Apa baby feeding guidelines

When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition

For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old.  Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.

Your child:

  • Sits up alone or with support.
  • Is able to control head and neck.
  • Opens the mouth when food is offered.
  • Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
  • Brings objects to the mouth.
  • Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
  • Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.

What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.

If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortifiedalert icon infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationexternal icon to learn more.

How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?

Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.

Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.

Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.

Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.

Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.

Potentially allergenic foods include cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cow’s milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.

How Should I Prepare Food for My Child to Eat?

At first, it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your baby’s oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.

Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.

Here are some tips for preparing foods:

  • Mix cereals and mashed cooked grains with breast milk, formula, or water to make it smooth and easy for your baby to swallow.
  • Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods until they are smooth.
  • Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, usually need to be cooked so they can be easily mashed or pureed.
  • Cook food until it is soft enough to easily mash with a fork.
  • Remove all fat, skin, and bones from poultry, meat, and fish, before cooking.
  • Remove seeds and hard pits from fruit, and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
  • Cut soft food into small pieces or thin slices.
  • Cut cylindrical foods like hot dogs, sausage and string cheese into short thin strips instead of round pieces that could get stuck in the airway.
  • Cut small spherical foods like grapes, cherries, berries and tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Cook and finely grind or mash whole-grain kernels of wheat, barley, rice, and other grains.

Learn more about potential choking hazards and how to prevent your child from choking.

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Infant Food and Feeding

Based upon evidence, a number of desired behaviors were identified as critic​​al to helping families foster healthy active living for their infant. For each desired behavior you can explore the evidence, learn what parents told us about these behaviors, identify opportunities to promote healthy behaviors at the point of care, review how to start conversations and access messages and resources to support families. Also available to inform your counseling is the Onset and Patterns of Risk Behaviors during Infancy Timeline located above this section.


  • ​Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately 6 months.
  • Continue breastfeeding until the baby's first birthday or longer while mutually desired by mother and baby.

    • ​​Breastfed babies who are breastfed for at least 6 months are less likely to be overweight.
    • The duration of breastfeeding also is inversely related to the risk of obesity.
    • A reduction of 40% in the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is reported, reflecting the long-term positive effect of breastfeeding on weight control and feeding self-regulation.
    • 80% of mothers expect to breastfeed yet only 14% are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months.
    • Critical periods for breastfeeding cessation are transition home from hospital, 6-8 weeks, transition back to work, and between 6-8 months due to self-weaning and/or introduction of solids.​
    • Breastfeeding was harder than they expected. Many tried but did not maintain.​
    • Surprised to learn that breastfeeding can impact obesity and many felt this info could impact decisions around duration.​
    • Support new mothers in breastfeeding. Provide lactation services at your office or know about sources of lactation support in your community.
    • Provide ongoing encouragement for breastfeeding at well visits. Ask patients about challenges or concerns.
    • Let mothers know It is wonderful that they are breastfeeding their baby. And that breastfeeding is great for their baby and has health benefits for them too.
    • If mothers are returning to work assure them that with careful planning and a few resources they can make breastfeeding work.
    • Remind families that babies reap the benefits of breastfeeding for their entire first year!
  • Newborn, early months:

    • It is so great that you are breastfeeding your baby. It can be very rewarding but challenging too. How is breastfeeding going for you? Do you have any concerns about breastfeeding your baby?
    • Can you tell me about a typical feeding experience? Tell me how yo​​​ur family and friends (spouse, grandparents, etc) are supporting you with feeding your baby?

    For 2 or 4 month visit:

    • It is wonderful that you are continuing to breastfeed your baby. Are you exclusively breastfeeding?
    • Are you returning to work? Many women continue to successfully breast feed after returning to work. Tell me about your feelings about this. Are there any questions I can answer to help you during this time of transition?
    • Are you having any challenges maintaining exclusive breastfeeding?

    For 6 and 9 month visit:

    • It is wonderful ​​that you are still breastfeeding. Is there anything can I do to support you in your breastfeeding?
  • HALF Message(s): 
    Lots of parents are surprised to find out that babies who are breastfed for at least 6 months are less likely to be overweight or obese as they get older. Breastfeeding can be a lot of work, but it’s a great way to bond with your baby and help him stay healthy. 

    HALF Resources: 
    For realistic parent derived strategies for breastfeeding refer parents to the following section​​​​s on healthychildren.org/growinghealthy:

    Quick Tips: Keep Your Child Healthy widget​.
    Simply select Breastfeeding to generate the results.

    Food and Feeding Infants.

    Also take advantage of the HealthyGrowth​ app​ to create personalized patient education for your patient.​

​Bottle Feed​​i​ng

Practice appropriate bottle feeding practices:

  • Avoid bottle propping
  • Only breastmilk or formula in bottle unless otherwise directed by physician​

    • Inadequate feeding practices associated with bottle feeding of infant formula or use of bottle feeding as a methods to soothe infants can contribute to greater energy intake.
    • It is not uncommon for mothers add cereal to the bottle in the belief that doing so will help the infant sleep longer.
    • A substantial number of families introduce solids early especially if they perceive the infant as fussy.
    • Inattention to a child’s hunger and satiety cues has been associated with infant overfeeding.
    • Other family members and friends were influencers and provided “evidence” that cereal in the bottle helped baby sleep.
    • Parental exhaustion/desire for sleep is a big motivator  to add cereal to the bottle.


    • If parent reports fussiness, counsel parent about importance of responding with an array of strategies, not just feeding.
    • If parent reports sleeping problems, counsel about bedtime routines, healthy sleep practices, and realistic sleep expectations based upon baby's age.
    • Let parents know that it is important that it will get better.
    • Encourage parents to make feeding time responsive and pleasant for them and their baby.
    • ​It can be difficult when a parent and baby are not getting enough sleep. Can you tell me how this is going for you?
    • It can be difficult when a baby cries a lot. How is it going with your baby? Would you like to talk about some ways to soothe your baby that don’t involve feeding?
    • Can you tell me about what feeding time is like for you and your baby?
    • Tell me how your family and friends (spouse, grandparents, etc) are supporting you with feeding your baby.
    • How would you describe your baby? Is she content, fussy, sleepy, etc?


  • HALF Message(s): 
    Some parents (and grandparents!) worry that young babies aren’t getting enough to eat. But there’s no need to worry — babies under age 6 months get everything they need from breast milk or formula.

    HALF Resources:
    For realistic parent derived strategies for bottle feeding refer parents to the following sections on healthychildren.org/growinghealthy

    Also take advantage of the HealthyGrowth​ app​ to create personalized patient education for your patient.

​​​Food Intr​oduction

  • Introduce solid foods around 6 months of age
  • Expose baby to a wide variety of healthy foods
  • Also offer a variety of textures

    • A substantial number of families introduce complementary solid foods around 3-4 months, especially if the infant is perceived as fussy.
    • Formula fed infants are at more risk for early introduction of solids.
    • Introduction to solids prior to 4 months is associated with increased weight gain and adiposity, both in infancy and early childhood.
    • Research indicates that it is important to expose children to a wide variety of flavors and textures.
    • Many babies and toddlers need to be exposed to foods multiple times before accepting them.
    • Babies and toddlers are more likely to eat foods they see their peers and parents eating.
    • Other family members and friends were influencers and provided false evidence that introducing solids helped calm fussy babies.
    • Parental frustration and desire for happy babies were big motivators to introduce solids.
    • Parents cited the concern about wasting food.
    • Many parents assumed once their child rejected a food that it meant their child did not like that food.
    • Concept of offering a food 10-15 times before acceptance was confusing. 
    • If parent reports fussiness and/or sleeping problems, counsel about the importance of appropriate complimentary food introduction. Share potential calming and soothing strategies for infants, as well as coping strategies for parents.
    • Encourage parents to wait until around 6 months to introduce solids.
    • Remind parents that this is a very important time and the kinds of foods your baby eats now help him to enjoy healthy foods later.
    • Counsel about the importance of introducing a wide variety of foods, especially vegetables and fruits. As the infant grows, it is important to expose the baby to variety of textures.
    • Explain that sometimes it takes a baby 10-15 tries over time before they will actually accept a new food.
    • Explain that this 10-15 tries is over a period of months and to not get discouraged.
    • To address concerns about waste, discuss strategies that limit wasted food, such as not feeding directly from a jar but removing a small serving from a jar to a different container.
    • You can reassure parents that it is okay if the infant doesn’t like something the first time, and it is important to keep offering it.
    • Tell me how your family and friends (spouse, grandparents, etc) are supporting you with feeding your baby.
    • How would you describe your baby? Is she content, fussy, sleepy, etc?

    Well Visit 2 and 4:

    • Can you tell me a little about your plans to introduce your baby to solid foods? 

    6 month visit:

    • It is wonderful that your baby is ready to embark or beginning to eat solid food. It is an exciting milestone! Do you have any concerns or questions
    • Tell me a little bit about your experiences so far.
    • Can you tell me about your feeding experiences so far? Are you having fun? Do you have any concerns?
    • Can you describe what foods your baby likes and dislikes?
    • What do you do when your baby seems to dislike or not try a new food?
    • How do you introduce new foods to your baby?
  • HALF Message(s): 
    Lots of parents are excited to start their babies on solid foods. Others are nervous.  Starting to eat solid foods (like baby cereal and baby food) is an important part of your baby’s development. Did you know that babies who start eating solid food too early are more likely to be overweight or obese in childhood and adulthood? This is one more important reason to wait until your baby is really ready before giving him solid foods.

    HALF Resources:

    • For realistic parent derived strategies for solid food introduction refer parents to the following sections on healthychildren. org/growinghealthy
    • Quick Tips: Keep Your Child Healthy widget. Simply select Starting Solid Foods to generate the results.
    • Food and Feeding Infants​.

    Also take advantage of the HealthyGrowth​ app​ ​to create personalized patient education for your patient.

    HALF Message(s): ​​
    Introducing your baby to new foods can be both fun and frustrating.  Some parents worry about wasting food and money if their babies don’t like a lot of foods at first.  Good news: a new eater only needs 1-2 tablespoons of each food and will gradually increase to 3-4 tablespoons as she gets older.  By getting your baby used to lots of different foods, you’ll help him build a healthy diet for life.

​​Healthy Snacking

  • After 9 months, offer 2-3 healthy and nutritious snacks per day
  • Maintain fruit and vegetable consumption after finger foods are introduced

    • Almost all older infants snack regularly, but the quality of the snacks is variable.
    • The most common snack foods are often finger foods such as cereal, cookies, crackers, and French fries.
    • Eating at regular intervals helps to foster self-regulation and reduces overeating.
    • At 9 months, there is a considerable drop in fruit and veggie consumption, and an increase in non-nutritive finger and snack foods.​
    • Many parents (especially grandparents) seem to associate snack time with “treat” time.
    • Parents generally were positive about introduction of finger foods but many opted for prepackaged foods that were portable and not choking hazards.
    • Counsel on appropriate feeding recommendations and the importance of regular healthy and nutritious meals and snacks.
    • When discussing routines, mention the importance of planning for regular and healthy snacks.
    • Explain that snacks are an opportunity to provide critical nutrients babies need.
    • Counsel that snack and meal times should be supervised and ideally occur seated at a table, not in transit (i.e. stroller or car seat).
    • By 9 months, counsel on the importance of maintaining fruits and veggies as part of the baby's diet.
    • Discuss strategies to use healthy finger foods as snack foods, rather than just prepackaged snack items.
    • Snacks are an important part of the baby's nutrition. Suggest that parents offer a fruit and/or veggie for at least one snack every day.
    • Discuss potential choking hazards and strategies to offer healthy foods in bite size portions.
    • What kinds of foods do you offer your child for snacks?
    • What kinds of foods does your child want for snacks?
    • What part do snacks play in your eating plan for your child?
    • How do you feel about snacks as treats or rewards?
    • How often does he have snacks? What other kinds of foods do you offer?
    • How does your child respond to being offered fruits? Vegetables?
    • What do you do if your child refuses to eat fruits and/or vegetables?
    • What kind of snacks does your child get in child care? What about when they are staying with grandparents or with other family members?
  • HALF Message(s): 
    Have fun with finger foods. Let your baby try feeding herself. Offer healthy snacks 2-3 times per day. 

    HALF Resources:

    • For realistic parent derived strategies on healthy snacking and finger foods refer parents to the following sections on ​healthychildren.org/growinghealthy​
    • Quick Tips: Keep Your Child Healthy widget. Simply select Healthy Snack and Routines and Schedules to generate the results.
    • Food and Feeding Infants​.

    Also take advantage of the HealthyGrowth​ app​ to create personalized patient education for your patient.

