Table of Contents
- Time at the breast
- Does your milk change?
- Is your baby keeping you up at night?
- The long term benefits of extended breastfeeding.
How Much Should I Be Nursing?
Parents may be concerned about how much their six-month-old should be eating and drinking. Most babies start eating solids around the 4 - 6 month mark. Slowly, they are offered solid foods for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Feeding sessions are then followed up with a breastfeeding session.
So, the amount that your baby drinks at the breast is determined by the amount of solid foods that he/she eats. Mothers will notice that their babies spend less time at the breast when they eat more food. Some days you may see that your baby prefers solids over breastfeeding or vice versa. That is okay and normal. As long as your baby seems happy, healthy, and is gaining weight, you don't need to worry about it.
What Happens to Your Milk After Six Months?
It's quite fantastic how our bodies work—your breastmilk changes with your baby's needs.
Between the time your baby is born and six months, your milk production is highest because breast milk demand is higher. At six months, your baby will start to do a couple of things, such as:
- Start eating solids
- Rolling over
- Sitting up
So during this time, your baby is super active and needs extra protection from all the germs they will come into contact with.
When your body regulates your milk to produce less milk, an interesting thing happens. Your breast milk becomes more potent, like its predecessor, colostrum. This concentrated, dense breast milk contains more immune protecting factors, more fat and is perfectly adapted to the needs of your busy baby. Therefore, a lower milk supply is expected during this time and is no reason for concern. Your baby will get everything they need.
You can continue to breastfeed your baby with this seemingly less but more rich milk for a year or longer. A year is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends as the minimal time to breastfeed.
What if Your Baby Is Waking at Night
Babies between the ages of 4 and 6 months are often restless at night. Some babies may show signs of readiness to transition to solids sooner than others. Although, it is recommended to avoid the introduction of solids to 6 months if you can.
A feeding schedule could help to reduce the number of times your baby wakes up at night. All you have to do is feed your baby five times per day at four-hour intervals. An eating schedule will ensure your baby is receiving all their calories during the day and will, thus, be less likely to wake at night.