Q: I am still breastfeeding my son about three to five times in a 24-hour period, although he is already 21 months. Recently we went for a three-week holiday in Europe. Now that we are back home, he just wants to breastfeed. My question is what is the nutrient content of my breast milk now, and how insufficient is it? What food do I give him to ensure he is not lacking. When he was born, he was a good 3.91 kilograms at 50 centimeters, but now at 21 months he is only 11 kilograms at 85 centimeters.
A: Your breast milk is still very nutritious. It does not lose any of its nutritious value as your baby gets older. It would be hard to know how much milk your baby is getting from you. Most mothers of toddlers find they do not have as much as they did when their babies drank only breast milk. It could be that your baby is becoming less tolerant to cow’s milk as he grows older. He may be letting you know by refusing these foods. Or it may be a temporary refusal, and if you relax and try these foods again in a few weeks, he will accept them again.
Meanwhile, you might want to talk to a dietitian about how to add calcium to your child’s diet through calcium-rich foods and/or calcium-enriched orange juice. On the other hand, he may want the extra breastfeeding for reassurance and stability. Traveling can affect some babies this way. Once he gets resettled into his normal lifestyle and routine, he may just return to his normal behaviors and preferences.
If you are concerned about his rate of growth, please consult your physician. I understand that between the ages of 1 and 2, most babies do not grow rapidly. I know my own children did not.
I wish you both well.
By Ann Calandro
BSN, RNC, IBCLC Lactation Consultant