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I’m after some advice for a good friend of mine please, she has given me permission to ask. Her 3 1/2 year old son is regularly very poorly and hospitalised with respiratory problems (cause is still being investigated). He has not put on any weight in many months (I think she said he actually weighs less than 9 months ago). He does not eat much and the dieticians are working with her to try and increase his weight. He still breast feeds and she is starting to get comments about it now. She is very open to help from them, but is worried that the breastfeeding may become an issue and I wondered if any of you wise ladies could point me in the direction of any research into term breastfeeding, especially if there is anything related to chronic illness and/or weight gain. She is struggling with the repeated sudden-onset episodes of illness and is emotionally quite vulnerable and would just like some facts to back up her mamas instinct I think. She feels he would have lost even more weight were it not for the BFing.
A second, unrelated question, does anyone have any experience of this?: A mama who didn’t get the proper support and didn’t manage to BF her first baby who is now about one. She is pregnant with her second and would love to BF, she would also like to try and BF her older child who will be just over one when the baby arrives. Can anyone point me in the direction of some information on the practicalities of when and how to start trying? During pregnancy or wait until the new baby arrives? She is open to the possibility of expressing and giving her older child milk if he won’t latch as I think a big part of it for her is the benefits of him receiving her milk. I think he has been having special formula due to allergies up until now, although the mama is now vegan.
Thanks very much!
I am just dashing off to bed, but I thought the Kelly Mum website may be of help, it has a section on breastfeeding toddlers. I have not had time to read it, but it may help x
Proud Mummy to our gorgeous new daughter Rowan born July 2011
GP Lets no 134
1st question - I’m sure the bfing is giving the child calories and nutrition, and certainly benefits his immune system. I do think at that age it is important to encourage food first though. Perhaps she allows him to snack on bm enough to stop him feeling particularly hungry? If he only has a small appetite and is maybe a bit lazy (!) to eat? I definitely would not stop bfing, but try and encourage some solid (high calorie) food before the milk.
If a 3 year old was only consuming formula milk or cow’s milk there would be concerns for that child’s diet. Breastmilk is obviously better than that but you can appreciate it is still not a complete food stuff for a growing toddler. Who guidelines…
2nd question - The older child probably won’t be able to latch on but there is no reason why he couldn’t have some expressed bm.
Can’t do a long post right now but I’ll make sure to come back later with more info.:
1) I do agree that the child would have lost more weight without breastfeeding. I still breastfeed my 3.5-year-old daughter, and she’s well within the “normal” weight range, active, and has only been poorly twice in her whole life. Really, she’s one of the healthiest children I’ve ever known. So no, the breastfeeding is not the cause of the child’s weight loss or poor health. That said, I would try to offer food first and come up with strategies to get the child to eat a little more while still being able to breastfeed. I would not try to wean the child.
2) There are actually some resources out there about getting an older baby or toddler to start breastfeeding. There are adoptive mothers who breastfeed, and mothers who want to start after a long separation or illness. Do try poking around on the Internet a bit, and if you don’t find anything, let me know and I will comb through my online history, as I happened to come across something only a couple of months ago. I think the gist of it was to get the child used to it slowly—a baby of a year old won’t learn to latch on overnight.
mummy to Rumika (3.5) and Juniali (almost 5 months)
Both ladies might be able to get more help from their local La Leche League group: http://www.laleche.org.uk/