Exclusive Breastfeeding

[deleted account] ( 92 moms have responded )

So, here's my story. I had researched quite a bit during my pregnancy with my daughter and decided that I was adamant to breastfeed for at LEAST 6 months, which I thought was the minimum. I had hopes of making it all the way to a year. Anyway, at around three months my doctor told me I should start trying to feed her rice cereal. I thought that was normal and did. My daughter took wonderfully to solids and to her pacifier so I never thought anything of it. She weaned herself at 7 months, focusing primarily on eating her solids. I found out recently that early introduction of solids, as well as introducing a sucky, may have "forced" her to wean herself. I was heartbroken, as I missed the time very much and regret allowing this weaning everyday.

Anyway, I am pregnant again and I am DETERMINED to breastfeed for a full year AT LEAST. I was wondering if anyone had any information on exclusively breastfeeding for that length of time. A pros and cons list? Some data on the benefits? Or is it not a good idea?

Thank you for your help:-)

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[deleted account]

The current recommendation by the WHO is 6 months. I think the AAP says 6 months of exclusive BF, but they do have a section saying some infants may start cereal between 4-6 months. Personally, I think rice cereal is a waste. I was pressured into it with my daughter (and she was almost 8 months) and it severely constipated her after only a few tries of it. I waited until my daughter showed all the signs of readiness to start solids which are:
-at least 6 months
-able to sit up unsupported
-lost tongue thrust reflex (doesn't spit food out)
-developed pincer grasp (can pick up food between thumb and finger)
-shows interest in food
-seems to want to nurse more often (not related to growth spurt, teething or illness).

My daughter was almost 8 months when she showed all these signs. I will for sure go straight to finger foods with the next baby. Baby led weaning (BLW) is a great way to go and you will know for sure that baby's tummy is ready for solids. I recommend doing some research on baby led weaning. Here some info on why to delay solids:
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids...
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids...

Even if you don't want to do BLW, you don't have to start with cereal. Avocados are a great first food. There is a low risk of allergies and it is a popular first food in a lot of countries. Sweet potatoes and bananas are other great first foods. The most important thing to remember about solids is that they are a supplement to breast milk. Breast milk should be the primary source of nutrition until after one year. My daughter didn't start on 3 meals of solids a day until after a year. Hope this helps!

Rebecca - posted on 10/11/2010

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An exclusively breastfed child does not need a pacifier ever or solids until 6 months if then even. I breastfed my youngest until he was 4 1/2 years old. It was the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life. I know it sounds aweful to some people to nurse that long & I was one of them when my little guy was born but at each goal I saw that neither of us was ready to wean so each goal extended until we were ready. Many don't understand that after that first year nursing is really only about 5-10 minutes long for naps, bed time, injuries, sickness etc. Your child AND you still recieves nutrition etc from those nursing sessions. Natural weaning age of a human child is 4.2 yrs. The WOrld Health Organization recommends nursing for at least 2 years. Here is some info on extended breastfeeding:
Extended Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding Benefits Beyond One Year
Why delay weaning? Why extended breastfeeding?
While more people are initiating breastfeeding at birth now, only a small percentage makes it to six months, let alone to a year.
Breastfeeding beyond six months and especially past the first year often incites negative comments from family, friends and strangers. Some think that there are no benefits to nursing beyond a year, but they are wrong.
There are many breastfeeding benefits beyond one year for you and your baby.
Did you realize…
• The average age worldwide for weaning is 4.2 years old!
• The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that babies and toddlers be breastfed for a minimum of two years, and as long after that as is mutually accepted.
• Extended breastfeeding is considered beneficial and recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Breastfeeding Benefits Beyond Six Months, One Year and Beyond
• While many people will tell you that a child doesn't get anything out of breast milk after six month or a year, that is untrue. Toddlers get energy, protein, calcium, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B12 and C from breast milk. They also get 76% of their folate requirements from nursing.
• Breastfeeding beyond the age of one protects the toddler from illness. Studies are showing that toddlers who nurse between the ages of 16 and 30 months have fewer illnesses, and those they do get it ill, it lasts a shorter period of time.
• When a child develops an illness like diarrhea or fever, the appetite usually decreases. Children in these circumstances are still willing to nurse, preventing dehydration and providing nutrition during the course of the illness.
• The World Health Organization states that "a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under the age of five. Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness."
• Toddlers who nurse develop fewer allergies and cases of asthma.
• Nursing toddlers do better in school later. Breastfeeding builds the brain.
• Toddlers that breastfeed make better adjusted children. Their needs are met physically and emotionally through breastfeeding and the close relationship between mom and child. They develop their sense of independence secure in who they are.
• While short-term breastfeeding offers some protection for children from leukemia, sustained breastfeeding gives them an even greater reduced risk.
Extended Benefits for Mom
The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more protection she has from breast cancer. Studies show a distinct correlation between how many years are spent breastfeeding and increasing protection from breast cancer.
In addition:
• Extended breastfeeding reduces the chances of developing ovarian cancer.
• Breastfeeding reduces the chances of developing uterine cancer.
• Breastfeeding reduces the chances of developing endometrial cancer.
• Breastfeeding reduces the chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
• Breastfeeding helps moms lose weight with less effort.
• Breastfeeding helps protect women from osteoporosis. While nursing, a mother may lose 1 to 2% of bone density. This loss is gained back after weaning, often to the mother's benefit as an increased amount is added to the bones than was lost.
• Sustained breastfeeding delays fertility in many women by suppressing ovulation.

