A lot has been said about breastfeeding a newborn — such as what to expect, how often and how long they nurse, how to get them to latch properly, the red flags to watch out for, and so on. But what happens after the first 6-months? When I started my breastfeeding journey, my initial goal was to exclusively breastfeed my daughter for six months, which then turned into 1 year and then 2. But the thing I realized is that our breastfeeding journey, just like her, is also growing and evolving, and each phase comes with their joys, and let’s face it, challenges.
So if you’re interested to know what the 6th (and even beyond) month of breastfeeding has in store for you, here are a few:
Breastfeeding at this stage can feel like a circus act
By around the 6th month, babies tend to be more mobile. They love to explore more, touch everything, and even eat anything — which can include your nipples, hair, and even other body parts. At this point, breastfeeding will start to feel like gym sessions, with your little monkey baby wanting to explore other positions aside from the cradle hold. Chances are, he’ll transition from cradle hold to sitting upright, sitting sideways, or even upside down if he can manage it — all while maintaining his latch and breastfeeding away. He’ll be the one to dictate his position with mommy just along for the ride.
Breastfeeding sessions can last for a few minutes to almost an hour — depending on your baby’s mood
Breastfeeding at this stage can take as long as an hour to as quick as a few seconds, and the only one who has a say about it is your baby. But you can also ensure that he doesn’t get distracted and break his latch by minimizing distractions around him — and this might include refraining from picking up your phone or watching the TV while he’s latched on.
At the same time, your supply around this time is most likely already established so don’t fret if you feel that you have “low” breastmilk supply just because you’re not dripping as much as you did during the first few months. But if you’re working and couldn’t be with your baby 24/7, then it’s also important to use a milk catcher whenever he’s latched on pump regularly to ensure that he has enough supply when you’re away.
However, if you’re still worried because your baby is not latching as much or you’re not producing as much milk, one good gauge to know if your baby is getting enough milk is if he’s gaining weight appropriately and if he has five or more wet diapers in a day.
Your baby will want both solids and milk
At 6-months, your baby would have already started on complementary solid foods, but breastmilk is still his main source of nourishment at this stage. Giving truth to the rule of thumb that food before one is just for fun. So don’t expect his solid meals to replace or even affect your breastfeeding sessions too much. Plus, the recommendation for this age is still to breastfeed on demand and offer solids after nursing.
Your breastfeeding journey will bite
Quite literally as some babies at this age will start to bite or clamp down on your nipple. Believe me, when I say, I feel your pain, as my youngest seems to have a knack for this early on. Babies bite while breastfeeding for several reasons, one of which is that they could be teething. If that’s the case, you can offer him a cold washcloth or teether before nursing. The important thing to do to prevent painful breastfeeding sessions is to first identify why your baby bites and they remedy it. Read more tips here.
Ultimately, congratulations for breastfeeding your babies for 6 months mommies, and just keep on latching 😉
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