I breastfed for 6 months! What should I expect next?
You’ve made it past 6 months! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. You’ve done it!
- You might be considering offering solids to your baby. Before offering your baby solid foods, make sure they can sit up without help. Also, make sure they can draw a spoon into their mouth rather than push it out of their mouth with their tongue. If your baby can do both, then speak with your WIC dietitian or healthcare provider about starting solid foods.
- If you have started solid foods, it is important to remember that breast milk should still be your baby’s main source of nutrition. Your baby’s body digests and absorbs the nutrients in breast milk much easier than the nutrients in foods. Your baby might be ready for solid foods around six months of age. Speak with your WIC nurse or dietitian to see what foods are best and when to offer them.
- When babies start to crawl, their weight gain may slow because they use more calories. Sometimes this can cause their weight to stay the same for a short period of time. Be sure to always speak with your WIC nurse about any weight concerns.
- Are you noticing your baby is distracted or even refusing the breast? This is very common at this age. Your baby is changing a lot and exploring new things. They are starting to crawl or walk. They are also noticing more of their surroundings. This can cause them to be very distracted during feeding. Keep trying! Search our page for tips on breastfeeding a distracted baby.
- Teething might also be causing your baby to refuse the breast. If this happens, search our page for other tips to help your baby during teething and feeding.
- Do you feel your baby is self-weaning? Self-weaning doesn’t usually happen until after 12 months. It’s more likely that your baby is going through a distracting period or a time when they might refuse the breast temporarily. Keep trying! Your baby will most likely come back to the breast when he or she is ready.
- Your baby might start sleeping all night! Many babies still wake up during the night to feed. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if your baby needs nutrition from nursing during the night. If not, you may be able to comfort them in other ways.
- Does your baby have a hard time leaving your side? Your baby not only loves you for your breast milk but also for the comfort you give! They have a special bond with you. Around this time, your baby’s brain changes, and he or she is more aware of new people. They might become more clingy or have a harder time at daycare. This is a very normal stage of development, and it will get easier over time. Be sure your baby knows that he or she can trust you. Keep up with breastfeeding and increase the skin-to-skin time if you’d like!