How often should I breastfeed my 8 month old?

Ruth - posted on 12/01/2010 ( 71 moms have responded )

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My 8 month old son is in the 69th percentile for weight, he eats three meals of solids a day, and has some juice or water during the day. He seems to like snacking in the late afternoon (I think for comfort rather than hunger), and I am wondering how often is best to breastfeed him. He could still nurse every 3 hours during the day if I let him, and he does not nurse long before he is satisfied. Also, would you suggest that I breastfeed him before or after his solid meals? He used to sleep for 9 hours straight at night, and now he barely sleeps 6 hours before he is up and wanting to breastfeed, which makes me think that he does not get enough milk before bed.

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Vicki - posted on 12/01/2010

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I would (and still do) feed on demand. Offer milk before solid meals. Food is for fun until one, so the major it of his calories should still be coming from milk. It's really common for babies to cluster feed in the late afternoon/early evening. Breatmilk tends to be fattier but with less volume later in the day, the fat content is highest half an hour after the last feed so it makes sense for babies to feed several times to feel full before bed. His nursing times would be short now because he's very efficient at nursing!

In short, it sounds like he knows what he needs and he sounds completely normal. To be honest I think 6 hours before a feed at night is fine for an 8 month old but maybe that's just because mine never went that long at that age!

Lauren - posted on 12/04/2010

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8 months is a classic time of disruption and restlessness. It's a big time for growth and developmental leaps, so it's common for 8 month olds to sleep less well and want to eat all the time. You can and probably should nurse the baby as often as he wants, and let him snack when he wants. He's going to wake up whether he's full or not, is what I'm saying: he's seeking more nutrition for growth, and his little brain is going nuts from figuring out how to crawl/move and communicate.

Merry - posted on 12/04/2010

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That's cuz many 8 month olds are barely ready for ANY solids!
Only if you are trying to wean by a year should they be eating that much solids!
Many many babies at 8 months are just having their first tastes of any solids.
And mine wasn't ready til 10 months for solids at all!
8 months in my opinion is way too young for three meals of solids a day.
Solids are NoT nutritionally satisfying for babies and breastmilk is their complete nutrition until a year. Or more :)
Don't think of gerber as the professionals in what your baby should eat.
Of course gerber wants your baby eating three solid meals a day this young, that way they get more money!
Just feed baby on demand, if he asks for boob, give him boob. If you are eating and he wants some of your food, feed him some appropriate foods!
If baby wants no solids all day, don't worry! Solids aren't necessary until a year at least. Many still aren't having three meals a day until 1 1/2 years old!

Carolyn - posted on 12/01/2010

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solids should be a compliment to breastmilk and not a suppliment. you should continue to nurse as you usually would and then offer solids after nursing to top him off.

at 8 months i would assume a decent sized healthy baby to nurse every 4 hours ish during the day. especially after milk and solids at a previous meal. i could be wrong.

Merry - posted on 12/04/2010

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My son is 20 months and is bf about every 3 hours in the day so there's no way to tell what he needs except for what he asks for!

If he asks for comfort feedings, then he needs some comfort so it's nice to let him. If he's hungry or thirsty he can ask and I'd say just trust that if he asks, he needs it.

Emotions are just as important as physical needs so never short change his feelings.

As for sleep, my son sleeps total of 10-11 hours a night, but only about 6-7 straight in the beginning, then he bf and goes back once or twice before morning.

So I think that's normal too, teething, growth spurts, new milestones all can make him bf more and more and more!

So it's easiest to say, if he wants it, let him have it!

He has some reason in his little mind or heart why he is asking so it never hurts to bf more, he can't get to much!



Bf BEFORE solids until a year!

Drs orders!

Solids are only for fun until his birthday. At 8 months my son wasn't even eating solids daily. No meals, no juice, he hated it. And he was 26lbs by his birthday so he grew just fine without much solids.

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Megan - posted on 02/29/2012

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My baby is almost 8mo. She eats 3 solid meals a day, nurses about 5 times. She regularly sleeps from 7pm to 4:30am before nursing and settling back in for an hour or so. Her brothers were nothing like her. They had a lot more trouble with solids (we started her at 5 months because she started snatching food out of our hands and begging like a puppy) and they never slept more than 3 hours at a time until they were 1 year old. Every baby is different. A lactation consultant once told me "they won't starve quietly". If the baby acts hungry he/she probably is. Offer the breast and see what happens. Try to relax and enjoy the cuddles. You'll miss them when the baby weans.

Kelly - posted on 12/31/2010

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I think you should feed your baby as often as he and you both like and for as long as you both like I still nurse my 11 month old very frequently first thing in the morning after every solid feeding and before bed or any other time she just needs comfort it makes both of us happy and thats all that matters

Stephanie - posted on 12/16/2010

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Ruth may find this information helpful but i see it as a cause of why so many woman get post natal depression.
When i had my baby and was being told so many different ways of how to do things, my mind would go crazy and ( i must do it!!!) Until i decided to do things my own way and both bub and me were happier, general advice helps!

Stephanie - posted on 12/15/2010

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stop being so critical.....she needs support not told what to do. Babies survive whichever way thier parents raise them and all babies are different so you dont know what her baby wants.

Becky - posted on 12/15/2010

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my 8 month old nurses on demand... he nurses probably about 8 times a day..and also has a little snack of fruit with cereal in the AM, as well as a veggie around 12 as well as 6pm.
He takes two good naps (usuallly 2 hrs and 1 1/2 hrs ) during the day. He is walking now and very active. He sleeps from 6;30pm to 5:30am

Jill - posted on 12/14/2010

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He eats very well. I would suggest breastfeeding him before he goes to bed to help him sleep through the night.

Ruth - posted on 12/14/2010

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he is beginning to creep around the floor now, but fully crawling yet. I also noticed last week that he has his 6th and 7th teeth both coming in at the same time, so that must be a factor as well. Thanks!

Angela - posted on 12/14/2010

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breastfed babies dont need anything but mothers milk for the first year of their lives:) supplimenting with solid food before that can shorten the breastfeeding relationship because instead of suckling and telling your body to produce milk, baby is getting full other ways. your baby nurses to tell your body how much milk to produce, so if he eats more, he may be having a growthspurt. hope this is helpful.

Angela - posted on 12/14/2010

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I think you should breastfeed him whenever he wants :)He really doesnt need anything but your milk for the first year of his life. My advice is be careful feeding solids- it could be the beginning of the end of your breastfeeding relationship.see, if hes eating solids, he is not suckling and telling your body to produce milk and you slowly produce less and less. That also may be the reason he is sleeping less at night, by nursing he is telling your body to make more milk so if hes doing that less by eating solids, maybe hes trying to make up the extra milk at night. I hope that makes sense:) Anyway good luck to you and your son .

Amber - posted on 12/14/2010

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We fed on demand at that age and were just starting solids. The bulk of nutrition should still be coming from breast milk at this point, not solid foods.

Cara - posted on 12/13/2010

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My little guy is almost 9 months and nurses on demand about every 2 hours or so. He's not really interested in any food yet. I'm planning on doing the baby-led weaning thing with him so I do let him taste/play with foods that I eat but no purees or spoon feeding for us here. We're in no hurry and I'm happy knowing he's getting everything he needs from breastmilk!



We co-sleep and he still nurses through the night too.

Gabrielle - posted on 12/10/2010

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At that age, my daughter was still nursing every three hours during the day, which translated into nursing for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and bedtime. She wasn't too interested in solids, even if I gave them to her before nursing (which I don't suggest doing--I did it at one point to get pique her interest in solids and then went back to nursing first). Bear in mind that solids at this age aren't really important, even though everyone thinks they are. It's silly, but moms brag about how great their kids eat solids at 6 months of age, when mine was still on straight breast milk.

The sleep is a concern to me. Perhaps it's a growth spurt. If he used to sleep for longer periods and isn't anymore, then that's your cue that something's going on, either with feeding, teething, or something else. Maybe consider doing away with the juice. It's empty sugary calories. If he nursed instead of having juice, he would be receiving only the best calories--good fats, vitamins, etc. Hope you get this figured out!

Maz - posted on 12/10/2010

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i think once in the morning or put breast milk in his cereal and once at night, that's what i would do but everyone is different xx

Cindi - posted on 12/10/2010

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I breastfed on demand and highly recommend it. Solids don't need to be the primary food source until he's older. Breast milk is the perfect baby food! :) I breastfed until my son was 2, of course by that time, he was not bf'ing very often and it was easy to ween him because he was ready.

