milkies to not needing milkies to go back to sleep, and not much longer after that before she began sleeping through the night more often than not. Even now at 35 months she still wakes during the night occasionally - but I go in, make sure she has her blankie, and give her a hug and tell her to go back to sleep.
Now all that being said: your son is also OK to learn some limits when it comes to breastfeeding. I'm a big fan of teaching nursing manners.
Just keep offering different good nutritional foods, and keep nursing. The next few months you may see quite the change.

Sarah - posted on 09/11/2010

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hi!!! you boobie is your little ones comfort and she is getter her own way when she demands boobie inplace of food and you give it to her!! sorry i am a big boobie feeding fan and have bf both my kids but she is using it to be in contral of you!! i stopped feeding my boy at 18 months and in my eyes think that doing so avoided the problem you have now because as they get a little older they get a little smarter and instead of bfing for nutrition they start doing it purely for comfort and to be close to their most important person!!! you have done great to bf and i am in no wayputting you down! xx good luck

[deleted account]

I would think of teething or illness first if this just started. I am currently nursing my 2.5 year old (who by the way is only 27 lbs). Sure he is small on the growth chart, but thriving otherwise and has always done things a little early for his age. Size is relative to what your child is learning/growing. Anyway he is still an all day boob junkie! Usually it is just a sip here and there now, but when he was your daughter's age he would sit down and nurse at least 6 full meals during the day and then sip in between. It is very challenging to have such a needy nurser! Keep in mind too that toddlers in general are fairly picky eaters and tend to stick with one thing that they like (even those who aren't nursing) until they find something else to move on to. I personally skipped the baby food and went straight to regular solid food around 8 months. Even so my youngest didn't eat a full three meals and snacks each day until he was almost 2 or over. I agree to spice it up too. Both of my kids eat almost everything I eat including things thats are hot spicy. My son likes hot things better than my daughter. Hang in there!! Soon enough you will look back and wonder how you did it all :)

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Katherine - posted on 11/26/2013

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I 've just seen these posts and am also keen to know how to reduce the breastfeeding and encourage my 14 month old little guy to eat more solids! He is just waiting for the noob all the time and occasionally eating some solids but he still feeds like he did at 6 months! Am so tired of doing night feeds 3 times a night and think he should be on only 3 feeds a day with no night feeds by now....anyone have any suggestions? Nice to know we are not the only ones.

KIm - posted on 11/12/2013

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I feel like this was me writing this!! It is exactly what I'm going through!!! All my daughter wants is boob. She's 2 she has started not wanting to eat either just wants to breastfeed. I even offer her a cookie and she says "boob"!!! It's driving me crazy not sure how to wean her or even slow it down a little!!! Any advice?

Rebecca - posted on 09/16/2010

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My daughter is 15 1/2 months and she still bf's. I too, am a SAHM. I have my moments when I want to do something and she wants milk from me as well. I mainly try to give her a feeding in the morning, mid afternoon and night time. Throughout the days when you are eating breakfast, lunch or dinner try to expose her to what you are eating. I'm a healthy eater, so I give Neela a lot of what I have and I notice when I'm eating or others are eating around her, she is curious to try it. Even if your daughter doesn't like it, just let her explore. Believe me, you will know what she likes. Neela loves fruit: strawberries, peeled & seedless grapes, nectarines, peaches. She likes corn and green beans too. I just make sure when I cook, to give her a plain bowl before I add seasoning to anything. Try chicken, ground beef, tuna. Of course watch for allergic reactions, so I would recommend bits and pieces at a time on anything so you can be on the look out. What about whole grain cheerios, cubed cheese or crackers. Maybe try putting foods in a mesh net holder (for babies at Walmart). Just think creative and don't worry if she wants your milk. Offer it all, so she gets use to it. Mine also loves juices, but in a cup with a straw to drink it. She tends to play with boxed juices and sippie cups at times. Again....it's all about letting your little one explore. It can be frustrating, I know, but remember, they are learning new tastes and textures and also adapting. Oh....as for the weight thing, as long as your dr. hasn't told you she is concerned about her weight, it's fine. Neela is a little over 20 lbs and she is on the average percentile. Dr. told me she's perfect and gaining each time, even if it's a little. She's moving right along with her weight. Don't worry. Good Luck. Feel free to add me to your circle of friends!



P.S. Enjoy her relying on you to an extent, because it pays off. I have had so many compliments on my Neela. She is very smart, interested in people and discovery and knows a lot of words for her age. I really feel it's from Breastfeeding her. I'm willing to sacrifice until she self weans, unless it's way over 2. Plus we are SAHM, so we have more of a benefit. Hang in there!



Rebecca

[deleted account]

Is her doctor worried about her weight? My son is 26 months old and only 26 lbs. He about 3 feet tall and can fit size 12 months shorts. His doctor is not worried about his weight. My doctor did say that by age 1 year, he should be eating 3 meals a day with the family, which he did and does. He only nursed at nap and bedtime after that, and I weaned him before he was 18 months. I just asked myself, What do I WANT my child to be doing at this age? and am I reinforcing him doing the opposite?

