Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Staying home with a child is one of the hardest things to do (for me). A rough day at home makes any bad day I had during my working career look like no big deal.

Yesterday was one of 'those' days, when nothing seemed to go right. Ella is fussy about eating solid food (again), and melted down completely when I put her in her high chair for mealtimes, if I talked on the phone, if I left the room for more than a few minutes, etc. She was tired as well, so the only thing she wanted to do was nurse. Her naps were truncated, probably because she hadn't eaten enough food. I was tired and tried to nap when she napped, but she woke up after 40 minutes so I didn't sleep.

Amanda and Oona came over in the middle of the day to keep us company for awhile (they were having a similar type of day), and still, Ella and Oona were somewhat out of sorts, though they played alongside each other and tried to out-squeal one another a few times. When Oona ate, I tried to feed Ella, but she cried and refused food. Amanda tried to watch Ella while I made some phone calls upstairs, and Ella cried so much that I gave up.

By 3:30 in the afternoon, Ella was complaining a lot again (wouldn't eat any food I offered and wanted to be held). I put her in her stroller and tried to get ready to go out to the park, and she carried on crying while in the stroller in the entryway. I snapped.

I yelled at her ("stop crying!") which made her pause for a minute, and then really cry when she saw that I was angry. This made me even more frustrated, and I shouted again at her. She was crying in earnest now, and when I saw how upset she was, I realized that I scared her, and I took her out of the stroller, sat on the stairs with her in my lap, and all she wanted to do was nurse. Within 5 minutes, she was asleep in my arms, so I put her in her crib and she slept for an hour (from 4-5 pm).

I called her pediatrician and he suggested I cut out all breastfeeding during the daytime and encourage her to eat three meals a day. He said it will be "hell for a week or so", but she needs to understand that there are specific windows of time by which food will be offered, and she needs to eat solid food if she wants to address her hunger.

He feels she's not eating food because she'd prefer to nurse, although nursing does not provide her with enough calories to maintain her growth. I agree with this, but dread going cold-turkey because eating solids is already a source of a lot of crying, and the peaceful nap strategy we've had for months will also disappear. Can I handle 5-6 bouts of crying (around mealtimes and naps) for some unknown number of days in a row (in addition to crying when she wants to nurse at random times)?

Can I mentally stand the crying and the lack of sleep and the unhappiness? I'm not sure.

I am going to postpone starting this until the weekend when Michael will be home and can help distract her from wanting to nurse for at least to the first two days of this new phase.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. I was doing some research and stumbled onto your blog post, and just wanted to share the following resources with you. Many pediatricians really aren’t well-informed about normal breastfeeding (particularly not past a year) and how much breastfeeding provides in terms of nutritional needs for toddlers. Particularly given how attached your daughter sounds to breastfeeding (mine were as well and that is totally normal at that age) regularly, I just wanted to give you some information to help in your decision (since it sounded from your post as though you were hesitant to completely eliminate breastfeeding during the day). It is completely normal for babies of your daughter’s age to be unwilling to eat “full” meals of solid food, and for many breastfeeding children of that age, solid foods are more of a supplement than their primary means of nutrition. Since human milk changes daily to meet the exact nutritional needs of a child (as long as the mother is nursing—this is true even after the first year), you can be assured that your daughter is getting what she needs nutritionally. If she needs more calories than she gets through nursing regularly, then she’ll almost certainly be interested in solid foods, but it is likely to be pretty traumatic (for you and her) if you try to do a cold turkey thing given how hesitant she is to try solids at the moment (which, again, is TOTALLY normal at her age). Below are some good links. Not trying to tell you what to do—just thought I might be able to help given your expressed hesitation at your plan.

If I can help further or provide other information, I’m happy to--feel free to contact me.

Carla Moquin
Parenting in the Workplace Institute
Framingham, MA
(801) 897-8702