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Breastfeeding Article
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The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding Amy Spangler's Breastfeeding: A Parents Guide
Buy on or Buy on or

The Breastfeeding Mom’s Guide to Milk Supply:
Six Months to One Year
View all articles in the milk supply series
By Denise Altman

By the time your baby is 6 months old, breastfeeding has become so easy that mothers have a difficult time remembering the beginning of the learning process. From this point to the end of the first year, babies’ developmental stages may be the only thing that cause their mothers to question their supply. However, by this time, unless there has been a lifestyle change such as the mother’s beginning a new medication, milk supply is secure.

6 to 8 months
The biggest developmental stage at this time is the introduction of solid foods and juices. Exactly how to do this and what foods to start always generates a lot of conflicting advice and information. Just like child rearing, there are no absolute “rights.” Much depends on your family history and even your baby’s personality.

As for how to combine solid food feedings with breastfeeding, that is easy. Solids are not intended to replace breast milk at this point but rather to serve as both a learning process and Free Baby Website - Affordable Baby Web Sitea dietary complement. The initial weeks of solid feedings are usually anything from a few bites to one or two tablespoons.

Nurse your baby first, then follow up with solids. If you find that your baby refuses all solids, wait a few days, then try again. If this continues, you can wait to try solids an hour after breastfeeding when your baby’s tummy isn’t quite so full. Initially, your baby will only have one solid food feeding a day but will gradually work up to two to three feedings per day by the time she is 8 to 9 months old. Again, the bulk of your baby’s nutrition is coming from breast milk, so there is no rush to start three meals a day immediately. This time will come — and faster than you think.

8 to 10 months
At this age, your baby will take another huge developmental jump — almost literally! She will be crawling (backwards or forwards) and pulling up. He may even be attempting to stand without support.

A lot of this activity leads to what is commonly referred to as a nursing strike. This is when the baby appears uninterested in breastfeeding. Many mothers take this as a sign that their babies want to wean. Nothing could be further from the truth. Babies often seem to need the reconnection with their mothers at the end of the day, especially to wind down for bed. But while they are exploring and gaining independence, eating becomes less of a priority.

You will see this trend again when your baby is a toddler, striking out for more independence. The food wars will begin with a vengeance! Once babies get a handle on all of these new learning stages, feedings settle down. Expect your baby to nurse about five to six times a day, although this will vary.

11 to 12 months
At this stage, many mothers struggle with whether or not to wean. This is a very personal decision. The many benefits of breast milk continue throughout the breastfeeding process, regardless of infant age. Feedings at one year and beyond usually drop to two to four per day, typically at night and in the morning.

If you do decide to wean, making it a gradual process will be easier on you and the baby. Abrupt weaning can lead to blocked ducts or even mastitis, so this should be avoided whenever possible.

To wean, start by dropping one feeding at a time, progressing to the next after two to three days. Avoid expressing your milk at all — especially “just to check” — unless you want to continue producing.

To help dry up your milk faster, you can use cabbage leaves. Simply peel off the outer layers of a head of cabbage and discard them. Rinse the inner leaves, pat them dry and tuck them in your bra next to your skin. Replace them when wilted. This method can work pretty fast so be sure you are ready to wean before trying.

See more articles on weaning

Don’t forget your trusty pump
If you have been using a pump, you will need to store it somewhere that doesn’t expose it to extreme temperatures. Many manufacturers use flexible plastics on the motors, and extreme temperatures cause them to wear very quickly.

Wipe down your pump thoroughly with disinfectant before storing to prevent mold and mildew. This is not a fun thing to find when you are pregnant with the next baby. Many of the silicone parts such as tubing and valves will need to be replaced; they break down in any type of storage, so you should simply discard them. Rigid plastic parts such as the breast flanges and collection bottles should be sterilized and stored with the pump.

Above all, do not loan anyone your pump. In addition to putting wear on the motor so that it won’t work effectively for you in the future, personal use pumps are just that — personal. You can’t sterilize the motor itself, and this could put you and your baby at risk. Loan out those maternity clothes instead — you have a toddler now and are way past that stage!

View all articles in the milk supply series

© Denise Altman

Denise Altman RN, IBCLC, LCCE is a private practice lactation consultant and nurse educator in Columbia, SC. The name of her business, All The Best reflects the skills, service and products she strives to offer expectant and new families. She is also the mother to twin girls and a son; they are her most joyful expereince to date. Denise can be found at

Need a pump? Ameda and Medela

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