Joanna - posted on 10/10/2010

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Hi Bek
I would only consider weaning foods to be fruit and vegetables. I did not introduce any grains until after a year and limited wheat till he was 2. Meat was also limited, favouring fish over red meat as it only makes sense that the chewier foods should be introduced as the baby gets more teeth. I studied as a life science nutritionist which fundamental belief is that we where designed to gain all our nutrition from foods that are apart of our natural diet, fortified cereals would not be included. Think of a cow, as long as it has its natural diet its iron levels are adequate for its design. It doesn't eat meat or fortified cereals. Breast milk is the foundation on which all your babies health will be built, providing the mother's diet is high in natural foods then her milk will be nutritionally adequate for her babies needs. It does boil down to believing in design, so if you are an evolutionist then this theory would not hold any weight with you.

Sadly because our food does not hold the same quality that it used to, it does mean a more concerted effort has to go into getting nutrient rich natural foods into our diets. It is so easy to go through a day and all one has actually consumed is calories, its no wonder disease is rife. Any other animal species who abused their bodies the way we do would have been long ago extinct.... Anyway I am going off on a tangent, but to your question should you introduce allergenic food before one.. I would say no. The digestive system is too immature and this is what causes allergies to develop. I was introduced to dairy at 9 months and within weeks developed an allergy my mom nor doctors diagnosed me and I suffered many years. Only after studying nutrition did I recognise my childhood symptoms. I hope to have now been more clear, if you are interested I could post some websites for further study...

Juliedaughtery - posted on 10/09/2010

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i must say,after having 6children,who i bf them all,2are twins,but were still successfully bf,and were in a great routine,that when i had my youngest child,she fed till she was over 3yr old,not of course all the time,but at bed time,she had a little milk to go to sleep on,and never did she once bite me,i add,she was at pre-school,and wasnt any different to any other child,except she along with my boys,hjave never been sickly,or ill children,and i put it down to their milk consumption,so i think breast is best definately,and as a gran now,i can say that i know girls who had babies and within days gsave up,and whatever their reasons were,i knew it was because they wanted to share there feeds and get sleep,but i told them,when the baby sleeps you have a sleep,but hey ho,each to their own,but i say up the breastfeds,

[deleted account]

There is always childled weaning. Which there is no introduction to binkys and such. i wore my baby. My baby is not 4. Many countries, such as Switzerland breastfeed til age 2. I wonder what Austrialia's is. They have the least infant mortality rate. And they do not immunize til age 2. Either did i. It is normal to feel insecure and worried about the information out there. I read lots of books out loud to my infant. some books i liked others shocked me. I just following the books that my heart needed to hear. I was scared. And i didn't follow any doctors orders. Which all i could do is stay with it. My daughter is healthy and articulate 4 year old. and i am just as attached to her as she is too me. I may only have one more year of the golden years. So, i am not always able. But on occasion we still nurse. It is not for as much nourishment as it is comfort. Twice a day tops. Breastfeeding is the best. The longer you breastfeed the smarter the child they have found. Breastfeed for as long as you physically and mentally can. It isn't easy.

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92 Comments

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Angela - posted on 03/17/2011

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It's a wonderful idea to continue at least a year, if not more! There are no down-sides, in my opinion. Only positives. If you produce milk and it's perfect for your baby, why would you want to give anything else? The benefits are endless, for you and for your baby.
Sometimes there are things we eat that are not good for baby, and even then, breastfeeding should continue. We eliminate what we need to in order to feed our children.

Get baby to the breast as early as possible after the birth, don't allow bottles or pacifiers in the first weeks/months, establish a good supply, don't introduce solids until at least 6 months, solids should not be the main part of a child's diet until at least a year. Water during exclusive breastfeeding is not necessary for baby, your milk will be perfect for him.

