The first thing I want to say is that once you made it to 6 months of nursing, nursing becomes much easier after that (check out my first post about nursing during 0-6 months). I didn’t have any more fears, I had most of my questions answered, I was more secure about myself and nursing in public and felt like I was strong enough to face any nursing related issue plus by then I was loaded with knowledge about breastfeeding.
At around 6 months I introduced my baby to solids. We did baby led weaning so I never made her any “baby food”. I would just offer her what we were eating. At first I used a Food Feeder because I was terrified she would choke on food. My pediatrician told me “food before one is for fun so it doesn’t matter how much she eats as long as she’s nursing”. I agreed with her after all the research I had done.
I started by offering my baby soft foods and she would taste them all but not really eat them. My pediatrician also explained to me that a baby’s gag reflex is more towards the front of her mouth, so a baby would gag her food way before it could actually choke her. She recommended that we continued with baby led weaning and that’s exactly what we did. Of course, I never let her eat by herself and was always next to her…just in case!
At first I thought that introducing her to solids would make her nurse less but that was not the case for us. She still kept nursing every 1-2 hours and nursing at night too. It was around 10-11 months that my baby started eating more but all the way up to 12 months she kept nursing pretty frequently. I didn’t notice a difference between the number of nursing sessions from the time she was 6 to 12 months.
During this time she started sleeping about 10-12 hours at night. However, she would nurse during her sleep. Since we bed share she would never really wake up – she would look for my boob, nurse and keep sleeping. Bed sharing has been great because we are all able to sleep so much more!
One thing that did happen during this time is that she became quite a distracted nursling. She would get so excited about everything happening around her that she would either forget to nurse or nurse very quickly to keep playing/discovering the world. One key aspect during this time is that I had to offer her milk. I didn’t wait for her to ask for it. I would always offer at around 1-2 hours and let her decide if she would nurse or not – 90% of the time she nursed. I feel this was very important for us because if I didn’t offer her milk, she wouldn’t nurse enough and my supply could have dropped. Apparently, this is something very common at around this age, you can read more about it The Distractible Baby:
Distractibility is also common around 8-10 months, and can lead mom to think that her baby is trying to wean. If your baby is younger than a year, it’s highly unlikely that this temporary disinterest is self-weaning. It’s very rare for a baby younger than 12 months to self-wean.
If baby is not nursing as much because of distractibility, offer the breast often (even when he doesn’t “ask” to nurse). Make up for lost time by nursing more often during the night.
So offer offer offer milk! Don’t ever think your baby is weaning because s/he is probably just distracted.
Since my baby would always get so easily distracted nursing in public became challenging. She would latch and unlatch all the time to look around but I discovered that when I put her in the baby carrier she would always have a good nursing session so I never left the carrier at home. It would always come with me and I would always nurse her in it.
Between 6-12 my baby got most of her teeth and she bit me a few times. If you have a bitter you might want to read this. Every time she bit me I would unlatch her and tell her “No, it hurts me”. Eventually she stopped doing it. I know some moms have had a harder time with this so if you’re one of them, seek help or at least support to get through this age. They all stop biting sooner or later.
Nursing at home became very fun. You are going to get surprised (if this is your first baby) at the positions they nurse in. My daughter can nurse in very funny and weird posses. Nursing lying down is a position we ended up using only at nap time and bed time because during the day she would nurse sitting, standing, squatting, doing baby yoga… Lol!
When my daughter was around 10 months we flew to Costa Rica and being able to nurse her during take off and landing really helped her not to feel pressure on her ears. It also made my life easier because at that time she wasn’t eating much food, just nursing a lot, so I didn’t have to bring a lot of food on the plane. The best part? When I was going through airport security they asked me if I carrying formula, water and bottles because they had to check it. I wasn’t so it was a breeze!
I noticed around the time my daughter got close to 12 months a lot of my baby friends were talking about weaning and introducing cow’s milk. I personally dislike cow’s milk (although I do love cheese, ice cream and yogurt) so I decided not to give my daughter cow’s milk. After all, my body makes the exact milk she needs so why feed her something that’s made for cows? I also didn’t want to wean her since my plan is going to let her wean herself. Another reason why I didn’t want to wean her is because she was still eating very little at this age so milk was her main source of nutrition. During those days that she barely ate, knowing she was getting milk put my mind at ease.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful journey, with many ups and downs during the first year but totally worth it! Don’t forget, whatever you decide to do, however you decide to feed your child, make sure if what YOU want to do, what’s best for you and your baby. At the end, that’s all that matter.
How was your 6-12 month breastfeeding journey? Did you wean at 12 months?
Have an older baby, then read about my breastfeeding journey: