Has anyone breastfed exclusively for the 1st year?

Marnie - posted on 03/17/2012 ( 177 moms have responded )

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I have heard that Nursing exclusively for the 1st year can really boost the baby's immune system against all kinds of things. Has anyone had any experiences with it?

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Sarah - posted on 05/27/2012

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my fist was breastfed with no suplementation until his first birthday. his birthday 'present' was some applesauce. i continued to breastfeed until 19 months

User - posted on 06/08/2012

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Both of my girls breastfed for about 19 months. Neither of them are vaccinated, and they've rarely even had a temperature, and they've never had to go to the doctor for an illness.

Tine - posted on 05/27/2012

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I breastfed my daughter pretty much exclusively to nearly 9 months, simply because I let her tell me when she was ready, and that's when she was ready! I know of people who have breastfed exclusively for a year, it certainly is perfectly healthy for bubs, and no doubt really suits some bubs..
I personally am a fan of the baby led approach to most things, including feeding and sleep, so I have let my kids lead the way. My son, now 6 months, is already eating solids because he absolutely insisted - he was quite desperate about it! I have loads of milk, am even donating to 2 other families, and he is huge and chubby (he more than doubled his birthweight by 12 weeks, and never lost any weight after his birth at our home) - he just needs solids for whatever reason!
I do feel that we're all individuals, from conception. My daughter would have been perfectly happy to just breastfeed to one (she recently weaned at nearly three and a half, and really wasn't depending on solids until she was nearly 2) but my son would have been driven crazy if I'd refused to share my food with him lol!!

[deleted account]

I breastfed twins for 15 months and my son for 3.25 years. I've heard that it's not necessarily 'boosting' their immune system, but just helping to give them the immune system they were designed to have.



Breastfed babies can and do get sick. I will say that while I was breastfeeding my son... if I got sick first then he either wouldn't get it or would get a super mild version of it as my milk WOULD have the immunities stuff in it for him. If he got sick from one of his sisters or some other random person (or just a random illness w/ unknown origin)... then sometimes it would be short or mild, but not always. Breastfeeding was always his favorite comfort while sick though.



I'm a huge breastfeeding fan. :)

Marnie - posted on 06/17/2012

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Well my lil guy is 7 1/2 months old now, and I believe that the baby led approach is working well for us. He seemed interested in food, but he's really just interested in everything! LOL I have a great baby food maker and have whipped up some yummy stuff which he seemed to enjoy the flavor of but never really "eats" any of it. He plays with it and smears it upon every available surface! He is very healthy,happy and growing strong on mama milk. :)

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Katie - posted on 10/15/2013

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my baby is 10.5 months. i have breastfed him exclusively, minus a little solid here and there, mainly off our plates. he's only ever been interested in a few bites, that's it. the other day he actually continued eating something until it was gone. i'm glad I gave him the opportunity to come to this place on his own. I've cherished this time of being a one-and-only perfect source for him, but I am also grateful that mother nature can step in a little bit now with her bounty of fruits and veggies, purees and other, but mostly just the stuff off our own plates. we are vegan and eat organically - so it's all good - even the spicing. baby explores our moderately spiced adult food without expectation of any amount of substantial consumption. Until then I'm going to continue to fill him with the most superior food supply i possibly can, breastmilk!

Dupegaruba - posted on 07/21/2013

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Baby is 7+ and am having difficulty in giving him solids, he bluntly refuses!!!!!!

Dupegaruba - posted on 07/21/2013

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Baby is 7+ and am having difficulty in giving him solids, he bluntly refuses!!!!!!

Amanda - posted on 04/07/2013

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All in all it really comes down to your body(weather it can handle the late nights etc) and your 'diet' because you really need to make sure you are eating a good amount of everything in order for you to boost your babies immune. because if your ever in the supermarket looking at the back of a formula tin you really need to be able to somewhat match the minerals, vitamins etc.

Christine - posted on 06/14/2012

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i breastfeed only for a few months cause my baby started to get teeth. my dr told me that once the baby starts to get teeth, she doesnt know if i would like to keep breast feeding. it stop breastfeeding after 6months, cause my little one started to bite on

Happy - posted on 06/02/2012

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Exclusively breastfed by definition means nothing other than breastnilk. No solids, no formula, nothing but breastmilk, hence the word exclusive.

Jacqueline - posted on 06/02/2012

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Yes, with both of my children and I plan to do so with baby #3. The first time was difficult in the first three months (just the adjustment of it all plus bleeding, cracked nipples). Both experiences were VERY positive. But now I'm wondering, do you mean NOT adding solids? I did add solids, but still breastfed as the main source of nutrition. Cow's milk was not introduced until after a year.

Stifler's - posted on 05/27/2012

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It's not about iron. It's about learning to eat, food is for fun until 1 anyway.

Sarah - posted on 05/27/2012

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my son rarely got sick and was a normal but a little chubby baby/toddler (still does not get sick much) breastfeeding like that is not dangerous unless mom does not watch her diet or does not have enough milk production.

Sally - posted on 05/23/2012

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That sounds dangerous. Apparently children need to have solids introduced at about six months because they need more iron and a few other things that are not provided in the breast milk. However, my son was 15 months before I weaned him off me all together

Stifler's - posted on 05/22/2012

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My mum breastfed all of us until 1. I never fed my kids though. Food still needs to be offered at 6 months. Not force fed if they aren't ready though. Breastfed kids still eat solids!

Beenish - posted on 05/22/2012

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Yup i breast fed my elder daughter for over 1.5 years & now my younger daughter is 1 year old both were exclusively breast fed & r healthy children

Katherine - posted on 05/21/2012

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hi marine yes its true that God has blessed a mother with all the imp nutrients required for baby which can b transmitted thrugh breast feeding U CAN EXCLUSIVELY BREAST FEED UR BABY FOR 1 YEAR it will boost up ur baby immune system better than that of formula food bt try to add vitamin D or multivitamin to ur baby as my health visitor n doctor recommended me ths n istarted it then at 5 mnth But if baby is ready for weaning u can also start that it also good for baby

Happy - posted on 05/19/2012

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Almost, my son was 11 months when he showed an interest in solids and my daughter was 10 months. I practice baby led weaning. I will do the same with EBF dd (3 weeks old).

Happy - posted on 05/19/2012

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Almost, my son was 11 months when he showed an interest in solids and my daughter was 10 months. I practice baby led weaning. I will do the same with EBF dd (3 weeks old).

Jessica - posted on 05/18/2012

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I nursed my first son until age 3.5 years old and he NEVER gets sick... I plan to nurse my baby (he is six months old at the moment) until we both decide its not working for us any longer... I recommend it to any mom... Its low-cost, always available and always the perfect temperature!

Karen - posted on 05/16/2012

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I planned to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months, but my baby was far too large for my body to pruduce enough milk - she was in the 97% for height & weight - arriving 17 days early weighing 8lb 13oz (3.965kg). As hard as I tried to encourage more milk for her by feeding & expressing, she had to be topped up with formula & from 3months she was ready for solids (we started her at 3 1/2months).
Despite this she was incredibly healthy & even though she towers over her cousin who is 3 months younger (she's exactly average height & weight & was breast fed for about 18 months), she hasn't been as sick as some exclusively breast fed babies.
Currently she's 3ft tall & 2 3/4yrs - don't put additional pressure on yourself or others to breastfeed exclusively - the individual babies will let you know when they are ready for anything else. There are other things you can do to boost the child's immune system like a healthy diet - breast is best, but the baby knows when it's time for more!

Kathleen - posted on 05/07/2012

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It wasn't exclusive, but I did breastfeed all 4 of mine for at least 1 year. And I didn't introduce solids until 6 months. I started mine on home made baby food - mostly bananas, applesauce, avocado, carrots, and refried beans (my husband is mexican and about 10-11 months our little ones were reaching for them and LOVED them.) I didn't do much cereal, less with each baby really. My kids have all been really healthy. In my opinion, if you aren't rushing the solids, go with your gut, wait longer if you feel it's right, and you are breastfeeding for that 1st full year -you are already doing A LOT to boost your baby's immune system. Congrats on your commitment to nurse so long! You will be glad you did.

Anneke - posted on 05/07/2012

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My mother exclusively breastfed my brother for nearly 2 years. Not by choice, he just refused to eat solid food. In the end, she went to the doctor and got some tablets to dry up her milk, because she knew he needed to wean sometime!

Margarita - posted on 05/07/2012

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You should check with your ped, but as I understand it, you don't want to be EBF past six or seven months unless there is a medical reason (swallowing issues, food allergies, etc) since children need to start the process of eating solids and apparently it's harder for them to learn if you introduce them too long past six months and b) their iron reserves start to run low after six months. Having said that, you still want the lion's share of their calories to come from breast milk until 12 months, and start switching them to more solids and introducing them to other fluids like water and cow's milk after twelve months. Most mom's who continue to nurse until 3 or 4 or longer, are usually only nursing once or twice a day.