Shontelle - posted on 12/10/2010

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ok my daughter is 8months and has been having solids since 3months and can out eat any other baby but she still love her bf she only has to see my breasts to start trying 2 pull them out but she has recently started crawling and pulling her self up and has gone from sleeping from 6pm till 630am to sleeping from 830pm to 430-5am sometimes even waking up at 3am but even though shes eating way more now shes so active shes loosing weight shes only 7.7kgs(17lbs) at 8months when she was 8.4kgs at 6 and a half months oh and once a week she only has b.fs and no solids and she refuses to drink water she just spits it out so i put a drop of juice in water to give it a hint of flavour its better than straight juice sugar wise

Stephanie - posted on 12/09/2010

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My baby boy is almost 10 months and I have started feeling pressured to feed him 3X a day. He really is not interested at all. I BF him on demand and things are going well. It is nice to know that I don't have to hurry and feed him solids. I hope he doesn't wean (sp?) at 12 months because I hope to BF until closer to 2! We'll see! Good luck to all you mamas!

Gabriela - posted on 12/09/2010

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Oh, and you should BF him before his meals... 1-2 hours before each meal, and before bed.

Gabriela - posted on 12/09/2010

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4 to 5 times during the day, approx every 4 hours should be enough. If you're getting your sleep interrupted too early in the morning, make that 5th feed a dreamfeed at about 10:00-10:30 pm, so that he will be satisfied until morning. Having a full feed is something they have to learn, as if you let them, they are happy to snack on you all day.

Joy - posted on 12/09/2010

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Oh, completely forgot to mention teething! Some things that may help with teething are frozen waffles (they have their own slobber catchers!), cool washcloths, and ice (works really well in conjunction with the washcloth!-don't let him hold an ice cube or just leave it in his mouth: he could choke on it), or teething gels/creams like baby Anbesol or Orajel.

Hope it helps!

Kat

Joy - posted on 12/09/2010

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I breastfed both of my babies, a girl (9) and a boy (3). I worked full time when I was nursing my daughter, so she was weaned fairly early. She also wasn't AS interested after about 5 months, so I didn't feel too bad about weaning her. At that point, she was only nursing twice a day, when she woke up and at bed time. BUT, I also had my best friend for a babysitter who would keep her overnight so neither of us would have to drive all the way across town to bring her home, so there were sometimes several nights in a row that she wouldn't nurse at all (supplemented with formula). With my son, I did not work at all (in fact, was in college), so I could nurse him on demand, and did so until he was about 15 months. At that point, we both decided that maybe he was done with that, so he wanted it for a few days after I decided to wean him, but then changed his mind.

What I'm trying to say is that your body and your baby know what he needs. Listen to your body and listen to your baby. He's 8 months old, so I'm certain you can understand him by now! ;) Some babies don't care for it for too long, some don't EVER want it, and some want it until they're in school. Each child is different--one of the many blessings from Mother Earth. Just listen to the both of you and you'll be fine! As for solid foods, with both my kids, I tended to get curious about their reactions at about 4 or 5 months. Never really planned to give them MEALS that early, but a taste or two was fine. Other than some introductions, though, I wouldn't suggest worrying about solid foods until they're at least a year, as has been suggested, because their bodies can barely digest FORMULA properly, let alone mashed potatoes and gravy! Breast milk is, according to doctors around the world, the most beneficial sustenance for babies, no matter what, for the first 6 months. After that, you CAN wean them whenever you want, but remember that they need nutrition and have no teeth, so...

Hope this helps!

Kat

Angie - posted on 12/09/2010

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Nurse him when he asks. He knows best. And night nursing is very common because their tummies are too small to hold enough food at a given meal to last the night through.

Whitney - posted on 12/09/2010

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When I breastfed my now 2 year old I would wake up and nurse her then about 2-3 hours later feed her a meal ( breakfest) and give her juice or water with it and then about 3 hours after that nurse (snack) again and then feed her lunch then nurse and so on! Our day was filled with eating! She would eat her 3 meals a day usually have a snack in between but she was still nursing about 3-4 times a day. Our nights ended with dinner and then I'd nurse her about an hour before bed! To get them to sleep through the night, a full belly and routine ( baths, reading, singing songs, anything for them to associate with bedtime) works wonders!

Diana - posted on 12/09/2010

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My son is also just about 8 months and he is still nursing steadily every 3 to 4 hours, but I am feeding on demand. I offer cereal to him in the morning along with his water and nurse him either before or after. He is still mostly nursing all day. Then in the evening, I will offer him a puree of veggies or fruit, but he is still mostly nursing. It sounds to me like your son may need more milk rather than foods, but every baby is different. You can try looking for his cues to whether he is interested in food or nursing. Maybe also cut back to 2 solid trials during the day and perhaps a teething biscuit at lunchtime. Hope this helps! Good luck!

Sara - posted on 12/09/2010

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feed him on demand, and suppliment with solids! Keep that liquid gold going!