Jessica - posted on 10/23/2010

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By 'exclusively breastfeeding' do you mean no solids? Or no formula? The current recommendations (based on studies of lots of babies all over the world) are to give only breastmilk for the first 6 months, then introduce solids when baby appears interested (kellymom has some good tips for telling when), continuing to breastfeed until bub is at least one year. The saying is 'food is for fun until one' - so they are still getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk up till one.

Anna - posted on 10/21/2010

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okay...I have a 6 month old and I am EBF, not on purpose. I wanted to stop BF at 6 months but my daughter will not drink from a bottle and at 4 months was not able to diegest baby food. Every time I gave her any rice cereal, oatmeal, or baby food she would spend abot 2 hours throwing up and dry heaving. it was terrible. Now she will not take anything off of a spoon or anything from a bottle. The doctor says it is fine and just keep trying the spoon feeding everyday and she will get used to it but she is EBF and growing fine. The doc says it is perfectly heathy for a baby to EBF for a year. We have all the nutrience in Breast Milk that a baby needs.
Good Luck!!!

Liz - posted on 10/21/2010

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hi im in australia,breastfeeding is still not very common,not very social if you breastfeed in public you can asked to move,my 3rd is just 2 and i still feed her,but not in public now as i get stares and shaking of the heads,i also got asked when she was 6 monthes when i was going to put her on a bottle.

Liz - posted on 10/16/2010

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hi i have had 3 kids,all breast feed the youngest is 2 and still breastfeedingi think what you might find is with your 2nd you will be a lot more relaxed and you know so much more,just try not to stress and enjoy.good luck

Merry - posted on 10/16/2010

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Before a year, offer breast first, solids after the breast. After a year you can switch it up, but don't have to.

[deleted account]

I'm sorry your plan didn't work out for your daughter. I feel for you.

My 2nd child is really into nursing. I have no idea how I'm going to get him to wean! He's 17 months now, and he began taking solids at 4 months (that was NOT my intention - I had planned to wait until 6 months to introduce them, but he threw a fit every time he saw someone eating!). Anyway, my point is, every baby is different. Introducing solids doesn't necessarily inhibit BFing. Still, I would wait until 6 months to start solids if you can.

Tracy - posted on 10/15/2010

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Offer the breast exclusively for 6 months then introduce solids. After every meal and in between meals offer the breast. This is how I fed my son and how I am currently feeding my 8 month old daughter. My son used a soother but my daughter refuses to use one. Neither way impacts my supply. Good luck and enjoy your kids.

[deleted account]

my son is now 14 months old, and I'm still breastfeeding (not exclusively now of course!;)) But he had ONLY breastmilk until 6 months old, and only then I started to introduce solids (mainly pureed fruit and veg).
I'll start with the cons: well, very little, just because the first 2 months you feel like you're only breastfeeding and also that at around 4 months old, the baby started to get more hungry at night, when he was sleeping properly almost all the way through before.
But appart from that, no need to pack anything with you when you leave home, it's always ready made, milk on tap!
I just breastfed my first son for 2 weeks, I didn't have enough milk. The midwife told me to give him formula (instead of telling to offer the breast more often!). So I produced even less milk, and had to give him formula. He also had a dummy. So like you, I decided for my second to make lots fo research about BF.
So to encourage my milk supply to go up I have malted hot drinks (it works!!!), and increase the amount I drink if the baby has a growth and wants some more.

Everything I've read about BF is that, babies only need Breast milk until 6 months old, and nothing else (my baby is perfectly healthy), even with formula, they don't need anything else, except maybe water on very hot days (that's what I did with my first one, even though he was on formula).

My older son is seven, and a healthy child, my 14 months is also healthy, happy, and eats everything (he loves his veg too!), and he never needed a dummy.

So for me exclusively BF has only pros!

Rachel - posted on 10/13/2010

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Personally, I won't do cereals. Vitamins from natural food are so much easier for the body to process and use plus those cereals taste dreadful :p If I won't eat it, I'm not giving it to my child! First foods for both of my boys were sweet potatoes followed by avacodo followed by bananas. If you are worried about iron, there are plenty of foods that have natural iron that you can give to your little one ;)

Sara had a great list of readiness signs on the first page of comments--both of my boys were showing all signs by six months so at six months old, we let them try food but at their own pace. Before one, its just for fun--they like to play with it and try the new tastes but their main source of nutrition is still going to be breastmilk. While both my boys liked playing with food at the table, they actually ate very little of it. It wasn't until closer to a year that they ate enough to be considered a meal :) One thing to remember is nurse first!! Let babe nurse his fill before you sit down to dinner for at least the first year.

