Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    17

    Default how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    DS is 9.5 months old

    I am currently feeding him some "finger food" maybe once a day - a few pieces of pasta or oaties or yams - not much.

    He really loves to nurse, and I'm just fine with that -6,10, 20 times a day - whenever he wants.

    Question is - do I need to be giving him more than just breastmilk at this point? I have read all the articles that say that breastmilk or formula is the primary nutrition for the first year, but I guess I worry that he is not getting all the calories or nutrition that he needs only from me.

    "everyone else" is giving their kids 3 meals a day and then formula on top of that - I feel like an outcast in our circle of friends - I also feel helpless because I really don't know if what I am doing is "right". I want DS to have the very best - that's why he is breastfed - if he wants "real food", then I give it to him, but only the "healthy" options - such as avocado, pasta, yams, etc - not french fries, chicken nuggets, etc that our "friends" give their 9 month olds - horrifying to me!

    He is small for his age - but always has been - pediatrician is not concerned because he is following"the curve" - he is just at the 2-3% and has been since week 1 of his life. He is a happy, happy guy - nurses around the clock and I feed on demand - always - 2-3 times a night still, but I'm OK with that - if that's what he needs.

    So , bottom line of my question - does he need more?

    when do I really need to focus on "real food"? I will nurse him forever if that is what he wants, i just need to know when I need to worry about his nutrition.

    His "well-baby" check-up is in 2 weeks - plan to have his iron level checked at that point.

    thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,198

    Default Re: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    Hi Michelle, Good question! And good for you for being such a dedicated mommy! Feeding on demand all these months is wonderful and so so good for your DS.

    A few things to keep in mind on this topic.... you will get nearly as many different opinions as you get people who answer you - and that includes your pediatrician... so, take all of it under advisement and see what feels right to you. Now, that said; I'm very glad to hear that you will be having your DS's iron checked at the next well-baby visit. That's one of the things that you do want to consider after the 9 month mark because the lactating body has full iron stores for baby to absorb thru about 6-9 months, but then we may not have enough coming throug in our milk for our LO. If the iron readings are low, you may be encouraged to start to introduce finger foods that have decent iron content (or, you may be encouraged to do iron fortified cereals in addition to breast milk; this is one of the main reasons peds try to get people to do cereals...they are - usually - low allergen risk and have iron...). We were actually in this situation with our DS and we got him to where he is now (at the high end of normal!!) with things like lentils, black beans, tofu and, after much nagging from the doc, 1/4 of a crushed children's vitamin per mixed into some other food.

    Another thing you will hear some folks discuss - again, we got an earful on it from our ped, but I've also read some about it here - is that you want to not get yourself into an oral avoidance situation. Some people believe that if you wait too long to introduce solids, that you miss a good window of opportunity and that it can become very difficult to get your child interested. It doesn't sound like that is your situation though, if you are introducing some finger foods at this point.

    If your baby is growing well and hitting developmental milestones and has healthy iron levels, you can probably feel comfortable taking your cues somewhat from your child. He will start showing more interest in what you are eating and you can easily offer healthy options for him to try - like pieces of soft avocado, pear, yams, etc., etc. If you have a history of food allergies on either side of your family, you'll want to be careful with thing like eggs, wheat, tofu - but if not, feel free to explore somewhat! One of DS's favorite early finger foods was scrambled egg yolks...followed by whole soft black beans (would not tolerate pureed black beans, though)... he also loved - and still does - whole-milk yogurt. DS became a whole lot more interested in solid foods once he had mastered enough coordination to put things into his mouth for himself. He was OK with being spoon-fed, but the element of control just opened up the whole new fun of feeding for him. And, let me assure you, he did not lose interst in nursing. He still happily nurses at 16 mo.

    I whole-heartedly agree with you about skipping the junk food. We're a veggie household so that cuts out alot of the fast-food potential junk... I think the "junkiest" thing DS has ever eaten is some bites of graham cracker! I kid you not, at 16 months, DS gets very excited in the produce aisle when he can see I'm about to pick out his sweet peas; he flaps and chatters until I give him a pod to munch on right there!

    Good luck.........
    -linda

    ps..... i also meant to say that, IMNHO, breastmilk IS the most "REAL" food anyone can ever have!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,931

    Default Re: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    I know how you feel about being an outcast among your friends. Most of mine (save a couple AP mamas who are also EBF) have been feeding their babies baby food for months (and, yes, formula). I even have a friend who started giving both her babies apple juice and cereal at 2.5 months ((shudder)).

    My little one is 7.5 months old and she is still an ALL breast milk girl (she's tried solids a few times, but hasn't really shown a lot of interest). You will find many moms (you'll find a lot on this board) exclusively breastfeeding with no solids to speak of well into the later months of the first year. And all their babies are thriving. I'm one of those babies! My mom didn't start solids until my 11th month, and I was a healthy, chunky baby and my brother the same (95th percentile weight/height ... not that those charts are good for anything anyway!)

    And what J's Mom said about the wildly different opinions is so true ... I'm sure this thread will be packed with posts in no time at all.

    This is my favorite source to cite to family/friends who criticize me: Why Delay Solids?

    Also see this thread:
    http://lalecheleague.org/vbulletin/s...2799#post32799

    I think the most important thing is to watch/trust your baby (just as in BFing) for signs that she's ready for more. Every baby is different. We're doing a baby-led approach to solids ... see here. I really like the idea of letting the baby set the pace and keeping the focus on play and exploration so the transition takes place as naturally as possible.

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,931

    Default Re: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    Just wanted to pop this in here:

    Don't forget that breastmilk provides more fat and calories than any food you can provide your little one!

