2 year old breastfeeding too much

(33 Posts)
looseleaf Tue 17-Sep-13 21:53:23

That's it really - he's just turned two and I feel him meals with us and include plenty of his favourites like spaghetti bolognaise - and he likes non-dairy milk (he's dairy intolerant) but he still breastfeeds SO much and gets very short of energy/ cranky without it as so reliant on it.

I'm worried about his iron which I'm sure is way too low as it was a few months ago when he had a blood test and nothing has improved it as he hates his iron supplement.

Does anyone else have a toddler like this? I've asked the health visitor to come and help me stop breastfeeding but worried its going to be traumatic for both of us .
Thanks if you've read this far and thanks even more if have any advice. I have a feeling I have to go 'cold turkey'

bundaberg Tue 17-Sep-13 21:56:19

well... why do you feel it's too much?

hettienne Tue 17-Sep-13 21:57:09

I wouldn't think the HV will be very helpful in stopping breastfeeding, it's not really their area of expertise. Would one on the breastfeeding helplines be a better place to start?

dyslexicdespot Tue 17-Sep-13 21:59:54

My DS is 23 months and is a huge fan of BM. It is his main source of nutrition. I spoke with LLL about it and was told that this is not out of the ordinary for toddlers his age.

We give him abidec vitamins to ensure that he gets enough iron. I really want him to self wean, he clearly loves BF and I would not want to force him to stop.

Have you been in touch with LLL?

bundaberg Tue 17-Sep-13 22:00:02

i think the iron is a separate issue. if he's eating a healthy diet of solids i wouldn't worry about that too much tbh.

he'll be breastfeeding as much for comfort as nutrition, which is ok!

looseleaf Tue 17-Sep-13 22:05:52

Thank you, I hadn't thought of that and only thought to ask the HV as just had DS' 2 year check and she seemed to understand that there are lots of advantages to longer term breastfeeding so I therefore warmed to her smile.

I will indeed talk to LLL.

I feel it's too much because of the iron issue and feel his fondness for 'mother's milk' is stopping him eating much else as he just tastes and tries rather than eat much quantity.
Also his weight has fallen a lot and he trips all the time (he's had an issue with his legs saw specialist for so it may still be this issue but worries me he's deficient in something!)

I normally like to follow a child's lead but for the above reason think this time need to react? But will def seek more advice from LLL too and grateful for that idea

looseleaf Tue 17-Sep-13 22:10:19

I meant his weight has fallen in centiles not actually fallen. I normally ignore the centiles as our children have always looked 'right' to me but the HV said he needs more calorific foods . I don't think this will help as I offer him plenty, he leaves them then after the meal says I'm hungry ie wants a feed

hettienne Tue 17-Sep-13 22:11:59

Could you try bringing in some rules for when he can feed? For example, only bedtime/naptime and first thing in the morning. I think at 2 they can start to understand some limits.

AnotherStitchInTime Tue 17-Sep-13 22:13:31

What do you give him for an iron supplement? Have you tried Spatone in orange juice, over two they can have it. DH has anaemia and swears by it.

I stopped breastfeeding dd1 aged 2 and just finished breastfeeding dd2 aged 18 months. You have to be tough, wrap boobs under layers, no easy access and offer regular snacks with dairy-free cheese and yoghurt. If you go cold turkey after feeding so often you risk getting mastitis, so drop feeds one by one as much as you can.

Get rid of any early morning feed and feed a cereal with non-dairy milk, swap mid-morning feed for a snack, swap mid-afternoon feeds for a snack. Preempt hunger and have snacks ready at key times. Anticipate tiredness and need to feed and have non-dairy milk ready if he likes to feed before a nap, offer 15-30 minutes earlier than nap time/bedtime. If he feeds at night offer water only.

Dd2 has porridge for breakfast, mid-morning snack with oatcake/rice cake, fruit and cheese, milk before nap-time, lunch, mid-afternoon fruit snack, dinner, milk at bedtime. She is very active, but if your ds needs food more regularly for a while then split the mid-morning and mid afternoon snacks up into two and offer half early/late morning or afternoon to help see him through.

AnotherStitchInTime Tue 17-Sep-13 22:15:50

Oh and distraction is key, it is a lot easier to do if not at home smile

Balloonist Tue 17-Sep-13 22:22:12

My 2.5 year old jumps on me a lot when we are at home together and sometimes I wonder if she does it when she's tired and/or bored. Out of the house she never asks me but if we are in some days (particularly if her sister isn't around) she asks a lot.

I do find it frustrating because sometimes I feel it gets in the way of us doing other things when we are in the house together.

My DD is a very good eater though and all the breastmilk in the world doesn't seem to affect her appetite.

I too would like to wean her now really. I don't mind once or twice a day but I'm rather tired of feeding at night and on demand in the day and I don't want this to go on for another couple of years.

I think you may need to restrict feeds as others have said but it's easier said than done. Does your DS ask when out. It might be worth taking him out and about for a few days and feeding him meals when out to get him out of the habit of asking you in the day.

FadBook Tue 17-Sep-13 22:36:27

On phone so can't link but google Dr jay Gordon night weaning

A very flexible gentle method of cutting milk out during the night. It might be a start. We had instant results ie increase in solid food intake and bf'ing at certain times rather than, bit here and there.

Alanna1 Wed 18-Sep-13 06:24:59

Could you go away for a week and leave OH in charge? (And perhaps tell him "milk going" before you go and your OH that "milk gone" whilst you are away and then when you come back that its "all gone"?)

looseleaf Wed 18-Sep-13 07:42:56

anotherstitch those are very useful ideas and thank you everyone as lots of things I can try. I googled Spatone and it sounds great so will try - the supplement we have came via GP in a huge brown bottle and tastes of metal even when mixed into a sweet apple purée say.
I might start with dropping a feed at a time initially then; the idea of going away for a week makes me feel a bit panicky as he'd be so lost and not used to me leaving him though I'm sure he'd get used to it. Also the broken nights would kill DH who is under pressure as it is.

