Nora’s Food Journey: My thoughts after 21 months of nursing!

posted by Andrea | 02/27/2014

Nora's Food Journey

Every single day for the past 3 years, I’ve been growing AT LEAST one other human being from my own body. 

That’s right friends… I’ve either been pregnant, nursing, or both for approximately 1,104 days straight.

And while I realize that is quite miraculous (it really is if you stop and think about it) I can guarantee that my pre-baby self would have laughed hysterically if you said, “you’ll nurse your first child for TWENTY-ONE months.”

But that’s what I did.

Not because I don’t believe in feeding babies solid food ASAP, not because it was cheaper than formula, not because it was best for my baby, and certainly not because I wanted to.

I nursed Nora for 21 months out of sheer necessity for her survival. 

Although we introduced a pacifier within hours of her birth, tried bottles of pumped breast milk starting her first week of life, tried a variety of formulas after 2-3 weeks, and even tried baby cereal at 4 months; she made it VERY clear that she would starve before accepting any of those “imitation products”.

The whole feeding process has been a VERY long journey for Nora and for me — and one I promised I would talk more about back in this post. So since I’ve gotten mass amount of emails asking for more information about our “feeding journey”, I figure I better squeeze in this post before Baby #2 arrives and I need to start all over again!

The Very Beginning: My Pre-Baby Expectations.

Between my friends and my relatives, pretty much all the young moms I knew were breast-feeding — so that’s what I was planning to do too. I knew the facts, I knew that nursing was fabulous for both baby and mom, I knew it would help me lose my baby weight, and I knew it was cheaper than formula.

I also knew that there was NO WAY I was going to let myself be consumed with breast-feeding. If it worked and was relatively easy, I would do it. If not, I had absolutely no issue switching to formula.

While I admire women who “stick it out” and basically live to breast-feed their children, that was not me at all and there was no part of me that was going to let anyone make me feel less of a women if I couldn’t (or just didn’t want to) nurse my baby.

Everyone told me it would be difficult. Everyone told me it would be painful. Many people told me I would want to quit after just a few days because of how exhausting and overwhelming the whole process was.

So while I was totally fine with a little pain and discomfort, I was not willing to spend weeks and months of my life stressing over breast-feeding when there were plenty of other options available.

Dave and I decided early on that we would just see how it went, and that ultimately, I would make the decision to breast-feed or not (little did we know, Nora would actually make that decision for us!)

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The First Few Days: Nora Nursed Like a Champ!

Within about 20-30 minutes after Nora was born, she was nursing like a champ. The doctors and nurses said I was “a natural” — which obviously felt good since I knew I had no idea what I was doing.

Nora and I never had any issues with nursing, it was never painful, I never had any complications, and it was WAY WAY easier than I ever thought it would be (I’m not trying to brag because I know this is a very sensitive issue — I’m just telling my story). Keep reading and you might not be so envious :)

As I mentioned above, we tried a couple different pacifiers and bottles right away — since I didn’t want her to be totally dependent on me, and since we obviously weren’t having any issues with breast-feeding. However, much to my dismay, she rejected everything we tried.

I told myself it wasn’t the end of the world and I could handle nursing exclusively for 4-6 months — after all, she was super efficient and could suck down a FULL feeding in 7-9 minute flat!

I figured that by 4-6 months, she would probably be more accepting of other foods… so we could switch over to baby food and formula at that time.

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The next 9 months: Still No Luck

We regularly tried introducing different bottles and sippy cups  during the first 6 months of her life — but still no luck. We also tried rice cereal regularly starting at 4 months and various baby foods around 6-9 months, but she definitely was not happy about that.

Since she was in the 98th percentile and growing like crazy, the doctors weren’t concerned with her non-eating — and all our family and friends assured me that some kids just took longer to start eating.

I wasn’t overly concerned, but I was getting weary of nursing so often (she still ate about every 2 hours around the clock) and I had extreme anxiety worrying about what we would do if something happened to me and I couldn’t feed Nora anymore.

By her 9-month check-up, the doctor was starting to get just a little concerned that she wasn’t eating ANYTHING at all — but assured me that Nora was super healthy and that she couldn’t see anything wrong with her throat, mouth, etc.

So I kept nursing — figuring it’s totally normal to nurse for a full year.

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12-17 months: Lots of Frustration

By Nora’s first birthday, I was starting to get really frustrated with her refusal to eat any food. The ONLY foods she would even try to eat were tiny amounts of yogurt and a few Rice Krispy puffs (which she usually gagged on).

We had spent hours and hours and hours over the past several months trying to get her to eat anything, but still no progress. I was SO tired of nursing all day and night and literally couldn’t go anywhere for more than a couple hours otherwise Nora would scream non-stop until I came back to feed her.

It was to the point where I was regularly making excuses as to why I couldn’t participate in certain business and personal opportunities because the excuses were easier than trying to explain that I still had to nurse my 17-month old child every 2 hours!

When Nora was 16-17 months old, we went through a series of tests and therapy sessions with a local very well-renown organization. We confirmed that there was nothing wrong with her throat, her tongue, her mouth, or anything else that would physically prevent her from being able to eat normally.

It was a relief that nothing was seriously wrong — but at the same time, it was super frustrating because we were right back at square one with nowhere to turn. The therapy that everyone told us would FOR SURE WORK didn’t work… and the only progress we had made was that Nora would now eat mashed potatoes and macaroni.

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18-21 Months: FINALLY, Some Progress!

At 18 months, I found a new therapy program (almost by accident) that was extremely close to our home and MUCH less expensive than the previous therapy program. I was hesitantly optimistic, but figured I didn’t have much of a choice, so we signed up and headed to our first therapy session (here’s the link to their website).

It was 100% different than anything we had tried with Nora, and I felt really good leaving that first day. We immediately started a “brushing” regimen with a special skin brush and listening to special music on headphones.

We noticed a difference right away — and over the next 2-3 months, Nora became MUCH more willing to eat basic foods like cheese, bananas, pasta, fish crackers, etc.

Also, for the FIRST TIME EVER, we found a sippy cup she would actually drink from (yes, she refused all bottles and sippy cups for a full 17 months!)

By 21 months, I was only nursing her once or twice a day and I literally felt like I had my life back.

Hallelujah!

Of course, when she was 20 months old, I realized I was pregnant again — and although that news was exciting, I couldn’t help but feel slightly depressed knowing that I was starting all over again.

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22-27 Months: She’s Almost All Caught Up

Nora was 100% finished nursing by 22 months.

Although the variety of foods she ate wasn’t fabulous, she was still growing well, and more importantly, she wasn’t growing from ME!

We aren’t going to therapy anymore, but we continue to see HUGE HUGE progress in Nora’s eating. She’s trying new foods all the time, eating more and more with every meal, and finally willing to feed herself (it was crazy how long she refused to feed herself and only wanted us to spoon-feed her!)

If you didn’t know Nora’s food journey, you most likely wouldn’t think anything was wrong with her eating habits — she even eats lots of veggies!

Obviously, we aren’t totally “out of the woods” and there are still many things we need to work on — like the fact that she still will not drink anything but water — but I’m thrilled to finally be at a point where I can share this update with you.

As I mentioned above, it was a REALLY long process and so much more difficult when we were “in the thick of it” and not knowing exactly if or when we’d see any progress.

In general, I don’t think it would be awful to nurse for 18-20 months IF my child was also eating normal infant and toddler foods along with breast milk to form a more balanced diet. In our situation, Nora was 100% dependent on me which made my life a lot more difficult, and was probably part of her extreme separation anxiety (which, by the way, is also getting better!)

My “plan” for feeding baby #2 is to start out nursing, but to introduce bottles of breast milk and possibly some formula very early on — just because I don’t think I can handle being so tied down for so long again. I’m also planning to be more aggressive with trying different bottles until we find one he likes (if that’s what it takes).

Since I’m the type of person who just can’t nurse in public, being stuck at home all day every day for 21 months was even more than my home-body self could take after a while, and I really don’t want to do that again :)

I realize that how we feed our children is a very personal choice that can also be somewhat controversial — so please know that my goal in writing this post is not to say “you should do it my way”. It’s more to celebrate that Nora is finally eating — especially since so many of you have inquired about her progress.