Brittany - posted on 05/05/2012

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I did it was a great bond ! I love my DD so much ♥ She now drinks whole milk from a sippy cup and is doing great but breastfeeding was a great expierence and I made my goal of a year : )

User - posted on 05/03/2012

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i nursed for the first year, but around 9 months, started giving her solids - - i loved it :) its a great way to bond with your child ♥

Tracy - posted on 04/29/2012

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I did with both my children. One has no allergies at all the other has them. My children are 23 & 17. The 23 yr old nursed mainly for comfort from the age 2 to 3. She has no allergies of any kind. My son however nursed until he was almost 2. I kept getting infections from him. So I had to quit early. He has had allergies since he was 2. Neither one of my children ever really got sick. Especially my 17yr old. Colds were very rare with my kids.

I thought it was one of the best things I ever did with my kids.

Enjoy your baby! They grow so very fast. I'm now a grandmother of a wonderful 1yr old. My daughter only nursed for about 6mo. I wished she would have nursed longer.

Tyra - posted on 04/24/2012

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yes I have been breastfeeding little guy for almost seven months and he is doing great active as ever stays up all day goes to bed at 9 and sleeps all night. Also he hasn't gotten sick.

Amber - posted on 04/21/2012

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Yes, I have very personal experience with it :). My daughter is now 16 months old, we are still breast feeding and eating real food. For us, she never had anything, cold, flue, stuffy nose, or other illness from birth to the 1st year. She finally got her first stuffy nose 3 weeks ago and so did I and ended up being a sinus infection. For us, I believe the breast feeding is the reason for her not getting any kind of illness.
Also, I'm not sure if you mean exclusively only breast feeding with no solids at all, we did start feeding her solids (fresh avocado, home made baby food ) at 6 months, but we breast fed and still breast feed on demand and at night as we bed share/ sleep together and quite often. At 6 months for us she really seemed ready and loved her first tastes of and other natural home made soft foods

Jennifer - posted on 04/19/2012

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I did and loved it. It's super convenient and economical and great for child. It becomes like second nature. In the end you will be so proud you did it.

Tiffany - posted on 04/11/2012

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My son was breastfed exclusively up until about 4 months when I introduced him to baby foods. At around 6 months, he started having baby food for breakfast, lunch & dinner with breastfeeding in between, whenever he needed. At age one, he started getting more of a choice in foods & at that time I only breastfed at naptime & bedtime. We kept up the naptime & bedtime breastfeeding until he was 2 years & 3 months old. At that time, he weaned himself off of it :)

Erin - posted on 04/11/2012

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My son is nearing his 9 month mark. He nurses almost 100%. We give him some rice cereal when we eat dinner, but he will have a few mouthfuls and be done with it. He will sometimes just not eat it entirely. Im not concerned, hes awake, alert, growing, hitting all his milestones, has 6 teeth, and shows no interest in stopping the nursing train!

We mainly try rice cereal at dinner with him, so it gives me a chance to eat my own food while its still warm (a luxury, I know. call me spoiled) he is content to sit and nom some mushed up baby bullet food, whatever we happen to be eating usually, mixed with breast milk or just as is. It is by no means a full meal for him, imo, but its getting him used to other flavors and textures, and he would be just as fed if we didnt do it. I expect he will be like this until HE wants to stop, and I dont want to stop him :)

He reaches for food we eat, and I let him nibble on snacks I have, bits of banana and whatever, but id call those food experiments more than meals.



As for the immune part, his first two months he caught HFMD and didnt eat for nearly two days straight, and whenever my daughter catches a cold, he gets some sniffles. Hes got a cold right now, but thats what happens when your sister is in kindergarten and she brings home all the other kids germs!

Christine - posted on 04/11/2012

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I just recently stopped breastfeeding my son who will be 2 years old in 5 weeks. He was nursed exclusively for the first 5 months until we started solids which were homemade. At about 10 months old my supply decreased and we had to send formula to daycare with him while I was working but at home he was nursed. I don't necessarily think that duration of nursing makes a big difference just as long as they get the antibodies in the first place. I continued to nurse my son well past the first year mark because it was a comfort thing for him and a wonderful way to bond for me. He does get the occasional cold or pink eye or ear infection but he is generally a very healthy toddler. I think you should breastfeed for as long as you like, if won't do either of you any good if your uncomfortable or are feeling pressured by the health community. You need to do what is right for you and your baby.

