Do I still need to breastfeed?
Yes. Breastmilk or formula will remain your baby’s most important source of nutrition until she is a year old.
There is no need to stop breastfeeding because your baby is having her first foods at six months. This is the case even though solid foods will gradually replace some of your baby’s milk feeds.
You can carry on breastfeeding for as long as you both wish. Breastmilk provides important nutrients and protein in an easy-to-digest form.
However, once your baby reaches six months, you will need to give her iron-rich foods every day. This is because breastmilk will no longer provide all the iron she needs. Eggs, beans, red meat, dark-green vegetables and cereals all contain iron.
Also, if you do choose to continue breastfeeding the Department of Health recommends that breastfed babies older than six months have a daily supplement of vitamins A, C and D. Giving your baby a supplement guarantees that she gets the vitamins she needs.
The supplement comes in the form of drops. Your health visitor can show you how to give your baby drops.
The amount of milk your baby wants will reduce as she starts to eat more solid foods. You may find that feeds between meals become shorter and eventually stop. You can’t measure the amount of breastmilk your baby is taking, so let your baby be the guide. She may want to continue with a breastfeed first thing in the morning and at bedtime.
Be aware that your baby’s appetite can change from day to day, just like yours. You may sometimes find that your baby still wants a breastfeed after a meal.
You can offer other drinks once your baby has started solids. The best choice is always water, although you can offer well-diluted fruit juice with meals if you wish. Try to encourage your baby to drink from a cup with a soft spout, or a free-flowing lidded beaker.