December 13, 2008,
M.C. asks from Saint Petersburg, FL on December 11, 2008
How Often Should a Ten Month Old Nurse?
Hi Ladies, I know that every baby is different but I am looking for a ballpark on how often a 10 1/2 month old should nurse. He is eating 3 meals/solids per day in addition to a small snack. From the time he was 3 months old until three weeks ago, he drank expressed breast milk from a bottle during the day (24 oz then decreased to 16oz) all day and only nursed morning and evening. Three weeks ago, he quit drinking milk from his bottle and his sippy cup (he will still drink water from his sippy - so that is not the problem). I thought this was just his reaction to teething. His top three teeth came through at once. However they are now half way out and he does not seem bothered by them but still refuses to drink his milk from the bottle or sippy. He will nurse. My problem is I am not sure how often he should be nursing. The last time he was exclusively breast fed, he was nursing every two hrs but he was so young. I work during the day (from home, luckily) but need to know how often I should sneak away from work and take him from his sitter to nurse him. I know his milk is still the best source of nutrition for him but I am not sure how often he should be nursing. He does not cry for it when I am not around but will always drink at least a minute or so when I offer it to him. I find that I really miss knowing how many ounces he was drinking each day when he was using his bottle :-(. Also, I am counting the wet diapers and he has decreased output slightly…he is at the bare minimum each day now (6-7). Thanks for your help.
H.B. answers from Tampa on December 13, 2008
Congrats on nursing your little one and for wanting to make sure he is still getting adequate nutrition! You are right to want him to still get breastmilk daily, as it it still the best source of nutrition for an infant, even if they are eating solids too. The best way to make sure he is getting the benefits of your milk is to nurse first, then feed the alternative (solids). He will still want to eat some of the food, but will take in a good breastmilk meal first and top off on solids vs. doing it the other way around. The American Academy of Pediatics recommends breastfeeding for 2 years now, so it is "old-school" information when you get well-meaning but poor advise to wean a 10 1/2 month old, or anything less than 24 months actually! Many friends, family and even pediatricians are not on-board to the benefits and recommendations and try to steer you to wean or offer other horribly inferior liquids such as cow's milk or sugary juices, both which are not necessary and not anywhere near nutritionally comparable.
I would recommend to continue to nurse before each solids meal and again anytime he requests so that he continues to get as much breastmilk as possible. He is still a baby and needs breastmilk. If you let him lead the way, he will take what he wants and you won't have to stress or worry. By not weaning, you also keep your supply adequate to handle upcoming growth spurts, times of illness (when nursing may be all he wants or will keep down, and what may keep him from dehydration and potential IV fluids!) and teething discomfort issues when eating solids isn't appetizing to him...
Keep up the awesome work! You are giving him the very best thing you could offer :-) Best wishes.
A.G. answers from Punta Gorda on December 12, 2008
What I am going to say may not be the answer you are looking for, but now is a good time to try weaning. If he is only drinking for a minute or so, it may just be a time with mom thing. If he is still having wet diapers and is still growing, I would not be too worried. I would try not nursing during the day and offering him water juice and your milk during the day, if he does not drink it that is ok. He is starting to get nourishment from eating food. I would then try to take away the morning feeding, wait until your body adjusts to you not nursing during the day, and not expressing milk first. Then I would take away the morning feeding. I would wait until very close to his first birthday before I took away that night feeding. Do not worry if he is healthy and growing.
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A.A. answers from Punta Gorda on December 11, 2008
I don't know how often a 10-month-old should nurse, except that if he's nursing as much as he wants, and is content & seems healthy, then he's getting the right amount.
You mentioned he doesn't cry for it and drinks for just a minute or so when you do offer. Probably he's just not in a growth spurt at this moment, also b/c he's got the minimum # of dry diapers. I'd leave it be, and wait and see if anything else changes.
We always nursed on demand and did not use a bottle, so we did not have the ability (or any real need) to count ounces. I have heard it's easy to begin to rely on that though. I would say don't sweat it unless he has other indicators of illness etc.
C.S. answers from Lakeland on December 12, 2008
First of all, congrats on nursing your son for 10 good months and more! I nursed my first for 17 months and am currently nursing a 22-month old.
I think my 10 month olds nursed at least 4 times a day, probably more like 6-8 (sometimes for just a short while). They did not take a bottle and did not drink well from a cup yet, so I was careful to offer the breast lots so that they got plenty of liquids. If you are worried about your son's diaper output, I'd just offer the breast a couple extra times a day and a sippy cup of water or diluted juice other times. If he's been too busy to take a drink, your offering might remind him that he is thirsty after all. Here's a site with lots of good info on nursing older babies and toddlers:
I was hoping you wouldn't get too many responses urging you to wean, but I see that there is one already. There are so many reasons to keep breastfeeding to a year and beyond, so please don't let our bottlefeeding culture dictate your decisions. (BTW,10 month olds do not "self wean" without subtle or not-so-subtle pushes from mom, so if that's not your goal, please know that you're not forcing him). Do what feels right for you and your son and know that for as long as he nurses, he continues to benefit. (My first never had an ear infection until I weaned her-- then promptly got 3 in the next 6 months :( ) More on that:
Anyhoo... my guess is he's a busy little guy who might be forgetting to sit down for a nice nursing session or to ask for a drink now and again in the midst of exploring his world. Keep offering the breast and the cup, and I'm sure he'll get what he needs. :)