Hi mommas, would appreciate some feedback about breastfeeding!
My son is 9 months old and has been exclusively breastfed. Over the past 2 months, I have tried to introduce solids (pureed sweet potato & breastmilk, mashed avocado, rice cereal & breastmilk, mashed banana & breastmilk) but aside from a tablespoon here and there, he won't eat. He is also a very active boy, and spends all day crawling, pulling up and cruising--and less time at each feeding. I figure he is also burning more calories, and needs more to eat.
Since the day he was born, he has breastfed every 2-3 hours around the clock (day & NIGHT). I also pump several times a day to increase my milk supply (I use the extra milk to mix with his rice cereal and veg). He has always gained weight well, but between 7 - 9 months, he has only gained 1 oz/week. This has totally stressed me out. Since I found this out a few days ago, I have been giving him an extra 4 oz of pumped milk a day, but don't know how long I could keep it up. After 9 months of no solid sleep, I think the exhaustion is taking a toll on my milk supply too. I am also concerned that he needs consolidated sleep but can't get it because he is hungry at night. I am not sure what to do! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
p.s. the extent of my pediatrician's helpfulness consists of giving me a gerber company handout
The information I received was that "solids are just for fun until they're 1." Breastmilk should be the main source of food and nutrients, so there is nothing wrong with your baby not eating a ton. I have to be honest, my daughter didn't eat a lot of solids at that age, mostly because she was nursing all the time and I didn't always have the time to gather up all of the food items and spoons and bibs, sit down with her, and spend the 20 minutes fighting with her to get her to take more than five bites.
Don't stress over the weight gain - babies naturally slow down their weight gain around the time they become active and crawling, so that's normal. If you're concerned about the nighttime eating, have your husband go in and try to rock him at night - he may be eating more out of habit than hunger.
Lastly, have you looked into baby led weaning? The philosophy is basically about giving your baby whole foods (no purees, no spoon feeding) and letting them discover food on their own terms. They learn to use their teeth to bite and chew (instead of just swallowing what you feed them) and they learn how to eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full.
My experience was that solids were way easier once my daughter could eat table foods. Now I plop her in her high chair with finger foods and she goes to town.
hi Meg and Lindsay--thanks for your replies. I was operating under the assumption that solids are not necessary until after one too, but what if my breastmilk supply is too low for him? That's my main concern.
I find the baby led weaning stuff very interesting, but I have one main concern with it: I am afraid of my son choking on chunky food! that's one of the reasons why i love purees (even though it seems that my son hates them...lol). How did you guys deal with this? I know that babies don't really chew with their teeth until 2 years anyways...but my son is only beginning to get his first tooth now.
My other main concern is that my son's pediatrician seems to be a fan of forumla, and has actually suggested it even when my son was gaining weight quickly, because he said it would be easier and more convenient than breastfeeding! i decided to breastfeed exclusively anyways, but now i am worried that since my son's weight has slowed down, it will be harder for me to find any alternatives! I didn't initially have any problems with the idea of formula, but the more I look into it, the less I am willing to consider it ... especially considering the recent study out of Dartmouth on arsenic in formula and stuff I have read in the Dr Sears books about bad reactions, etc.
Has anyone else had similar issues with slowed down supply at this stage (9 months)? Is there any alternative to supplementing with formula? I am open to BLW (or any alternatives, really)...but again, the choking thing scares me!
Janet, is it possible that the slowing down in the weight gain has more to do with his activity level vs to your milk supply? If he recently started crawling and/or moving around much more then before I think this could cause the weight slow down. I remember when my lo started crawling and then later on walking he stopped gaining weight so quickly. He was never lower then in the 25% though, and my doctor was never really concern about it.
First off, if breastfeeding is important to you, I would find a new ped. If all he's going to do is push formula, in sickness and in health, than what good is he to your actual concerns?
Secondly, regarding baby led weaning - I don't worry about choking. I'm always next to her, I went and got trained in baby CPR (and have had to flip her over once and whack her back - not my favorite, but I'm glad I knew what to do.) And there is a big difference between gagging (which happens) and choking (which rarely happens.) Yes, sometimes she has shoved too many blueberries in her mouth at once and gagged on them, but it only takes a second for her to clear her throat. Also, they don't need teeth to chew. They need teeth to cut food and take bites of tougher things, but my daughter can easily gum a piece of bread into smaller bites and swallow it. I don't give her things that she would need teeth to crunch (even though she has seven now.) Like... no whole, raw carrots. But whole blueberries, of course. Grapes, cut up. Cheerios, pieces of steamed vegetables, small pieces of meat and bread, etc.
And lastly, what makes you think your milk supply is low? If it's just weight gain, you have to remember that weight gain slows around nine months to a year (and onward) because they are getting active and growing in height. My daughter went from being the fattest fat fatty at 6 months to a regular sized toddler at 16 months, because she was crawling and pulling up and now running everywhere. But she's been healthy at all times. If you're worried about milk supply, I would drink more water, eat more oatmeal, etc. But before you start fretting about milk supply, try meeting with a lactation consultant, either at Mission or Milkalicious. They'll be able to do a before and after weighing, check out your baby and give you REAL advice about what you need to do to make breastfeeding work for you. They won't just hand you a formula sample.
Hey, I don't normally chime in on blogs, but yours spoke to me...I guess because my daughter is 9 months too! First off, YEAH for breastfeeding babies! I'm here clapping my hands and jumping up and down for you because we don't get the encouragement as often as we should. Many people, including doctors, still raise their eyebrows when you say "I'm still exclusively nursing...." Kuddos to you.
Ok, I started my little one on solids around 5 or 6 months, with just s few purees. She hated oatmeal or rice cereal, so I went straight for veggies and fruit. Then in the last month, she has almost refused to take the spoon and purees and wants food that she can pick up and put in her mouth herself, but I too am freaked out by choking. So, everything I give her is either disolvable or really mushy! She has kinda "self weaned" so I nurse her in the morning, when she she goes down for her two naps, and then again when she goes to bed. I give her water at meals or any other time of the day that she wants from a sippy cup. Her ped told us that when she hits 10 months it was ok to start cow milk but slowly...because I was not wanting to do formula if I didn't need to! So, that is my plan. She still wakes up once (sometimes twice), but I nurse her at night too.
I think your son is fine. Ask yourself: Does he seem content? Does he always seem hungry? Try to go alittle longer between feedings, but offer water or some snacks....start small. Mine didn't gain too much weight between her 6 month and 9 month and she is a porker!! SHe is just so much more active!!
Hope this helps or at least gives you motivation to know you are doing the BEST thing for him, even though it IS time consuming and all encompassing. Just remember when you are sitting there in the rocker at 2:00am, "this too will pass" and "this time next year, it WON'T be like this....
All of his activity is probably slowing down his weight gain because he's burning more calories these days.
That said, at this age, he probably doesn't need to be nursed as often as he is. With both of my kids, by 9 months, we were on a set schedule where we nursed 4-5 times per day and did 2-3 meals of solids. Our schedule went something like this:
7 a.m. - wake up & nurse
8 a.m. - breakfast (solids)
10 a.m. - nurse then nap
12 p.m. - sometimes lunch, but not every day, just depended on our schedule
1 or 2 p.m. - nurse then nap
4 p.m. - sometimes we nursed after the afternoon nap, sometimes not
6 p.m. - dinner (solids)
8 p.m. - nurse then bed
Also, we didn't mix the pureed foods with breastmilk except for the rice cereal and oatmeal. Fruits & veggies I just gave straight from the jar. At nine months, I was mostly giving stage 2 jars and would give 1 or 1.5 jars per meal, depending on how hungry the baby was.
We did like Meg did with baby led weaning. But yeah at closer to a year they do tend to slow down in weight gain. Also at this age surroundings are more interesting at the time than nursing, so feedings tend to be really short and so at night he'll try to make up for those feedings. Some things that will help are
- finding quiet times throughout the day to nurse where you go to room that is darker and lower the possible stimulation for him so that nursing becomes the more interesting thing to do (vs looking around his surroundings).
- feeding first before solids as breastmilk has more fat than the solids he's getting in him while eating.
- nursing him (or capping him off) before you go to bed (even if it's nursing while he sleeps)
-and for support I too would recommend a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician that follows the AAP (American Association of Pediatricians) guidelines for breastfeeding but also attending breastfeeding support groups such as Milkalicious or local LLL.
Oops, meant to also post this link - http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enoughmilk-older.html
Thank you all SO MUCH for your advice. I really appreciate it! It is a relief to hear from other moms, especially about weight gain. Yes, Kasra has been super active, and that coincided with his slower weight gain. Wanted to give a mini-update, since I just took Kasra in for his 9 month check up: the extra pumped milk seems to have helped--he gained 1oz/day since last week! He is in the 25% for weight (and--to me surprise--he had a big jump in his height, from the 50% to 90%), so his pediatrician said no supplement necessary. He also told us that the night wakings are probably due to him breastfeeding, but will cause him no harm (i.e. in unconsolidated sleep). So, I am very relieved.
I stopped mixing pureed foods with breastmilk, but don't think BLW is for me! I am still too nervous about the choking. I also spoke to a lactation consultant at Kaiser, which was great. But mainly, I wanted to thank you all for your feedback. I was really stressed and the encouragement and advice I received here really made me feel better. To be quite honest, outside this forum, most people I know (esp family--with the exception of my hubby) are not that supportive of exclusive breastfeeding.
p.s. Giselle: thanks for the kellymom post. I noticed that based on the WHO growth chart for breastfed babies on that site, my son would be in the 50% for weight...what a big dif from the standard American growth chart.
thanks Elizabeth and Brandy!