How early can i feed my baby food

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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When Can My Baby Start Eating Solid Foods? (for Parents)

A friend just started giving her 3-month-old applesauce and rice cereal. My son is just 2 weeks younger than hers, and I am wondering if I should be introducing solids soon too. When should I start?

Doctors recommend waiting until a baby is about 6 months old to start solid foods. Starting before 4 months is not recommended.

At about 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — such as iron and zinc — that solid foods provide. It’s also the right time to introduce your infant to new tastes and textures. 

Some babies may be ready for solids sooner than 6 months, but don't start until your baby is at least 4 months old.

How do you know it’s the right time to start solid foods? Here are some signs that babies are ready:

  • They have good head and neck control and sit up in a high chair.
  • They're interested in foods. For example, they may watch others eat, reach for food, and open their mouths when food approaches.
  • They don’t push food out of their mouths, which is a natural tongue reflex that disappears when they’re between 4–6 months old.
  • They weigh twice their birth weight, or close to it.

Talk to your doctor about the right time to start solid foods.

How Should I Start Solids?

When the time is right, you can start with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk, formula, or water. Feed your baby with a small baby spoon. Don’t add cereal or other food to a baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain. Let your baby practice eating from a spoon and learn to stop when full.

When your baby gets the hang of eating the first food, introduce others, such as puréed meat, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, or yogurt. Try one food at a time and wait a few days before trying something else new to make sure your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction.

Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.

Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.

When starting your baby on solids, avoid:

  • foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
  • high-sodium foods
  • honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
  • unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese 
  • regular cow's milk or soy drinks before 12 months instead of breast milk or formula. It’s OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
  • foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts

Also, do not give fruit juices to infants younger than 12 months old.

Over the next few months, introduce a variety of foods from all the food groups. If your baby doesn't seem to like something, don’t give up. It can take 8 to 10 tries or more before babies learn to like new foods.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

Date reviewed: February 2021

Article "Pumping - when and how?"

There are times in the life of mother and baby when breastfeeding is either impossible or difficult for some reason. For example, a child has to be left without a mother for several hours - which means that a supply of milk is needed for him. Or in the case when the baby sucks badly at the breast, but eats well from the bottle, and pumping is the only way to feed him.

This can happen if the baby is born prematurely, and the very process of sucking the mother's breast turns out to be hard physical work for him - such an infant can also be offered expressed milk. nine0003

The same applies to the situation when the baby is ill and feeling unwell prevents him from fully sucking, as he is too weak to make the efforts necessary to "extract" breast milk. In this case, it should be expressed for 2 reasons: firstly, to provide the child with complete and optimal nutrition for him, and secondly, to maintain lactation.

Situations are different, so it is important to understand why pumping is necessary, how to do it correctly and what are the conditions for storing breast milk. nine0003

When and why to express?

Pumping is the process by which a nursing mother manually or with the help of a breast pump extracts milk from her breast.

This is not a mandatory procedure for everyone, and it does not need to be carried out after each feeding, since the milk in the female breast is formed exactly as much as is needed to saturate the baby at a certain age. Those. how much milk the baby ate in one feeding - so much will appear in the breast by the next. nine0003

But if, after applying, you also express the rest of the milk, then by the upcoming feeding it will be produced more than the child can eat - and this often leads to stagnation of milk (lactostasis).

Milk should be expressed when:

  • Having to bottle feed or supplement a baby for one reason or another. If at the same time the pediatrician did not forbid the baby to eat breast milk, then the mother needs to feed the baby expressed. nine0003

  • The baby is left without a mother for a long time. There are times when a woman needs to go away, and she cannot take the child with her. In this case, you can leave a supply of milk for several hours, after decanting it.

  • Mom is sick. It happens that during lactation a woman becomes seriously ill and is forced to take medications that penetrate into breast milk, which is strictly forbidden to give to a child. Medicines contained in milk, once in the child's body, can have an adverse effect on it. To prevent this from happening, the pediatrician will help you choose the milk formula that you need to feed the baby during the mother’s illness. Pumping in such a situation will help a woman maintain lactation until recovery. nine0003

  • Mom goes to work. A mother's return to work before the end of lactation can put her before a choice: transfer the baby to formula milk or feed it with expressed milk. Recently, more and more parents are choosing the latter option, since breast milk is much healthier than artificial nutrition.

