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Weaning and breastfeeding

When your baby begins to move on to solids, you don't need to stop breastfeeding

Posted: 4 August 2010
by Laura Lee Davies

With health guidelines advising you to wait until six months, you might also be thinking about moving from breast milk to formula milk. This may especially be the case if you're returning to work soon.
However, even if you offer some formula, don't see weaning as necessarily that milestone where all breastmilk must be stopped. In fact, given that your child is dealing with this new feeding experience, the comfort of the familiar breast will be an important one. So even if you can't breastfeed during the day, while things are still changing and new for your weaning child, do at least try to keep up morning and night feeds if you can.

Starting to wean

First experiences of eating are, to some babies, simply a distraction from milk so don't be put off if your child shows little or no interest in the apple you lovingly steamed and mashed. Don't force him to eat; it might take a couple of months before he's ready. However, some babies are more than ready, and the array of new tastes (despite being simple and bland, as no flavourings should be added at all) to them seem far more interesting than boring old milk.

Milk intake when weaning
If you are using formula milk, the packaging will give you a table showing how much, on average, your baby should be drinking each day. If you are breastfeeding, you are more likely to be gauging intake by the number of feeds you are giving a day.

Whilst you do not want to discourage a baby's new found interest in food, you do need to maintain a good milk intake and this should not drop, ideally, below about 22-25floz (650-800ml) a day so think about giving the milk feeds at very separate times to the solids feeds and perhaps offer a little cooled, boiled water with the food, instead.

Usually, when weaning, you would offer solids before the milk so that your child does not fill up too much, but if you are worried about milk intake, make the bottle or breast a priority before at least one meal.

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