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overweight 2 year old nursling

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  • overweight 2 year old nursling

    Hello everyone,

    My DS just turned 2 and is very overweight (according to the charts). To me he just seems a bit chubby but according to our pediatrician, he is obese! Of course, she told me to stop breastfeeding him and to only give him fruit and vegetables between meals (I stopped listening to her the minute she said "you have to stop breastfeeding him" - HA!)

    DS still nurses avidly both day and night (thank goodness for bed sharing - I don't have to wake up everytime he wants to feed!) and I have heard that breastmilk is high in fat so could that possibly be the reason he is gaining weight so quickly? If so, I don't think I have to worry...he also eats solids but prefers to nurse and I'd estimate that he gets at least 70% of his nutrition through breastmilk, if not more. I generally feed him very healthy food, so I don't think that is the issue.

    The other aspect is that my husband also gains weight very easily if he doesn't exercise A LOT so perhaps DS has inherited those genes from him and just needs more exercise?

    The pediatrician worried me the most when she said he needed to be tested for cholesterol and diabetes (both run in my family). But at the same time, I doubt that he has either of those. My instinct tells me that he just went through a huge (almost year long) growth spurt and that he is now starting balance out a bit. For the better part of the last year he demanded at least 1, if not 2, eggs per day and for the last 6 weeks or so, he has completely stopped asking for them. Also, his weight has not changed in the last month...coincidence or perhaps not...?

    In any event, is it really necessary to put him through the stress of a blood test to check cholesterol and diabetes at this point? If so, they would have to test his "fasting" blood which means he wouldn't be allowed to eat after he went to sleep until the test in the morning, which would be impossible because he nurses on and off all night long! Has anyone ever had to get "fasting" blood taken from their still nursing child and how did you handle that?

    Any thoughts, suggestions, advice, wisdom on this issue would be greatly appreciated!

    Last edited by mummybear; 12-26-2010, 03:46 PM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    The weight would worry me, and I'd go through with the tests because I'd want to rule out a medical reason for your little one's obesity. Constant nursing can be a symptom of diabetes. It will be a difficult night, but it's just one night, you can do it! If possible, try sleeping in another room and having your partner do the parenting that night.

    I definitely don't think you should stop nursing! But it sounds like there is a valid reason to cut back on the amount of milk he's consuming, assuming there are no medical issues contributing to his weight. Calories are calories, whether they come from mama's milk, cow's milk, or solid food.

    I'd try feeding him his solid meals first, with water to quench his thirst. Then, I'd nurse after he's eaten. That should result in him cutting back on the mama milk without feeling deprived.


    • #3
      I think it is quite possible his weight is a combination of growth spurt and genetics, like you said, and I think he will even out. Kids all grow at different rates, and a child that is chubby this month may be completely different next month. Maybe he is getting ready to grow tons in height and then his weight will be more evenly distributed If it were me, I would put off any testing for another six months to see how he grows from now till then. Are both the cholesterol test and the diabetes test fasting? If not, could they just do the blood draw for the cholesterol and have you do finger pricks for a day to monitor his blood sugar? And I'm sure he wouldn't have to fast all night like they may be telling you. I went thru that when my daughter had to have a procedure done. I did some research and 4hrs was sufficient. A big difference from the 8hrs the doctor was trying to push on us!
      HTH and Good luck!!


      • #4
        My now 24 year old daughter was a very large two year old nursling. I have friends whose babies are the same way. It is genetic at that age. If it continues past six or seven then you can increase activity.

        But with my daughter, the doctors were all over me about how she was headed down a bad path, and I was terrified. I was a skinny baby, my first child was a skinny baby, but thankfully my ex MIL and my Grammy both told me that they had fat babies and my Grammy nursed all of hers.

        I think at two, my Jackie was 40 or more pounds. It was a long time ago. Her cheeks were so big that she looked squinty eyed. Both my grandmother and I had gotten hernias at one point from carrying her. It was so hard using a carrier with her because of her weight and size. It wasn't balanced like my other kids. Just heavy dense weight. Gram had to have surgery.

        When she turned four she started to run and that was that. She also grew in height rapidly at four. It was like all that weight was needed to stretch her and she went from fat to rail thin because it happened so fast.

        Two is an easy age to worry. They are just starting to get mobile and so they have stores of weight that they are going to need for energy.

        I wish I had some pictures of my youngest girl from when she was fat. Most were lost in a fire.