Courtney - posted on 10/13/2010

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my daughter is almost 9 months. i have breastfed her this whole time. i pumped and bottle fed and breastfed for the first 3 months, but i was not getting a lot of milk in so i stopped pumping and just breastfed only. it was great because i got a lot more milk in and i got to bond and spend that much more time with her. on the other hand it can get very overwhelming because you are the only person that can feed her day and night. my hubby helped me out the first 3 months with the bottle but he cant anymore. so it limits what you can do and for how long you can be gone from her at a time. but you just have to keep reminding yourself that its the best thing for your baby ;) she started on solids at about 5 months and still to this day isnt very interested in them. she would much rather have the breast then anything. we are trying to get pregnant again, but i do plan on breastfeeding for a year and even past that if i can. my daughter will not take a bottle. so i have been trying to give her a sippy cup for the past month and she just plays with it and bites it...she also doesnt take a pacifier so the only thing that can calm her when she gets fussy is the breast.

good luck ;) wish you the best!

[deleted account]

My baby is almost a year and we are still BF 6 times a day & she eats 3 meals. We didn't start cereal until 4 months & baby food at 6 months. She still is attached to BF even with all the food she eats. We just make it a priority & have our chair & our special time together. She loves it & did fine with both food & BF. I would talk to your Pediatrician before you decide. You can also get a second opinion. Just be sure your baby always gets what they need. All babies are different. Don't stress it. Just do what's best for the both of you. Good luck!

[deleted account]

I think it's great! I breastfed for a full year with my son... My advice is to breastfeed ONLY the first 6 months then introduce solids slowly. My ped said I could start food early too but after a week into his 4th month I stopped and went back to exclusive breastfeeding. Because his eating habits changed and I didn't like it. The food is mostly for practice in the begining its more important to get enough breast milk which has the stuff he really needs. GOOD LUCK & CONGRATS!

Hillary - posted on 10/12/2010

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I exclusively breast fed for 4 months with the first, 5 months with the second, and 6 months with the third. It takes a lot of work and dedication to exclusively breast feed! I always started solids when they started watching us eat at the table and making chewing motions and when they seemed to be getting more hungry. I wish you luck and I think what you're trying to do is wonderful.

Kristin - posted on 10/12/2010

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You need to contact a La Leche League leader. You should also go to the American Academy of Pediatricians and the World Health Organizations websites. Both support breastfeeding through aminimum of one year and WHO recommends 2.

Your doctor was an ass for telling you to introduce solids so early. If they do so again, tell them to look up some current lit on breastfeeding. Or go in armed with some papers to back your stance on not. Or just nod and continue to EBF.

I'm sure the previous posts have given you lots of info and data. I will just say that it is a wonderful idea to EBF for at least the first 6 months. Then any solids to do introduce should be just to learn about the taste, textures, temperatures, and everything else that comes with eating solids. It is NOT to be their source of nutrition. Your breast is doing that.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Nicole - posted on 10/12/2010

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@Laura: You know, I might actually get a chance to do that this time. With the first three, I was always pregnant by the time they turned two so the big belly was always a factor in my decision to wean them (no more room on the lap!). But this time I am not pregnant again so I will be interested to see how my son will move forward with the breastfeeding. He shows no signs of stopping so far, that's for sure.

Merry - posted on 10/12/2010

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Nicole, maybe you could let your last one self wean! It's so much easier then weaning them! And the biggest plus is they are so happy to keep nursing!

Nicole - posted on 10/12/2010

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I have four children and each was breastfed for two years (the last one is still going strong and will be two next month). Each time I introduced solids at around 6 months but my second baby wasn't even interested until about 10 months, just exclusively breastfed. I followed their cues, signs of interest. Also I only gave solids after a full breastfeeding so they were already full and then the solids were just like a side order! As they got older, they took less milk and more food but none of my children have ever weaned themselves. They stayed very interested in breastmilk; I always had to wean them myself! Usually I started giving them expressed breastmilk in a cup, then switched to mixing it up with other milk (rice or almond milk) then did a full switch after a few weeks.

Geraldine - posted on 10/11/2010

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TRY SOME MOTHERS MILK TEA TO HELP KEEP UP YOUR PRODUCTION BECAUSE TO OLDER THEY GET THE MORE THEY WANT AND STAY HYDRATED

[deleted account]

@Cheri- I'm due in May, so a loooooooong time from now, lol. I know about the sore nipples. My daughter has a thing about playing with mine and it hurts so much now! I really did enjoy breastfeeding and can't wait to do it again. I just hope I can go for longer this time around...

Lauren - posted on 10/11/2010

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First of all, don't be heartbroken your child decided to wean at 7 months. Some babies just take to solids better, and find that they prefer them over the breast, especially if a pacifier fills their need to suck. Secondly, if you want to breast feed longer, just delay solids. Most people assume breastfeeding is a chore, so they push rice cereal early. I dont agree with that, I waiting a full 6 months before starting any solids at all. And you can wait a bit longer if you wish, but its not recommended, you may end up with the opposite problem of picky eaters and a dislike of solids all together (my cousin EBF her 2 year old!!!!). Usually between 5-9 months babies show an interest in solids and thats when you should start feeding them to your baby. Take your time introducing foods (one per week) and you will find you can breastfeed much longer.

