Question: My daughter is almost 18 months old. For a while, I was starting to see the process of natural weaning taking place. She was eating more solids and nursing less. But now it seems like she is going in reverse. She nurses more and eats less solids. Is this normal?
Linda Folden Palmer replies: Yes, this is normal. Older babies will go through ebbs and tides in regards to interest in nursing, as well as staying very close to you physically or wandering away more. If mom needs to wean or cut back on nursing for any reason, these ebbs are something to take advantage of.
By 18 months, your daughter has gotten maybe 85 percent of the health benefit she could receive from nursing. Better is to allow baby to decide what she needs to eat and when she needs it.
It is an absolute untruth that your milk's nutrition goes down. The amount of milk produced does wane when the diet is supplemented and demand diminishes, but this is quickly reversed with increased demand.
There are mild changes in breast milk’s composition with the age of baby. The immune-protective white blood cells can no longer pass through baby’s intestinal wall very easily and the number of these go down. In compensation, lysozyme, an immune factor with chemical action, goes up. A couple of minerals go up or down a bit also, to match the needs of an aging baby.
© Linda Folden Palmer
Dr. Linda Folden Palmer consults and lectures on natural infant health, optimal child nutrition and attachment parenting. After running a successful chiropractic practice focused on nutrition and women’s health for more than a decade, Linda’s life became transformed eight years ago by the birth of her son. Her research into his particular health challenges led her to write Baby Matters: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring for Your Baby. Extensively documented, this healthy parenting bookpresents the scientific evidence behind attachment parenting practices, supporting baby's immune system, preventing colic and sparing drug usage. You can visit Linda’s web site at www.babyreference.com