With DD it was similar in a way but she was much more understanding/ full of empathy when I said I was too tired to give her any milk . When she was about 2.5 I was quite run down and just felt I had to stop immediately and almost got mastitis as she still fed a lot too but it was easier as she listened more!

Just to argue it the other way - what if you gave him more feeds, especially spaced in-between meals? Or do you want to stop yourself? BM is high in calories and the iron it contains is 100% absorbed by the body, as opposed to some foods which are higher in iron, but in a form that we can't absorb. BM would then 'supplement' his diet with more calories and iron, plus all the other nutrients and antibodies etc.

And maybe check you own iron levels too?

Booboostoo Thu 19-Sep-13 13:55:21

I could have written your post, I had the same problems with DD down to the anemia!

The iron supplement works really well and if you can get your DS to take it, it will set your mind at rest. With DD we used a suspension in oil so the quantity was a lot smaller, just 12 drops twice a day. I put it in a special syringe and made a big deal out of the lovely stickers she would get if she agreed to take it. It took a little while but within days she was taking it very willingly and did 3 months of taking the medication for stickers with no problems.

Also try other foods rich in iron like lentils, DD still eats bucket loads of lentils!

At about 2yo I got a bit fed up with DD's constant demands for bf. I was doing 'don't offer, don't refuse' but she was asking constantly, including every 2 hours at night. I tackled the day problems first. As a first step I stopped the tiny, small feeds and established a number of times DD could bf but once from each breast. I kept bf for when we were in bed but you could make it specific to some other situation/place. Very soon she was bfing in the morning, afternoon and night only. We only had tears and tantrums for 2-3 days. When all this was settled I tackled the nights which took a bit longer but again I did a version of Dr Jay Gordon's technique.

DD is now 2.4yo and only bfs 3 times every twenty four hours for 5-10 minutes each time, all in bed, which is perfectly manageable.

Booboostoo Thu 19-Sep-13 13:58:06

Forgot to say that DD eats every two hours and gets cranky if she doesn't so part of the change was making sure I was offering her food all the time. I literally had some food and a glass of water with me to offer her every time she asked for the breast.

looseleaf Thu 19-Sep-13 14:03:48

Baroness thank you for this suggestion too. I do want to stop but it's about 80% about minding the social stigma and 20% about thinking I'd have a bit more energy and independence eg I dread any 'occasion' as feel so uncomfortable leaving DS . I also have read that too much breast milk can contribute to iron deficiency so whilst its iron might be very well absorbed I get the impression it isn't enough?
Having said all attempts this far to cut down are a dismal failure. Today DS had Cheerios (a few), cashew nuts (4), 2 oat biscuits at my friend's, raisins (2) and didn't want salmon /any lunch though today I timed it badly as we went to the library and he was too tired by the time it was ready at 1 so wanted to be fed to sleep!

looseleaf Thu 19-Sep-13 14:08:47

booboo thank you and your DD seems even more enthusiastic than DS! You're so right about snacks and water and I could do with having more things on offer regularly rather than just grabbing him a banana as we rush out.
He's feeding a similar amount, 3 x or sometimes 4 and I've stopped his first night feed by saying no it's night time (he still tries) then if wakes again I let him!

Try offering him the salmon when he wakes up again. He might be hungry enough to want it.

I've not heard about BM contributing to iron deficiency - I'll google that. But re the social stigma, and wanting more freedom, I found that if I didn't want to feed when out and about, or if I wasn't around, DS was easily bribed with a chocolate (soya) milkshake. Is there something that your DS loves enough to be distracted with? And I seem to remember that cocoa is very high in iron too! grin

looseleaf Thu 19-Sep-13 14:31:53

Glad about the cocoa grin. Jelly would be DS' favourite but I'd better leave him with something more filling and nutritious too when next go to a wedding!
I only googled it briefly myself so could be wrong but I do remember seeing something about iron deficiency being more common in older nursing children (of course there are countless advantages too but it's just DS having being deficient I'm mindful I'm keeping an eye on it. And really will look for that other supplement to try as keep getting side tracked!)

looseleaf Thu 19-Sep-13 14:33:01

Ps the cocoa milk is a good idea, I will try that. There is a chocolate coconut milk DD rates as good I'm sure DS would like

This is interesting reading: www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron

Booboostoo Fri 20-Sep-13 06:30:33

I was told too much bf may have contributed to DD's iron deficiency but there is little data on toddlers and bf and even iron and toddlers in general that I don't think anyone really knows whether there is a problem or not.

The kellymom page is more about babies than older children. There is some information coming from the US suggesting that all 2 year olds should be routinely tested for iron deficiency because they tend not to eat the foods rich in iron (regardless of bf) but the jury is out on that one yet.

OP have you tried offering your DS a choice of foods? You could prepare a tray of finger food choices (biscuits, carrots, cucumber, raisins, etc) and leave it where he can reach it all day long, and/or you could encourage him to come with you to the fridge and pick from two different options. Try him with the lentils, there are many different recipes and they are a very good source of iron.

Booboostoo Fri 20-Sep-13 06:58:11

Sorry to keep adding stuff but it's only just occurring to me! DD also eats hot food 3-4 times a day. I don't stress about her eating at very regimented times, she can eat what she wants from a selection anytime she wants it. So for example she might eat lentil soup at 7pm on her own and then eat what we are eating for dinner at 9pm.

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