  • Injured nipples. With improper care and attachment of the child to the breast, cracks may appear on the nipples. Feeding in this condition of the nipples becomes very painful for the mother, and then the baby should be briefly transferred to expressed milk from a bottle. This is useful because the nipples are less likely to get irritated when they are expressed than when they are sucked by an infant. In a few days, the nipples will heal, and it will be possible to resume feeding the crumbs directly from the breast. nine0003

  • There is a risk of lactostasis. A child, especially in the first days after birth, is not always able to suck out all the milk. To avoid lactostasis, mom needs to express excess milk. If this is not done in a timely manner, stagnation of milk can lead to inflammation of the mammary gland - mastitis. However, you must follow all the rules of pumping and do not resort to it after each feeding: this will only increase the flow of milk.

  • nine0002 Not enough milk is produced. Pumping will help normalize lactation, as it leads to an increase in the production of milk in the breast, which can be useful during a lactation crisis.

5 pumping inhibitions

In order not to harm herself and not leave the baby without breast milk, the mother must know and be sure to follow the basic rules of pumping:

  1. Do not express more than 3 times a day if pumping is combined with breastfeeding because this will lead to excess milk production. If the mother is sick and the baby is not applied to the breast, it is necessary to express with a frequency approximately equal to the number of feedings (on average, once every 3 hours - 8 times a day). nine0003

  2. Do not express immediately after feeding, as this may lead to hyperlactation, ie. increased milk production.

  3. Do not express "to the last drop". The main indicator by the end of pumping should be a feeling of relief in the chest. The female body regards the emptying of the breast without a trace as an increased need for milk by the child - and begins to produce more milk, which the baby cannot eat, therefore, there will be a threat of milk stagnation. nine0003

  4. Do not express during the night, as this may also lead to the formation of excess milk. The main hormone responsible for milk production - prolactin - has a daily rhythm of formation, most of all it is produced at night, in response to the baby sucking or pumping.

  5. Do not express on the first day after the arrival of milk. Usually, when lactation begins, more milk is produced than the newborn needs, and it is necessary to get rid of its excess. Therefore, just at the time of the arrival of milk, you can not express everything without a trace. If the breast is very dense, then it is recommended to express only a small amount of milk so that it becomes softer and the baby can fully capture and eat it. nine0003

Substances that signal that milk is being produced in excess appear in the filled breast after about 1 day. If you express all the milk accumulated in the chest earlier than in a day, then it will be produced in the same amount.

Hand Expression Technique

There are two ways to express - manually and with a breast pump. Usually, each mother chooses the most convenient option for her. It is better to do it manually at home, when a woman has enough time, since the whole process will take some time. Breast pumps will help a working mother, which greatly facilitate the pumping process. nine0003

Rules for hand pumping

It is best to express milk 10-15 minutes after the end of feeding the baby. Wash your hands thoroughly beforehand. If you use any breast cream, wipe the skin and nipples with a cotton swab or pad soaked in breast milk. Prepare a wide-mouth milk container by first washing it under running water and then sterilizing it (by boiling, in a steam sterilizer or in a dishwasher). nine0003

Sit comfortably, keeping your back straight, because pumping can take some time, and an uncomfortable position can cause back pain.

Gently grasp the chest: the little finger is under the chest at the ribs, the remaining fingers are positioned so as to support the chest from below. The thumb lies on top, about 3-4 cm from the nipple. In this case, the thumb and forefinger are located opposite each other, forming the letter "C".

nine0002 Use your thumb and forefinger to gently press down on your chest and hold this position for a few seconds. In no case do not bring your fingers together, they should remain in the same position, the letter "C".

Repeat pressing, moving the palm in a circle - this way you will use all the ducts of the mammary gland.

Be patient, milk may not come out immediately, but only after a while. If you are pumping for the first time, check with your doctor or lactation consultant beforehand to show you how to proceed. nine0003

Manual pumping errors

Do not squeeze the nipple: this way you will only hurt yourself and injure the breast, and you will not express milk fully.

