Schedule for Feeding Solids with Breastfeeding and Night Weaning??

Updated on January 14, 2010
K.G. asks from Wrentham, MA
15 answers

I feel silly even asking this because I have a 20 month old so I should remember how to do all this, but I don't! I have completely forgotten in just a year! I am still confused as to when to give solids and when to breastfeed--how much & how often. The doctor was so vague. Real moms are the ones to ask!

We recently started my 6 month old on solid foods. We started with rice cereal once a day and now are up to breakfast and dinner of cereal (we've tried a few different kinds). When should I add solids at lunch? When should I start fruits and vegetables? Do I feed these along with the cereal or separate? How much should he be eating at each meal?

I am also breastfeeding him, and my bigger question is: where do I fit in the nursing? I am having trouble working out a schedule for when to breastfeed and when to give solids. He is seeming less hungry for the breastmilk, but I'm not ready to stop nursing. Currently, I nurse him when he gets up for the day (around 6am), cereal at 8, breastmilk at noon and at 4, cereal at 5:30 with family dinner, and then nurse a bit before bed. Does this seem right?

Also, my pediatrician strongly stated at my son's 4 and 6 month checkup that I should NOT be nursing him in the night and he needs to sleep through the night. He wakes at least once, sometimes twice, crying. I feed him and he seems to really chow down. How can I stop feeding him at night if he seems so hungry. I have a 20 month old and the crying wakes her, so I really don't want to let him cry it out.

Thanks for the suggestions!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Boston on

I have 3 children, 14yrs, 5yrs and 8 months. Each breastfed. For each I started solids around 6-7 months. With our 3rd however she suddenly started having constipation about a month into it. As a result I just stopped feeding her solids and switched back to breastmilk only. What I re-discovered, which I wish I had sooner (like 14yrs ago!), is that babies don't really need to eat solid foods at this age. Getting close to a year they begin to need foods for the added nutrition, but not until then. I thought feeding food was more about her needs until I stopped and realized that it had more to do with my premature excitement over her entering a new stage. So, my new advice to mom's is to hold off on solids for as long as possible, eat a lot of healthy food, and nurse your baby as frequently as possible! They have their whole life to be eating food, and so short a time to be solely breastfed. Why not let them have it for as long as possible? Breastmilk is a super food. I am not sure what could be healthier.
As for the doctor giving you bad advice about bedtime eating... Breastmilk digests quickly. Your baby is surely hungry at night. To not feed him would be cruel. My 8 month old nurses all night long, and sleeps with us so there is no problem with me waking up fully to do it. There is no crying, she just squirms a bit, and does not wake anyone up.
Just remember, babies only need us this much when they are very young. Having a 14 year old now, I can tell you that you should be doing your best when they are very young so you will raise healthy children, and have fewer regrets. You should have more confidence in yourself, and listen to your doctor (who by the way has probably had very little training in breastfeeding, and nutrition) less.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

When you want to give up nursing during the night is YOUR decision, not your doctors. If you're not ready to night-wean, and neither is your child, it seems like a no-brainer. This particular piece of advice from your doctor isn't a medical one - its a parenting one. I think as Moms we have the tough job of sifting through the information we get from our doctors (and families, and everyone else) and deciding to do what is best for your particular situation.

Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Always nurse before offering solids. You can offer solids within a half hour of nursing. While baby is under a year solid foods are not supposed to replace breastfeeding sessions they are for introducing different flavors and textures. Just because he is willing to take the food and is even enthusiastic about it doesn't mean that he needs it. You have the control over how much you are giving him. For now you can separate a jar of food into two servings for the day. A whole jar of food is a lot at this age. Nurse him whenever he asks and if it has been a while offer him a chance to nurse. They are very distractable at this age and sometimes nurse more frequently but for shorter amounts of time.
Rice cereal is constipating so you may want to choose foods that will help him go like prunes and pears or skip rice cereal all together. Your breastmilk is way more nutritious than the solids at this point. If you allow too much solids your supply will go down so you want to protect that.
As far as night weaning remember that your doctor is there for medical advice and IS NOT A PARENTING EXPERT. There is no reason why you should night wean unless you have your own personal reasons for doing so. Night weaning will effect your overall supply. Baby takes in a good amount of calories during the night as well as comfort when teething etc. Night weaning at this age will likely make nighttime parenting much more difficult. Follow your gut.
You may want to check out a Dr. Sears book like "nightime parenting" or the "baby sleep book" and check out the La Leche League website for information about starting solids and preserving breastfeeding at the same time.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hi K.: If he is waning on interest in nursing, I would nurse him before solids (since it is the most balanced and healthiest option anyway) and them give him solids (you could wait a little while if you wanted to give him some time to digest a little). Many pediatricians tell parents their babies should be sleeping through the night. It's up to you as the parent to decide what you want to do. IT IS TOTALLY NORMAL that he is still nursing at night and cultures around the world continue this practice for a few years, regardless of a few months. If you want to keep nursing at night, please do it. Especially if he is waning in interest and you want to keep up your supply until you figure out the daytime stuff. I think the only reason to wean at night is if you are losing your mind from sleep deprivation and feel that it effects your ability to parent. Breastfeeding is so important! If you need some help with written resources, Dr. Sears (a pediatrician) is excellent. He has books and there is a website too. There are, thankfully, pediatricians out there who do recognize the multiple benefits of breastfeeding and recognize that it is NOT a normal expectation for all babies to sleep through the night. If a baby does it, fine, but forcing the issue and training them away from loving, parenting care and nurturing creates a whole other set of issues...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If he's hungry at night feed him. Pediatricians are good for medical advice but can be woefully ignorant of parenting practices. A 4 mo old breastfed baby absolutely should be having breastmilk at night, nevermind at 6 months. Many babies are not ready to night wean for some time. They all are different but that pedi's advice is not good at all.

We never had a set feeding schedule and breastfed on demand day and night. In our case I left it up to the baby about night feeding but if it is something that is a problem for your family there are gentle ways to do it when you think your son is ready. There is a method I hear a lot of people use on Dr. Jay Gordon's website (google him). And as another poster said No Cry Sleep Solution has good advice for getting the babies to sleep and stay asleep.

Breastmilk is very nutritious and if you are replacing day feedings with rice cereal (which is a really not nutrition at all, just calories with iron added) then it makes sense that he'd be even hungrier during the night. You may want to feed more breastmilk during the day which may enable him to go longer during the night. Also I definitely would breastfeed him before offering rice or other solids.

Something to consider is that solids in the first year are really for practice for the baby to get used to eating, not really for nutrition so breastmilk really should be most of what he is getting. We didn't offer solids to DD until 10 months and she is a happy eater now at 27 mos (and has been all along).

I really don't think there is a particular age that the baby should be sleeping through the night, especially such a young baby. I let DD lead the way and when she was ready she slept. I definitely wouldn't leave him to CIO. Especially where he is clearly telling you he is hungry. Don't worry, you are not establishing some horrible habit that will be impossible to break if you miss some magic window. Seriously!! He'll learn to SSTN when his little body is ready for it. In the meantime, you do what YOU feel is right for him, regardless of what your doc has said as this is not a medical issue. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

hey K.. my daughter is 7 months and our schedule is almost the exact same as yours with solids/feedings. only difference is that when i started lunch i do a breastfeeding at 10:30 and solids at 12:00. but we wake up and do breakfast at the same time you do. we started solids at 4 months and did the breakfast dinner thing for about a month before we started lunch. giving her enough time to get used to the food. what your doing is great. i hear you on the forgetting, my first is 3 and i questioned the same thing when we started!!! how easy we forget. i also question how much i should be giving her. i figure she's happy and content and gaining weight at the right speed. i have learned this time though that the pediatrician is not god anymore. i trust myself more this time around. so if the middle of the night feeding is not bothering you, then leave it. they say they don't need it at this age. so it may be just a comfort thing. my daughter is up at 3 am for a feeding still. it will go away eventually i guess. good luck.



answers from Boston on

Your baby is only 6 months, so in my opinion weaning is way down the road. You can nurse first thing in the morning, before nap, before bed, in the middle of the night. Whenever! As the food becomes more regular, your nursing schedule will likely work itself out without you having to do lots of planning about it. Middle of the night nursing is SO normal and natural. I followed the advice I had read (Pantley maybe?) that suggested do whatever it takes in the middle of the night to make the waking for everyone as brief as possible. Back to sleep is the goal.



answers from Providence on

so you are nursing 4ish times per day? and once or twice at night? that doesn't seem like a lot. my daughter at that age was nursing 10-12 times in a 24 hour period. remember solids are just for fun and exploration of new tastes, textures, etc. they are not supposed to replace breastmilk. repeat-- solids are not for nutrition at this age.