Thanks so much for following along on our journey and offering your help and support along the way. I’ve gleaned many words of wisdom and tips from your emails and comments — some of which have aided in Nora’s eating success!

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58 comments

  1. Julie

    02/27/2014

    So glad she has turned the corner and thing are looking brighter. :)

    [Reply]

  2. Kadie

    02/27/2014

    My daughter is 4 and has only had water since she was 1. There is nothing wrong with water. In fact it is better than juices which are pure sugar. And some circles say you do not need milk after the age of 2. So be glad you don’t have to worry about cavities.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kadie — so many people are commenting that only drinking water is NOT a bad thing. I figured she should be drinking a lot of milk and is therefore missing out on all that calcium. So glad to hear others are not concerned! Nora eats tons of yogurt, cheese, and broccoli, so hopefully some of that calcium will make up for the no milk!

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    Tane Reply:

    I wish my now 13yr old son would drink water, I have to tell him to go and get a glass a drink it in front of me. He’ll rather thirst than drink water if that is his only option has done since birth. Milk on the other hand, will, I keep saying I need to buy a cow to keep up with him.

    Just remember all families are different and do what’s best for yours.

    Thank you for my daily read.
    Tane in Australia

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    Heart and Haven Reply:

    Andrea, check with your pediatrician…but I believe babies only “need” milk until the age of 2.
    My 23 mo. old is not a big eater at all. As a way to have him get more calories and needed vitamins, I add Instant Carnation Breakfast (chocolate flavor) to his whole milk. My pediatrician recommended, and is much, much cheaper than Pediasure. This is something you can try if you want to have Nora get more calcium and vitamins, since she’s still a bit of a picky eater. She may really like the “chocolate milk”!

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  3. Becky

    02/27/2014

    Excellent post! Although I didn’t nurse my child for nearly as long as you did, I totally understand how it is such a life altering thing! I also didn’t feel comfortable nursing in public so I felt tied down to the house as well…and I would always see posts on facebook from friends with babies who were formula fed, and they would be out and about doing all kinds of things. I always felt kind of jealous of them! I think next time around, I will look in to some nursing covers that don’t scream “nursing cover” in hopes of being able to nurse in public without feeling self-conscious. I know that it is a totally natural thing, but I personally do not feel comfortable just whipping it out in public.

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    Angela Reply:

    I didn’t have a great nursing cover with my first and found breastfeeding in public much more difficult. I am highly social and have way too many outside of the home commitments to NOT breastfeed in public so I forced myself to do it but it WAS a challenge for me. Now, I am on my second babe and I would recommend 1.Getting a really cute nursing cover that you live and 2. Wearing a nursing tank top so you can also ensure that your back/side isn’t exposed (I was always nervous about this).

    P.S. Andrea you are an inspiration as a mom! Nora is so blessed and we are too to read your story.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Angela, I do have the nursing tanks and the nursing cover — it’s just that I don’t like anyone to even know that I’m nursing (I realize this is super weird) but I’ve always been really weird about this. I’m personally even uncomfortable if someone else nurses in front of me with or without a cover (although I would NEVER say anything). It’s just a “thing” I’ve always had and I’m not sure I’ll be able to shake it any time soon. I’d much rather be home, by myself, with no one else around (although I’m sure I’ll be fine nursing in front of Nora!)

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    Jenni/Life from the Roof Reply:

    I’m totally the same way – I like nursing in private, by myself, in a quiet place. But with a 4th on the way, with 3 little boys, I don’t think I’ll be able to do that very easily :). I wouldn’t feel bad about not wanting to nurse in public – for me, it’s just hard to relax, which is important in breastfeeding.

    [Reply]

  4. Debby

    02/27/2014

    Bravo. I wish I would have had this to read 17 1/2 years ago. My first daughter was not good at nursing, but she and I struggled through because everyone told me it was what I “should” do. I felt like such a failure and she and I were constantly frustrated. I, too, did not like nursing in public. Mainly because she took forever. She would fall asleep about 3 minutes in and I had to keep rousing her awake. Moms should be told to do what it takes to survive. Whatever that “it” is. Good luck with baby #2. He may be so easy going and just go with the flow. You did survive that time with Nora and you will survive this too. My guess is that you will get a pleasant surprise. That things will be a little easier this time around. Good Luck Andrea.