    Kellymom.com states:

    Ounce for ounce, breastmilk has more calories than most baby-safe solid foods and significantly more nutrients than any type of solid food that you can feed your baby. In addition, starting solids will quite possibly reduce the amount of milk that your baby is getting overall, rather than increase overall intake. One of the first recommendations for a baby who genuinely has slow weight gain is to decrease or eliminate solid foods and nurse more often.

    Breastmilk should make up the majority of baby’s nutrition through the end of the first year. At some point toward the end of the first year, most babies will gradually begin to need more iron and zinc than that provided by breastmilk alone - at that point, additional nutrients can be obtained from small amounts of solids.

    Some babies thrive on breastmilk alone until 12 months or later - as long as your baby is continuing to gain weight and grow as he should, your milk is meeting his needs well.

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,064

    Default Re: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    I just want to echo above posts--sounds like everything is going just fine to me. Your breast milk still provides wonderful nutrition for your baby. He is showing some interest in finger foods, and this will naturally grow over time-no need to rush it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
    Posts
    17,406

    Default Re: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    Quote Originally Posted by mishellyc
    DS is 9.5 months old

    I am currently feeding him some "finger food" maybe once a day - a few pieces of pasta or oaties or yams - not much.

    He really loves to nurse, and I'm just fine with that -6,10, 20 times a day - whenever he wants.

    He's is small for his age - but always has been - pediatrician is not concerned because he is following"the curve" - he is just at the 2-3% and has been since week 1 of his life. He is a happy, happy guy - nurses around the clock and I feed on demand - always - 2-3 times a night still, but I'm OK with that - if that's what he needs.

    So , bottom line of my question - does he need more?

    His "well-baby" check-up is in 2 weeks - plan to have his iron level checked at that point.

    thanks!
    You sound so on top of it! Good for you for "NOT TRIPPING" over a small healthy baby! We see soooo many women here that get worried because they're BF children are small. But if their non breastfed counterparts are eating three meals a day and eating things like chicken nuggets is it any wonder?!?!

    Good for you for being open to child led weaning!! Having his iron levels checked at this point sounds like a great idea! But don't let your Pedi talk you into a bunch of solids that your baby doesn't need! Later in life when all the other babies your around now are overweight and your baby isn't, he'll thank for not caving to uneducated peer pressure. The article paint-the moon refers to is a great one. Your baby could live fine on breastmilk alone for AT LEAST a year. But will let you know when he's ready for more.

    We give my 7month old son watermelon or avacado most nights at dinner because we want him to feel "included" in mealtimes and understand that it's an important "ritual' n our life-family dinner. He does best with watermelon and it has iron in it!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    893

    Default Re: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    Hi, I have had the same question, my daughter is about to be 10 months old and nurses on demand throughout the day (I have lost count on how many times a day). She refuses any types of foods offered her, just wants to nurse. The pedi wants me to start her on foods, but I am not going to force feed her, I figure when she's ready, she'll let me know. I'm glad I am not the only one with this concern. I did ask my LLL leader about this a few meetings ago and she said she has seen some babies go till 15-18 months old before they become interested in foods, that made me feel better and that there isn't anything wrong with my little angel. I had her iron leve checked at her 9 month appt. and everything is just fine so I am just going to go on my little ones cues.

    Marcie
    Mom of Madeline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: how long can I exclusively breastfeed?

    Quote Originally Posted by mishellyc
    DS is 9.5 months old

    I am currently feeding him some "finger food" maybe once a day - a few pieces of pasta or oaties or yams - not much.

    He really loves to nurse, and I'm just fine with that -6,10, 20 times a day - whenever he wants.

    Question is - do I need to be giving him more than just breastmilk at this point? I have read all the articles that say that breastmilk or formula is the primary nutrition for the first year, but I guess I worry that he is not getting all the calories or nutrition that he needs only from me.

    "everyone else" is giving their kids 3 meals a day and then formula on top of that - I feel like an outcast in our circle of friends - I also feel helpless because I really don't know if what I am doing is "right". I want DS to have the very best - that's why he is breastfed - if he wants "real food", then I give it to him, but only the "healthy" options - such as avocado, pasta, yams, etc - not french fries, chicken nuggets, etc that our "friends" give their 9 month olds - horrifying to me!

    He is small for his age - but always has been - pediatrician is not concerned because he is following"the curve" - he is just at the 2-3% and has been since week 1 of his life. He is a happy, happy guy - nurses around the clock and I feed on demand - always - 2-3 times a night still, but I'm OK with that - if that's what he needs.

    So , bottom line of my question - does he need more?

    when do I really need to focus on "real food"? I will nurse him forever if that is what he wants, i just need to know when I need to worry about his nutrition.

    His "well-baby" check-up is in 2 weeks - plan to have his iron level checked at that point.

    thanks!

    My DD is 8 months old. I BF her on cue. I started experimenting with solids after she was 6 months, only a spoon or two at first. Now I give her solids once a day so she can taste different types of food (applesauce, pears, avocado, sometimes cereal, sweet potatos). I gave her avocado as a finger food and tried a teething biscuit, she has two teeth. Sometimes she would eat the equivalent of a stage 1 prepared food and sometimes less. Some days she doesn't want food and its only BF. Sometimes she would stop eating and want to BF instead. I don't give her any formula. My Ped. said he wanted to see her eating 3 times a day + finger food. I tried 2 meals at first and realized she was BF a lot less than before so I stopped and decided to ignore what the Ped. said. Her growth rate is very good. She is around 18 lbs now and she started at 5lbs 15oz Sometimes I also feel that she may need more but I realized that she is healthy and happy.

    She used to be more interested in what we eat but as soon as she tried eating, she wasn't interested any more and actually prefers BM.
    Last edited by HappyMom; August 2nd, 2006 at 04:19 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •