by Anne Smith, IBCLC
My daughter is 11 months old. Extended breastfeeding is in my plan.
She still nurses a couple times during the night. How many times a day should an older baby nurse versus eating solid foods?
How wonderful that you are aware of the many benefits of extended breastfeeding and plan to continue nursing after a year! Your daughter is a very lucky little girl. Breastmilk is a very complete food for at least the first six months of life. From 6-12 months, an “educational diet” is recommended. This means that others foods gradually begin to provide for nutritional needs that milk alone can no longer provide, and your baby gets used to different tastes and textures as well. Breastmilk or formula should be the main source of calories up till the end of the first year, and should still constitute about 75% of her diet at 12 months (25% solids). The need for iron increases after the first six to nine months, so it is good to include iron rich foods during the latter half of the first year. Since human milk is the most nutrient dense food you can give your baby, solids should be started slowly and not over-emphasized in the first year when the baby’s brain is still growing so quickly. From 13-24 months, the amount of complementary foods increases. At 18 months, 50% of the diet should be milk (preferably breastmilk) and 50% solids. By 24 months, toddlers should still have about 20% of their nutritional needs met in the form of milk, and about 80% by solids.
Anne Smith is an IBCLC â€“ International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and La Leche Leader since 1978. More importantly, she is a mother to 6 breast fed kids with twenty plus years experience of counseling nursing mothers. Her site, BreastfeedingBasics.com , provides expert advice and solutions to breast-feeding problems and gives basic information on how to breast feed. Anne also features her recommended breast feeding products and breast pumps.
Breastfeeding and Solid Foods
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