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Health Visitor got my heckles up - breastfeeding 9 month old

(46 Posts)
jmontan27 Thu 27-Aug-09 23:57:59

My HV came to see me today about my 9 month old DS who is very reluctant to eat. Infact, he has only just started to eat purees, even though I started to wean him at 6 months. I have always breast fed him on demand, and he still feeds about 6 times a day from me (some of these "feeds" are very short - less than 3 mins). Bearing in mind he won't take fluids any other way at the moment, despite me trying to introduce a cup, I didn't see anything wrong with this, although I am tired getting up twice a night to feed him still.

Anyway, she said there is no way he is getting enough iron and that a 9 month old only needs 2 breastfeeds a day and asked if I wanted to get the number of feeds I gave him down or whether I thought it would be best to give up b'feeding altogether!
Well, TBH, although I would be happy to cut out the night feeds, I do not want to give up breastfeeding and don't like the way I was made to feel for demand feedingangry

He is my 3rd DS and DS2 was very similar (didn't really start eating till 11 months) and my HV at that time was very laid back and was of the opinion that he would eat when he became hungry. DS2 is now 3 and eats normally. Now I feel under pressure because she is coming back in a month to see how DS3 is doing.

Anyone else demand fed an older baby? How did you get round the eating issues? How do I stop the HV from interfering? (I am also being made to feel bad for not buying vitamins for him).

colditz Fri 28-Aug-09 00:00:26

She's only coming back if you let her.Ring up and cancel the appaointment.Don't be pressured into making anotherone. Say you need to check your diary.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 28-Aug-09 00:02:37


He does not need iron. The iron in your milk is far more available for uptake than iron in formula so he will be fine.

With relation to the eating, don't worry. Maybe try him with some finger foods as well as the purees to see if he is interested, but he'll eat when he's ready.

I would tell your HV thanks but no thanks when she calls next month.

Why does he need vitamins?

jmontan27 Fri 28-Aug-09 00:11:43

Apparently, it is widely believed among HV's that there is not enough iron in breastmilk after the first 6 months. Becasue DS3 only likes fruity purees and yogurt, he is also not being exposed to the full spectrum of vitamins he should be! I think it's b*llocks myself - as I say DS2 turned out fine, even though he only ate 2 meals a day till he was 2. HV has insisted on coming back because according to her measurement of DS3's height, he's dropped nearly 2 centiles (he's still above 50th centile) and she wants to measure him again. If I put her off coming, I'm worried she'll think I've got something to hide.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 28-Aug-09 00:20:58

Well that's a load of balls also then. My GP won't even do a height measurement until DS is able to stand up properly on his own for more than a few seconds - she says the measurements are too unreliable and can give false cause for concern.

I would still tell her not to come, and that if you've got any concerns then you'll go to your GP.

It is widely believed on MN, that HVs know feck all about a lot of things! wink

WobblyPig Fri 28-Aug-09 00:58:40

Do you think the repsonses would be the same if you were FF on demand?
I suspect that if there was the suggestion that your DS was not eating because he was filling up on formula there would be more push to reduce the feeds and increase the food.
No one should pressurise you into anything but it is possible that the HV is right although not putting it correctly. The breast is best tends to dominate thinking sometimes inappropriately. It is lovely that you like breast feeding and that your son does too and in reality if you continued probably no real harm will come to your DS, but there comes a time to progress . I hold no great store by HVs in my experience they rarely have adaptive practices or are able to think beyond a certain algorithm but I wouldn't dismiss the viewpoint.
I would see no reason to stop breastfeeding altogehter though as obviously many children combine three meals a day with breastfeeding. My sister breast fed to 2.5 years with her son who has always been a very good, non-fussy eater.
Don't mean to rock the boat just offering another view.

whethergirl Fri 28-Aug-09 01:19:06

I breastfed my ds until he was 2.5. I was still bf on demand (and that was a lot) and during the night (several times) until he was about 1.5. I never really thought anything of it until I went to see the hv one time because I felt ds wasn't eating very well. She very gently suggested that I could either cut down feeds, or shorten them, or not bf at least an hour before mealtimes (seems obvious advice now...but at the time, I was like - oh, would that make a difference). So that's when I stopped all night feeds (OH so THAT'S why he doesn't sleep though the night!), and gradually reduced breastfeeding to twice a day.
I was planning to bf ds until he was 3, but when I went to have a routine check up with my new oncologist (after having had breast cancer many years ago) he was shocked that I was still breastfeeding and said "Hasn't he had enough? He is a big boy now." Which I found very upsetting.

Your hv sounds terrible, I would definitley NOT see her again if I were you. You sound like you know exactly what you are doing and can make up your own mind to make the right decisions in the interest of your baby. Was she an older woman? She sounds very out of date.

AbricotsSecs Fri 28-Aug-09 01:43:51

Message withdrawn

preggersplayspop Fri 28-Aug-09 06:31:58

She's talking crap. Kellymom has some great advice which kept me sane when my DS was still breastfeeding loads and wouldn't eat solids (he didn't take to eating solid food til well over 1).


flimflammum Fri 28-Aug-09 07:18:27

FWIW, both my (breastfed) DCs weren't that bothered about food till they were about 10 months, then there seemed to be a natural shift to food being more interesting than bf.

Dunno where your HV got the idea from that a 9mo only needs two bf a day. Maybe she's getting confused with ff. They give some advice about not giving them too much (cow's) milk, otherwise they're full and don't eat other food.

