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Thread: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

  1. #1
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    Default How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    Hi all, my question is about how many feeds a 9 month old needs if they are also having some solids? My baby is a good eater and seems to eat almost any food he is offered, and doesn't appear to be concerned by any new tastes. I think one of the only things he doesn't really like is cucumber. Anyway, he is quite capable of eating 3 solid meals a day and I haven't had him weighed at the doctors recently, but a few weeks ago i think he was 24lbs which makes him fairly heavy on the percentiles.

    My question is - if he is eating 3 solid meals, how many feeds / how much milk does he need? I am currently giving him a morning and night time feed every day. Some days he might have a day time feed as well but not always or consistently. I feel 2 feeds a day is too little but then he eats solids so well and is quite heavy so i'm not sure about increasing his food intake. Should I decrease the solids and increase the milk? Or, offer more milk despite him eating all those solids? Or, just leave as is - or any other advice appreciated!
    Psychologist, first time mum and attempting to chronicle my experiences!
    See my attempts: Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood
    http://baby-brain.co.uk

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    Breastmilk is baby's primary form of nutrition through the first year. Really solids in the first year is to gain experience with tastes, textures and the skills to self-feed, then around a year solids gradually become a more important source of nutrition, with breastmilk gradually playing a more complementary role (though still wonderful for baby of course, not just nutritionally but emotionally and psychologically too!). So I think you're right to be concerned about 2 feeds a day - that is very low, and you risk your supply dropping dramatically with so little nursing. My babies at 9 months were still nursing every couple hours, which would be more of the norm. In order to encourage more nursing, make sure you nurse BEFORE solids, and limit solids if you need to, to prevent baby from filling up on less-nutritious solids rather than milk. Also 9 month olds are usually quite distractible, especially during the day, so it may help to offer to nurse more during times baby is sleepy - up and down for naps and bedtime, or at night. It's common for a 9 month old not to nurse much during the day, and then make up for it at night.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    I agree with bfwmomof3
    Do you think that if you offered to nurse more frequently your baby would not be interested? Or is that already been your experience that baby has no interest in nursing more than two or three times a day?
    I ask because I'm not sure that you would necessarily have to decrease solids in order to increase nursing sessions.. I am not saying it's not a bad idea to perhaps decreased college to encourage baby to nurse more, however I just don't know that it's necessary it would depend. Babies typically nurse for comfort as well as nutrition so it's not always about the food of course babies will also nurse for thirst- is baby getting lots of liquids? However if your baby did begin nursing more that might result in a decrease in solids which would be fine.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    Decrease solids not decreased college dumb phone

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    x100 with the previous posts. I've always been told that until a year, breastmilk (or formula) should be the baby's primary source of nutrition, because nothing else provides such a perfectly balanced diet, and balanced nutrition is really important during the first year, when brain and body are growing at their fastest rate. Also, breastmilk is the only food you can give your child that provides immunological support, and the immune system is another thing that is developing really swiftly when a baby is <1 year old.

    If this were my baby, I would definitely encourage a lot more nursing. Offer the breast before solids, offer the breast in between meals, and maybe offer in the night if baby is consistently sleeping all the way through. I don't think you need to decrease his solids, but I certainly wouldn't worry if more nursing resulted in decreased intake of solids.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    thanks everyone, very helpful.

    Hmm, yes I thought that 2 feeds a day felt low. I called the NCT breastfeeding line about a month ago and they told me 3-4 feeds a day, or around 600mls of milk (and exact amount baby is drinking is difficult to know of course), but the health visitor told me that he didn't need that many feeds on top of the solids especially as he is heavy in weight. Rarrr, annoyed, why did the health visitor tell me that? I'm away from baby some days during the week and I was pumping, but last few weeks haven't done that. I can tell the supply has gone down. Do you think it's possible to get it back up if i go back to feeding 3-4 times a day or pumping once during the day when I can't feed? When i was pumping I would get about 160ml from 10 minutes on each side.

    He's never been a good sleeper but has been quite bad the last week. I ended up feeding him at 11:30pm, 2, 4 and 6am the other night, and i wondered if it was connected at all to having less feeds during the day. Just to add, i don't usually feed him this much at night, sometimes once or not at all until 6am, but sleep in the last week has been quite bad.

    Baby would definitely be interested in more feeds, it's not due to his lack of interest, he never seems to refuse solid food or milk unless he's just eaten a meal. Baby is getting enough liquids, at least I assume so because he is always offered water with solid meals and during the day. I always carry a sippy cup of water with us if we are out and offer it regularly. He doesn't always seem to want it but likes to sucks water out and then lets it spill out of his mouth.

