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Tags: Babies and toddlers Babies and toddlers - Feeding your baby. It is up to you and your baby to decide when the time is right to stop breastfeeding. Aim to breastfeed for six months, then gradually introduce appropriate family foods in the second six months while continuing to breastfeed. Breastfeeding even for a short time is beneficial. Stopping breastfeeding is called weaning.


It is up to you and your baby to decide when the time is right. The World Health Organization recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for six months, then gradually introduced to appropriate family foods after six months while continuing to breastfeed for two years or beyond. Some babies decrease the number of breastfeeds as they begin to be able to digest solid food. The first foods are really tastes and not much is digested or able to be used by the baby. It is often not until nine to 12 months or later that babies are able to actually ingest swallow and use the solid foods that they eat.

Breastmilk in the first year Breastmilk contains all the nourishment needed to promote normal healthy growth and development in babies in their first six months of life and remains the most important food during their first year. Babies weaned from breastmilk prior to their first birthday will need to be given infant formula. Please consult your maternal and child health nurse for further information on this.

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Infant formulas are generally not necessary after the first 12 months, as your child should be then receiving a large range of family foods including dairy products. Breastfeeding benefits Breastfeeding even for a short time is beneficial. There is ample evidence that babies who are breastfed for the first six months of life do not suffer from as many or as severe episodes of common childhood illnesses. These include gastroenteritis, respiratory illnesses and middle ear infections.

Stopping breastfeeding early Sometimes, weaning needs to happen earlier or more quickly than planned. It is normal for a mother to feel sad when she weans, especially if it is earlier than expected. A mother may feel she has no choice but to wean. However, most breastfeeding difficulties can be overcome with help. An Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor, lactation consultant or maternal and child health nurse can offer you information and support. Returning to the paid workforce need not mean having to wean. Many women combine breastfeeding with part or full-time work, study and other commitments.

If you decide on a bottle, eventually your baby will need to be weaned from that. Start with whichever breastfeed of the day your baby seems least interested in. The concentration of antibodies to bacterial and viral diseases is increased as weaning progresses and milk supply reduces. This ensures that your baby is protected as they are being introduced to new foods and exploring new surroundings. Remember to give your baby plenty of cuddles during the weaning process so that you and your baby still have plenty of close time together.

Slowly reducing the number of breastfeeds protects your baby during the weaning period and will also help you avoid problems such as mastitis. If you need to wean your baby quickly, talk to a healthcare professional or a lactation consultant about caring for your breasts. Health professionals recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months, with a gradual introduction of appropriate family foods in the second six months and ongoing breastfeeding for two years or beyond.

Iron requirements A baby born at full term has a store of iron passed on from the mother during pregnancy.

Is breastfeeding the right choice for me?

Breastmilk contains small amounts of readily absorbed iron, and recent studies have shown that the risk of iron deficiency is very low in full-term healthy breastfed babies who continue to breastfeed past six months as solids are introduced. Breastfeeding while pregnant If you become pregnant, you may choose to continue to breastfeed or you may like to gradually wean your baby. This is an individual choice. Whether or not you choose to continue breastfeeding, it is important to maintain a healthy diet.

Seek advice from your health professional or the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Extended breastfeeding Some mothers and babies enjoy breastfeeding so much they are in no hurry to stop. It is not unusual for children up to four years of age to continue to be breastfed. It can be helpful to have information to give your family and friends about why you have decided to keep breastfeeding.

This may include information about the continued health benefits, security and comfort for your child. The child who refuses to be weaned You may be ready to cease breastfeeding, but your child may resist all your attempts to do so. There are many strategies for weaning a baby. If your child can talk and understand well, talk with them about your breastfeeding. Explain that you are going to stop and introduce other ways that you can enjoy being close together. You could seek professional advice about weaning or difficulties associated with weaning.

References Weaning , Australian Breastfeeding Association. More information here. Breastfeeding through pregnancy and beyond , Australian Breastfeeding Association.

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Promoting proper feeding for infants and young children , World Health Organization. Confused about introducing solids? Send us your feedback. Rate this website Your comments Questions Your details. Excellent Good Average Fair Poor. Next Submit Now Cancel. Please note that we cannot answer personal medical queries.

Enter your comments below optional. Did you find what you were looking for? Yes No. Email Address. Submit Now Cancel. Thank you. Your feedback has been successfully sent. Babies and toddlers basics Newborn babies Feeding your baby Growth and development Behaviour and learning Healthy eating Care and wellbeing Health conditions and complaints Sleep Safety Grief and trauma Babies and toddlers basics Baby bath - bathing video Detailing on bathing from the Royal Women's Hospital Baby bath - preparation and safety video Detailing on baby bathing from Royal Women's Hospital Baby bath - skin care video Detail on baby skin care from Royal Women's Hospital Childhood immunisation Being immunised from an early age helps protect your child against serious childhood infections Children and health services There is a range of subsidised and free health services, including services for mental health and dental health, available for children in Victoria Early support for a child with disabilities For children diagnosed with a disability, getting the support they need as early as possible will give them the best chance of minimising the long-term effects of the disability Immunisation — deciding which vaccines you need Everyone's immunisation needs are different and are influence by your health, lifestyle, age and occupation Maternal and child health services Your local maternal and child health service will be a great source of support after your baby is born Parenting services Parenting is one of the most important tasks we undertake but it doesn't always come naturally Jaundice in babies If your baby is full-term and healthy, mild jaundice is nothing to worry about and will resolve by itself within a week or so Newborn bloodspot screening Every newborn baby in Australia is offered a newborn bloodspot screening test to identify those at risk of rare, but serious, medical conditions Premature babies Sometimes premature labour can be delayed to increase a baby's chance of survival Sudden unexpected death in infants SUDI and SIDS You can reduce your baby's risk of sudden unexpected death by providing a safe sleeping environment and avoiding tobacco smoke Feeding your baby Asthma - pregnancy and breastfeeding Pregnant women with asthma need to continue to take their asthma medication as it is important to the health of both mother and baby that the mother's asthma is well managed Baby care - weaning Be guided by your baby and let them set the pace when weaning and introducing solid foods Bottle feeding - nutrition and safety Breastmilk or commercial infant formula is necessary for all babies less than 12 months Breastfeeding Breastfeeding positioning and attachment come naturally to some babies and mothers, but many need time and practice to get it right Breastfeeding and travel Breastmilk protects your baby from illness and infection, so it is the safest drink for your baby while travelling Breastfeeding and work You can successfully combine breastfeeding with work if you have support from your employer, colleagues and family Breastfeeding and your diet Breastfeeding women need to eat regularly and include a wide variety of healthy foods in their diet Breastfeeding - dealing with nipple problems Your nipples may be sensitive in the first few days after birth, but nipple pain is not a normal part of breastfeeding Breastfeeding - deciding when to stop It is up to you and your baby to decide when breastfeeding should stop Breastfeeding - expressing breastmilk Expressing breast milk by hand is a cheap and convenient method Breastfeeding - the first days Let your baby feed as much as they want in the first few days to help establish good breastfeeding patterns Breastfeeding - when to start Breastfeeding within the first hour after birth allows your baby to behave instinctively and breastfeed with little intervention Food for babies - tucker talk tips Before six months, breastmilk or formula is the only food and drink that your baby needs Lactose intolerance Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhoea Growth and development Child development 1 - newborn to three months Infants in the first eight weeks have no control over their movements and all their physical activity is involuntary or reflex Child development 2 - three to six months Young babies still have a notion that the whole of life is happening inside themselves, and they are 'making it all happen' Child development 3 - six to nine months Fun activities, such as shaking or banging objects, helps a baby understand they have an effect on the world Child development 4 - nine to 12 months At nine months your baby is moving around by crawling or pulling along with their arms.

Child development 5 - one to two years Between the age of one and two, your toddler understands they are a completely separate person from you Child development 6 - two to three years Parents can be tricked into thinking our toddlers are more grown up than they really are Children's feet and shoes A child learning to walk receives important sensory information from the soles of their feet, and shoes can make walking more difficult Growth charts for children Babies and young children do not usually grow in a perfectly smooth way, but instead grow in 'bursts' Teeth development in children Teething symptoms are common in children and can be managed without medications Toilet training When toilet training your toddler, praise every little success and remain calm about accidents Behaviour and learning 10 tips for managing sibling rivalry Teach your children to sort out minor differences themselves Anxiety and fear in children You can help your child overcome anxiety by taking their fears seriously and encouraging them to talk about their feelings Children and shyness If your child's shyness is especially debilitating, you may like to consider professional help from a counsellor or psychologist Children and sibling rivalry Sibling rivalry is a common problem, particularly among children who are the same sex and close together in age Discipline and children Disciplining your child means teaching them responsible behaviour and self-control Dummies Dummy sucking should stop before school age to avoid teeth or mouth problems Left-handedness If your child is naturally left-handed, don't try to force them to use their right hand Tantrums When a young child is having a tantrum, it is because the emotional limbic system part of the brain is dominating the child's behaviour Thumb sucking Finger or thumb sucking should stop before school age to avoid mouth problems Toddlers and fussy eating If you restrict yourself to a narrow range of foods, your child will notice and copy your wariness Toddlers and mealtime manners Some toddlers do most of their eating on the run, refusing to sit down at the table at all Healthy eating Baby care - weaning Be guided by your baby and let them set the pace when weaning and introducing solid foods Breakfast Children who skip breakfast may lack sufficient vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B Childcare and healthy eating Childcare centres should provide healthy meals for your children Children's diet - fruit and vegetables If you eat and enjoy fruit and vegetables every day, your child may eventually follow your lead Eating tips for babies First foods for babies can be prepared easily and cheaply at home without salt, seasonings and sweeteners Eating tips for children 3 - older toddlers Offer children the same foods as the family, with a variety of textures and flavours for balanced nutrition Eating tips for young toddlers Children have a natural ability to sense when they are hungry and when they are full Soft drinks, juice and sweet drinks - children Encourage children to drink and enjoy water.

Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. They change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. Birth defects can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops or how the body works. If your baby has health conditions like these, you may need extra help to make breastfeeding work.

A lactation consultant is a person with special training in helping women breastfeed. This means no water, formula, other liquids or solid food —just breast milk. Even breastfeeding for a short time is good for your baby. Breastfeeding also delays the return of your period. But this can make it hard to know when you can get pregnant again.

You can pass some infections, medicines and drugs to your baby through breast milk. Some can be harmful to your baby. Learn how to keep breast milk safe and healthy.

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Talk to your provider if you think you have a condition that may make breastfeeding unsafe for your baby. Create a Facebook fundraiser to let friends and family know you're donating your birthday so more babies can have theirs. March of Dimes fights for the health of all moms and babies. We're advocating for policies to protect them. We're working to radically improve the health care they receive. We're pioneering research to find solutions. We're empowering families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies. By uniting communities, we're building a brighter future for us all.

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Why is breastfeeding good for your baby? For example: Breast milk has hormones and the right amount of protein, sugar, fat and most vitamins to help your baby grow and develop. Breast milk has antibodies that help protect your baby from many illnesses.