Do not press the palm too tightly against the skin, moving the hand across the chest so that there is no irritation and microtrauma.

Do not give up at the first unsuccessful attempts, be patient.

Breast pumps

Breast pumps make pumping much easier, as they are designed to fit all the anatomical features of the female breast. nine0003

Which one to choose? Breast pumps are divided into mechanical and electrical. In the first case, the pumping process is carried out manually: by squeezing the “pear”, the woman starts the suction mechanism. Electric models are good because they work independently: from the mains or from batteries (batteries, accumulators) and do not require additional effort on the part of the woman.

Mom usually chooses a breast pump model according to her taste and financial capabilities. It should be borne in mind that devices powered by batteries lose power faster than devices powered by the mains. nine0003

Many women are confused by the fact that electric breast pumps are loud enough. To date, there are a large number of silent devices, which is recommended to pay attention to when buying. The most effective are electric breast pumps that express both breasts at the same time and have the option of adjusting the thrust force and suction speed.

When choosing a breast pump, pay attention to the presence of the “boil and sterilize” marking. There must be the possibility of such heat treatment of parts of the apparatus. If the model cannot be boiled and sterilized, it is better to refuse to purchase it and look for another one. nine0003

Rules for expressing with a breast pump

Before pumping for the first time, carefully read the instructions for the device. Check that it is properly assembled.

Sterilize the funnel and sump (boil or use a sterilizer).

Position the funnel so that the nipple is in the center of the funnel.

The draw should be the lowest, especially at first, until the breast is accustomed to expressing with a breast pump. Each breast must be pumped until a feeling of relief, add 2 minutes to this time. On average, the process will take about 15 minutes. nine0003

Pumping, like manual pumping, should be carried out some time after feeding.

Basic mistakes when expressing with a breast pump

Incorrect position of the funnel of the breast pump can cause pain to the woman. Remember: the nipple should be located strictly in the center of the funnel of the device.

Very long pumping. Do not exceed the time required to collect milk, this can lead to hyperlactation (production of excess milk). nine0003

Very strong traction. If your breast pump has a selectable thrust function, you should use the smallest one so as not to hurt your breasts.

Care of the breast pump. A breast pump, like any machine, needs proper care. It must not be clogged so as not to contaminate the milk.

Each model has a care instruction, which you should definitely read before using the device.

When washing, always disassemble the pump completely, removing even the smallest parts. This will prevent stagnation of milk residues in them. nine0003

Before each use, sterilize all parts of the machine that come into contact with milk. This can be done with a sterilizer.

Milk defrosting

Never thaw or heat breast milk in a microwave oven. When heated in the microwave, the milk warms up unevenly, while feeding the baby can burn. Also, due to the rapid heating of frozen milk when using a microwave, most of the useful properties of this invaluable product are lost. nine0003

To defrost breast milk, place it on the refrigerator shelf, and when it becomes liquid, heat it up. To do this, lower the milk bottle into hot water or put it under hot water. Also, special heaters can be used to warm milk.

If you have questions or don't know how to express, it's worth talking to a specialist. The doctor will not only tell, but also show how to do it correctly, give recommendations on the pumping schedule and advise which method is better to choose. nine0003

Remember that milk is undoubtedly a valuable food for the baby, but feeding with expressed milk should be used in exceptional cases.

At the School of Moms, our doctors talk in detail not only about how and when to express milk correctly, but also about how to properly attach a baby to the breast, how to avoid common problems with breastfeeding, such as lactostasis, as well as the rules for self-examination mammary glands. nine0003

Breastfeeding after 1 month: what to expect

Do you know when breast milk production stabilizes? And how does the frequency and duration of feedings change as the baby grows? You will find answers to these questions in our recommendations for breastfeeding after the first month.

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Congratulations: You made it through the first month of breastfeeding. Your breast milk has reached full maturity 1 , its production stabilizes and it leaks almost or not at all from the chest. Don't worry, it's not getting less milk, it's just that your breasts are better able to produce and store it now. 2 At the age of six weeks, your baby will begin to please you with his charming toothless smiles, and by two months you will already have 500-600 feedings behind you. With a favorable development of events, problems with latch on by this point will already be resolved, and you can simply enjoy the convenience and benefits of breastfeeding. nine0003

When does breastfeeding decrease?