My daughter successfully breastfeeds and eats solid meals at 8 months. I dont think she is interested in stopping the boob anytime soon.

Also contact La Leche League and try going to some meetings. I'm pretty certain they advocate waiting 18 months to start any solids at all, so they should have some more info for you.

[deleted account]

Hey there congrats on your pregnancy :) I too am pregnant and was still breast feeding my daughter till she was just shy of 2 but only because my breastmilk did in fact dry out, which honestly was a great thing cos your nipples get really really sore when you're pregnant ;) So I think it's totally up to you, there's pros and cons with both but as far as I feel, I prefer to breastfeed, no more getting up in the night to get a bottle heated, breast is on tap all the time and apparently you can't overfeed a breast fed baby, not sure if this is true, but my first son who was only breast fed for the first 3 months was a chubby boy (still is) my other two are normal sized but not sure if formula can cause that, I demand fed him so that could have been the case, anyway good luck, always remember that breast is best no matter how long you do it for, totally up to you :) PS when are you due, might be the same time as me, I'm in Feb :)

Brittany - posted on 10/11/2010

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My daughter is EBF.....at around 6 months we offered her solids but she would not take to them. (Which was fine with me!) Now at 10 months she's able to eat table foods with us....3 meals a day with 2 snacks.....& she's still breastfeeding strong. I've never given her a bottle or a sippy & she's never wanted a pacifier. When she turned 7 months we taughter her how to drink from a straw so she could get water or juice.....because when she teeths she has little BF strikes.

I'm VERY glad I made the decisions I did. Not only is my daughter the biggeset mommy's girl I've ever seen, I feel a really strong bond with her. Baby days are only here for so long, & this has helped me to cherish them longer. Good luck to you!! Hope everything works out the way you want this time. :)

Merry - posted on 10/11/2010

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Bek Hudson, I posted this earlier but I'm not sure you saw it, this contradicts what you are saying about how it's essential to start solids at 6 months.
Many moms don't start solids at 6 months and this is ok! Iron levels aren't just nonexistent at 6 months, and this study proves that it's just fine, so definately you Can start solids at 6 months but you don't Have to if you are breastfeeding, in fact it shows that exclusively breastfeeding 7 months seems to be better for iron levels!
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitami...
Here's the link about vitamins including iron and here's a copied section specifically about what I was referring to about exclusive breastfed babies

Healthy, full-term infants who are breastfed exclusively for periods of 6-9 months have been shown to maintain normal hemoglobin values and normal iron stores. In one of these studies, done by Pisacane in 1995, the researchers concluded that babies who were exclusively breastfed for 7 months (and were not give iron supplements or iron-fortified cereals) had significantly higher hemoglobin levels at one year than breastfed babies who received solid foods earlier than seven months. The researchers found no cases of anemia within the first year in babies breastfed exclusively for seven months and concluded that breastfeeding exclusively for seven months reduces the risk of anemia.

The original recommendations for iron-fortified foods were based on a formula-fed baby's need for them and the fact that breastmilk contains less iron than formula (doctors didn't know then that the iron in breastmilk is absorbed much better). Also, a few babies do have lower iron stores and will need extra iron at some point in addition to what they are getting from solids (though this can often be remedied by making sure that solids are high in iron and vitamin C - see below).

If mom or doctor is concerned about a baby's iron levels, have the doctor to do a blood test for hemoglobin.

Some babies are exclusively breastfed for a year (and occasionally up to two years) with no problems at all. In addition, some doctors recommend that babies with a high risk for allergies be exclusively breastfed for a year.

Kelly - posted on 10/11/2010

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I breastfed my son for a year and he weaned himself at that point. He started eating cereal at about 6 months and then started eating regular food a few months after that. I'm very proud to say that my son never had a bottle until he was over a year old and went right to sippy cups from there.

[deleted account]

I breastfed my son for 12 1/2 months and didn't start introducing solids until about month 7. He didn't take to it very well so I didn't force. The later you start solids, the more chances your baby has to fight off sickness and not get food alergies later on in life. I know that in France (that's where I'm living) they suggest you don't introduce solids until 6 months or later. Don't feel guilty about how it went with your daughter. You did what you thought was best and 7 months is already great! Now you know what you don't want to do with your second!

