It's perfectly normal and natural for some children to lose interest in BF, especially if they love their solid food. My son was nine months when he lost interest all together. From that he continued to eat well and to drink water from a feeder cup. It's important that you offer a drink of water to drink, with meals and in between. He'll be moving towards just three meals at day, by the time he's 12 months. Until then, as well as his three meals offer him a couple of snacks morning and afternoon. As far as his milk intake is concerned, he should be having the equivalent of about a pint of milk, daily. However, this does not have to be just milk, it can be yoghurts, fromage frais, cheeses and custards.
Nursing strikes are very common at this age. 8.5 months is too early for true self-weaning. There's some info here that you might find helpful. Some mothers do take advantage of nursing strikes to wean their babies, but you will have to replace BF with formula if you do this.
eau I really don't want to wean him from BF as I really want to feed on into toddlerhood if I can... Thank you for the link :-)
smartie he feeds back to sleep when he wakes himself more than for hunger and I'm not sure I want to night wean him as generally he sleeps really well and I don't want to take away a source of comfort in case it is that he seeks more than hunger.... I'm such a softie!
Is there a general amount of a feeds per 24 hours I need to aim for? He has dairy at every meal - sauces, cheese, milk in his porridge, yoghurt etc but I know how precious breast milk is and don't want him missing out but not sure I can pump way too tedious
Do you BF him before any of the meals? At this age solid food should be complementary rather than replacing breastfeeds. There's a really good page here with some guidelines of how much solid food and breastmilk they should be having.
How would you feel about replacing one of the puree meals with finger foods and letting him feed himself?