The “normal” frequency of feedings for babies aged one to six months varies considerably, with some needing four times a day, others asking to be breastfed 13 times a day. 3

“From the age of one month, the amount of milk a baby consumes per feed increases, so that he can go without food for longer,” explains Cathy Garbin, a recognized international expert on breastfeeding, “A baby’s stomach grows, so he eat more at one time. In addition, mature milk allows him to stay full longer.” nine0003

Feeding can last from 12 minutes to one hour -
the habits of babies vary so much! 3 But if the child is gaining weight and falls within this range, there is no cause for concern.

What is most surprising, no matter how often the baby eats, he consumes approximately the same amount of milk per day - both at one month and at six, when it is time to start complementary foods with solid food. 4

“However, sometimes the baby eats more and sometimes less, especially when he is unwell. It’s better to just listen to his needs,” Katie explains. nine0003

Is breast milk really sufficient for the first six months?

Yes. Breast milk contains everything a baby needs for the first 90,183 six months of life—exclusively breastfed babies don't even need to drink more water! 5 Until about the age of six months, the child's digestive system is simply not adapted to the digestion of solid food, and he will be able to drink cow's milk only after a year.

In addition, breastfeeding during this period prepares the child for further development. It strengthens the muscles of the mouth, develops the jaw and helps straighten the teeth 6.7 . All this will come in handy when the baby begins to eat and talk. And because what you eat and drink affects how your breast milk tastes, your baby discovers new tastes even before he starts eating solid foods. 8

In addition, when your baby is sick, your body produces breast milk that is
rich in antibodies that help fight infection. 9 In other words, milk continues to protect the baby for many months as he grows and becomes more active. nine0003

Breastfeeding is also very comfortable once you get used to it. Claudia, a mother of two from the UK, notes: “No need to sterilize a mountain of bottles, prepare formula, carry it all with you, warm it up - in general, breastfeeding turned out to be very convenient, especially when my babies grew up and we began to leave the house more often. ".

At what age does a breastfed baby start sleeping through the night?

Waking up at night is normal for babies. Most babies between the ages of one and six months consume a fifth of their daily milk requirement at night, so nighttime feedings should not be neglected if you want your baby to get the required amount of calories. nine0169 3

"It really depends on what you mean by 'sleep through the night,'" says Cathy. "And it's better than waking up every two hours anyway! I have met infants who, starting at six weeks old, fell asleep at 19:00 and woke up at 7:00, but most continue to wake up frequently at night after this age. All children are different."

In Wales, a study of more than 700 infants showed that almost 80% of children aged 6 to 12 months wake up at least once a night, and 25% of them wake up three times or more. And it did not depend on what type of feeding the child is on - breastfeeding or artificial. nine0169 10

And if nighttime awakenings are unavoidable anyway, breastfeeding is at least comfortable! Maina, a mother of two from Australia, agrees: “You can even take a nap while feeding in the middle of the night - both the body and the baby do their job on autopilot. No need to plan, measure, sterilize anything - ready-made food at the right temperature is right in your chest. I think it's ideal."

My child wakes up more often. Perhaps he is hungry?

Around four months of age, a baby's sleep patterns change as they experience deep and light sleep phases like an adult. Because of this, he may wake up more often at night. “At four months, sleep is more of a problem than feeding,” Cathy admits. “It can be exhausting, but try to adapt and be patient.” nine0003

Some call this " a four-month sleep regression ", but "progress" is more appropriate here. From the outside it may look like a step back, but in fact the child is approaching an important stage of development. He learns quickly, begins to become aware of the world around him, his perception is sharpened and, perhaps, there is anxiety about being separated from his mother. Crying when waking up and being able to eat milk cuddled up to mommy’s chest is a way for a baby to calm down. nine0169 11–13

Resist the urge to “supplement” your baby with formula or start solid foods early
in an attempt to improve his sleep. Breast milk contains
hormones that make you sleepy and help you both relax
. Studies show that, in fact, breastfeeding mothers
sleep longer at night than formula- or formula-fed mothers
. 14

How does teething affect breastfeeding?

Teething usually begins around four months of age. When a baby has gum pain, he becomes restless, throws his chest and cries. All this, of course, is unpleasant.

