Why do all pediatricians seem so against extended breastfeeding?

I am on my second pediatrician for my daughter in 16 months - we left the first because every time we went she was sure my daughter had some new rare disease, but also because she seemed very against breastfeeding when my daughter was an infant and I figured it would only get worse from there.

Now, My daughter is still nursing at 16 months. She was born at 9lbs 4 oz, and lost 1 lb before leaving the hospital. She still nurses about 8 times a day now, and has only gotten up to 20.5 lbs. Her father is very tall and super skinny so the doctor thinks it's genetics but has still recommended that I cut down to no more than 3 nursings a day because she says my milk is "low fat" and not as calorie dense as solid foods at 16 months. I know there are a lot of moms who know a lot more about breastfeeding than I do on here so I was curious to see your thoughts on this. Should I cut down the nursings? I have tried but it has made my daughter very very irritable and she's just drinking more whole cow's milk, not eating more food. Any thoughts?


Just to clarify, my daughter does eat solid foods - she eats 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, plus 10 oz of whole milk which is far more than any other toddler I have seen. She started in the 95th percentile for weight and height and now she is 87th percentile for height and 13th percentile for weight. Her father is 6'4" and when he graduated high school weighed 120lbs. Now, at 42, he is barely 150.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My personal opinion is they get kickbacks from the formula companies. The hospital I had my daughter at did everything they could to discourage me from breast feeding. They gave her formula at birth even though I told them I planned on nursing. They didn't want to bring her to me and even told me I couldn't nurse because of medication I was on. When I asked my midwife about that she told me they were ridiculous because I had been on the same meds for my whole pregnancy. Then they told me I couldn't nurse because my milk wouldn't come in because I am an older mom (43). My milk came in the day after I got home from the hospital but by that time I couldn't get her to latch. Thankfully wic loaned me an electric breast pump and I am able to pump and bottle feed so my daughter gets nothing but breast milk now, but I came home from the hospital with a lot of formula and a bunch of formula coupons that I am not going to use.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Sure one day he'll slow down and eventually wean but until then breastfeeding is THE most important source of nutrition. Cow milk doesn't even come close. If it did you won't see so many moms on here asking about failure to thrive and slow weight gain in the 1-3 year old ages. You wouldn't see so many moms giving their toddlers pediasure -which is basically formula with more sugar. If these mom's had continued breastfeeding OR EVEN formula feeding for the recommended 2 years (well the only reccommendation I have seen for formula is "some time during the second year but don't be in a rush) they wouldn't have this problem.

  • 1 decade ago

    Baby does need more than just breastmilk at this age, but they can get that through food, not only by cutting down nursing. Also is your diet balanced and are you getting enough extra calories for breastfeeding? I know when my diet is off because my little one slims down!

    All doctors are different. Mine has supported my breastfeeding even with a bipolar preschooler, my husband deployed and my baby being allergic to dairy and my having to change my diet, but now that she's at 4 months, 90th percentile height and 50th percentile weight the doc wants to discuss formula even though my preschooler and I were at the same point at the same age and formula fed!


    I don't think enough doctors look at family history, which it sounds like could play a part here too. I seem to remember though, my first was solely on cows milk and table food at this age and dropped in weight due to the amount of activity expected of a baby who can walk and run...

  • 1 decade ago

    I've had two very pro breastfeeding pediatricians. My daughter is only 18 pounds at 16 months but the most recent one said she's just a small kid and encourages me continuing to breastfeed.... however I have cut back myself since I'm pregnant and it's hurting a lot to nurse.

    The doctor did tell me that often cutting back on nursing does get them gaining weight (she said no one is really sure why) but she wasn't advocating me stopping just to get her to gain weight. Cutting back to one nursing a day hasn't seemed to make any difference in her weight. My daughter won't drink cow's milk though... she spits it out whenever we offer it to her, so that might keep her from gaining as fast.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Forget the doctor. It's common knowledge that it's very healthy for babies to nurse up to 2 years of age and still be 100% healthy. As long as she's still gaining and not losing, she's fine.

    I'm very surprised her pediatrician is not supportive of extended breast feeding. Good for you for keeping it up for this long :) I wish Riley had. But she was *done* at just under 14 months old.

    You don't have to cut down on nursing as long as she's still getting a good variety of foods along with the breast milk. At 16 months old, solid foods are very important, but so is breast milk if your baby is still nursing. Kudos to you for keeping it up!!

    Source(s): Exclusively nursed my daughter for 6 months and primarily nursed her until she was just under 14 months old.
  • Ethel
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Oh gosh, if she weren't getting good milk from you she'd stop. You can forget the cows milk and give whole milk yogurt to expand her palate, and add a little olive oil to purees if she'll eat them. Protein will help her gain more then carbs or fats really, and she sounds fine as long as she's stayed on the same percentile for weight.

    Source(s): Nursed #2 exclusively for 11 months, primarily for 22 months (8-10 times a day), he gained well - that is at the 50th for weight and 95th plus for height.
  • 123
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    for what it's worth --

    "The longer a mother breast-feeds, the higher the fat and energy content of her breast milk.

    However, experts are not sure what this finding, which appears in the September issue of Pediatrics, signifies.

    This is the first study to analyze the fat and energy content of breast milk of mothers who breast-feed for longer than a year," said study co-author Dr. Ronit Lubetzky, who is with the department of pediatrics at Dana Children''s Hospital at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel. "There are more and more women who choose to breast-feed for longer time periods, and not many studies about the nutritional value of their milk during this prolonged lactation.

    They found a startling difference: the fat content in the mothers who had breast-fed for longer periods of time was 17.5 percent, versus only 5 percent in the short-term group."


    forgot to add that 2% milk is 2% fat while whole milk is about 4% fat.


  • Mother's milk actually *increases* in fat content as your baby ages: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits... Quoted from that link: "Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods."

    Breastmilk is also higher in calories and more nutrient dense than most solid foods and cow's milk. Breastmilk is also absorbed by a child's digestive system much more efficiently than other foods, so they get more nutrients from it. Here's a comparison of breastmilk and other solid foods: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/babyfoo...

    Your doctor has no way of knowing the fat content of your milk. There are many factors that play into a child's size - activity level and genetics also play a very big role, as big as food consumption. Your milk is likely just fine, and your child is simply smaller for genetic reasons. Toddlers are also notoriously active and playful, so they burn more calories. As long as she is thriving, wetting enough diapers, not showing signs of dehydration, meeting milestones normally, and not losing weight, I wouldn't worry about altering her diet to make her gain more.

    Doctors actually don't receive much training in lactation or breastfeeding - especially when toddlers are concerned. It's not unusual for doctors to recommend weaning or cutting down on nursing so a baby can gain more weight, but there's no evidence that this will help, and decreasing the amount of breastmilk your child gets deprives them of the antibodies and micronutrients that they get from it.

    Here's some good links on nursing a toddler:

    Fact Sheet: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits...

    References: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-refs.htm...

    Myths: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-myths.ht...

    Nutrition for nursing toddlers: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/toddler-f...

  • 1 decade ago

    Um yeah, your pediatrician is like most of them: NOT informed about breastfeeding or nutrition at all. Ignore her and nurse your daughter whenever she wants it. :)

    Source(s): Breastfed my daughter 2.5 years on demand; now nursing my newborn on demand
  • Dyot
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    "still recommended that I cut down to no more than 3 nursings a day because she says my milk is "low fat" and not as calorie dense as solid foods"

    Your pediatrician knows nothing about breastfeeding and child nutrition. Ignore her with confidence.

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