Darcy - posted on 09/10/2010

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You are getting great advice here. I have a 19 mo old that is on track to be about your child's weight at 22 mos - she is about 23 pounds now. She is in the 50% for height and weight on our dr's growth charts, so your child's weight might not be so far off. Teething and illness or allergies or food intolerances all can lead to the extra nursing. Also, you might see if she doesn't want bland food - mine doesn't like spicy, but doesn't like bland either. She has started ignoring the bland food in favor of things that are spiced like we eat. Good luck!

Shannon - posted on 09/10/2010

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It is great that you have been nursing so long. But if you are ready to let go you have to let her know it and be ready to be persistent with your needs if she doesn't want to give it up. At this point you can no longer supply all of the nutrients that she needs. As some of the the other mothers have suggested, give her some of the food your family is eating might help. Just remember- it is your body and you do have the right to say NO. If you are ready to let go of breastfeeding this often, be prepared for a fight (even though it may be easier than you think once she knows you mean business) and make sure that you stick to it and don't give in - it will make your life easier in the future.

Shawanda - posted on 09/09/2010

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Wow...Now I don't feel ALONE anymore. I totally understand where you're coming from because my son will be 2 at the end of the month and does the exact same things! It's a chore to get him to eat and he'd rather nurse on me than to eat solid foods. My husband doesn't understand because all he does is yell that I'm starving our son, when I complain that he wants to nurse more than I can handle. BTW--I have an 8 month old daughter who is still nursing around the clock. My son is only 24 lbs---so he's super skinny too, but I'm totally ready for him to STOP any day. I don't like being tied down to a couch either. He's doing much better at night though. I think that you should do what you feel is best for you. Limiting feedings is fine and a step towards getting her to be independent. Talking to them helps them understand a little more. I hope all works out for you!

Vatsala - posted on 09/09/2010

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@Nicole: Thanks for your post. It was very reassuring to read. I have been going through the food dilemma with my 11 month old. She nurses, but doesn't like solids too much. I have been making bay food ever since we started solids. She loved Broccoli at one point but now will have none of it. I am planning to introduce a bit if cumin in her diet after she is 1. I come from India and as much as we love spicy curries, I was amazed to find out that any sort of spices are not served until after 1 year. oh yes and she has only two teeth!

Heather - posted on 09/09/2010

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I understand your frustration and have been there. I found that my daughters were actually thirsty. They needed to drink more. Try giving a sippy cup and rocking her. I agree about the possibly of her teething that was has been the case with my girls as well. Try distracting her by reading to her and doing other activities. Make her schedule more rigid so she know that you will read, play, eat lunch, nurse/nap, snack, play, read etc. that nursing is scheduled and done at a certain time. Do all these things with a sippy cup close at hand.

Erynne - posted on 09/09/2010

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My son is 17mos, and we've started communicating during mealtimes. He will ask to nurse, and I'll say, "Mommy is eating. When Mommy is done eating, THEN we nurse."

Usually, while he waits for me to finish, he will eat a few more nibbles of whatever food is being offered.

You can start giving your toddler a "now we are (blah) but then we will nurse" statement when food is present, and that might encourage her to eat. Trying to force her to eat won't work - would you eat if you didn't want to and someone kept saying, "Eat this! Just try it! C'mon! Just EAT it!"

No need to stop nursing at other times... just make sure she has the option of solid food (either off of your plate or her own plate, although my son prefers food from my plate) and make sure that you take your time eating, so she has plenty of time to sample bites of food.

Good luck, honey!

Natalie - posted on 09/07/2010

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I recently night-weaned my 19-month old daughter because she was waking and demanding to nurse every 45 minutes to an hour. I was so tired that I felt like I needed to do this for all our sanity! I spent from 17-months until now asking her to wait when she would want to nurse during the day for short periods of time at first to longer periods of time up to an hour. When I felt like she could handle this without feeling upset, I tried it at night. I talked to her about her and mama getting some sleep and not waking up to have "booba". I told her that we were going to wait until the sky was light with morning. It has been 3 weeks and she is doing very well. She usually wakes up 2-3 times and I rub her back (she is co-sleeping) and tell her to go back to sleep. If she tries to grab booba out of my shirt I tell her, "In the morning" and usually she goes back to sleep. After 5am it's rough and anytime after six we get up and nurse. She hardly eats or drinks anything else. Each meal is generally 3-6 bites and I'm lucky if she has 2-4 ounces of juice or water. I thought that she would eat more if I night-weaned, but she isn't...however, she nurses A LOT during the day again and I can't get her to wait anymore. I assume she knows that two things are true: 1. Her mama needs to sleep so she grants me more sleep and 2. She still needs more calories, so she is going to INSIST that I help her with that during the day. I think this is a fair trade!

Nicole - posted on 09/06/2010

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skip the baby food. it is great to feed babies right off of your plate. Look up Baby Led Weaning. The basic premise is skip purees and the gerber garbage in favor of real food in manageable pieces they can feed themselves. It also covers the fact that some babies want a lot of solids right away other don't want any well past a year. Phoebe didn't eat actual meals until she was about 14 months old. She really digs spicy curries. Avocado, hummus, and cheese are also baby crack. Oh yeah, arrrrrgh! My darling girl is nursing the life out of me- four teeth coming in at once.