Aroura - posted on 12/09/2010

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Feed him as offten as he would like breastfeedin on demand is best if possible :) my daughter is 7 months and I breast feed her when ever she shows interest, need comfort.

Phelicia - posted on 12/09/2010

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Breastfeed as much as he wants. Remember that Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies, so it is perfectally nutritionally balanced for him. Remember boys tend to be bigger than girls, and all things change as we grow. Each child is different, but if you are really concerned about weight, cut down on juices which contain natural sugars, and start making your own babyfoods to ensure that you aren't feeding him fillers. My babies tend to be little rather than big, but a baby will never let themselves starve, nor can they really nurse too much. At night I would suggest that you encourage nursing longer, but he may be teething too, which would wake him at night and nursing is very soothing to them when they are teething. I would consider co-sleeping once he wakes up for now. Hope that helps!

[deleted account]

You should nurse him when he is hungry for as long as he still nurses and nurse him before he eats solids. Breastfed babies stop eating when they are full. 69th percentile is fine. Check the WHO guidelines, which are based on breastfed babies as opposed to the CDC guidelines/growth chart that is based on formula fed babies.

Brittany - posted on 12/08/2010

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As u know every baby is different. Your son sounds exactly like my 8 month old daughter though as far as feeding and sleeping. I breastfeed her on demand and as long as they're happy then keep doing that.

Tanith - posted on 12/08/2010

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I always breastfed before I gave solids. At 8 months breastmilk is still more important than solids.

How often a baby should be breastfed depends on alot of things, like their metabolism, how much they took in during their previous feed etc. At 8 months I breastfed every 4 hours and he was always very content. He slept through so I never b/fed at night. He was also on 3 solid meals a day.

Your milk is still the best nutrition for him.

My son is 15 months and I've only just started weaning him now. He's always been just below the 97th centile mark, considering he was only born at 2.7kg (5.9 lbs) I think he did very well at the breast and I made the right decisions.

Jael - posted on 12/08/2010

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I would just wait until he seems hungry to give him milk, there is really no prescribed amount of breast-milk.Pay attention when he eats, if he is actually eating, let him, if he is just using you as a pacifier, find something else to occupy him.He is not waking up at night due to lack of milk it is probably his sleep schedule that needs adjusting-- 2 naps a day one mid morning and one late afternoon works for me but you will find a schedule that works for you. Also I was told that naps should be about 2 hours at this age. My first daughter ate around the clock it was exhausting, but I am having better luck with this routine for my second. Hope it works for you too! Good luck!

Ashley - posted on 12/08/2010

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My daughter at 8 months usually just nursed 3 times a day...morning noon and night. I was told by my pediatrician that children will eat and nurse when they want. Nurse on demand

Nicky - posted on 12/08/2010

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go with your gut, dont listen to people who say you shouldnt be feeding solids, their iron stores start running out after 6 mths so they need some sort of supplementation hence the food...
in NZ they advise to nurse before solids until about 8 - 9mths, but you can do whatever you like, its how your baby acts and how you feel
my 8 mth old used to sleep right through but lately she has been waking up 2 - 3 times a night often, and has the odd sleep through, I think its teething, the weather, not enough food, too much food, developmental changes, in fact, any reason you can think of I have probably put it down to on one night or another, then one day, they will change it up on you.
I think you should look at the guidelines, and then go with your gut, your head and your heart are your best advisors.....

Melanie - posted on 12/08/2010

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I don't think it's fair for others to be "shocked" that your son is eating 3 meals a day..this is not abnormal.
My daughter is 8 months and eats 2-3 meals a day plus she's enjoying diced fruit, etc for snacks...she nurses about every 4 hrs...not necessarily at the same time as she eats solids. Your baby is likely going through a growth spurt so wanting to nurse a bit more...doesn't mean he needs more in the day time. Only you can decide what works best for you and your baby...there is no right or wrong answer so take what you want from others advice and remember that every baby is so different. 8 months is a fun age of discovery so enjoy!!

Jennifer - posted on 12/08/2010

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First of all, I would not base much on percentiles. They are interesting, but kind of irrelevant. Does he appear to be healthy based on your and your husband's size? Does he follow the growth patterns of healthy relatives? My daughter was at the bottom of the growth chart, but I am 5'2 and weight 115lbs.

I would breastfeed on demand, though I am a fan of giving the solids first (at your regular mealtimes).

His waking at night might not have much to do with hunger. Maybe he is just at a stage, misses you, is older....Breastfeeding is the easiest way to make sure he is nourished physically and emotionally.