    I'm reluctant to use formula at the moment because the handy ready to feed brands appear to use calf rennet in the manufacturing, which i'm not completely happy about.
    Psychologist, first time mum and attempting to chronicle my experiences!
    See my attempts: Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood
    http://baby-brain.co.uk

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    I called the NCT breastfeeding line about a month ago and they told me 3-4 feeds a day, or around 600mls of milk (and exact amount baby is drinking is difficult to know of course),
    That's still a very low number of feedings for a 9 month-old! In the US, the idea is that a baby should get most of his nutrition from breastmilk (or formula) until 12 months, with solids "complementing" but not replacing breastmilk or formula. Most exclusively breastfed babies need at least 8 nursing sessions per day in order to get all their nutrition from breastmilk, so I don't see how 3-4 nursing sessions could be providing "most" of a child's nutrition!

    but the health visitor told me that he didn't need that many feeds on top of the solids especially as he is heavy in weight. Rarrr, annoyed, why did the health visitor tell me that?
    Judging by what our UK mamas have reported here on the forum, my guess is that HVs have next to no knowledge about breastfeeding. Don't get me wrong- I think the HV system is terrific! But in this area, there seems to be vast room for improvement!

    I'm away from baby some days during the week and I was pumping, but last few weeks haven't done that. I can tell the supply has gone down. Do you think it's possible to get it back up if i go back to feeding 3-4 times a day or pumping once during the day when I can't feed?
    Yes, supply is generally quite elastic. Nurse more and/or pump more, and it will rebound. And the more you nurse/pump, the faster the rebound faster will happen. 3-4 nursing sessions plus 1 pumping session is definitely an improvement over what you have been doing, but if you add in more nursing/pumping sessions you will get faster results.

    but sleep in the last week has been quite bad.
    Sorry, mama! Most likely culprit is teething, but definitely try nursing more and see if it changes anything. You never know!

    Baby would definitely be interested in more feeds, it's not due to his lack of interest, he never seems to refuse solid food or milk unless he's just eaten a meal. Baby is getting enough liquids, at least I assume so because he is always offered water with solid meals and during the day. I always carry a sippy cup of water with us if we are out and offer it regularly. He doesn't always seem to want it but likes to sucks water out and then lets it spill out of his mouth.
    Any reason why you're offering water rather than nursing?

    I'm reluctant to use formula at the moment because the handy ready to feed brands appear to use calf rennet in the manufacturing, which i'm not completely happy about.
    Nurse more, and there will be no need for formula!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?


    I called the NCT breastfeeding line about a month ago and they told me 3-4 feeds a day, or around 600mls of milk (and exact amount baby is drinking is difficult to know of course),
    If there is an actual study that shows how much breastmilk a typical nursing 9 month old typically intakes over how many breastfeeding sessions that precisely, I would very much like to see it. In other words, I seriously question the basis of such a claim. It is possible the 600 mls is what a child physically needs to grow normally at that age, but that does not mean that more than that is not normal or a problem, nor that every child is going to get that much nursing only 3-4 times a day!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    There seems to be quite a bit of variation in what "health professionals" advise, and it sometimes contradicts other information from other professionals, or what the same person has said in the past! So it can get confusing.

    Thanks for advice about increasing supply. I've been sure to offer 3 feeds today and yesterday and will increase on that, and take the pump with me on the days I am away from baby. I'm hoping I haven't significantly damaged the supply from the the last few weeks of reducing feeding. 8 feeds a day seems like a lot though.

    Not sure if poor sleep is due to teething; he had two new teeth come in a few weeks ago but can't see anything else happening in the tooth department yet. Maybe it is his molars and I just can't see. Or maybe it's a phase?

    I'm only offering water because it's advised to offer water with food and during the day if not nursing so much.

    I don't know about the amounts of milk. Maybe the 600mls is what a formula fed baby would need at this age so that's the amount they quote as suitable? No, I don't know exactly how much he's getting. All I know is that I can get about 160mls from one 20 minute pump and so 4 lots of this would be just over 600. He might actually be getting more or less than this when feeding.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How many feeds a day does a 9 month old need?

    There seems to be quite a bit of variation in what "health professionals" advise, and it sometimes contradicts other information from other professionals, or what the same person has said in the past! So it can get confusing.
    This is one of the main reasons why LLL exists. Most medical professionals have very limited education when it comes to breastfeeding, and the advice they dispense is often based on hearsay, myth, and custom rather than on real knowledge.

    8 feeds a day seems like a lot though.
    Why? Are you not enjoying nursing? Are you concerned that nursing is holding your baby back from some important developmental step? Are you eager to wean? Are you getting pressure from friends/family/acquaintances to hasten the weaning process?

    I'm only offering water because it's advised to offer water with food and during the day if not nursing so much.
    Okay, I understand. And I hate to beat a dead horse, but if you're only offering water because you're not nursing much, why not nurse more? Your milk is the healthiest thing you can feed your baby.

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