Cathy55369 - posted on 04/10/2012

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i have 5 kids i breast fed my kids at lest 1 year except 1 (6 weeks ) my last 2 children i breast fed 2 years and almost 3 years and i enjoyed every minute and i feel we have a stronger bond

Shannon - posted on 04/09/2012

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I am a mother that has nursed exclusively. I have nursed 8 babies for a total of about 12 years. I think people are way to much in a rush to feed solids. I, like most started feeding my first one like the doctor suggested and started cereal about 4 months, bad move. She by the way is the only one with allergies. There was no nutrition value in the food I was giving her, basically a filler. I now take all my cues from the baby. Most of my children start food sometime 9-10 months but do offer things before that. All babies are different. A really good key to determine whether a baby is ready for food after the first teeth come in. It is God's way of saying the digestive system is mature and ready. He was so smart. That happens at different ages for most babies. So we can never make a blanket statement of what age is best. I will have to stay most of my children went straight to table food, not baby food purees. First foods were avocados and the soft cooked egg yolk(not white because that is where the allergies come from)(These are great sources for baby in good proteins and fats) steamed veggies, broccoli and carrots and peas were the fav. I only have one picky eater out of 8 and that is the one feed to early. My children love veggies, salad, fruits, etc. no matter the texture. Hope this is helpful, you really have to just pay attention to your baby's lead.

Vicki - posted on 04/09/2012

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Yes I did, now mind you I am 53 now, but back when I breast fed our babies didn't need anything else but the breast milk...My kids went from breast to table.....This feeding them at such a young age these days is crazy.....

Tina - posted on 04/07/2012

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I breastfed for the first year, and my son has done brilliantly, and is extremely with it and bright. Walked and talked early, and has an excellent vocabulary

Carrie - posted on 04/05/2012

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Hello!! My names Carrie and i did breast feed my son a couple months past his first year. He has a brother who was bottle feed (hes now 5) and he seems to always be sick, not like his little brother who was breast feed. So I think it does help alot!!!! Hope this helps u!!!

Amanda - posted on 04/05/2012

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I'm not saying they will never get sick but from my experience, my son is very rarely sick. The other moms I have talked to seem to have the same conclusion. Some babies just get sick. There's nothing that will make them never get sick but breastfeeding seems to help MY little guy.

CAMISHA - posted on 04/05/2012

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THATS NOT REALLY TRUE BECAUSE MY BABIES STILL GOT EAR INFECTIONS,AND THIS IS MY 5TH.I ONLY BREAST FED ALL OF MINE FOR 2YRS.

Amanda - posted on 04/05/2012

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My son wouldn't latch right but I exclusive pump so he gets nothing but breast milk and my son is 4 months and has never been sick. I have a friend who breast feeds, her daughter is almost 11 months and she is extremely healthy as well. My nephew was breastfed for the first month and then switched to formula and he has been sick a few times. Some babies need to be formula fed so it really is a personal choice or what is right for your baby but if you can breast feed I would 100% recommend it. Exclusively pumping is very hard work. Feedings take twice as long and it was a little painful for me at first but I can't tell you how happy I am with how healthy my son is. I had to supplement with formula for about 2 weeks and during those two weeks, my son spit up more and I could tell it was rough on his tummy. Breastmilk is easier for babies to digest so they are hungrier more often but I noticed less tummy upset with only breastmilk.

Bobbi - posted on 04/04/2012

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I did exclusively for the 1st 6 months for all 4 of my sons. I did add a little other stuff (plain yogurt, rice cereal, applesauce, etc.) during the 2nd 6 months. It worked very well. Although they did get sick occasionally, I would definitely do it again. There are a TON of allergies in my family, and none of the boys have developed any. I think the breastfeeding had something to do with that.

Dena - posted on 04/03/2012

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I breastfed my daughter until she was 3.5. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and could not drink out of a bottle or a cup. She didn't start eating food until she was 19 months which I was grateful for because she was starting to lose ounces. I breastfed my son until he was 22 months but he did eat other foods when he was around 7 or 8 months. When I hear a doctor says breastfeeding exclusively for a year, I assumed he/she meant to just feed breastmilk versus breastmilk and formula at different times of the day (some people do both) My son never ate baby food. From the time he was 7-8 months, I would puree organic peas, carrots, apples etc and he would eat that along with the breastmilk. My children were were very happy, healthy babies and they were not sick very often at all. They never had ear aches as babies and toddlers. I do think the nutrients in breast milk are the best...

Dena - posted on 04/03/2012

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I breastfed my daughter until she was 3.5. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and could not drink out of a bottle or a cup. She didn't start eating food until she was 19 months which I was grateful for because she was starting to lose ounces. I breastfed my son until he was 22 months but he did eat other foods when he was around 7 or 8 months. When I hear a doctor says breastfeeding exclusively for a year, I assumed he/she meant to just feed breastmilk versus breastmilk and formula at different times of the day (some people do both) My son never ate baby food. From the time he was 7-8 months, I would puree organic peas, carrots, apples etc and he would eat that along with the breastmilk. My children were were very happy, healthy babies and they were not sick very often at all. They never had ear aches as babies and toddlers. I do think the nutrients in breast milk are the best...

