When should I start reducing the amount of milk that my baby takes?
I often get asked 'when should I start reducing the amount of milk that my baby takes? I have just started weaning him and am confused as to when one of his bottle feeds should be dropped.'
It is quite common for parents to be concerned and confused about this as the last thing they want to do is leave their babies short of energy and important nutrients during weaning, yet they don't want to be overfeeding them either. Weaning can be a bit of a hit and miss affair until both of you have established a routine, and babies will often eat more on some days than others for no apparent reason, so their milk intake can fluctuate quite a lot.
So, I encourage parents to be as relaxed and flexible about this as possible and to follow a few basic principles -
- At the start of weaning, continue to give your baby's usual milk feeds at mealtimes, preferably after you have given them food. The quantities of food eaten at this stage are small and your baby still relies on milk to meet all his nutritional needs.
- Usually at around 6-7 months, or once your baby has got used to eating solid foods at 3 mealtimes each day, try dropping one of his milk feeds (at lunchtime, say) and offer water or diluted fruit juice in a feeding beaker instead at that mealtime. Often babies show you themselves that they don’t need milk at a mealtime by gradually taking less as they start to eat more; this is a good time to drop this feed, but remember to offer another drink instead to make sure your baby doesn’t get thirsty.
- Throughout weaning and up to the age of 1 year your baby still needs plenty of breast milk or formula each day, usually with a milk feed morning and evening and other feeds in between as required. The exact amount will depend on how much solid food your baby eats and you should let your baby decide how much milk he has. As a rough guide, formula fed babies will need about 500-600ml (1 pint) formula per day once weaning is established.
Hope this helps!
Bye for now,
Tags: babies, baby, bottle feeding, breast feeding, dehydration, drinks, eating, food, Helen, Hipp Organic, juice, milk, nutrition, weaning
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding, Weaning
How much does my baby need to drink?
If I’m asked the question ‘How much drink should my baby have?’, I look at their age, weight, milk intake, stage of weaning, health, environmental conditions, and so on, and then consider how much they should have to meet their needs and to avoid dehydration.
Generally, babies less than 4-6 months should not be offered any additional drinks (water, diluted juice or others) other than their usual milk. Milk alone, either breast milk or formula, should be able to meet all their needs for nutrition and fluids up to at least 4 months of age, and giving additional drinks can be harmful if they reduce milk intake. However, an occasional additional drink may help if the baby has a fever, in hot weather or in centrally-heated houses where there is the possibility of dehydration, and a small volume of cooled, boiled water once or twice a day should do the trick in these situations.
For babies who have already started weaning onto solids, a small drink of water or diluted fruit juice can be given at mealtimes to ensure baby doesn’t get thirsty. Between meals, only water or milk should be offered because of the risk of dental decay caused by drinks containing sugars (whether naturally occurring or added). Milk continues to be really important throughout the weaning period though and milk feeds should be given 3-4 times a day, with at least a pint of milk (about 600ml) being consumed.
Toddlers need less milk (about 360-500ml each day), but they still need fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
You should always keep an eye on how well hydrated your baby is. Regular wet nappies are important and signs of dehydrated should be acted on swiftly:
- Dark yellow urine
- A sunken fontanelle (soft spot)
- Dry or sticky lips and mouth
- Skin that has lost its elasticity
Hope this helps. Let us know if you’re not sure if your baby is getting enough.
Bye for now.
Tags: baby, breast feeding, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk, drinks, babies, toddlers, boiled water, juice, dehydration
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Milk feeding