Kristi - posted on 10/10/2010

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It's the best for your baby to exclusively breastfeed, and slowly but surely most docs are coming around to realizing this. Some old school docs still parent you into believing that you should introduce other things though, and this is incorrect advice. Your baby needs nothing more than your milk for the first six months, and then can be introduced to a solids program (many ways to do this - many which do not include cereal or commercial foods at all) gradually. She may not be ready until 8 or 10 months or more. Don't follow a schedule, pay attention to the baby's cues. Is she grabbing food off your plate? That's a sure sign of readiness to try small bits of softened foods. Just don't fall for anyone else's well meaning advice to supplement anything. Why are you using a pacifier? They are terrible for your baby's orthodontic growth, and everytime your baby sucks on a pacifier, they are not stimulating your breasts to produce the milk that she needs. Ditch the pacifier. One less thing you'll have to worry about later!

Casey - posted on 10/10/2010

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Hi-
There are studies out there that say that starting solids early (before 6 months & showing all signs) leads to food allergies & sensitivites. We started solids when my kids were sitting & ready. They were EBF (no bottles or formula) & held off on grains till after 12 months. Grains are highly allergenic, so we started w/ veggis- spinach as a matter of fact. Both my kids still nurse as well- 34 & 18 months.
I'm pretty surprised your doc told you to start your baby on solids so early. Were there other issues?
Perhaps you can find a new doc this time around- one more supportive of BF. Truly is the best for your baby. Of course it is a great idea!

Bek - posted on 10/10/2010

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To add further, I think it's brilliant for both Mum and bub to breastfeed until at least the first year, and longer if you want to, but there are definite risks to not introducing food at 6 months-ish, especially if there is little or no history of allergy in your family and your baby is wanting solids.
These are:
- baby iron stores begin to run out at 6 months and your breast milk alone will not provide enough for their needs, leading to aneamia
- you risk increasing your child's food allergies by not introducing food until 1 year or more (unless there's a big family history)
- you risk fussier eaters too.

Merry - posted on 10/10/2010

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@ Jessica Henderson
Humans are actually supposed to breastfeed for a minimum of two years, and an average of 4 years.
Yes it's easier to wean a 10month old then a 18 month old but that's just because at ten months the baby can't really fight you as much as a toddler
Actually the advise is that weaning gets easier as the child ages. Meaning the closer you get to the natural weaning age of that child the easier it is to force them to wean before they are ready. Best choice for a child in normal situation is to breatsfeed until the child weans themselves. This is how humans do it world wide in places where their society isn't putting breatss into the sex categories. And where womens rights aren't put above Childs rights.
So, it's good to encourage moms to breastfeed as long as the child wants, and it's very harmful to say that it gets harder as the child grows, this gives the exact opposite idea to moms. Weaning was never ment to be something you do to your child, it is ment to be a word to signify the child growing from one stage to another.
Unfortunately many moms rethinking that weaning is supposed to be something you do to their baby. And this is not good for the Childs health or emotional well being.

Remember everyone! Every child has an age in which they will want to wean, all on their own. If you are willing to breatsfeed them until they grow out of the need, you will give them a most precious gift! And you can expect somewhere between the ages of 2.5-7 years with an average of 4.4 years. It's in their best interest! And it's so rewarding too:)

[deleted account]

I find it odd with the early introduction and self weaning. I introduced solids at 3 months and still breastfeed at almost 11 months.

I was told that it really didn't matter if you exclusively breastfed for a year or not. I have heard of some parents my sister included that they now have a hard time with picky eaters... but that could easily be personality.

Michele - posted on 10/10/2010

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I went 9 months of nearly exclusive nursing. It was more an issue of her not being ready for solids than my trying to go that long. I have never found any information about exclusive nursing for a year. Mostly you see reports of the benefits of just 6 months. I've attached an article. Two great sources are Dr. Green's website and Kellymom.com Ultimately I went 21 months total but she started a slow transfer to solids around 10 months or so. She was dependent on nursing for her major nutrition for at least for the first year, if not longer.



http://www.drgreene.com/blog/2010/04/07/...



http://www.drgreene.com/article/essentia...

Katrina - posted on 10/10/2010

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My son nursed until he was 4 years old (just stopped a few weeks ago). We started some solid foods with him at 6 months and contiued adding them based on the recommendation of Pediatric Association (sorry not the right name but the national group for doctors). They, the book "Baby 411" and my Mayo Clinic pregnancy books were my sources of information.

There are benefits to you for longer breastfeeding - it reduces risk of breat cancer.

Momof1 - posted on 10/10/2010

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Hmm.. I never heard anything like that before. My son is 10 months and still breastfeeding. I started him on solids at 6 months (and he eats everything, all day, everyday). LOL He never took a pacifier (which I was glad about.) I would say to at least wait until 6 months before introducing solids. I've read that before the age of 1 solids are just "for play and learning" anyway, but I would still give solids, because babies grow a lot. I still breastfeed every 2 hours during the day, (a total of six hours a day) since he sleeps all night. I couldn't imagine how much more I would be doing if I didn't give him solids, because he really does eat a lot. Although it doesn't show, because oddly enough his weight dropped from the 50 to the 30% from 6 to 9 months. Weird.

