Breastfed 14 mo old weighs under 5th percentile, won't wean or eat. Help!!

Kelsey - posted on 07/28/2014 ( 1 mom has responded )




I've read the advice about how to fatten an underweight baby with higher calorie foods and putting Pediasure/Carnation in their milk. But what if he always refuses to drink or eat anything? My son is very attached to breastfeeding and milk supply has been dwindling for the past few months, which is probably why he has not gained a thing. If he eats food he'll only eat a few bites. I'm trying to wean him but he absolutely will not have it.


Chet - posted on 07/28/2014




A 14 month old needs about 1000 calories a day. It's possible to get 1000 calories from about 15oz of breastmilk. You can easily produce that much milk without your breasts ever feeling full. As long as your son is wetting diapers, not losing weight, and not having any other issues I wouldn't panic.

Eating a few bites of solid food is good, and you just need to build on that. You want to take this opportunity to form good eating habits though. Now is the time to help your son develop a taste for good, nutritious food. If you form bad habits (like Pediasure) they can be very difficult or impossible to break later.

Honestly, I would not try to wean a child who isn't eating solids well. Breastmilk is a very complete food, and the nutrients in it are absorbed easily and more completely. Products like Pediasure are loaded with sugar and I would stay away from them unless they are deemed medically necessary. It's a good thing that your son is still nursing.

Not all babies can be the biggest or even the average. Some babies and toddlers are just small. Those height and weight charts were produced from normal, healthy babies and children. Being small is not a problem in and of itself. Doctors pay attention to weight and growth because weight and growth trends can indicate underlying issues that require attention. But it's the underlying issue that matters. If your child is healthy and naturally on the small or lean side that's okay.

Growth and weight gain do slow down, and it's normal for older babies and toddlers to sometimes go months without growing or gaining. So again, you don't necessarily have a problem.

In theory, the bulk of a babies nutrition comes from breastmilk up to 12 months and solids are just for practise at first. A switch isn't magically flipped at one year though, and so some kids the transition will take a little longer. 14 months is still close enough to 12 months that I would still be mostly patiently.

Right now I would just try different strategies for getting your son interested in solids:
- offer to share what you're eating from your plate.
- have him watch you prepare food.
- offer finger foods that he can feed himself.
- offer him snacks in the stroller or in his carseat where he may be less distracted and more willing to try them.
- have other people offer him foods if he associates time with you very strongly with nursing.
- don't offer him empty calories, no juice, no goldfish crackers, etc. If he's not eating much make what he eats count.
- make it a point to try in the morning, kids often eat best in the morning and have the least interest in food at supper.
- try really hard to stay relaxed, you want to form good habits, not turn food into a battel ground or a power struggle.

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