However, breastfeeding can be an excellent sedative.
Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed
during the vaccination period cry less and forget pain more quickly. 15 Breastfeeding during teething can have the same calming effect. nine0003

An unpleasant side effect may be the child's attempts to try out his new teeth on the mother's breast. “Sometimes children flirt and bite their mother’s nipples. This can be felt in advance by how the behavior of the child changes when feeding: before biting, he removes his tongue, explains Cathy, “Usually this is not a problem and only happens a couple of times. It is enough to stop feeding, affectionately say that biting is not good, and the baby will soon leave this fun.

How to continue feeding if you have to be separated from the baby? nine0175

It happens that during the first six months, when the baby is still fully breastfed, the mother needs to be away for several hours - or even longer if she has to go to work or go away on business for a couple of days.

But this does not mean that you should stop breastfeeding. You can still feed your baby healthy breast milk - just express it and have someone give it to your baby when you're away. Here's Katie's advice:

“Start expressing milk a couple of days in advance, in small batches, 40-60 ml at a time. So you will have the necessary supply for the time of your absence, but at the same time the amount of milk produced will remain the same. nine0003

If you have to return to work, check with your employer about your daily schedule. Many mothers breastfeed their babies in the morning, evening and night, and pump milk at lunchtime to relieve discomfort and create a reserve for the next day.

This usually turns out to be much easier than one might think, and today many companies are well placed to do this, notes Cathy. “Breast pumps make it easy to solve this problem.”

Natalie, mother from the USA, shares her experience: “I feed Dylan as soon as he wakes up, and sometimes again before leaving for work, in order to maintain milk production and not lose contact with the child. At work, I pump twice the next day (in my absence, he eats two bottles of breast milk), and after work I rush home for the evening feed. I don't pump on the weekends - we resume regular breastfeeding." nine0003

Is it possible to continue breastfeeding after the introduction of solid foods?

When your baby begins to show interest in food and can sit up on his own - usually around six months of age - it's time to start solid foods. However, it is not necessary to stop breastfeeding, Cathy explains: “A baby’s iron stores during pregnancy are depleted by six months, so he needs additional sources of this element.

Start complementary foods with solid foods, but remember that breast milk remains a more important source of calories and nutrients until the baby is eight to nine months old. By this time, he will be eating much more solid food, but he will still need to breastfeed four to five times a day. By 12 months, the frequency of feeding may be two to six times a day. All babies are different, and many of them at this age are still getting half their daily calorie intake from breast milk.” nine0003

Don't forget that breast milk can be added to solid foods, such as cereals and purees, so that the baby can taste the familiar taste. If possible, use milk expressed just before feeding (not thawed) and add just before serving to keep bacteria and nutrients alive. 16

You may be pressured by others to stop breastfeeding when your baby is six months old, but the longer you breastfeed or pump, the better for you and your baby. nine0003

How long can I continue breastfeeding?

“The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding along with solid foods until at least two years of age because it plays an important role in supporting immunity,” says Cathy. feels bad".

At eight months, the baby sometimes breastfeeds four times a day, but by one year old, the frequency of feedings can be reduced to two times a day. You yourself will understand which feeding regimen is more suitable for you and your baby. For example, Jane, a mother of two from the US, breastfed until the age of two: “I breastfed when I was at home - in the evenings and on weekends, when the children wanted to be close to me,” says Jane, “It helped a lot when they were sick . Breastfeeding has become my favorite form of comfort." nine0003

“When my son got a little older and bolder, he still often asked me to breastfeed him - as if to calm down and gain strength,” recalls Amy, a mother of two children from Canada, “When he happened to hit or skin his knee , breastfeeding was a wonderful way to comfort him.

If your baby is over a year old and you are still breastfeeding, people around you will probably tell you that this way he will never wean. But if children are not pressured, they usually refuse to breastfeed themselves between the ages of two and four. nine0169 17

“I didn’t intend to breastfeed for so long, but as a result, I still breastfeed my four-year-old daughter and 22-month-old son,” says Suzanne, mother of two from the UK, “I breastfeed my youngest before and after work, and in I express milk on business trips. The eldest daughter likes to breastfeed a little before bed or when she is upset - this is a great way to make contact. When I get tired of it, I remind myself what great benefit and comfort it brings them. I now plan to pursue a baby-initiated end breastfeeding strategy — let them decide when to stop.” nine0003

For more information on what to expect and lots of tips and tricks, see our guide Breastfeeding Problems After the First Month.