Jessica - posted on 10/10/2010

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EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT!! My child used a pacifier (still does) and we introduced solids around 4 months. I was able to breastfeed until she was 18 months old, when I weaned her. We never used a bottle, not for any lack of trying, but that might have helped us breastfeed that long. I don't think there are any tricks. Trust your instincts! If you feel like you're doing something wrong then change it (as long as its okay with baby's doc), but don't force anything the baby doesn't respond to. I hope you're able to go as long as you can this time, but don't beat yourself up if you can't make it a year. You're a great mom, I can tell by your concern and researched question!

The longer the baby breastfeeds the harder it is to wean, keep that in mind to. You might find, if you're able to make it a year, that a draw back in breast feeding might help. Shortly after a year, I cut my daughter back to just at nap times and bed time (sometimes first thing in the morning if I caved). I wanted her to focus on eating solids. I'm glad I did because she is now a great little eater! At about 15 months I went down to just at bed time. This was a good way to gradually wean her. Then about the time she was 18 months, I went away for the weekend and left daddy in charge (I highly recommend that one!!) When I got back she had forgotten completely about it!

Good luck!!

Merry - posted on 10/10/2010

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In fact the aap is the ONLY health organization in the world that says one year! Every other says two years. Including the American academy of family physicians which states that. " a child weaned before the age of two is at increased risk of illness."

Aap is sadly behind, and just doesn't want to scare off the American moms. They think we can't handle the truth! They think that recommending two years will make some moms say forget it, what a shame I hope that's not true........

Katrina - posted on 10/10/2010

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Best books ever - The Breastfeeding Book by Dr Sears and Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Le Leche League. Their websites are amazing too http://www.askdrsears.com/ and http://www.llli.org/
Nursing until a year or beyond is a wonderful idea! It is perfect for baby and has a large number of health benefits for you as well.
You should never feed solids before 6 months. Yes, it was once standard to feed solids at 3 or 4 months but studies have shown it to cause harm to baby's health and developing digestive system. Rice cereal has no real nutritional value, it is purely for practice, but it can fill little bellies very quickly. World Health Organization actually recommends 2 years or more in contrast to only a year by the AAP.
Congratulations on your newest addition and best of luck!!

Jessica - posted on 10/10/2010

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My son is 12 months old. He has always been only breastfed NEVER formula. I introduced solids at 6 months. He took pretty well to it. He never ate rice cereal. I started with the step one veggies and went from there. He never liked cereal. I always thought there wasn't much nutritional value in cereal anyway. It worked really well for us.



As far as breastfeeding it is the best thing I could do for my son. He still breastfeeds about 4 times a day and I am fine with that. You cant beat it. Formula doesn't even come close. Studies show children that are breastfed are smarter, healthier, have less chance for obesity later, not to mention the bonding you just can't get with a bottle. You always know what you are putting in your baby is safe. No formula recall to worry about. Breast is BEST!!!!!



I will keep it up until 2 years old if my son chooses. It is AWESOME!!!

Merry - posted on 10/10/2010

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Before their first birthday every time you feed solids or cereal or baby food you should breastfeed first, then offer foods. Never the other way around until after a year. Milk needs to be given at every meal before foods. This helps make sure baby isntbeating too much solids because there's not much their bodies can absorb from solids before year. It's just practice and play.

Lindsay - posted on 10/10/2010

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don't introduce ANYTHING that isn't breastmilk before SIX MONTHS! i can't believe your doc said 3 months... that is ancient advice! also food before one is just for fun! it should not replace a single breastfeeding session! good luck next time!

Sabrina - posted on 10/10/2010

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There are times he refuses to eat baby jar food because he wants solid foods. But there are times he refuses to eat any foods unless it is his milk. I don't think he has any plans to wean anytime soon! I plan to start weaning around 1 yr...and figure we will be done completely by 15months at the latest. Even if he stops breastfeeding b4 15 months, he will be on formula till then (he has hypo-allergenic formula). The dr wants to wait till 15 months to introduce cows milk due to his food allergies.

Sabrina - posted on 10/10/2010

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My son is almost 10 months. He was breastfed only up till about 3 months. When I returned to work, I couldnt produce enough milk while pumping, so I had to use supplemental formula. At about 5 months I introduced rice cereal. He didnt care for it. At about 6 months we went straight to the baby foods. And by 8 months started introducing actual solids. He eats solids/baby food 3 times a day (meat is usually solid, fruit and veggies is still usually the jar food). He has an afternoon snack (veggie puffs or rice cracker-hes allergic to wheat). And he has milk (breastmilk or formula) at least 5 times a day, sometimes a lil more. He usually only eats 4oz from a bottle at daycare. But when I feed him at home he is nursing for 10-20 min between both sides.