        I will say in her teens it happened again. Now this again my Gram said that she had seen before, chubby babies go through a preteen phase where they chub out just before another spurt.

        I will see if I can find any pics at all, maybe my gram has one, but here she is a couple of years ago with my son.

        In my eyes she has always been perfect and her body was doing what it needed to. Everyone is different and we all grow differently. It is how we balance out. Like with eating. If I look at each day I will get tense, but if I look at the week or the month and it balances out, it's all good.




        • #5
          One note, cows milk is designed to make an animal gain 400 pounds in one year. It also does nothing to develop the protective coating on the brain, the Myelin Sheath. The one that prevents Alzheimer's, Parkinson and MS. Diseases that didn't exist before the beginning of the mass dairy industry. Also the only thing they have found that stops Alzheimer's and can reverse it a bit are the compounds found in breastmilk. My doctor does not push cows milk on us. EVER. I am thankful for that.

          Nurse away, if you cut out anything try the milk and eggs for a bit. Maybe switch to an oatmeal or scrambled tofu? If there is a genetic factor for high blood pressure, just avoid some of the foods that may trigger it. It wont show up too early in life in most cases, but I try not to get mine used to foods that may cause a problem later.




          • #6
            Following your instincts in most medical situations is vital. You are the expert on your child. While frequent nursing could be a sign of diabetes, it is also really normal at this age. A lot of moms find that their 18-30 monthers nurse just as frequently if not more frequently than when they were infants. It is also common for babes to bulk up and then stretch out. I know that a fasting test would have been nearly impossible for my son at that age as he nursed almost all night long (breastmilk was also the bulk of his diet until about 32-36months). He was also 95th percentile in weight until he was nearly three as he was growing so very much at that time. It was a constant cycle of him getting rounder and then taller, rounder and taller. The charts used should also be the WHO charts, not the formula/baby food company charts:


            • #7
              Thank you

              Thank you thank you thank you everyone for your input! Yes, fasting at night would literally be impossible and I am not willing to try it even for one night. It would be much too traumatic for both of us.

              It is so true that we are experts on our own babies and it is important to trust our instincts. My instinct tells me that he is just in a "chubby" phase and will stretch out sometime in the next 6 -12 months so I am going to wait it out.

              He almost never drinks cows milk (and if he does, just takes 1-2 sips max) and the eggs have been reduced and I will try to keep his diet even healthier than before (if that is even possible!).

              He is 18kg (40+ pounds) and 90cm ( 35.4 inches) and yes, very, very heavy but he DOESN'T look fat! A bit chubby around the middle and on his thighs but otherwise he's just stocky and strong looking, not fat. I trust this is just another phase like everything else.

              Thanks again and wouldn't mind hearing anyone else's opinion as well....


              • #8
                Here are the comments form the Facebook page:

                Comment 1
                i am wondering what is the actual weight of the baby, and why on EARTH would a dr suggest a fasting lab? i say continue what she is doing, my son was very big at 2, and dr warned me also about weight with him, he is now 6 and 58 lbs, and healthy and happy! i say ignore that dr and perhaps check back in 6 mos!

                Comment 2
                wow. i'd be suspicious of a doctor wanting to put a 2 year old on a diet. what is his weight to height ratio? i'm hoping that the pedi is taking this into consideration when determining that he his obese.

                i'm sorry i don't have anything else to add, other than i am jealous of your high fat milk! my 2.5yo dd hasn't gained weight in a long time and has to drink pediasure. blech.

                Comment 3
                The first thing I wondered was how big the child is, too. There are so many factors to such a young child's size that it is impossible to say he is "obese". And the whole breastfeeding is causing him to be overweight thing is complete BS. Not only would I advise this mother to ignore everything the doctor said, I would recommend she find a new doctor.
                As long the child is eating relatively healthy on a regular basis, and doing physical playing/not sitting in front of the TV all day, there is no need to put him on a diet. Except in really extreme cases, children under 10 or so should never be put on a diet.

                Comment 4
                My son was 35 lbs at a year old, friends and family were very concerned about his weight to the point that my husband started to worry as well. I knew breastmilk fat was good for him and what he ate was fruits and veggies mainly so I didn't change or cut back on anything. He is now 3 and 38 lbs, once he hit a growth spurt and stretched out he was a completely normal looking child, although he still would not be considered "thin" but what growing child should?

