Introducing Solid Food While Still Breastfeeding

Question: I'm ready to start feeding solids, but I'm confused. When do I breastfeed?

Breastfeeding mothers are often confused about how to go about starting solid foods with their baby. Questions often arise about whether or not to breastfeed before or after feeding the solids. Here is how to go about this process.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk as the primary source of nutrition for the first 4 to 6 months of life.

After that time, your baby is ready for solid foods, so what happens to the breastfeeding sessions?

The baby still needs breast milk for optimal growth. However, if breastfeeding and feeding solids are going well, it doesn't really matter which one you choose to offer first. Generally speaking, between 6 and 9 months of age, most mothers are giving the solids as "snacks" more than anything else, and you should continue to be mindful of how often she's nursing. If you are supplementing some feeds with a bottle, make sure that the baby is still getting enough for his weight. If you are breastfeeding upon wakeup and your baby is showing signs that he can eat right away, go for it! At the same time, it is fine to sit down to a "meal" midday, if that's more convenient for you. It is difficult to say how much time there should be between nursings and solid feedings at this stage because baby's needs vary.

Some may need three meals a day and others are barely finishing one. Over time, the amount of solid food given to the baby will increase and by the time he is one year old, it is fine to offer the solids first, with the nursings becoming the "snacks." After one year, your pediatrician will guide you as to how many ounces of fluid she needs to get, usually between 24 and 30 ounces a day.

You can continue to breastfeed for as long as you desire.

Keep an eye on the baby's fluid intake during this time. If too many nursings are replaced by solid feedings too quickly, she may not be getting enough fluid and constipation may result. Putting the baby to the breast frequently will alleviate these problems.

Here is a sample feeding schedule for an older baby (9 months to one year). Remember that there is no right or wrong way to feed meals to your baby, but if you feel that you need some guidelines, then give this a try...

  • 5am: Wakeup/Breastfeed
  • 7am: Breakfast
  • 8am: Nap (with or without a nursing beforehand, depending on your baby)
  • 10am: Breastfeed
  • 12: Lunch
  • 1pm: Nap (with or without a nursing beforehand)
  • 3pm: Breastfeed
  • 5pm: Dinner
  • 7pm: Bedtime/Breastfeed
  • Your baby may still awaken once a night for a nursing. This is normal.

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