Michelle - posted on 10/10/2010

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Contact La Leche Legue they have tons of information, research and support. I know that giving solid to early can lead the child to have allergies and digestive issues in the future as they are not ready for it.

Lauren - posted on 10/10/2010

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I have breastfed my son for a year now. i was planning on stopping by now but im finding it difficult. i made the mistake of never introducing a bottle after he was 6 weeks old, and he will not drink from one now. he doesnt like cows milk so im struggling to ween him off the breast now. make sure you introduce a bottle of expressed milk quite early on, as its supposed to settle them better if they feed from one before bed! my son still feeds during the night ( for comfort) and has never slept through, its going to be difficult to get him to settle without the comfort of me.. on the plus side hes really intelligent, and so healthy! he has had gastronenteritis and i was told to carry on breast feeding to prevent dehydration ( if he was bottle fed i would of been told to avoid his milk) and iv found he has fought off illnesses much quicker than if bottle fed. breast feeding has so many good benefits! i do not regret feeding for this long, im proud of myself. its not easy but so worth it. good luck with whatever decision you make!

Tania - posted on 10/10/2010

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It is possibly to exclusively breast feed that long.. you need to look for cues that your baby is ready for solids. These usually start showing around 6-8 months. I EBF my son until he was 9 months old as he just had no interest in solids at all.. whereas my daughter was very keen and showed all the signs of wanting solids just after 6 months. I also know someone whose baby didnt take solids till almost 12 months, and he is a bright, clever and energetic child that is thriving. Follow what your gut says once you have had your baby. For more information, contact La Leche League.. they are world experts in correct information and advice on breastfeeding. They have helped and supported me wonderfully with both of my BF experiences.

Allie - posted on 10/10/2010

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My baby girl is exclusively breast fed and addicted to her Binkie. The pacifier has never made a difference in her eating schedule. We just started solid foods very slowly, she is 6 months and totally into it. She eats a tiny amount once a day, sometimes every few days. We always fill up on breast milk first then she can have a little solids. By the way....that cereal is crap....if you feel like it is essential for your child to have cereal, and no pediatrician will tell you it is not, make your own. There are plenty of foods rich in iron, not to mention breast milk also has iron. Avocado is high in iron. A lot of times people forget to realize that our bodies are miraculous machines...we make the absolute best source of food for our babies, NOTHING is better than what we provide. The only suggestion I have is try again! And good luck!

Gina - posted on 10/09/2010

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You know your baby best. My baby is 4.5months old now. I had to start giving him rice cereal at 14 weeks. I was not happy about this but he was breastfeeding every half an hour (he slept mostly through the night though) and he was a big boy. I couldn't keep up and he wouldn't take a bottle (screamed at me). So I gave in and fed him some rice cereal with breastmilk, and we are on to adding apple. Sometimes I give him some porridge with breastmilk too. When he can sit up and grab the food and put it somewhere in the vicinity of his mouth, I will do as I did with my last boy and give him a steamed piece of vegetable (a big piece of pumpkin or potato) rather than it mashed stuff. I never went on to mashed stuff with my second boy because we did this and he is the best eater. The less you worry and fuss the better they eat. It is a miracle. Wait till bubs is really interested. Whether it is 3 months or 9 months. Every baby is different. Just offer the breast first and don't over feed with food. By 1 you will be just breastfeeding probably breakfast lunch and dinner/before bed. And then later on it gets down to 1 or 2 feeds a day until it is just 1, usually the one before bed or the one very early in the morning. I did this until 22 months. No one knows you are feeding them still and it is noone elses business but yours and bubs.

Amber - posted on 10/09/2010

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my goal is to bf till 2yrs, my son is now 8months old and having solids, he eats 3 meals a day and has snacks inbetween But still has 5 to 6 breast feeds a day no problems! its mummy time and he gets so craby if he misses out on it and wont go to sleep with out it at night. he started solids at 4months and it made no diff with breast feeding.

Lisa - posted on 10/09/2010

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Every mother have a culture that they feel comfortable with. I'm in the Caribbean and some mother breast feed until 5yrs but it was more a comfort for the child than really doing any nutritional value. It keeps mother and child close.

Brenda - posted on 10/09/2010

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Hello I excusively Bf for 8mths and only then started solids cause daughter was trying to take food off my plate. I still continued to bf more than solids after this. She is now 4 and I am still bf her so that might encourage you but I don't expect everyone would do that. Some people might think that it is gross but not for us.

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