Thank you to the VIP who asked me this question: “[My son is] 19 months. I still nurse him quite a bit, and for the last 4 days he has refused any kinds of foods…and wants to nurse every 30 mins. (He does this when he has a cold, and people tell me teething). Besides driving me crazy, I am concerned about his nutrition...are these breastfeeding [solid food] strikes still providing him with what he needs?”
Why Babies Do Solid Food Strikes
In general, it is quite normal for little ones to regress to just breastmilk or formula when they aren't feeling well, such as with a cold/flu or teething. It's similar to when we adults are sick with a cold or flu and all we consume for a couple of days is chicken soup.
Solid Food Strike: Should You Worry
Breastmilk or formula alone doesn't meet all of a 19 month old's nutrition needs. As long as it's just for a few days it doesn't have a significant impact on his overall nutritional health because our bodies store carbohydrate and fat for exactly these types of situations. Of course their bodies are smaller than ours so they can’t go as long without adequate nutrition as we adults can. If a breastfeeding strike, or perhaps a more accurate term is “solid-food strike”, lasts more than a couple of days I recommend having your little one seen by your health professional to determine if something else is going on and whether any supplemental intake is required. In other words, this is the point when individual assessment is needed – my generalized advice that I can provide in this form of Q & A is no longer appropriate.
Solid Food Strike: What to Do
Even if he’s refusing to eat solid foods, continue to provide the same opportunities to eat solids as you would normally. Although perhaps prepare smaller servings so that you waste less food if/when he refuses to eat. I recommend this for two reasons:
- Just as quickly as kids get sick, they get better. The next opportunity to eat may be the one that he’s feeling better at and decides to eat a ton because his appetite’s returned.
- Sticking to your routine will make it easier to transition back when he’s feeling better.
If you suspect that it’s teething that’s causing the solid-food strike, then plan snacks that are soothing for sore gums. Cold and/or smooth are characteristics that can be soothing for sore gums. Examples include: