“Hello everyone, I have an 18-month-old girl who is still breastfeeding. Since she was 6 months old, I started to give her solid food, and she did eat some: a little fruit, a few pieces of potato, or half of a cookie. But now she almost doesn’t eat anything anymore, she only wants to feed at the breast and she eats very, very little solids. Her weight is fine, and that reassures me, but yesterday I went to see the pediatrician, and when I told her about it, she told me that I had to wean my child off the breast, that I could leave her with my mother for a couple of days and that way she would wean and start eating solids. Now I am so confused because I don’t know if this is normal for her to eat so little. What should I do?
First, every mother can do whatever she chooses; we will not tell you whether or not you should continue breastfeeding or stop and wean your daughter. This is your decision, your choice, and it is up to you and your child alone.
But also, the situation you are describing is quite common. Children usually eat very little, and adults have a serious problem with their expectations regarding the volume of food children should have. If your child is eating a little and gaining weight well for their age, there is nothing else to decide. Adults insist their children eat, even though in all developed countries, there are severe problems with child obesity. If there were malnutrition problems, it would be appropriate to worry about children eating more, but this is not the case.
A possible cause of poor appetite
If your baby or toddler shows little or no appetite, it is recommended to first rule out possible anemia. One possible cause of this iron deficiency is the practice (or malpractice) of early umbilical cord clamping. During a baby’s birth, the blood that the placenta sends to the baby in the minutes immediately after birth is critical for the baby to get all the iron reserves until they begin to eat solids. Early cord clamping, either to donate/bank the cord blood cells or because of outdated hospital protocols, puts the baby’s iron reserves at risk. However, if you are worrying about possible anemia, a blood test is recommended to decide whether iron supplementing is necessary to promote a better appetite.