Foster Self-feeding

  • ​Babies are encouraged to use spoons and fingers to feed themselves
  • Babies are encouraged to drink from a cup starting at 6 months of age
  • Parents recognize hunger and satiety cues​

    • Babies have an innate ability to self-regulate their food.
    • Responsive feeding helps foster self-regulation.
    • Parents identified time and cleanliness as the two big barriers to self-feeding.
    • Wasting food is another concern.
    • Discuss responsive feeding, hunger and satiety cues with parents.
    • Encourage parents to foster babies self-feeding by using fingers, spoons, and cups. Explain that using their hands and trying to use a spoon are important parts of how a baby learns to self-feed and regulate how much they eat.
    • Acknowledge that self-feeding can sometimes be messy and take a bit longer. Strategize with parents about setting certain meals and snacks aside for their child to hone these skills, and remind parents when they opt to feed their child to be aware of fullness cues.  
    • How is your baby doing with a spoon?
    • Can you describe how you go about encouraging your baby to feed herself?
    • What is it like at mealtimes when your baby feeds herself? How do you feel about it, and how does your baby feel about it?
    • What would be helpful to you and your baby to encourage self feeding?
  • HALF Message(s):
    Let your baby try​​ feeding herself as soon as she’s ready — usually around 8 or 9 months old.

    HALF Resources:

    • For realistic parent derived strategies on self-feeding refer parents to the following sec​tions on healthychildren.org/growinghealthy
    • Food and Feeding Infants​

Healthy Drinks

  • Babies should drink breastmilk or formula for the first year of life
  • Try to avoid introducing juice until child is a toddler. If juice is introduced, wait until 6-9 months and limit consumption to 4-6 ounces
  • Avoid introduction of sugar-sweetened beverage

    • Almost 80% of babies 6-9 months drink juice regularly.
    • Children who consume such fruit juices have higher energy intakes.
    • ​​In general, parents thought 100% juice was a healthy choice.
    • Parents thought that the oral health angle was impactful when discussing risks of sugared beverages.
    • Some parents mentioned elimination issues as a reason to or not use juice drink.
    • Other family members and eating out were two factors parents identified as contributing to the introduction of juice or other sugar sweetened beverages
    • Remind parents that breastmilk, formula and water are the best beverage choices at this time. Suggest that water is a great choice for practicing drinking from a cup and encourage families to foster use of cups over bottles and sippy cups. ​
    • If they want to introduce juice, help parents understand what a 4-6 ounce serving looks like, and that this is the amount for one day. 
    • Does your child drink juice? How much do you offer?
    • How do you feel about your child drinking sugar sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks, and juice?
    • What beverages does your family drink at meals and between meals? What about when eating out?
    • When you eat out, what beverages does your child drink?
    • What beverages does your child drink at child care? With other friends and family members?
  • HALF Message(s): 
    Breast milk and formula are the best choices for your baby. When it’s time for him to start using a cup (around 6 to 9 months), give him breast milk, formula, or water. 

    HALF Resources:

    • For realistic parent derived strategies on healthy drinking refer parents to the following sections on healthychildren.org/growinghealthy
    • Quick Tips: Keep Your Child Healthy widget. Simply select Bottle Feeding and Healthy Snacks to generate the results.
    • Food and Feeding Infants

    ​Also take a​dvantage of the HealthyGrowth​ app​ to create personalized patient education for your patient.

Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics

How to wean a child from night feeding: a step-by-step instruction from a pediatrician

It seems that the baby, bravely tasting broccoli, will very soon be able to do without nighttime snacks. But everything has its time: first of all, we deal with the schedule of daily meals, build a regimen. And only after that we begin the process of smoothly weaning the child from night feedings.

Until what age to keep night feedings

Eating at night is a physiological need for children under one year old. It contributes to the harmonious growth of the child and provides his mother with stable lactation, which is important when it comes to breastfeeding. Artificial babies also need to have round-the-clock access to nutrients in order to develop properly.

The older children get, the less often they wake up at night to satisfy their hunger: for newborns, the norm is up to 3-4 awakenings per night, for one-year-olds, there are usually fewer feedings (1). However, some scientists note that at the age of 3-6 months, many children stop waking up at night, as there are fewer feedings, and the total duration of sleep is reduced to 12-15 hours (2). Of course, this process is different for every baby, so watch your baby carefully and don't hesitate to ask your pediatrician for advice if you're worried about something.

