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Is HV right about this? How much milk a 6 month + baby needs?

(21 Posts)
marzipananimal Fri 27-May-11 15:59:08

I heard a mum say to a HV today that her baby only has 2 bfs a day now she's on solids and she asked whether that's enough. The HV said it's fine (asked if she's having yoghurt, cow's milk with cereal etc.). The baby only looked about 6 months old.
I was worrying that my 9 month old might not be getting enough now he's down to 4 feeds a day and I suspect he'll drop to 3 soon. Should I be worried?

There seems to be a school of thought (to which that HV clearly does not belong!) that from 6-12 months they should be having mainly milk with food supplementing it, with food taking over as the main source of nutrition at about a year. Could you point me to any evidence for this? Am a bit confused confused

EauRouge Fri 27-May-11 16:34:52

2 BF a day at 6 months isn't very much at all, was she giving formula as well?

There's some info here that you might find useful. I would share some personal experiences but DD1 is 2.7yo now and still hardly eats any solid food hmm so I probably couldn't offer you anything useful!

Cosmosis Fri 27-May-11 17:07:44

I don't think that sounds enough, like you I have been worrying my 8m old has cut down to 4 a day!

Seona1973 Fri 27-May-11 19:06:10

a minimum of 20oz is recommended so it depends on how much the baby gets at each of the 2 feeds. You can also make up that intake through foods by using milk in cereal and cooking and by giving dairy products like cheese and yoghurt.

AngelDog Fri 27-May-11 19:10:27

I found the WHO model textbook chapter on infant & young chid feedingcontained pretty much everything I needed to know. It's technical but fairly easy to read (I didn't do any science past GCSE and I understood as much as I needed to). The WHO recommend that breastmilk is 100% of nutrition between 0 and 6 months, 50% of nutrition between 6 and 12 months, and a third of nutrition between 12 and 24 months. I think that recommedation is in the model tetbook chapter.

I think it's common for food to take over much sooner in this country because of the way solids are pushed, and the way we often dont bf on demand.

If you're worried about milk intake, it's worth following Kellymom's advice to offer bf an hour before solids to ensure that solids are in addition to bm, not a replacement for it up till 12 months.

marzipananimal Fri 27-May-11 21:51:13

Thanks, that's helpful. I don't think the baby was having formula but I don't know the whole story.

I try and feed on demand but I don't know what his cues for feeding are. He won't feed if there are any distractions and is only really interested just before (and sometimes just after) naps and at bedtime. He has also recently taking to biting if I offer when he's not interested, so I tend not to! He does have a big feed each time so hopefully it's enough

NomadInNowhere Fri 27-May-11 21:54:43

It depends too on when the baby was weaned and how they are doing on solids. I started weaning at 4 months and so by 6 months she was feeding well and getting lots of dairy in her food. Another baby might not be weaned at 6 months so would obviously need more milk as they are not getting it in food.

fifitot Fri 27-May-11 21:57:30

Is he is gaining weight and feeding on demand then I wouldn't stress about how often he needs to feed. Your baby won't starve himself I'm sure.

NicholaGriff Fri 27-May-11 22:17:45

I have also worried endlessly over this, as my 7 month old only has 2 bottles of milk per day (total of around 14 ounces). I really cannot get any more "liquid" milk into her. But, she does have a lot of dairy in her diet (milk with her breakfast, yoghurt and other milk based desserts). I have now stopped worrying and just try to ensure she has a balanced diet with all food groups.

Woodlands Sun 29-May-11 08:43:23

This confuses me - there do seem to be two totally different schools of thought, one saying that milk is the most important thing up to 12 months, the other (as espoused by HVs) saying that babies should be down to 2-3 milk feeds a day fairly rapidly after starting solids. I was talking to a friend about this the other day and we decided that it does so much depend on the baby, it's quite nice to have two different viewpoints so that you don't have to feel bad whether your baby is still a total milk monster and not very interested in solids at 10 months or whether they are down to 2-3 feeds a day by 7 months!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 29-May-11 08:51:56

If biting is a problem there is some useful information on kellymom and when my DC1 started biting I rang the NCT Breastfeeding Line, the BFC helped to stop it almost straightaway.

