Welcome to this week’s edition of raising a healthy baby. Today’s topic is all about finding balance between the bottle, nursing and solid foods. My little one loves to nurse. Keep that in mind as I go through our journey of breastfeeding/starting solids below. I completely acknowledge that some babies aren’t as crazy about breastfeeding as my Caroline and many babies start to lose interest in nursing the closer they get to 1 year old.
Caroline doesn’t mind when she feeds from a bottle. After all, I am a full-time mom and she spends 5 days a week in daycare. But, at 7 ½ months old, she still would prefer to nurse than eat any solid foods (even her favorite yogurt melts). That being said, I still expose her to solid food 2-3x a day, but we keep up with our regular feeding schedule as if she wasn’t eating solids at all.
After snooping lots of research online, I couldn’t find one perfect answer for exactly how much/how often on bottle-feeding babies. I found answers varying everywhere from “no more than 4 oz” to “6-8oz of milk at 6 months”. All babies bellies are different. I just want to make you aware that you don’t have to “follow” a schedule or ‘up’ your ounces with age if they don’t need it.
I will preface by saying that Caroline is totally satisfied after each bottle, sleeps through the night (when we’re not fighting teeth, that is…), and spits up if she is given much more milk at one sitting. That being said…
Caroline’s feeding schedule:
5:00/5:30am ~Nurse about 15 minutes
7:45/8:15am ~Breakfast: yogurt & fruit
9:30/9:45am ~4oz bottle (typical nap time)
11:30/12:15pm ~4oz bottle
1:30/2:30pm ~Lunch: yogurt & vegetable, yogurt melts
3:30/3:45pm ~4oz bottle (typical nap time)
5:30/5:45pm ~Dinner: vegetable and fruit
6:45/7:00pm ~Nurse about 30-45 minutes until asleep
I loved this article on the cues your baby will give you when they’re hungry or full. It really comes down to these signs when determining your individual feeding schedule.
As much as I believe that pediatricians know best, I do want to point out that my ped and I don’t agree with each other when it comes to this topic. I have it ingrained in my head that “Food Before One is Just For Fun!” and our nursing/bottles come first before the start of foods. At 6 months, she suggested we start prioritizing solid foods over milk and begin to “wean” if she seems ready. Weaning can be a lengthy process that slowly switches your infant from milk to food, usually done around 9-12 months. I can already tell Caroline isn’t ready to wean, but here are some interesting articles that suggest that quitting breast milk altogether at 1 year old might not be your only option. Below are two, of many, educated articles I’ve seen on this topic.
When it comes to bottles, look for and respect your baby’s hunger cues. Just like most “baby-advice”, it truly depends on what your little one needs, not what the internet, other babies schedules, or even your pediatrician tells you. It’s incredible to me how babies begin their life so aware of food satiation. Let’s nurture that with this new generation.
Thanks for the positive feedback and all your fantastic questions-definitely keep them coming! I’ll leave you this week with a cute Valentine’s Day pic. Hope your special day was sugary sweet!