It is worth it to postpone with the refusal of night feeding if the child:

Doils weight worries due to teeth to teeth is sick
experiences strong emotional experiences ; "walks" during the day

Night feedings and breastfeeding

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until two years of age (3). There is no contradiction: reducing nightly attachments by no means means a complete rejection of breastfeeding if the mother does not want it.

Normalization of sleep - this is what we are talking about in this case - is necessary when chronic fatigue and lack of sleep become a problem for parents.

“The absence of night feedings does not mean that the baby is ready to wean, and vice versa,” says Ekaterina Zayets, lactation consultant, pediatrician, leading courses for pregnant and lactating mothers . - Everything is individual: there are families in which there are several feedings during the day, and there are no night feedings from eight months.

Night feeds and bottle feeding

It is believed that bottle fed babies are much easier to wean from eating at night: they do not have the habit of falling asleep on the chest. But, again, everything is individual. Some children continue to demand a bottle of formula, and their peers easily part with nightly attachments and sleep sweetly until the morning.

What to do to wean a child from night feedings

You need to understand that abrupt cancellation can be a big stress for the baby. At night, it will not be possible to keep him busy with a game, to bring his grandmother to help. Therefore, you need to prepare for the fact that this can be a difficult task that will take time.

Weaning in stages

Observe your child's behavior before reducing nighttime feedings.

What you should pay attention to:

  • how many times during the night the baby wakes up;
  • which awakenings are related to hunger and which are not;
  • whether the quality of sleep is different when the baby sleeps in his own crib, separate from you;
  • Can the baby fall asleep without formula or breastfeeding.

After analyzing this information - and you will definitely see patterns - smoothly start working on reducing nighttime feedings.

We go to sleep full

A child who has dinner at six in the evening will definitely wake up hungry closer to midnight. Include a snack half an hour before bedtime in your diet and you will feel the difference. Feed your baby something light and nutritious, such as fermented milk products.

Putting away the first feedings

First, say goodbye to feedings that fall during the first hours of sleep. At this time, the baby still does not have time to get hungry, so it is enough just to rock him without additional manipulations.

Less food at night

Try to organize nighttime feedings so that the baby spends less time on the breast. For artificial children, try to reduce the concentration of the portion.

During the day - more calories

Night feedings are removed from children who are familiar with complementary foods. Make sure your child gets enough "adult" food and water throughout the day. It is also important to build a diet.

Sleep and food separate

Breastfeeding is almost always a key part of the sleep ritual. Incredibly comfortable: the baby eats and immediately falls asleep, without motion sickness and persuasion. But this bundle must be separated if you are determined to regain a good rest. Feed the baby so that he calms down, relaxes, and eventually falls asleep without a breast.

Practicing self-sleep

The easiest way to reduce night feedings is for children who have mastered the skill of self-sleep: they no longer notice the change in sleep phases and wake up less often.

Connecting dad

Dad, as you know, can do anything. Including rocking a baby who woke up in the middle of the night. Probably, at first the process of laying will be delayed, but gradually the child will get used to it.

Photo: pixabay.com

Trying separate sleep

Feeding non-stop, in a dream, is a common story for mothers who are unable to get up at night. The child comfortably settles down next to him, finds food himself and, having had enough, falls asleep again. Mom may not even know how many times the baby ate at night. This habit may be the hardest to break, but without separate sleep, night feedings cannot be removed.

One study showed that children who fall asleep on their own in a separate bed sleep better and longer and wake up less often (4).

Water and other tricks

There is an opinion that a child who wakes up at night can be offered water. It will only give a temporary "fake" feeling of satiety and will not replace a baby who really wants to eat, milk or formula. If you see that the child did not wake up from hunger, pour him a drink - water can calm him down (only it should be in a cup, not in a bottle). Do not offer juice or sour milk instead of water - these products contain sugars that can provoke the development of caries, because at night the natural protection of the teeth is reduced (3).

A few more life hacks to help reduce the number of nighttime feedings are related to the organization of children's sleep. Cool and humid air in the room, late bathing, performing "sleep" rituals help children fall asleep faster and sleep better. If you reduce the duration of daytime sleep, it is likely that the child will also sleep better at night.