                Comment 5
                I'd be wondering if bub's body is preparing for a growth spurt. My DS always got a little thicker round the middle before a growth spurt. If bubs is eating healthy food and doing 3hrs of exercise daily I would suggest a growth spurt.

                Comment 6
                Maybe quitting BF isn't the best option but cutting back, specifically at night. Just as eating at night can cause obesity and other problems with adults, I am sure it can cause problems for tots. I would start with that and then see what happens. Plus, increasing his physical activity (ie active play) can help burn calories without putting him on a diet. My thinking would be that if he is nursing all the time, he isn't getting enough physical activity in. I don't think blood tests at this point would matter because probably the treatment recommendations would be to change the behaviors/lifestyle which can be done without blood tests. Just my opinion.

                Comment 7
                I also wish she'd included his actual weight and height. My kids (ages now 3, 4 and 5) have always been on the thin side, to very thin, despite how often/much/even WHAT they eat. Our 4 year old is our one girl, and we've been told for years to stop giving her fluids at night. She breastfed rampantly through the night (and day), then we were using bottles, it was the same thing, all night long; then onto sippy cups and still night-waking for those-- or cups of water, which she chugs right down-- four to five times each night, sometimes more. I've always told her doctors about this, and they've never given any advice except to simply let her cry it out and stop giving her fluids. No one wanted to test her for diabetes or anything because she's had ZERO other markers, and we didn't know of any family history at all. FINALLY, with a new doctor, I kind of insisted on running a full gamut of testing on her blood. We found out that she actually DID have a form of diabetes insipidus, which explained her constant THIRST. It wasn't an invasive test: I stayed right with her, they pulled out some blood, and that was it. When things showed up as being abnormal, then we moved onto the fasting part of through the night (although that IS torture and she has to be closely monitored). I'm glad we've found out that she DOES have a real, medical issue, but I feel horrible that we waited so long to push for the blood testing to find out for sure. I understand the mother not wanting to put her little one through a fasting lab, but in my experience, it took a lot of pushing to get to this point, and it only came AFTER the initial blood tests to see whether they indicated diabetes/high choloesterol/etc. Did they just skip that step with this child? If so, then I think she should talk to them about doing THAT less stressful part first. If they DID already do the initial testing, then it must have shown as abnormal or I can't see why they'd want to go ahead with the fasting lab. If the initial blood testing has already shown as abnormal, then I would want to go ahead with the fasting lab. It's kind of horrific to deny your hungry/thirsty child through the night and earlier morning, for sure, but it's important to know if they really DO have a serious medical condition. That's just my opinion, though, of course.

                Comment 8
                I, too, would like to know the height/weight. However, with just this information I would also go with "igore the doc and find a new one". Nursing during the night is not "eating" during the night. Babies who have been BF from birth are VERY good at regulating their caloric intake, and that includes how much they are getting at night. Some babies are on the smaller side, some are on the bigger side. As long as he is eating a well balanced diet then BF shouldn't be getting in the way of that.

                Comment 9
                Personally, I would seek another doctor's opinion, but I wouldn't just ignore a doctor's concerns and "follow my instinct." my boy has a kidney disease and my "instinct" is hard to distinguish from my denial and optimism. There have been times when I have refused an invasive test, but only because I felt the doctor was outside his relm of expertise. I would then follow up with a different doctor (ie. When primary care doc wants to do an invasive test, no, but if the nephrologist recommends it, I trust his expertise in this area). In my experience, primary care docs have wanted to run more tests than specialists , so can you see a nutritionist? We've had to do fasting labs every 6 months since my son was about 1.5. Not fun, but with dad's help we got though it.

                Comment 10
                If they want something simple start w/ an urine test for sugar in the urine, easy enough. Having a 2yo fast isn't easy, but you only should have to go w/out bm for 4 hrs. At 2, they can do that, even 6 hrs. Do they want to, maybe not, but it's not going to hurt them to. 3 of my kids had to fast for 4 hrs before age 1, we drove around a lot if they woke too soon to get them back to sleep and then the hospital itself kept them occupied after that.


                • #9
                  thank you!

                  Thank you so much Kelly for all these comments! Do all new threads get posted on FB or do you just select some of them? Could you let everyone there know what Daniel's height/weight is since many of them were asking? (18.2kg = 40lbs and 90cm = 2.95 ft) Thank you again!