Merry - posted on 04/03/2012

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Fabmom,

Rice cereal isn't really healthy to give, it is highly processed and nutritionally empty.

When your baby is ready for solids try stuff like Avacado, egg yolk, meat, soft cooked veggies.

Think of anything that's a while food, as close to natural as possible. Limit fruits as they're sugary and acidic. No grains as they're constipators!

If she won't take breastfeeding, don't give a bottle. Nursing strikes happen but you can get through them if you do not supplement. Do skin on skin, nurse more often! Under a year she should be nursing 5-8 times a day.

Solids should only be given after a good breastfeed so if she is striking and not nursing well, don't give solids. Wait until she is back to breastfeeding well before introducing solids. Solids are complementary and her main diet has to be your milk at least the first year! ,

Great job so far and keep up the breastfeeding!

Kerry - posted on 04/03/2012

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I breastfeed all 3 of my children for around 13 mths but did supplement with solids,from around 6 mths as needed more then just my milk. None of my kids have had any major illness or problems and I like to feel that this is due to my continue to feed, my son still had a night feed until he was nearly 2, but it was more for comfort then need. I have a friend who children are very similar in ages to mine and she refused to ruin her breasts by feeding and bottlefeed from day one and all 3 have had infections and this and that over the years, so I am sure that the immune system boast a child gets from breastfeed really works.

Fabmom2011 - posted on 04/03/2012

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So glad I came to this blog :) I have a 7 month daughter exclusively breastfed (EBF) Of course we did formula - I would say 1 feed a day during the first few weeks till my milk supply was enough. So from 4 weeks until 7 months she has been exclusively breastfed with one bottle a day from the 4th month. We plan to introduce semi solids - rice cereal sometime later this week and I am still confused in terms of the plan.

I am definitely seeing benefits of EBF but for the last few weeks she has become super distracted and hasn't gained enough weight. That's definitely not a reason to introduce solids but I wonder if I should at least do a little bit of formula so that way she can at least get some nutrition. Can someone throw a little light on this.

As much as I'd love to EBF for upto a year it is a little exhausting and off late she seems to be nursing only 10mins a time and every 2 hours - and sleeps about 10hrs in the night.

She has been super curious about what we eat at the table and yesterday I tried to give her a few drops (literally) of no sodium soup - and she grabbed the spoon and drank it.. :) so i know she is ready and actually quite enjoying it..

So I need help on this

1. Is it ok to start her on rice cereal one meal a day

2. In case she is just not nursing - I think she's lost interest except for first few feeds in the morning - is it ok to give her formula supplement?

3. What if I introduce solids and she wont take anymore breastmilk?

Thanks for the help

Sue - posted on 04/01/2012

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i have done child lead weening - but haven't had a single one ( i have 5) be breast feed exclusively. they have all picked up food off the table and eaten it, the youngest one was 4 months oldest almost 8. i have done nothing to encourage them eating anything but they see you eating and they want to do that too.

Ashley - posted on 03/31/2012

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I am a nursing mother and My daughter is 13 months old. I love breastfeeding by daughter has not been sick liek most get i think nursing does boost there immune system

Rebecca - posted on 03/31/2012

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I breastfed for 12 months exclusively. Yes, it helps with immunities. Although my son has been sick a lot from age 12 months on, I believe it would have been worse had he not been breastfed. Plus, with the formula contamination issues, I am relieved, I pumped at work. Yes, it was challenging. My son's health was worth it.

Merry - posted on 03/30/2012

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Pamela, that was the advise years ago, but now we know more about the digestive system of babies and so it's well recommended that nothing at all be given to babies except breastmilk for the first six months.

Water can be given in small amounts as solids are introduced but juice shouldn't be given until at least a year if at all.

[deleted account]

Pamela, I'm afraid you are the one that is grossly misinformed. I certainly don't know every doctor/nurse in the world, but of all the ones I do know.... not one would ever recommend starting solids prior to 4 months at the earliest. Not too mention that juice is never needed and water under 6 months can actually kill a child (NOT saying it will, but CAN).



Some babies do need solids starting at 4-6 months, but many others can and do thrive on just breast milk alone for much longer.



My girls did start solids early, but my son did not. He did have solids on rare occasion starting at 6 months and water on rare occasion starting at 7 months, but otherwise.... strictly breast milk for over a year. All 3 of my kids are pretty much equal as far as growth and health are concerned.

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