Baby's First Year · Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding after the first six months

Older child breastfeeding in park

You have given your baby the best possible start by breastfeeding for the first six months.  Breast milk is still the most important food during the first year of baby’s life.  You may want to continue to breastfeed your baby for two years or longer.  Your baby will need extra iron at six months.  So, it is time to add solid foods.

 

Why breastfeed your older baby or child?

  • Breast milk changes as your baby grows to meet your baby’s changing nutritional needs.
  • Breastfeeding is more than food; it’s also about your relationship with your baby.
  • When your child is sick, breastfeeding can provide comfort and is a very important source of fluid and food. Breast milk is easy to digest.  It may be all your child wants.
  • Breast milk protects your child against infection.  It strengthens your child’s immunity.

 

Breast changes:

Don’t worry if your breasts feel soft; they will still make enough breast milk.  An older child takes breast milk faster than a newborn.

 

Developmental Changes:

An older baby becomes more interested in the world around them and can get distracted easily.  A quiet place with less distractions may keep her attention on breastfeeding

 

Teething:

It is okay to breastfeed even when your child is getting teeth.

  • Your baby’s gums may be sore.  Offer your baby a cold, clean cloth or teething ring to chew on before breastfeeding.
  • If your baby bites, stay calm.  Say “NO” and take baby off the breast.
  • Your baby may bite near the end of breastfeeding.  Watch for sucking changes at the end of the breastfeeding as your baby will have fewer swallows.  To end the breastfeeding, pull your baby close and she will open her mouth and pull off easily.

 

Refusing to breastfeed:

Sometimes a baby who has been breastfeeding well suddenly refuses to breastfeed.  This is not the same as natural weaning.

To help your baby return to your breast:

  • Talk gently to her and give her more eye-to-eye contact.
  • Breastfeed your baby in a quiet, familiar place.
  • Breastfeed your baby when she is relaxed and not completely awake.
  • Relax and be patient. Babies usually start to breastfeed again in a few days.

 

If your breasts are getting too full, you can express some breast milk for comfort and offer some expressed breast milk from a cup.

If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding as your child grows, you can chat with a nurse at (416) 338-7600.

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