Breastfeeding: Will starting solids decrease your milk supply?

I am a working mom. My nursing baby is eight months old, and is eating some solids. He is healthy, thriving and happy and I have met my personal breastfeeding goals. I do have some concerns. My baby has three meals of solids foods each day, along with around seven nursing sessions (or my milk fed in a bottle). His doctor recommended that we increase the solids. I am concerned this will decrease my supply. Maybe it's time to begin weaning him. I thought breastmilk was a priority for the first year. What should I do?


Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It sounds as if you've been doing a great job with your little guy. I can give you some guidelines for combining breastfeeding and feeding of solids, but each baby is an individual, so there is really not one pat answer for everyone.

Your baby seems to be getting a very normal amount of nursing and solid food for a baby of his age. I think it is important to ask your physician why he would like you to increase solid foods at this time. You are right. Increasing solids would mean a decrease in the amount of breastmilk your baby will want, and since the nutritional content of foods can vary so much, it is very important to make breastmilk the priority during a baby's first year of life. It is a good idea to continue nursing before offering solids.

I think that it is wonderful that you have met your personal goals of exclusively breastfeeding, and not offering your baby any formula. Actually, there is nothing magical about a baby's first birthday, other than your son being less likely to have an allergic reaction to cow's milk and certain other foods around this time in his life. As you can see, many formula companies are now marketing different preparations for use during a baby's second year of life. This period is also a time of great brain growth and development, so it is just as important as ever for your baby to be eating nutritiously. Breastmilk is still an important part of a baby's diet through his second year of life and beyond.

If you and your little one are enjoying the nursing relationship, it is definitely not time to give it up. Wishing you the very best!

Starting solids? Check out the Baby Food Processor and the Fold-Up Booster Seat in the iVillage Market and find out how easy mealtime can be.

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