This week is national breastfeeding week. I have breastfed both my girls and I am still feeding Ophelia. I absolutely adore it. One thing that can be very confusing is how much to feed whilst weaning.
I didn't have a routine or any kind of structure when it came to breastfeeding Ophelia. I fed her mainly on demand so I did worry that I may end up overfeeding her when we started weaning.
Fortunately, through Babymoov's #stresslessweaning campaign, I was given some wonderful advice from nutritionist Julie Wolman to help guide me through our feeding journey. This advice applies to both formula and breastfed babies and is a guide only.
All milk feeds should continue as normal during the first stages of weaning. Start by allowing your baby to have one meal a day which is a puree This meal should be about an hour after a milk feed. There should be at least 4 milks feeds a day during this stage. Once baby is happy having one meal a day, increase to 2 meals.
We started by giving Ophelia breakfast. This was her one meal a day. When she woke up in the morning I would breastfeed her and then about an hour later, we would all have breakfast. She would then want another breastfeed about an hour after breakfast. She has managed to get herself into this routine and this is now her everyday routine.
Stage 2 6-9 months:
Once baby is on 3 meals a day, gradually drop one milk feed, usually this is the mid morning feed. At least 3 milk feeds are required a day. Once baby is happy eating 3 meals a day the night time feeds (after 7pm) can also stop.
At around 7 months old baby should be having 3 meals a day. Give baby mashed food and also offer finger foods. Once they are eating 3 meals a day, start to offer them a desert at lunch and dinner. At this stage you can also offer a variety of foods such as protein, pulses, dairy etc (unless advised otherwise by a dietician).
Ophelia has just turned 7 months so she is currently eating 3 meals a day. She doesn't tend to have any deserts or snacks at the moment. She is also still having her mid morning and night time feeds. I think she enjoys these as they help to send her off to sleep.
She has got herself into a routine with when she likes to have a breastfeed which has allowed my body to adjust to her needs. I don't find I leak anymore as my body has adjusted to her routine.
Stage 3 9-12 months:
Gradually drop another milk feed, usually the mid afternoon feed. By around 12 months babies should be having 2 milk feeds a day, usually morning and night.
Continue baby with 3 meals a day and snacks if baby wants them.
I've placed all of Julia's advice in this handy table for your reference.
So far our weaning and breastfeeding journey is progressing well. It can sometimes be confusing as to whether Ophelia is actually having a good milk feed during the day or if she's after a bit of comfort but either way she is now pretty much in her own routine. I am letting Ophelia lead the way with weaning and breastfeeding and along with my relaxed approach, we are both happy.