Starting solids: Are you nursing enough?

My breastfed baby is ten months old and has been eating solid foods since she was about six months old. I work part-time for a very understanding boss who lets me pop out to nurse a couple of times a day. We have got into a routine of three solid meals a day plus four breastfeeds -- first thing in the morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon and at bedtime. The two feeds during the day always seem to be fairly quick and I suspect she is not taking a huge amount of milk. Is she nursing enough?

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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 like you are doing a great job of combining breastfeeding with working outside the home. It must be very helpful to have such an understanding boss.

Breastfeeding should still remain the nutritional priority for the second half of your baby's first year of life. Breastmilk, optimally, should make up 75 percent of your baby's diet at this time.

Each baby is an individual. Some ten month olds are barely eating any solid foods and continue to receive their nutrition primarily from their mother's milk. Other babies seem to have a greater interest in solid foods and are nursing less often.

It is not unreasonable for a child of ten months to eat three meals a day, but portions of solid food can still remain small. At this age, normal portions would be (roughly) 1/2 cup each of cereal, fruits and vegetables, along with about two tablespoons of meat, chicken or another high-protein food, and one or two slices of bread, divided among his three meals.

I would recommend nursing your baby before offering each meal. Babies of this age are very efficient nursers. They may be finished at the breast in five minutes. Though it may just look like your baby is snacking, she may be having a good, full meal.

If your baby is healthy and growing well, don't become overly concerned about the balance between breastmilk and solid foods. As long as you continue to offer the breast prior to feeding of solid foods, and allow your baby access to your breast, good chances are that she will be getting the nutrition she needs.

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