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Avatar Keaustin
18mo BF son has lost his appetite for food and is constantly wanting breastmilk

I'd like to wean him so I can go back to work but he won't take other kinds of milk (i've tried cow's, almond etc) and lately has become obsessed with his breastfeeds - grabbing my nipples and calling out for "boob" every hour, also through the night. He throws a real tantrum if he doesn't get it. It seems to be affecting his appetite also as he is rejecting foods he previously loved, he's a little guy and I'm worried he's not getting the nutrients he needs. How to get him off the breast??

Jane ...
Answer: Hi, This is a reasonably common situation but not likely to change until you place some boundaries around his breastfeeding. He's probably temporarily satisfying his appetite with small amounts of breast ilk so that he's not hungry enough for meals but never fully satiated. Which means that he's not getting the nutrition he needs to grow and sustain him with breast milk alone. This is low in iron and toddlers who get most of their nutrition from breast milk are often anaemic and one of the symptoms of this is a low appetite. So it all tends to become a vicious cycle. You need to decide if you want to continue breastfeeding him or wean. Most of the time toddlers who are still happy to continue BF aren't keen on any other type of milk. But he does need milk if you're not going to breastfeed him-yoghurt, cheese and milky desserts will help to fill in the gaps until he's actually accepting milk from a cup. Reduce the total number of BF you're giving him day/night and wear a firm fitting top/blouse so he can't see or access your breasts. You're going to need to be really firm and consistent in managing this including no overnight BF. If you need help consider getting a referral to an early parenting centre where you'll get one on one support. And a check in with your CHN would be really helpful and beneficial in terms of supported guidance. Best Jane
Answered: 15 Feb 2015