Babieseverywhere Fri 28-Aug-09 08:04:14

My one year old DS eats a lot and again nurses a lot more than twice a day too.
I guess your HV would have a heart attack if she saw my demand fed 3 year old DD who certainly has more than 2 breastfeeds a day now and that is on top of three full meals and several snacks and she is still wirey and thin wink

Milk is meant to be the majority of your baby's diet for the first year. This milk (be it formula or breast) ideally should be demand led and not limited in amount/frequency. The Kellymom link from preggersplayspop is a good one and explains why you should nurse before offering solids, so that the solids your baby takes is in addition to the milk not replacing it.

It is normal for some 9 month old babies to be uninterested in solids. Your DS is behaving correctly for his age, he has no 'eating issue'. Ring up and cancel the HV appointment and if asked say you decided you don't need support at the moment (not that the HV is being supportivehmm)

turtle23 Fri 28-Aug-09 08:12:21

There IS less iron in breastmilk after 6 months. You know why? Cause that's what they need. Breastmilk is not the same every day it is produced, it is miracle stuff. You are doing the right thing.
If I were you, I would take pride in the fact that you are still breastfeeding, keep offering food and he will eat when he's ready. Babies are quite clever...they even know when they're hungry. ;)

jmontan27 Fri 28-Aug-09 08:49:05

Thanks for all the input - very supportive. With regard to feeding near mealtimes, I had thought that might be part of the problem, but often I leave it 3 - 4 hrs after a feed before I offer him food and he is still not that interested unless it is fruit puree (but even then, he can't manage more than a 4 month jar amount!). Last night I fed him at midnight and at 4.30am, and I have just tried breakfast and he is not at all bothered - won't even open his mouth. He is in a good mood too, all smiley, but as soon as he see the spoon, his mouth clamps up like a portcullis!

jmontan27 Fri 28-Aug-09 09:07:19

preggersplayspop, thanks for that link! Makes a lot of sense to me! smile

scarletlilybug Fri 28-Aug-09 09:07:53

Why the puree? Could you not just give him some finger foods to nibble/mash up/play with? Bananas, mangoes, strawberries, pear, cucumber, bread, avocado, cooked carrots, brocolli, cheese... those kinds of things.

WidowWadman Fri 28-Aug-09 09:09:10

jmontan, maybe it's just purees he doesn't like? Have you tried finger foods?

My daughter is 8 months old and breastfed on demand, but gets solids offered to feed herself every time we have a meal. Her intake varies and she only started swallowing bigger amounts in the last 2-3 weeks, however I was told my HV and my BF support group that up to 1 year the main nutrition comes from the milk anyway.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 28-Aug-09 09:11:03

Try him with a jaffa cake grin

You carry on doing what you want. HV can be good when you are stuck but it sounds like you are pretty happy as you are.

theDMplagiarisedLeonie Fri 28-Aug-09 09:11:03

Message withdrawn

jmontan27 Fri 28-Aug-09 15:47:58

Should have said, I have tried all manor of finger foods, from lightly cooked pear through to brocolli, carrots and banana. He seems recoil at the feel of "slimy" foods (basically, anything good for you that feels like "food"), but will hold and nibble a rusk, ricecake or piece of toast. Just won't eat that much of it. I have also tried slightly more textured and mashed foods (on many, many occasions) and he just gets really panicky, spits it out, then won't open his mouth again. It's really only in the last couple of weeks that he's even entertained the idea of puree.

jmontan27 Fri 28-Aug-09 15:49:54

FabBakerGirlIsBack Have yet to try a jaffacake - could be his saving gracegrin!

Dalrymps Fri 28-Aug-09 16:01:07

jmontan - Your ds sounds very similar to my ds with his approach to food. He is 22 months now and only just trying the same food as us but eats very small amounts still and doesn't really eat meat.

He was on smooth puree for aaaaages and getting him on to lumps was very difficult and took a lot of distraction techniques. We still have to give him a book to get him to eat his pudding off a spoon!

Anyway, all I can say is, if Icould go back to the begining and start again I would tell myself to relax. We were so anxious and worried about how much he was eating i'm sure it didn't help. They're all different and think if you carry on as you are he will get there eventually.

If you don't want to see the hv you don't have to!

weegiemum Fri 28-Aug-09 16:11:32

You don't have to see the HV.

I saw her a few times with dd1, twice I think with ds and never with dd2.

There might be some good ones out there, but I've never met one.

So many of them seem to know nothing about bf - what put me off was the first one I saw when dd1 was 10 days old, and she looked at me sitting feeding her and said "you'll never feed a big(10lb) baby like that all on your own, better get her used to a bottle now!"

jmontan27 Fri 28-Aug-09 17:29:33

Thanks guys, glad I am not the only onesmile! The irony is, DS2 was just the same and for some reason I am even more het up about DS3 than I was about DS2. Just got to think of a way to put of HV now. She has insisted on re-measuring DS3's height in a month.

mumcah Fri 28-Aug-09 20:21:40

My DD (17 months)was under Paed care recently due to a hip problem.Her blood test showed she was anaemic (nothing to do with her hip condition) and the Paed said milk (any type of milk)does not provide enough iron for a growing baby or toddler.He also said ALL children should have a vitamin supplement from 1 year as they are often fickle eaters.
iron can cause some serious problems too.Anyway,you seem confident in what you're doing and that your child is happy.But try to make sure he is eating enough and a wide range of foods as it is important.I agree breastmilk us very important but maybe he needs some more food and a bit less milk?

nellynaemates Fri 28-Aug-09 20:35:39

I've not read whole thread but just wanted to say that my son ate loads at that age but still had about 6-8 breastfeeds through the day and night.

Listen to your instincts, the amount of BM is not what's stopping him eating more solids IMHO.

Silly woman.

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