Esther - posted on 09/02/2010

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I'm so glad I'm not alone. After much trial & error we have realized that Allison is picky.. if she doesn't like it she won't eat it. Baby food didn't get eaten much in our house, maybe 2 months. She turned her nose up at everything but seemed extremely interested in our plates. Unfortunately, she has the same palate as her daddy & I. We like a wide variety of food & we like spice. Allison loves rice & grits, but sometimes she just won't eat it. No matter what. I also thought maybe she wasn't feeling well, or if she had new teeth coming in. Nope. She just doesn't want to eat THAT, right now. Something she gobbled down last week she won't touch today. I thought when we put her in her own crib at night when she was 13 months old, she would eat more during the day instead of nursing all night. Turns out she's a kicker like her momma & she had to go to her crib for the sake of my sanity. She's only had a couple colds & I know when she doesn't feel well because she's battled MRSA in the last year. Once you get it, you are more prone to getting more abcesses. So, I'm constantly on the look out for tiny bumps that can quickly turn into something scary. Both times she was in the hospital & every abcess that was treated at home, she nursed a lot. So I don't think she's feeling bad.

~Esther

Aleks - posted on 09/02/2010

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@ Tanicia. My LO was exactly the same, hated the "bland" baby food but was happy to pick at the stuff on my plate. I Have to tell you: Its ok. Besides, in the 1st yr solid food is more for play and experimentation, discovery of different tastes and textures rather than for nutrition or calories. That is still provided by breastmilk, so I wouldn't fret over him.
@ Kat, babies/toddlers also use breastfeeding as a mechanism of getting attention, though, what I have also mention earlier.
Good luck

Tanicia - posted on 09/02/2010

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And i thought I had it bad. LOL I have a 8 month old that I'm trying to get to eat baby food. He cant say boob (thank goodness) but he is always reaching out for it. To get him to eat I have to give him real table food that tastes like something. He just isn't a big fan of the baby food, unless its fruit. I would suggest letting her try some of the foods that you eat. Whenever my son sees us eating he feels like he has to try it, unfortunate for him he only has two teeth. Let her see that your eating the food and maybe she will follow.

Kat - posted on 09/02/2010

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Hi,i have an 18 mth old daughter and im going through the same and am at my wits end,she continually feeds through out the night and doesnt sleep much,she falls back to sleep with a boob so its the easiest way to settle hershe does ask for it during the day but i can get her attention away from it even though its alot of screaming and crying,she wants me all the time.She will pick at food i give her but it mostly ends up on the floor or in her hair,so i fall back to giving her a jar of smooth babyfood which she likes with a yogurt,because i dont want her to go hungry.I have advice about stopping breastfeeding completely but its hard i dont want to see hr upset,it would be especially hard at nightimes,i dont have advice at mo,i need some myself lol.just want to let you know your not alone.I feel aalone sometimes x

Aleks - posted on 09/02/2010

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How long has she been this demanding? I have found that my 18mth old wants boob all the time and not so keen on solids is when she has an upset tummy or has a cold. Infact, at one stage she refused to eat anything except for 1.5 meals a day and just wanted mummy milk for over a week!!!
We ended up figuring out that she had a sore throat and that is why she wasnt keen on eating anything that wasn't so smooth to swallow. As her pain subsided so did her rejection of solids. My LO is just little over 18lbs and quite the fussy eater. Always on the go, so getting even her faves in is a struggle, even at good times. Not to mention, she has soy and dairy intolerances so finding quick and easy food is difficult, and cooking all the time and then having to throw most of it out is not fun for me! If she is inadvertently exposed to either she has a terrible tummy ache and bowel pains, which turns her into quite a miserable little miss, who not only whines, is cranky and is "precious" but refuses most food and just wants to breastfeed (comfort for pain I guess, the resultant reflux she gets and emotional comfort I guess). Also, toddlers go thru "favourites" stages and then all of a sudden, they will turn their noses at a food. Just like that.
Now, do you think your toddler could have reflux (silent reflux is when there is heart burn without the vomit) or food intolerances? How is her sleep (my little ones sleep is also disturbed if she gets exposed to her food no-nos or has a cold)?

Anyway, these are just my "food for thought". Good luck.

Nicole - posted on 09/02/2010

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I can only commiserate- I have a 23 month old boobie troll. she does eat solids well but nurses all of the time. I can't even count the x's/ day. I do work full time which makes her an even bigger milk fiend. She is a beast- 37 in and 38 lbs so her calorie demand is quite high. All day long she bellows "boobies peeeeeease" which is sweet but tiresome. She also says thank you and put my boobie away when she is done. But at the rate she nurses I shouldn't bother with a shirt. She nurses for long stretches during our sleep too.
Is your daughter getting molars/ other teeth? Teethig seems to make babies want to nurse chronically. My niece (27 months) is the exact same way when she teethes- when she was getting molars it seemed to be the worst.

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