1 Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am . 2013;60(1):49-74. - Ballard O., Morrow A.L., "Composition of breast milk: nutrients and biologically active factors." nine0233 Pediatrician Clean North Am. 2013;60(1):49-74.

2 Kent JC et al. Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production. 2012;41(1):114-21. - Kent J.S. et al., "Principles for Maintaining and Increasing Milk Production". J Obstet Ginecol and Neonatal Nurse. 2012;41(1):114-121. nine0233

3 Kent J.C. Volume and frequency of breastfeedings and fat content of breast milk throughout the day. Pediatrics. 2006;117(3): e 387-395. - Kent J.S. et al., "Amount and frequency of breastfeeding and fat content of breast milk during the day. " Pediatrix (Pediatrics). 2006;117(3):e387-95.

4 Kent JC et al. Longitudinal changes in breastfeeding patterns from 1 to 6 months of lactation. Breast Med . 2013;8(4):401-407. - Kent J.S. et al., Longitudinal changes in breastfeeding patterns from 1 to 6 months of lactation. Brest Med. 2013;8(4):401-407.

5 Almroth S, Bidinger PD. No need for water supplementation for exclusively breast-fed infants under hot and arid conditions. Trans 9 R Soc Trop Med 1990;84(4):602-604. - Elmroth S., Bidinger P.D., "No need for supplementation of exclusively breastfed infants in hot, dry conditions." Trans R Sots Trop Med Hyg. 1990;84(4):602-604.

6 Victora CG et al . Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet. 2016;387(10017):475-490. - Victor S.J. et al., "Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms and long-term effects". Lancet 2016;387(10017):475-490.

7 Peres KG et al. Effect of breastfeeding on malocclusions: a systematic review and meta - analysis. Acta Paediatr. 2015;104( S 467):54-61. - Perez K.G. et al., "The impact of breastfeeding on malocclusion: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Akta Pediatr. 2015;104(S467):54-61.

8 Mennella JA, Beauchamp GK. Maternal diet alters the sensory qualities of human milk and the nursling's behavior. Pediatrics. 1991;88(4):737-744. - Mennella, JA, Beauchamp, GK, "Maternal nutrition influences the organoleptic properties of breast milk and infant behavior." nine0233 Pediatrix (Pediatrics). 1991;88(4):737-744.

9 Hassiotou F et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clin Transl immunology. 2013;2(4). - Hassiot F. et al., "Infectious diseases of the mother and child stimulate a rapid leukocyte reaction in breast milk." Clean Transl Immunology. 2013;2(4).

10 Brown A, Harries V. Infant sleep and night feeding patterns during later infancy: Association with breastfeeding frequency, daytime complementary food intake, and infant weight. Breast Med . 2015;10(5):246-252. - Brown A., Harris W., "Night feedings and infant sleep in the first year of life and their association with feeding frequency, daytime supplementation, and infant weight." Brest Med (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2015;10(5):246-252.

11 Infant sleep information source. [Internet]. Normal Infant Sleep Development; December 2017 [cited 2018 Feb] - All about baby sleep. [Internet] "The development of normal sleep in a child", December 2017 [cited February 2018]. nine0233

12 Baby sleep science. [Internet]. The-Four-Month-Sleep-Regression-What-is-it-and-What-can-be-Done-About-it. March 2014 [ cited 2018 Feb ] - The science of baby sleep. [Internet], "Four-month sleep regression: what it is and what to do about it." March 2014 [cited February 2018].

13 The Myth Of Baby Sleep Regressions – What’s Really Happening To Your Baby’s Sleep? [Internet]. Pinky Mckay ; "The Myth of Baby Sleep Regression - What's Really Happening to Your Baby?" [Internet]. Pinky McKay, December 2017 [cited February 2018].

14 Kendall - TACKETT K ET A LAK0232 . The effect of feeding method on sleep duration, maternal well-being, and postpartum depression.

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