and sorry, but your pedi is full of it. if you're ok with nursing him in the night and he seems to really need it, then continue. what my ped said is that once they reach a certain weight they are metabolically/physically CAPABLE of going through the night without eating, but that doesn't mean they DO.

and even if you decide to night-wean, that doesn't necessarily mean he will start sleeping through the night. sttn is related to neurological development, and not very many babies reach that milestone before age two.

and another thing, there is a MAJOR growth spurt at 6 months and another at 9 months -- watch out for them.



answers from Bangor on

I'm reading a book called The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. I'm not through it yet, but so far it is really good. You could read in it about baby's sleep, and how to help them sleep better. I'm surprised that your pediatrician had such a strong opinion about your baby's night wakings. It sounds normal to me.
Anyway, this book, which I heard about from my contact at La Leche League, will give you some options other than cry-it-out.
Good luck.



answers from Boston on

It sounds to me like you are doing great! Pay attention to your baby and he will tell you what he needs.... you and he are the experts, really. Each baby is an individual and does things a little differently. My son now 4 1/2) had no interest in solids until he was about 11 months. But once he got interested he ate plenty, and he has been consistently healthy, and big for his age.

For the night weaning, you might want to talk to a LLL leader.. they have tons of experience with it. Also, for sleep in general, a book I found really helpful was The No Cry Sleep Solution. It has a wide variety of methods and you can choose what suits you.

Best wishes to you!



answers from San Luis Obispo on

Remember the first rule of medicine is 'do no harm' so as a concerned mom, you are doing a good job just as you are!

Have you read 'Super Baby Food' by Ruth Yarrow (I think that's the name)... she is very detailed in feeding schedules and introduction of foods. I checked w/ my ped. and he said it was a fine schedule to follow. You'll want to check w/ yours.

My 7 mo old is pretty much on your baby's schedule too. I seem to do food mid morning, early afternoon and at dinner right now: mainly fruits, and cereal. I think that mine is going through some kind of growth spurt and catch up from last week's stomach bug. Whew! It's leaving me exhausted. I just keep reminding myself that it's a phase.

I also read The NO Cry Sleep Solution and found it to be helpful.

Best of luck...



answers from Springfield on

Hi, I waited until 6 months and then stopped the nighttime feeding and when my son woke up just gave him a cuddle and then laid him down, he was offended for a few days and then cried less b/c he knew he would not get fed. My kid (all babies are different) was waking up to get food and when the reward went away he didn't bother and started to sleep through the night a LOT more consistently. This took about a week to pull off, just don't give in when you have decided or your baby will be confused and cry harder to break you down. You could also start to taper his feedings first.

hope this helps, Nat



answers from New London on

He is more hungry at night because he isn't getting the solids like during the day. I would aim to just mostly feed breastmilk during the day and perhaps only one jar of babyfood. But concentrate on getting him as much BM as you can. babies do not need solid foods until they are one years old, so this is just a time to introduce all sorts of food. At 6 mo I breast fed in the early morning then late morning. Then again in the afternoon and always gave solid food after breastfeeding, never before, so that he would be hungry for milk which is way more nutritious for the baby. Late at night I would feed him BM at 11pm then he would wake up at 3am and then at 6am. We cut out the middle of the night feeding at 7 months. We had to go cold turkey, but we never looked back. Then the early morning wakeup feeding was 5:00am but he eventually woke up later and later. We would always go back to sleep after the am feed. Sometimes he would sleep for another 3 hours. I would call that his first nap. Try to feed him as much BM as you can during the day. The middle of the night feedings become a habit that are hard to break. Try to cut out the middle of the night feed. He should still be nursing every 3 to 4 hours during the day. I don't think he is getting enough milk during the day, which explains the hungriness at night. Good luck.



answers from Boston on

There's no 'right for everyone' answer to breastfeeding, there's just right for the nursing pair. There are best practices, like nursing before offering food, but when to night wean - or wean at all - is between the two of you. DS stopped waking at night at 6 months, but DD is still going at 22 months and counting.

Foods - there are a lot of different opinions about what's best to do first. I did rice cereal with my first, completely skipped it with my 2nd and just did fruits and veggies. They both eat.

Banana and avacado are two of the easiest baby foods to make for yourself at home, just mush 'em up, maybe mix in a little breastmilk, and serve.



answers from Boston on

Everyone has given grreat advice, so I am not going to repeat...I just wanted to tell you that I breastfed my daughter for 13 months and she did not sleep through the night until she was one. Always do what you think is best for the baby. You should trust your instincts!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches