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Addicted to milk! Doesn't like food.

(21 Posts)
bonbonpixie Tue 11-Feb-14 11:33:27

I've posted here before and had some good advice with regards to my DDs (22 months) eating or lack of it. Think extreme fussiness, refusal to try foods, chewing then spitting out, very slow growth, dwindling list of accepted foods etc.
We saw a dietician and a speech and language therapist about 8 weeks ago. Their advice was pretty unilateral - stop bf entirely or cut down to once a day. At this point I have to add that DD is a milk monster. She would rather have breast milk than pretty much any food. She 'asks' for it constantly, I don't think every 15 minutes is an exaggeration. Whilst at home I can barely sit down or she'll climb up asking for milk. Quite a few times in the night too.
Now I understand that dietician and SLT felt that DD is filling herself up with milk and therefore not hungry for food so in ernest I thought I'd try it their way and drastically cut down bf, from numerous to 3 times a day. Well the last 4 weeks have been some of the worst of my life. We are having constant tantrums about my refusal to give in to her demands for milk. Hour long moaning and crying. At the start of these I offer a drink and sometimes a snack and then there is mealtimes. I can honestly say that cutting out bf has had no effect what so ever on her eating only on her mood. In fact mealtimes are worse and she is probably eating less because she is so upset over the lack of milk. I'm ready to give in and just let her feed again round the clock but i really don't know what to do for the best. We have our paediatrician appointment in a little over a week and I'm pretty sure that they like the dietician and the SLT will just fixate on the 22month/still being bf thing and not look any further into growth and non-eating. Has anyone been down this road before? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!!

murphy36 Tue 11-Feb-14 19:51:49

How many feeds a day are you doing? And Are you cutting all feeds?

Try one a day to start with. Food and cup only

bonbonpixie Wed 12-Feb-14 10:31:23

At the moment we are doing three breast feeds a day. She won't accept cows milk/any milk actually. She will happily drink water from a cup but nothing else.
I did try to break the comfort connection by expressing and giving it to her in a cup but honestly it's such a faff and it takes me ages and most of the time she refused it too!

murphy36 Wed 12-Feb-14 13:26:52

Sounds tough. I'd say keep going. Lunch is now: XYZ she won't let herself starve

againsttheoddsididit Fri 14-Feb-14 08:06:54

I will probably get a lot of flack for this but my son, now four, loved and still does love milk. When he was your daughter's age he wanted milk constantly. Perhaps not quite as much as your child. He was not underweight and never has been. I had to stop breast feeding at 10 months but he eventually loved drinking his bottle as much as breast milk. I got the same advice as you. Although from what you say I wasn't as vigilant. When I didn't give him milk it was a nightmare. He was fretful and wouldn't settle. He was not more interested in food. So the upshot is I gave up and continued to give him milk a lot. I did cut down marginally. It doesn't appear to have done him any harm. He has regular dentist visits and his teeth are cavity free. He eats normally now. Sometimes, when he is stress or very tired he still asks for a bottle and I let him have one.

oscarwilde Fri 14-Feb-14 08:19:53

Will she try mild cheeses or yoghurts? Even the fromage frais type?
How does she behave with other children around when they eat? At 22months my DD would follow a slightly older child around like they were a god. Any suitable role models around?

I appreciate you obviously wish to continue to bf but I'd drop the breakfast feed and give v milky Weetabix. Or offer only after she's had a good try, small steps. Perhaps you need to almost go back to early weaning days?

I don't have experience of this, I had to stop bf when I went back to work and had a bottle / cup refuser. It was insanely stressful keeping her hydrated and stressing about her calcium intake so I do understand a little how pressured you must be feeling.

Artandco Fri 14-Feb-14 09:19:09

I would stop all feeds in the morning at least. Then maybe one after lunch bed one before bed so she is Hungary in the morning and eats.

Try taking here to the supermarket with basket and getting her to pop a few things in she would like, then letting her eat those regardless of what they are for now. Milky porridge for breakfast

Mummyfizzy Fri 14-Feb-14 09:20:22

Does she suffer from any allergies? Is food making her feel unwell and therefore she prefers milk?? Gluten or lactose intolerance?
What are her communication skills like? How much does she understand about why or when she can have milk? Instead of saying 'no' would she understand 'later'? For example have a light that comes on on a timer in the morning as a signal for now it's morning you can have milk. Or feeding for the length of a particular song? Or at specific times eg milk is for before naps and bed and first thing in the morning. How about moving where you feed her to a particular place. Eg only a chair in her room. Does she ask for milk more at home? Could you try going out more and distracting her? Soft play? Swimming? Get some new toys, stickers, crayons etc to distract her with when she asks for milk. You could try dr jay Gordon's night weaning method. It's very gentle.
I sympathise so much. My dd is quite a milk monster but only 16 mo. However I can see her still wanting 4,5,6 feeds a day for awhile yet.
I think child led weaning is so good for your toddler. Weaning is a developmental milestone that children reach at different ages. Have you read any dr sears stuff? He says there may be a time between 18-24 months when toddlers start feeding like newborns again. They are growing in independence and wanting to go out and explore the world, but still needing the safety and comfort of mum.
Your dd will learn to eat one day, she's a lucky girl to have such a loving and dedicated mum who has bf for all this time. Breast milk is good stuff. Your daughter will be getting lots of nutrients and calories. Hugs

DeWe Fri 14-Feb-14 09:30:35

My cousin refused all solid food until she was about 4yo. She got to the point she could fill her bottle with milk, put it in the microwave, set it going, get it out, screw the top on and drink (supervised obviously). She wouldn't even take any flavours in the milk.

Her parents used to give her a small amount of solids every meal, but she'd refuse all except tiny amounts-although we once caught her eating a big bite of stale bread we were taking to the ducks. grin

The doctors weren't worried as she was a healthy little one, I think they gave some vitamin drops to go in the milk at one point.

She just gradually started eating food (ham was the first thing, followed by chips if I remember rightly) and by the time she started school ate as well as any other child.

naty1 Fri 14-Feb-14 16:25:13

Is her weight dropping on the charts?
Does she like porridge i find that is quite filling so they go a long time without being hungry.
What does she like to eat?
Every 15 mins does sound a lot at that age (i am no longer bf) but my 20m only has milk around 3-4 times a day.

BettyFlour Mon 17-Feb-14 07:28:52

Hi OP. You say that your DC is also seeing a SALT. At 22 months I thought this was very early for assessing speech delay, however, does she have a speech delay? Perhaps the muscles in her mouth haven't developed properly yet. In which case she'll have trouble talking and eating at the moment. But this will probably resolve itself. Can she chew?

Good luck

bonbonpixie Fri 21-Feb-14 15:12:49

Hi and thank you the advice. I was a little confused about the referral to the SALT as she can talk very well. Has quite a lot of words already and a few sentences. At the visit they told me it was to asses her swallow, however I'm not quite sure how they managed to do this as they never came near her or looked into her mouth.

Have had the paediatrician appointment I mentioned and he was bizarrely unhelpful. At first, as we explained her behaviour he was interested and suggested possible reflux problem, a fear of swallowing etc and then when he realised I was still breast feeding her he completely disengaged. Leaned back in his chair, closed our notes and said no you just have to stop feeding her. When I asked about calcium supplements as she won't eat cheese/yogurt/milk/creamy sauces/ white bread he just said she will eat them if you stop bf and don't let her bully you!!!

Can't believe his reaction actually.
Didn't seem to matter that she is steadily moving down the centiles for weight and height. To put it into perspective she has been same shoe size for almost a year!

murphy36 Sat 22-Feb-14 20:23:34

Sorry, but I agree with your doctor. Maybe it's just time for solids.

Littlefish Sat 22-Feb-14 20:41:20

You have now had 3 medical/health care professionals telling you the same thing. You have been advised by all of them to severely cut down on the breast feeds you are giving your dd.

Can I suggest you re-post this in the breastfeeding section to discuss with other natural term breast feeders what their 22 month olds are eating, and how many beast feeds they are having.

You are likely to get a range of opinions, but I strongly suspect that you are out on a limb.

heather1 Sat 22-Feb-14 20:50:08

Pick read the posts and although I don't have any insights into your feeding issue OP, but you have my sympathy as it sounds tough. I wanted to say that SALT aren't always just for speech issues. They also cover muscle strength and range of words spoken etc.
my experience is a good SALT is worth their weight in gold and if the NHS offers something I would usually take it as resources are so scarce!
I hope your problems gets better.

heather1 Sat 22-Feb-14 20:52:57

Also do you want to stop breastfeeding your Dd?
I only ask this because it's an emotional relationship not just a practice feeding one and I'm wondering if you don't want to stop feeding if your Dd is picking up on this and it's making it much harder for you as she is so upset.