Amelia - posted on 12/08/2010

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Before 1 year (or even 2) solids are just for the experience. They should not be considered a source of nutrition. My 18 month old breastfeeds on demand, usually around 6-10 times a day. Definitely let him get his fill of breastmilk and then offer solids. At 8 months old I would offer small amounts of solids 1-2 times a day, just samples of whatever I was eating.

Dawnelle - posted on 12/08/2010

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@Angela Falkenberg- you are correct that they can't get all their nutrients from BF alone but at the same time it doesn't mean that it needs to be replaced entirely. Hence, the American Pediatric Assoc. recommendation to BF until 1 years old.

Angela - posted on 12/08/2010

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Well my 7 month old eats three meals a day plus water/juice and is down to only one breastfeeding in the morning. He sleeps 10 to 11 hours a night and is developing absolutely normally. Whenever I try to breastfeed him now, he isn't interested anymore. Contrary to what I've been reading on here, the information I have been given is that after six months babies can no longer get all their nutrients from the breast milk and need the food as the supplement or replacement.

Dawnelle - posted on 12/08/2010

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I only fed solids to my nursing baby about 2 times a day, I don't know any mom that fed solids to their baby at that age three times per day rather nursing or fed formula. Breakfast was the last meal for us to add, I still nursed in the morning and on demand otherwise except in the middle of the night. My son would have nursed all night long too if I let him so I stopped nursing during the middle of the night at 9 months (so I could get some sleep). This resulted in helping him only awaken twice at night. He never slept all night long straight at that age (and still usually awakens once per night and he is almost 3 years old).

Stephanie - posted on 12/08/2010

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Definitely nurse before solids...other than that, as often as he wants. At this stage it is sometimes more for comfort, but that's okay. Also my daughter's sleeping habits changed at about that same time. She went from sleeping all night to 4 hour increments and I constantly worried that she wasn't getting enough. Try not to stress over it too much, as that will have an effect on your supply, but know that your body is making what your baby demands. Avoid pacifiers and ask the pediatrician about the weight percentile.

Rachel - posted on 12/07/2010

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My daughter just turned 9 months old. I nurse her about every 3-4 hours throughout the day. She doesn't care to much for solids or I should say baby food. She likes finger foods. I dont force her to eat food but I do encourage it. Doctor said between 8 and 9 months baby should be eating 3 solid meals a day. But usually I nurse her when she wakes in the morning, then a few hours later at nap time, after nap time, once more during the evening then at bedtime. I have introduced her to formula which only use occasionally.

[deleted account]

i nurse gabby whenever she wants. breastmilk is the primary source of nutrition for her right now. Once over a year, more food than boob should apply. but replace the milk feeding with a solid food.

Katie - posted on 12/07/2010

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On demand. If he is waking up more often and you would like to try and get him to wake up less offer more often. Though 6 hrs at 8 months is a pretty long stretch and you might not be able to get him sleeping more. Babies primary source of nutrition is breast milk for the entire 1st year. After that it's still important for over all health but not necessarily the primary source of nutrition.

Ela - posted on 12/07/2010

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Nurse him as often as he wants to for as long as he wants to. There is no end to the benefits of breastfeeding your tiny one. Physically and emotionally.

Sara - posted on 12/07/2010

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Oops just re read the age I would change my answer to nursing first then solids @

Sara - posted on 12/07/2010

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I had the same questions with my twins, when they started solids. LLL told me as long as I was offering solids than any nursing that I did was fine. So as long as mom and baby are both ok with the current feedings are you are offering solids then you are all good. My twins would nurse and eat solids a ton until about 20 months when they finally went to 1-2 times a day :) At 8 months I think mine were still 4-6 x a day plus solids but mine are pigs :) I would say feed after solids so he is still hungery for solids and the nursing is a bonus. If you are worried about supply keep his biggest nursing session as the morning feed. My guy has allways been a night feeder, try offering water when you go to feed, if he is thirsty you may have luck with that. He is is nursing for comfort that is a little harder. We had alot of sucess with a big dinner and then a breastfeed right before we put him down and then we put him down with a sippy of water (not juice). As long as he is healthy it is mostly a matter of what you both are comfortable with.

Elaine - posted on 12/07/2010

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when i started to wean my daughters i always allowed half an hour before a bf. My youngest was only on 2 meals a day at 8 months and would sleep happily through the night from being 2 weeks old, i must add though that her first feed lasted almost an hour before she slept soundly for 6 hours, by her first birthday she was quite happy with 3 solid meals and a bf at bedtime.

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