    PS Funny thing is those characteristics as a newborn are still with her and she will be 18 next week. Still slow moving, a little attention challenged, and loves to sleep. :-) But a beautiful young lady headed to college in the fall.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Debby. And even as someone who nursing was EXTREMELY easy for, I do wish there wasn’t so much pressure to nurse these days. I know it’s what is best for the baby — but sometimes the mom just needs permission to do what’s best for HER. It’s such a stressful and overwhelming time of life, a new mom doesn’t need one more thing to worry about or stress about or feel pressured about. Sigh…

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    Lydia @ Five4FiveMeals Reply:

    Set yourself free from that pressure. You can only feel pressured for if you allow yourself to feel pressured. Always remember you’re doing your best and other people (and their opinions) don’t live in your house or your head.

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  5. gina sarron

    02/27/2014

    My third child nursed every 2-3 hours everyday til he was 26 months. While he did take baby food and solids in at appropriate times, he was very dependent on me. He also did not sleep through the night til he was four. We tried all kinds of sleep methods but nothing worked. He only slept on me. Although I had way more freedom than you did I know how hard it is. The hardest part of mothering is doing the best you can while fielding the comments of others who have no clue what your going through. As mommy to now 13, 11 and 6 year olds, I know how fast they grow. Someday if not already you will see the purpose in this difficult time and that you were divinely blessed to be there when Nora needed you most. CONGRATULATIONS on baby #2!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Gina! Sounds like you had a lot on your plate too!

    And yes, I can’t even imagine if I didn’t work from home — Nora would never have made it in daycare and I would have had to quite my job to stay home with her. I have the perfect set-up for a sensory, high-needs baby… but hopefully that doesn’t mean I’ll get another one in a week or so :)

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  6. Sara

    02/27/2014

    I’m so happy to hear of her progress over the past several months! I want to encourage you by saying that it is highly unlikely that your next baby will have the same sensory issues that Nora did as an infant. I know several children and young adults who had similar sensory struggles as babies/toddlers, and the only thing that remains at this age is the bright-eyed determination that I see in Nora as well. Thanks for sharing her story with us– it is a joy to see her growth! I’m praying that you’ll have a much easier time with baby #2!

    [Reply]

  7. jaime

    02/27/2014

    Thank you for sharing this with us Andrea. I cannot imagine what you went through for 22 months! I thought 7 months of being a homebody and never nursing in public and being baby attached was hard enough. It is so emotionally and physically draining have a high sensitivity baby. God definitely has his hand on you girl! I’m praying that baby boy will be a bottle and solid food champ!

    [Reply]

  8. Jennifer B.

    02/27/2014

    Beautiful job on sharing your story. We too have struggled with many sensory issues with our son and have done a brushing program and therapeutic listening program as well. I have identified so many times with your posts about Nora and the challenges you have faced as a parent. Sensory issues can be so difficult to explain to others whose children don’t struggle with them – and you do a wonderful job. I would recommend the book The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Kranowitz. It’s about sensory processing disorder and was really helpful for me. Best wishes on baby #2!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jennifer — we’re thrilled Nora is eating better and I’m SO happy to be able to share this really positive update with everyone! Glad the brushing and listening therapy worked for you guys too!

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  9. Barbara

    02/27/2014

    My daughter is 8. It is an extremely rare moment that she will drink anything but water. Good Luck with baby #2!

    [Reply]

  10. Becky

    02/27/2014

    I’m so happy to hear she is eating better. I have taken one of my sons to this center for sensory and was also on the same plan of brushing and listening. This was so helpful and he has come along way. It was great to have such an awesome place to finally find right in my own back yard basically. Wishing you the best in Nora’s progress and the start of a new life with a boy!
    Becky

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Glad you were helped by the therapy program too — they are awesome over there and so reasonably priced compare to everything else!

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  11. Janet

    02/27/2014

    My 3 grandchildren have had nothing but water since my daughter in law stopped nursing at about 12 months with each. They are healty at 11, 9, and 7 years of age.

    [Reply]

  12. Janet

    02/27/2014

    Guess I should have added to drink!

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  13. Andrea F.

    02/27/2014

    Thank you for posting! I’m still nursing my daughter at 15 months. Definitely was not planned but I’m ok with going to 2 years (my other children weaned themselves at a year). We just recently found a sippy cup she will use and she has never used a bottle so I understand part of your struggle. We discovered early on that she hates mashed food so we had to wait for teeth to come in before she could eat actual food (she now refuses to eat round food). Be careful about using bottles so early with the new baby though because it can really effect being able to establish a healthy milk supply (the first 3 months are crucial). I wish you all the luck and I hope nursing your new little one comes as easily as it did with Nora :).

    [Reply]

  14. Jen

    02/27/2014

    You can “hear’ the relief and joy in this post! I’m so happy Nora has made such great progress. I nursed all four of my children for 18 months-not exclusively just because it worked and I enjoyed it. I had 3 out of 4 that refused a bottle of any sort and that was tough.

    I was thinking about you yesterday (actually wondering if Baby Boy Dekker had arrived yet!) hoping and praying that your sweet baby boy is a calm, laid-back soul and that you can enjoy every minute of his babyhood AND time with Big Sister Nora! Many blessings!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    No baby yet Jen — and yes, there was logs of relief and joy when I was writing the post too!

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  15. Lydia @ Five4FiveMeals

    02/27/2014

    I too have been pregnant and/or nursing for three sold years! We win the platinum ta tas award.

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  16. Allison

    02/27/2014

    This is so similar to our daughter- except nursing was painful for me and she had reflux. I nursed for 24 months out of necessity and my daughter is 7 and still eats less than 10 different foods. We were sent to specialist after specialist and none could find anything wrong. You are SOOOOO lucky you found a therapy that worked. Good for you. We love to travel and my daughter does as well but her eating issues make it so stressful for me. I am still praying for some breathing room from the stress it causes. I hope the new baby gives you a break. From experience, I know you need it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Allison — and yes, I know a little about how stressful going out to eat (or anywhere other than our house to eat) can be. I see little toddlers downing hamburgers and fries — meanwhile, I have to ALWAYS plan ahead and take food along for Nora. We’ve even had one restaurant give us grief for taking in food for Nora instead of buying something off the menu for her!

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  17. Rebecca

    02/27/2014

    Loved, Loved, Loved my nursing cover!!! It made all the difference in the world for us. I have a few brands, but my Favorite is by Hooter Hiders – it covers nicely and is a subtle pattern. I wasn’t comfortable, myself, nursing in public without a cover, but have nothing against those who do so…it just wasn’t for me. With the right cover, I was sooooo comfortable and we were able to go anywhere – restaurants, malls, friends’ houses, events. As baby got a little older and more mobile, I placed the bottom of the cover under her body, so she wouldn’t fling it off with her busy arms. I can’t even imagine being stuck at home to nurse for all this time! She’s 16 months now, still nursing and only drinks water – it’s the only thing we ever offer her! Best of luck with the new baby – hoping it will be Much easier for you!!!!

    [Reply]

  18. Melissa

    02/27/2014

    Andrea , thank you for being so transparent about your challenges, your post takes me back to 11 months ago when we were trying to figure the whole breast feeding thing out. It was challenging and everyone’s situation is different. I remember my child hated my breastmilk and finding the right formula was tough. I am greatful for your blog and congratulations on Nora’s success. Also congrats on the pregnancy . I enjoy learning from your blog and simplistic ways my favorite posts are Nora’s playroom with the kitchen you made, super cool. And the closet organization which reminds me I need to go organize a drawer or 2 or 7 lol.

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  19. Jodi

    02/27/2014

    Yay, Nora! I can’t imagine keeping up that nursing schedule for so long. Good job on persevering and making it through! One consolation is that her immune system should be stellar!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jodi — yes, Nora has really never been sick (besides a few runny noses) and I lost a TON of weight :)

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  20. MomofTwoPreciousGirls

    02/27/2014

    I wouldn’t worry yourself about her drinking anything but water! Usually most other drinks offer sugar and calories, but not much by way of actual nutrition. Don’t take me as a health nut (FAR from it!) but as someone who has struggled with weight my whole life. Biggest addiction is sugary drinks. I rather drink a sweet coffee as “breakfast”!
    I had much concern when my oldest came up with a milk allergy I was so worried about missing nutrition from milk. We tried soy and she was allergic to that too. She ended up on rice milk for comfort and cereal…ZERO nutritional value. These days she only drinks water and even prefers her cereal dry!
    Water is good enough!

    [Reply]

  21. Jennifer

    02/27/2014

    My son is Nora’s exact age and still wants to nurse when we come home in the evenings, at bedtime, and through the night. I have never wanted to do the cry-it-out method, but I have tried various other methods to get him sleeping on his own. Since I work full-time I have resolved to letting him continue to nurse to sleep so I can get sleep. I really don’t have a problem with it, besides being tired of it, but what gets me are the “you’re still nursing?” comments. Sometimes I lie and say no and feel bad about that, but people can be so judgmental. My own mother begged me not to be like that girl nursing her 5 yr old on the magazine cover. I mean, come on…he’s just 2. In many cultures 5 is young to stop nursing. I will switch to part-time work after the school year ends, so if he hasn’t weaned by then, I will work on it more. Hopefully being with him more in the daytime will help as well. Hopefully that won’t make him want to nurse more! :)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Reply:

    Jennifer, my son is also 22 months and still nurses to sleep. I also rarely let anyone know that he stll nurses because of the negative comments and/or looks that I get. But it is not uncommon, just not very accepted in our culture. I just shrug and do whats best for me and my son. Thats all any of us can do. He wont be nursing forever! :-)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Someone told me that there was a study that found that there are no students in college still nursing. :) No study really, but somewhat reassuring. Ha. No, they won’t nurse forever.

    Funny how nice it feels to know someone’s out there closet nursing like me. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — and by the time she’s in college, she won’t be keeping ME awake at night either!!
    closet nursers unite!

    [Reply]

  22. JoDi

    02/27/2014

    “Everyone told me it would be difficult. Everyone told me it would be painful. Many people told me I would want to quit after just a few days because of how exhausting and overwhelming the whole process was.”

    Yikes! I’d have been worried too! It’s a shame when people whose experience is NOT the norm scare the heck out of first-timers with statements like that. I’m so glad you tried it anyway and found out how easy it “usually” is. Not always, of course, but barring unusual circumstances, it typically is pretty easy. Sorry the rest of Nora’s food journey was so hard. That would be a very looooong time for anyone to breastfeed exclusively!

    I wouldn’t worry about her only drinking water if she’s getting enough calcium from other sources, but if she’s not, and getting her to drink milk is a priority, maybe she’d like almond or soy milk.

    [Reply]

  23. Cynthia

    02/27/2014

    Just wanted to share, when my daughter started refusing bottles while I worked 2 days/week I tried Gerber Nuk bottles, and they worked! Several Moms had commented on LeLeche’s website saying that was the only bottle their baby would not refuse. I also had to breastfeed for a year as my daughter refused all formula despite my HUGE efforts. I dreaded nursing again when I was pregnant the second time, but I had quite the opposite problem, as my second baby loved bottles and formula. It’s true that all babies are different. Friends would tell me this, but if had a hard time believing them.

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  24. Sher

    02/27/2014

    I nursed all three of my kids, and each one was so very different.
    Chances are your #2 will be different than Nora in their feeding habits too

    My first one sucked his thumb between feedings to soothe himself
    (hard habit to break…he was probably 5 or 6 when that finally stopped)

    My second one took a pacifier and had them hiding all over the house when I was trying to get her to stop sucking a paci around age 2-3

    My third never took to a paci or thumb and required nursing around the clock for years like Nora. He did eat food along the way, but never took a bottle or sippy cup for liquids.
    He would need to nurse to fall asleep etc.

    this lasted until I had to return to work full time outside the home…when he was 4

    just wanted to share and empathize and wish you all the best with #2 soon to arrive!

    [Reply]

  25. Karin B

    02/28/2014

    I have an almost 19 year old son who was/is just like Nora. Ryan was my third child, and I had not experienced any feeding difficulties with the first two. I breastfed him exclusively, as I had the older two, but he did not show any interest in solids by six months old. I became pregnant with my fourth when Ryan was 7 months old. My first two kids were only 14 months apart and I nursed baby #1 throughout #2′s pregnancy, so I knew I could do it, but Ryan continued to refuse solids. By 9 months, he was down to 3% on the weight charts. At about 10 or 11 months, he finally accepted macaroni and french fries. I was finally able to wean him at 16 months, about a week before my fourth child was born. Unfortunately, I never found a resource like The Center. To this day, Ryan is an extremely self-limiting eater. Basically, he eats pasta with marinara (he usually makes his own), pizza bread with herbs and marinara dip (again he makes all of it from scratch to control the ingredients), homemade baked french fries sprinkled with olive oil and herbs, homemade guacamole with chips, and popcorn. That is pretty much literally his diet. Absolutely no meat or dairy. He doesn’t even eat beans. We’ve tried everything, but he would choose to starve himself before eating something else. I’ve come to believe it has something to do with OCD or sensory issues, but no pediatrician or dietitian was ever able to give us answers. Later on I found out that there are others in my extended family that have similar issues so there must be a genetic component.. I’m so glad that you were able to find some help for Nora while she’s still so young. It’s kind of sad to see my son unable to go out to eat with other teenagers. He won’t even eat cake on his birthday.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    WOW!!! That’s a long time to suffer with food sensitivities — but I do know adults who have battled with it their entire lives.

    We do feel very fortunate that Nora’s “issues” have turned around and she’s become much more adventuresome with her eating choices. Cheese is still her all-time favorite go-to food though. She would eat it for every meal and every snack if we let her :)

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  26. Laura

    02/28/2014

    I have a 15 month old and recently found out we are expecting #2, and I definitely am struggling with how long we will continue to breastfeed. My 15 month old will eat SOME food, but not a ton. She’s down to nursing 4-5 times a day, but I would love to cut it down to 2-3 and then maybe just at bedtime, and then cut that feed out by the time #2 comes along. Problem is, if I cut down the day time nursing sessions, she feeds all night. She will scream for HOURS if dad tries to calm her instead of me feeding her. I work part time and from home, so my schedule allows me to cater to her needs, but it’s startin to wear me down a bit…then some nights (like last night) she’s nursing every 1-2 hours (teething). Arg! I know we will figure something out, and I’ve loved reading these types of posts!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh Laura, I wish I could give you some helpful advice or tell you some tried-and-true tip that worked for me… but I can’t!

    I’ll just say… hang in there, it’s so hard when you’re doing it, and I know EXACTLY how you are feeling. You just need to do what YOU feel is right and what’s best for your family.

    [Reply]

  27. Jen R.

    02/28/2014

    What a story! It’s definitely something to celebrate that

    1- Nora is eating food on her own and
    2- How amazing your body is that you could be 100% responsible for the nutritional needs of another human for 30 months (9 in utero and 21 post birth) Way to go!

    This is a huge demand for a mother so use a gift card and a coupon and go out and celebrate!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen! I’ll wait on using those coupons and gift cards until after the baby is born (and I lose the weight) them I’m going to get a few new clothes — it’s been FOREVER since I’ve bought anything nice for myself!

    [Reply]

  28. Kris

    02/28/2014

    Yay to Nora and to you! My youngest has always been more “picky” about food. He was solely bottle fed and we had to try many many different bottles to find one he liked. He ate, but very very slowly and not as much as was normal for his age so we ended up feeding him more often with smaller bottles. He also took a bottle during the night until he was about 15 or 16 months old. He’s still particular about what he eats. And, he only drinks water. That may be one thing Nora sticks with but in all honestly it’s made my older son drink more water too. With only 1 kid drinking juice I stopped buying it. OJ is the only juice I buy now. I do wish my youngest would drink milk but he just does not like it. He likes yogurt and cheese both of which he usually has every day so I figure it’s ok. Good luck with the new baby. I hope he’s a little more easy going with taking a bottle.