TheRaniOfYawn Sat 22-Feb-14 21:01:07

When you are out doing stuff does she feed as much? The feeding as soon as you sit down thing is pretty familiar. DD didn't get feed quite that frequently but she would probably feed at once every two hours during the day with a few quick suckly feeds just to check in and run off and several very long feeds of at least half an hour.

She ate like a typical toddler wroth days of virtually nothing but milk and days when she ate almost as much as I did.

If she does feed less when being active then probably some of it is down to boredom and a nice predictable routine with lots of fun trips out will help. What some people do is to have set times for feeds and then to limit the duration of other feeds, eg for the length of time it takes to sing Twinkle Twinkle.

bonbonpixie Sat 22-Feb-14 22:46:36

Thank you all again for the replies. To answer the post about ' it's time to give solids'. Very unhelpful. I do offer three meals and two snacks everyday. My problem is that she won't eat meals or snacks. That her range of accepted foods is getting smaller and smaller. That she seems to have a proper fear of trying new foods and will gag when confronted with new things. My problem with the advice given by medical professionals so far is that they seem to only focus on part of the problem - the bf. We feed three times a days currently- although certainly she would like it more often - and this is her only source of calcium. Dr's don't seem concerned, but i'am. She is almost certainly anaemic but again, we're waved away with just stop feeding completely. It should get better in time.

Sorry for the rant. Had a particularly bad day food wise. Off to pick bits of tomato out of my hair confused

bonbonpixie Sat 22-Feb-14 22:47:47

Great idea about limiting feeds to the length of a song.

ianleeder Sun 23-Feb-14 00:04:42

You are not alone. My son age 5 used to prefer milk than food. He was a nightmare with weaning and eating. He's diet was very limited. Refused breakfast, had milk, small lunch then ask for milk. Refused dinner then asked for milk. I was getting stressed and we couldn't eat out. I eventually let go the stress and made eating more fun and enjoyable for him. We cooked together, shop together, eat together, invited his mates for tea. I did everything to make eating enjoyable again. Eventually he likes eating (took about 2 years!). Still quite fussy but not as bad as before, we go out a lot on day trips so he's extra hungry at dinner time and will try new food. His food palette is getting better and I do a lot of home cooking like pies, pasta, roast etc. he only have milk after breakfast and before bed in a cup. He doesn't get more milk other than that.

omama Sun 23-Feb-14 20:50:00

OP what happens at mealtimes? Do you ask her to try new foods? What do you do if she doesn't eat? My ds has always been a very fussy eater & we found the absolute worst thing was to let mealtimes become stressful. If they can detect that you are stressed, and if you place them under any pressure whatsoever, even just asking them if they will eat something may be enough to completely put them off. I read 'my child won't eat' & while it hasn't changed how much DS eats, its helped to remind me not to stress about it so much.

We put the food on the table & all sit to eat & do not comment whatsoever on what he eats. We usually put the food in the middle & everyone helps themselves & find he is much more receptive this way than if we serve the food onto DS' plate. If we do serve it we only put a tiny amount on. We still serve pudding (just yoghurt & fruit) even if he doesn't touch the main course (which tbh he doesn't on most days).

I do think it sounds likely that her lack of interest in solids is directly linked to the amount of milk she's been having. I think, if you can be strong enough to stick with it & see it through, she should soon come around. Things are bound to get worse before they get better - she is testing you to see if you really mean it.

WRT the range of foods reducing - this is unfortunately, quite normal for toddlers. Many go through phases of eating very limited diets, and they are just that - phases & do pass. DS had a stage of only wanting to eat sausages - we're currently favouring jam sandwiches & these days I just go with it!

Even if she drops a little on the charts, she is unlikely to starve herself. My DS was on the 91st centile at 6 months old & is now under the 25th centile but is not underweight & is perfectly healthy & happy. He's cows milk intolerant & so has very little calcium in his diet (as won't eat veg either) & this really doesn't seem to have had any adverse impact on his health.

Try not to worry.xx

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