What is the one-year breastfeeding crisis?
When breastfeeding babies approach their first birthday, they might be entering the one-year breastfeeding crisis. Have you heard about it? At this stage, you might assume that your child will be eating a little more each day and, perhaps, breastfeed a little less. If your baby has already been eating* solids with some ease, he or she may now suddenly refuse to eat or eat very small amounts of only a couple of foods and refuse any offer to eat more.
But they don’t breastfeed less; on the contrary, they want to breastfeed more and more. And this is when, as a mother, you might receive many negative comments: “Of course, if she knows that she can breastfeed, she won’t eat,” “Your baby won’t eat anything until you stop with breastfeeding,” “How can she eat if she spends all day on your breasts?.”
And any mother will get more stressed out and may push her child to stop breastfeeding to get her baby to eat more.
So what happens to the child?
Children’s growth rates slow down at around one year of age. Then they stop eating because they temporarily stop growing and know that they don’t need a large amount of food at this stage. They regulate themselves and continue with breastfeeding, which always continues to be nourishing, so they DO eat. They continue to take the breast, which provides them with most of the nutrients they need.
This is just a different phase of growth stagnation, and when they accelerate their growth again, which is between 15 and 18 months, they they show interest in food again and will eat however much they need.
What can I do about the one-year breastfeeding crisis?
If you want to continue with breastfeeding or if you decide to start the weaning process, this is a decision that only you and your baby can make, nobody else. We can tell you that weaning makes them eat a little more, but it will not be a radical change in your baby’s behavior when it comes to food.
But now you know that this situation is completely normal, and now you know that your baby is fine, because your little one is nourished enough with your milk. So this situation and the comments you might get will be more bearable.
Would you like more support?
If you would like to talk to our experts about your personal situation, there are two ways to contact the LactApp experts:
- Download our free LactApp app for iPhone or Android and look in the contact section for our Consultation Channel.
- In the app, there is much more information about breastfeeding and motherhood
* If your baby did not eat solids at all before the breastfeeding crisis and, after their first birthday, still does not show any appetite, it would be a good idea to get checked by a pediatrician. This is to see if a blood test is necessary to check the baby’s iron levels, which may affect the appetite.
** If you are worried about the evolution of your child’s weight or health, it is always a good idea to visit your pediatrician so they can evaluate your child.