Starting to remove night feedings, do not expect an immediate result. This is a leisurely, careful process filled with love and care for the child. Give your baby even more attention during the day than usual. At some point, he will stop waking you up, the feedings will go away, and you will be able to enjoy a full night's rest.

Popular Questions and Answers

Ekaterina Zayets, Lactation Consultant, Pediatrician will help answer questions:

How do you know if your baby is ready to stop feeding at night?

The readiness of both is important: mother and child. If we talk about timely weaning, then this is due to the ability of the mother to transfer their communication to another format. Much depends on the state of the mother, on the support of others. All stories that can be stopped only, for example, after two to five years, are about fanaticism. There are children who, with a competent approach, attention and sufficient maternal resource, already at 1.3 years old perfectly outgrow the internal need and may not be applied to the breast.

Mistakes that mothers make when starting to clean up night feeds?

They try to remove them too early, often - they themselves are not mentally prepared for this, without taking into account the peculiarities of the psyche of their child. Sometimes this happens under pressure from others. As a result, we get a neurosis, perhaps in a child.

Everything must be done carefully, with basic knowledge. Ideally, an advanced level is when a mother consults a specialist on her issue (tells how old the child is, how many feedings, etc.). It is optimal to at least read something on this issue, especially if the child is very small - a year and a half. Emotionally, children at this age are not ready for such experiments on the part of the mother.

Many parents fail to understand an important point: if breastfeeding is completely gone (ie, night feeding is the last), you need to build a daily diet, introduce complementary foods correctly and make sure that the baby gets enough liquid. It is with this that mothers most often get consultations, and in rare cases, children can even end up in a hospital with dehydration - and this is no joke.

Are there any differences in weaning children of different ages from night feedings?

With older children, of course, there is a fundamental difference, because the situation does not depend on the number of feedings, but relies on an individual approach,

All children are different in temperament, it is laid down initially, at birth, we cannot change it. And each child has its own unique mother, who also has her own temperament. Her condition must also be taken into account. It can be a first-born mother who is exhausted, or a first-born mother, but full of strength. Or maybe a mother of many children, in which there is so much energy that she would still feed and feed.

Each case has its own tactics. Sometimes they choose the path of self-weaning - the child is offered to gradually reduce the proportion of feedings himself. And he outgrows his needs, he has enough of everything, and his mother is not exhausted. With age, night feedings are completed - by the age of 2-2.5 with the right actions.

Advice for mothers whose children after the age of two continue to wake up at night for a snack?

You need to understand what the family needs. If you are generally comfortable and want to continue breastfeeding, continue. If this process is tiring, it is recommended to take a nap during the day, eat well so that calories come in, leave the house - so as not to get hung up on the situation.

It is also important to receive competent information support. Often mothers are afraid of weaning as a fact, but for starters, you can simply reduce the proportion of feedings, and everyone will be fine.

Watch your child's daily diet: 4-5 meals, drink (water is a priority). About a liter of food even with continued breastfeeding plus emotional readiness on the part of mother and baby are good indicators to start weaning, or reduce the proportion of feedings, or complete breastfeeding.


  1. The role of nutritional factors in organizing sleep in young children. T. V. Turti, I. A. Belyaeva, E. P. Bombardirova, P. E. Sadchikov, A. Yu. Nagonov // Questions of modern pediatrics. 2021. URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/rol-faktorov-pitaniya-v-organizatsii-sna-detey-rannego-vozrasta/viewer
  2. Research Strategies: Is there an association between the formation of the gut-brain axis and infant sleep characteristics? I. A. Belyaeva, T. V. Turti, E. P. Bombardirova, P. E. Sadchikov, A. Yu. Nagonov // Questions of modern pediatrics. 2021. URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/strategii-nauchno-prakticheskogo-poiska-suschestvuet-li-svyaz-mezhdu-formirovaniem-osi-kishechnik-mozg-i-harakteristikami-sna/viewer
  3. Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children. Guidelines for the WHO European Region with a special focus on the republics of the former Soviet Union. URL: https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/98303/WS_115_2000FE_R.pdf
  4. Night sleep in young children. M. I. Dubrovskaya, O. V. Ryazanova, O. K. Netrebenko, A. S. Botkina, V. V. Polunina, A. B. Moiseev, E. E. Vartapetova // BC. Mother and child. 2021. URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/nochnoy-son-u-detey-rannego-vozrasta/viewer

How to wean a child from breastfeeding

February 13, 2020 Likbez Tips

The key to success is to listen to yourself and the baby, and not to the opinion of a neighbor.

When to wean a baby

According to WHO recommendations, it is best to exclusively breastfeed babies up to six months of age. Then complementary foods are gradually introduced.

Although a baby can get by with solid food once teeth have appeared, breastfeeding should not be stopped until two years of age. After all, mother's milk protects against infections and helps to digest the rest of the food. And feeding itself is an important way of communication between mother and child.

Anthropological studies show that it is natural to breastfeed babies longer than recommended by WHO. The final transition to adult food can occur closer to three or even four years. And this is quite normal.

At the same time, there are no strict rules about the duration of breastfeeding.

After six months, the most important factor is the comfort of the mother and child. Feed until three - if you feel like it. Or wean a year or earlier - if you are tired or you have to go to work. Focus on yourself and the child, and not on the opinion of relatives, neighbors and girlfriends.

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How to wean a child from breastfeeding painlessly

The main thing is to do everything gradually. Too abrupt cancellation is fraught with stagnation of milk (lactostasis) and inflammation of the mammary gland (mastitis) in the mother, digestive problems in the child, as well as psychological stress in both.

Pick the right time

Don't start the transition to "adulthood" when children are teething or not feeling well. It is better to postpone breastfeeding in extreme heat, as well as during the SARS epidemic.

Skip One Feed

Start by eliminating one breastfeed a day—the one your baby is least enthusiastic about. Most likely, it will be an afternoon snack. Replace breastfeeding with a bottle of milk formula if the baby is not yet a year old. Or solid food (for an older child).

When this routine becomes habitual - which can take 3 to 7 days - remove one more feeding. And so on, until the child completely switches to independent nutrition.

Feed more often during the day

The most difficult thing is to refuse night and first morning feeding, because it is at night that the body produces shock doses of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk secretion. The child is used to getting a lot of nutrients at this time. Naturally, now he will feel hungry and insistently demand the return of what he has lost. The way out is to feed more often and more densely during the day.

Leigh Ann O'Connor

Certified Lactation Consultant

Offer your child more high-calorie foods throughout the day to replenish energy stores lost at night.

Leave feeding to other family members

A father, grandmother or grandfather is quite capable of feeding a child from a bottle or a spoon. Entrust them with this task, and retire yourself to another room so that the child is not nervous and is not distracted by the smell of mother's milk.

Give your child enough time

Weaning children does not mean depriving them of attention. When the baby is full and no longer interested in getting milk, spend as much time with him as possible. Games, hugs and communication will help him get through this difficult period easier.

Pump a little

Milk production in the body follows the law of supply and demand. With the gradual refusal of breastfeeding, lactation also slows down - up to a complete cessation.

If you feel that your breasts are full, express milk, but not completely, but until the pain disappears. Otherwise, the body will perceive this as a signal that the bins are empty, and will begin to replenish reserves intensively.

Apply cabbage leaves to your chest

This old folk method is still relevant. Medical research does not deny that 20-minute application of cabbage leaves to the chest can relieve swelling and relieve milk stagnation. And although the effectiveness of the "compress from the garden" has not been fully proven, it definitely will not get worse.

Various sources advise applying cabbage either at room temperature, chilled or frozen. How is it better? A few scientific experiments give the answer: whatever. The temperature of the sheet does not affect its operation in any way.

Drink herbal decoctions

Some plants help to reduce lactation, namely:

  • sage;
  • peppermint;
  • parsley;
  • jasmine flowers.

Just pour a couple of tablespoons of dry herbs in 300-400 ml of boiling water and let it steep for a couple of hours, then strain.

What not to do when weaning a baby

As much as you would like to stop lactation as soon as possible, there are a few tricks that are better to refrain from.

Don't bandage your breasts

Our grandmothers bandaged their breasts tightly to stop lactation. Modern medicine calls for abandoning this practice, as it causes increased sensitivity and soreness of the breast. Instead of bandaging, wear a tight, but not too tight, supportive bra.

Do not take lactation medications

There are medications that suppress prolactin production. All of them have a hormonal basis and cause many side effects - from headaches and drowsiness to depression and exacerbation of various diseases.

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