    [Reply]

  29. Amy

    02/28/2014

    I just wanted to tell you that you’re a great mom, and I’m so happy that you’re moving past these stages! We also go to the Center for Child Development and they are FANTASTIC. So glad you could get the help you needed!

    [Reply]

  30. lynn

    02/28/2014

    Just a thought, with baby number two you might ask the hospital nursery for “preemie” nipples, they use to be red. They are very very soft and feel more like a natural nipple in the baby’s mouth. Babies that are breast fed take to them much easier than commercially produced nipples. I stock piled them while I was in the hospital, in saved every one from her feedings, and took them home,they lasted at least six months..

    [Reply]

  31. carrie

    02/28/2014

    My nephew also attends the same place for therapy and is making huge gains!

    [Reply]

  32. Kathy

    02/28/2014

    Fabulous news that the new therapy has finally worked and as a mother you didn’t give up in (i) assessing there was no medical reason for her eating problems and (ii) kept at it even when you were an exhausted mother. Now you have done this with Nora you will be better prepared with baby number 2 and often having another child around the little ones (ie your new one) pick up things from the older one and learn quicker because there is another little person to copy. Nora is the first and therefore is not watching anyone do these things (apart from her parents) so you might find things will naturally fall into place with baby number 2. And let me tell you kids have a way of pushing their parents into doing what they want and as a parent you do not want to see your child starve so it’s the catch 22 – same place, different day. Same with the sleeping, if they know you are going to give in and have them in your bed if they scream or get out of the cot, then they’ll try that on. Every parent, every child and every family is different but I do know everytime I watch “The Super Nanny” on Tv I pick up ideas and remember I’m the adult, parent. Great work on getting her off the boob because your body needs to be focusing on your next baby. Neither of my kids took dummy’s/pacifiers (i) because I wasn’t keen on “getting them off them” but I tried it with my 2nd child knowing I also had a 2 year old toddler to look after but she didn’t want it and got her self to sleep. All the best with your new baby. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

    [Reply]

  33. heather

    03/01/2014

    Is there a name for the therapy program. My daughter is Nora and while I’m not stressed or nervous about her growth or intelligence, I certainly would welcome anything that might better support her process. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t think there is a “name” for the therapy — we just brush her with a special brush and listen to special music (they just downloaded a few tracks onto our MP3 so I don’t know if there is a name for the music either.

    It’s all for “sensory processing disorder” so you could ask more about treatment for that.

    [Reply]

  34. Pyper

    03/04/2014

    Wow – you are my hero! I had 2 kids who would only take mom – no bottles & no pacifiers BUT they also transitioned to solid food fairly easily. I could not imagine having to do that for almost 2 years. I know that you just did what you needed to for your child, and I know I would have done the exact same thing in your position (What else could you have done?) but still – my hat off to you!! And I’m so glad Nora is doing better!

    [Reply]

  35. Techgrl

    03/04/2014

    Andrea,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with Nora! Would you mind in going in to some more detail about the kind of therapies that worked for her? What is the “brushing” that you wrote about? And what kinds of sounds did she hear that helped? If you know of any websites you could point me to, that would be wonderful as well.

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

  36. Krista

    03/19/2014

    My 2nd child would not eat any food or take a pacifier until she was 13 months. She wouldn’t even eat her 1st bday cake! She nursed for 28 months and it was hard to wean her – she would have kept going if I had let her. We are using “Baby Led Weaning” (confusing title does not mean weaning but introducing solids) with my third baby and that is going well so far she is 8 months.

    [Reply]

  37. Anne

    03/21/2014

    I really enjoyed this post. I got very bad vasospasms (which can lead to permanate nerve damage) from nursing our daughter and even with extensive intervention, we couldn’t get them under control. At one month, we switched to exclusively formula. I had a lot of guilt as we live in a region of the country where some people, including some medical professionals, act like formula is poison. However, at 16 months old our daughter is very healthy and developing quite well. It was nice to hear about your struggles having to breastfeed for so long and that you wish you could have given bottles. it makes me appreciate that every parent has his/her unique struggles. I hope you have an easier time feeding your new baby. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]