There is also some information here on getting an easily distractible baby to nurse.

ilovemountains Sun 29-May-11 09:04:48

Woodlands - i've never seen any research to back the "food is for fun before one" mantra which I think you are referring to. I'm sticking with the WHO guidelines, which is what most health visitors are working to.

eastmidlandsnightnanny Sun 29-May-11 13:02:33

I have a just 9mth old and was completley confused with advise from some professionals being 3 good breast feeds a day or 5 smaller breast feeds and then food as well

and the other advise being food before one is for fun and milk main part of diet

anyway til 8mths old we continued with demand breast feeding and offering foods at mealtimes then we cut down on breast feeds due to needing to as going back to work and we now have 2 small breast feeds a day (7am and 5pm) and a large (1hr) breast feed at 7pm with 3 meals and 1/2 snacks a day

AngelDog Sun 29-May-11 15:10:31

The 'food is fun before one' mantra comes from the WHO as according to them, food is not recommended to be more than 50% of children's nutrition before 12 months.

There is a list of the research basis for those guidelines in the Model Chapter for Health Professionals referred to in my post above.

The WHO recommend breastfeeding 'frequently and on-demand' until 2 years, which for some children will mean only a few bfs a day, whereas for others it'll mean dozens lots more. My 16 m.o. feeds about 8 times a day for example.

Sadly all the HV advice I've heard on baby feeding has been contrary to the WHO guidelines and has been telling mothers to reduce feeds as babies 'shouldn't' be on more than a certain number of feeds at certain points. sad

brettgirl2 Sun 29-May-11 16:08:22

I think rather than getting sad about who recommendations the thing to remember is all babies are different. While 2 feeds doesnt sound a lot for a 6 month old we dont even know the baby is 6 months it could be a young looking 9 month old. Some just take to solids and start refusing milk feeds. My daughter did and was definitely down to 2 milk feeds by 10 months. Other babies have more milk for longer, as someone else said they dont starve themselves.

SardineQueen Sun 29-May-11 16:30:41

Agree with brettgirl. The baby looked 6 months to you but it could easily have been older, even quite a bit older.

Some babies take to food like there's no tomorrow and are on big roast dinners within a few weeks, some don't get the hang of it for ages. I have had one of each.

As long as the baby is being offered a variety of food and milk, with plenty of opportunity to take what it wants, then there's no problem, IMO. Better to follow the baby's appetite and let it enjoy the foods it wants to have than do something like restricting the solids that it is after in the hope it will take more milk.

Plus some babies are very efficient at BF - they may be getting a lot of milk in those two feeds.

Bottom line is you don't really know so don't worry about it, concentrate your own baby's needs and don't compare to others.

AngelDog Mon 30-May-11 22:43:44

I think there's a difference between a baby not needing so many feeds, and a HV telling a mother she should refuse to feed her baby more than once a day even if they were screaming for it and refusing to take any other food or drink. That's the sort of advice I was referring to that makes me sad when the official recommendations refer to 'frequently and on-demand'. Obviously how frequently that actually is varies from baby to baby - otherwise it wouldn't be on-demand. confused

jandmmum Tue 31-May-11 05:04:24

Agree with Brettgirl. If you'd seen my DD you'd have probably thought she was about 6 months given her size, but she is actually almost 10 months, eats really well and doesn't really demand any feeds, although I feed her 3 times a day.

TruthSweet Tue 31-May-11 10:48:05

AngelDog - totally agree. Babies & children are recommended to be bf on demand (or cue fed if you prefer that term) for at least 2 years. For HV to be telling mums that their babies need X feeds a day is really poor advice (what ever the X equals) as some babies will want more some will want less. Not all children are the same - shock

DuelingFanjo Tue 31-May-11 10:53:18

sorry if this is a stupid question but ... cow's milk with cerial, is that ok? I thought thr guide was no cow's milk until 1?

TruthSweet Tue 31-May-11 11:12:09

It's no cow's milk as a main drink until 12m but it can be added to food from 6 m or given as an occasional drink (e.g. 1 drink a week or similar but not given to a baby to drink every day).

Personally I wouldn't give cm to a baby as a drink until 12m or older but if you were supplementing expressing and, for example, were 3oz short a week for your 10m old then that wouldn't be a problem.

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