The W Family Chronicles

Lactation Angst, part 2

Posted on: January 24, 2008

Yeah, yeah. I know this discussion freaks some of you out. Don’t read it if it’s going to bother you because I truly do not need any more negative comments today about the fact that I’m *still* breastfeeding my baby. I understand you think it’s weird/gross/unnecessary or whatever. I kind of don’t care about your opinion.

So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, allow me to vent about our pediatrician appt this morning. We had to reschedule C’s 18 month well visit because we ended up being out of town on the originally scheduled day. They couldn’t get us in before today so in we went, almost a month “late.” I am not a huge fan of well visits. I feel like they’re a little extraneous for those of us who do our research and know what to expect from our child as far as development and health. Plus I get sick of the vaccine pushing and trying to explain my position each time we go in. (I think vaccines are beneficial, I just don’t like giving as many as *5* or more in one visit. We vaccinate, but we slow down the process and spread it out a bit more than what is recommended by the CDC.) Yes, I know there’s a lot more to it than development and vaccines…and that’s why we go. But today I got the “you need to wean him because he’s not gaining enough weight” speech. And it’s got me SO upset that I left the office in tears.

C is nearly 19 months old and weighs just over 20 pounds. His height and head circumference are proportioned to each other, if somewhat lower than average. His weight is so low as to be off the charts and it’s been dropping in percentiles since around nine months. Now before you start thinking “Gosh, the doctor’s right!” let me say that J’s growth pattern was almost identical, if somewhat higher on the percentiles. And he was almost 100% formula fed. So I’d argue that it’s not as bad as it seems…this seems to be how my kids grow, regardless of feeding method. C has always been a tiny little thing. He had a rough start to life (not premature in the technical sense, but showed many symptoms common to premature babies) and he was nearly a month old before he’d regained his birth weight. Never did the ped suggest I supplement with formula…she told me to keep at breastfeeding and that the weight would eventually come back. She was SO encouraging and supportive and never once mentioned formula as an alternative. Sadly, that doctor has left our practice and we are seeing all new people now. Maybe this is why I’m so upset…to feel so supported back then when there were more issues than just weight gain and suddenly to feel so UNsupported when he is otherwise incredibly healthy and happy…it’s hard. I’ve heard of people getting the “you should wean” line from their ped and felt so lucky to have what I thought was a doctor who’d never do this. It’s such a shocking change of events at this stage in the game.

And I think it’s unnecessary to explain that nursing him is about WAY more than just food at this point. He eats a huge variety of foods and has been known to eat more than me at one sitting. He definitely eats more than his big brother. My nursing him doesn’t affect this AT ALL. Nursing is so much more than nutrition for him. It’s a way for me to keep him healthy…to date, he has caught many of the colds and little illnesses that have made their way through our house but each and every time he recovers faster than the rest of us and has fewer symptoms. It’s a way for me to comfort him when he’s hurt or scared. It’s not my first line of defense is these situations, but it’s one of many tools I have in my toolbox to help a toddler who’s unable to express himself or understand everything I say to him. It’s a way to reconnect after a long, busy day. It is so much more than nutrition at this stage! I wouldn’t suddenly stop kissing him or giving him snuggles now, so why would I stop nursing him?

I think it’s no secret that I no longer enjoy breastfeeding. I wish he would just decide he’s done. But I am NOT going to force it right now. Maybe after the winter’s over and there’s fewer germs floating around. Maybe after he’s 2 (the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for a *minimum* of 2 years) or when I feel like he will be better able to understand what’s going on. But not now. For now, I will continue to give him what he *needs* as far as nursing. We’ll increase his fat and calorie intake in other ways, but right now weaning is not an option. Thankfully I have a husband who is completely supportive of me and this decision. Now if only I could get other people to stop expressing their opinions on the situation, I’d be a much happier person.

Edit to add this information as found on the kellymom website:

  • It’s not uncommon for weaning to be recommended for toddlers who are eating few solids. However, this recommendation is not supported by research. According to Sally Kneidel in “Nursing Beyond One Year” (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):

    Some doctors may feel that nursing will interfere with a child’s appetite for other foods. Yet there has been no documentation that nursing children are more likely than weaned children to refuse supplementary foods. In fact, most researchers in Third World countries, where a malnourished toddler’s appetite may be of critical importance, recommend continued nursing for even the severely malnourished (Briend et al, 1988; Rhode, 1988; Shattock and Stephens, 1975; Whitehead, 1985). Most suggest helping the malnourished older nursing child not by weaning but by supplementing the mother’s diet to improve the nutritional quality of her milk (Ahn and MacLean. 1980; Jelliffe and Jelliffe, 1978) and by offering the child more varied and more palatable foods to improve his or her appetite (Rohde, 1988; Tangermann, 1988; Underwood, 1985).


Maybe I should print that out and take it to our weight check in a month? 


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W Family Players

D is the dad, the husband, and the breadwinner. All around nice guy and good at pretty much everything he does. It's disgusting, really. But makes him worth keeping around.

M is the mom, the wife, and the hopeless housekeeper. At least the kids' heads haven't fallen off yet. Beyond that, she sucks at the "stay at home" thing. Oh, and she's the blogger.

J is the big boy. Born October 11 2002, he is in kindergarten and loves it. Now 6 years old, and too smart for his own good. Talks a lot but extremely entertaining.

C is the little boy. Born June 26, 2006, he went through a lot in his first year but is doing just fine now. The only blond in the family, so his paternity is routinely questioned by rude strangers.

V is our baby girl. She is brand new and arrived in January 2009. So far everything is going well. We're thrilled to have added the final piece to our family puzzle. And yes, she WILL be the final piece!


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