Breastfeeding And Solids Schedule For A 6-Month-Old
At 6 months old most breastfed babies have either started or in the process of beginning to eat solids. That is why mothers tend to think much about how to cope with breastfeeding and solids schedule for a 6-month-old. It’s important to note that most breastfed babies tend to have a less regimented schedule to their day. As a result, the information given in this article is just an approximate guide as each baby and household have different needs under different circumstances.
Breastfeeding and solids schedule for a 6-month-old baby begins with a breastfeed at 6:45, breakfast 08:00, breastfeed 11:00, lunch 12.30, breastfeed 15:30, dinner 17:00, breastfeed 19:00 with bedtime at 19:30
Breastfeeding as well as providing a nutritional need, also creates an emotional bond between mom and baby. Therefore, a strict schedule may not be as easy as a baby who is formula fed. Breastfeeds along with naps and night sleep can vary quite a lot for each baby. However, by this age, your baby has recognized night from day, and they are beginning to have more structure to their day.
Below is an approximate schedule for a breastfed 6-month-old baby who is still getting used to solids and those who are already established on solids. I also give some information on the benefits of starting near to 6 months.
Breastfeeding and Solids Schedule and how to introduce solids
The World Health Organisation recommends that babies should be introduced solids between 4 and 6 months.
Starting solids at or around 6 months is advised for a number of reasons. At this age, the digestive tract has matured and is more able to break down solid food. There is also less likely for a baby to develop allergies.
Taking into account this information I also feel the best time to introduce solids to your baby is when you see the cues that they are becoming interested in food and also their capability to eat food.
Cues that show baby is interested in food and ready to start weaning include:
- Watches other family members with interest when eating
- attempting to grasp or reach out for food
- Able to sit up with support and control head movements
- Does not seem satisfied after a milk feed and/or is looking for a feed more frequently over a period of more than 1 week
- Chews and dribbles more frequently
At around 6 months an infant’s metabolic system has developed sufficiently to allow for digestion and absorption of foods. The mucosal barrier to foreign antigens has also developed, and the production of enzymes such as pancreatic amylase which helps to digest carbohydrates is fully developed
Timely introduction of complementary foods encourages the development of gross and fine motor control, exploratory behavior, and manual dexterity.
Most babies acquire these skills by about 6 months.
After confirming that the baby is ready for solids, you can schedule to introduce solids to your child. It is a good idea to pick a quiet day where there are no stressful events going on, and there is adequate time to sit down and relax. A lot of moms find that nursing their baby first before starting solids helps baby to transition in. This also takes the edge of her hunger and leaves her in a better mood. Place the baby on your lap to make him/her feel relaxed. On your first couple of attempts, not much food will be eaten. As time goes on make sure to have her seated securely in a high chair with the tray securely fastened.
Also when you have finished offering the food, it is good to end offering another breastfeed. Baby may or may not accept.
There are two types of weaning. Traditional weaning and baby-led weaning. Both types are safe, and it is up to each parent to choose how they would like to choose to introduce solids to their infant.
First foods are thin and pureed or liquidized to a soft, runny consistency. This will increase in thickness as the baby gets older. Here they will learn how to take food from a spoon, moving it from front to back of their mouth. The next stage involves moving on from purees to thicker purees and mashed foods. At this point, they will become better able to pick up small bite-sized pieces of food using their hands and fingers.
The third stage involves moving to minced and chopped foods and introducing finger foods. Baby is aged between 9 to 12 months. They are now mostly able to chew minced and chopped foods and learning to eat with a spoon. They also begin drinking fluids using a beaker with a lid and then progressing without a lid.
Baby Led Weaning
With baby led weaning babies learn to chew first and then swallow. In traditional weaning, babies learn to swallow first then chew. It’ll start with pureed food followed by lumpier foods.
Firstly, let your baby lead the way. At the beginning of weaning the small amounts of solids, your baby will take means this will have very little impact on your milk supply. Each serving usually only consists of one or two bites.
As time progresses, your baby will increase solids gradually which will still not affect your milk supply but instead will increase your baby total calorie intake. The next stage will eventually mean your baby’s solid intake will make up the majority of his diet and your milk supply will then become secondary. This usually happens up until a year or sometimes well after.
Baby led weaning is, of course, a choice and each family’s circumstances and opinions differ on what is best for their child. The schedule below can also be used by a BLW infant only food will not be pureed.
Breastfeeding and Solid Schedule for a 6-month-old Now Established on Solids
A routine can be set for each day if the baby is established on solids. Below is a schedule that can fit into the family’s day. A lot of breastfed babies will continue to have at least one feed during the night as well as their daytime feeds.
6:45 – 7:15 – Wake up time with Breastfeed
8:00 – Breakfast (baby porridge mixed with expressed breastmilk or fruit puree e.g. stewed apple, peach or apricot)
09:30 – Nap
11:00 – Breastfeed
12:30 – Lunch (pureed fruit, ie, apple, pear, banana with unsweetened yogurt)
14:00 – Nap
15:30 – Breastfeed
17:00 – Dinner with a Veg/Meat combo (pureed meat, ie, beef, fish, chicken, pureed veg, i.e., broccoli, carrot, parsnip)
19:30 – Bedtime
What types of food and drinks should I avoid
During the first year of your baby’s life, there are a select group of foods that should be avoided. These foods are not suitable as their digestive system is still developing and also cause more negative effects than benefits. These include:
Nuts. Do not give nuts to young children as these could cause choking.
Low fat or skimmed milk.
Honey. This can cause botulism in an infant. Wait until the baby is at least 12 months old.
Coffee or tea. Caffeinated drinks can prevent the absorption of iron into the body
Soda/fizzy drinks. These contain high amounts of sugar and acids which is harmful to teeth.
Jars or packets of sauce containing high amounts of salt.
Pure fruit juice. These juices contain a lot of concentrated sugars and fruit acid which can damage baby’s teeth
Cows milk. This should not be taken as the main drink before 12 months as it has a lower nutrient density and low in iron.
What problems could I encounter when weaning
Rejection of solids.
At some point on the weaning journey, babies can become fussy and refuse some foods. Rejection is normal. Always offer food at least ten times before baby may eat it. The baby may reject if pureed food has been given for too long. Another reason for rejection is having lumpy foods. Try to encourage independence by giving finger foods and allowing baby to make a mess to encourage independence and explore new foods.
This rarely occurs in a breastfed baby but can happen. Always ensure her diet includes a generous amount of fruit and vegetables and fiber-rich foods. Frequent breastfeeds are important to maintain at this age as they provide the main source of nutrients and keeps baby hydrated.
Unfortunately, this can happen among babies who may be given foods they are too young to cope with. Always make sure finger foods are soft and well cooked. Cut grapes and sausages into small pieces before giving to your child. They are fruits with slippery skin. Also never leave a baby alone when feeding.
It’s important to ensure you give baby nutrient dense foods and a wide variety of foods as they get older. As mentioned earlier breastfeeds are the main source of nutrients at this age and solids should not impinge on breastfeeds. Contact your doctor if you feel there may a medical cause to faltering growth.
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