How to juggle real food and breastmilk in a 7 month old.
November 9, 2012 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Feeding a 7 month old, how much liquid/breastmilk is necessary?

So my baby took a long time to be willing to eat food that wasn't breastmilk, but now that he's got it figured out, he's all about the real food. We were going with a schedule of real food breakfast, lunch, and dinner and breastmlik other times. And that was going great up until the kiddo decided that eating real food was doing it fine for him pretty much all day. And now I'm concerned he isn't getting enough liquid/breastmilk for his age, but I'm not sure how much is enough, though he's our second, the first kept up the breastfeeding to a higher degree even after food introduction so we are scratching our heads with this one.

We make our own baby food so quantities are a bit vague, but basically for breakfast he has baby oatmeal mixed with 2 oz of breastmilk (something like 1/4 a cup of oatmeal, maybe a bit more?), plus a full yogurt (the stoneyfield baby ones which are bigger than the smallest ones, but not quite the size of a normal adult one), plus 4 or so ice cubes of fruit. Lunch and dinner tend to be the same oatmeal (though sometimes we skip this), plus 6-11 icecubes of food or so (depending on how much he wants to eat). Basically we feed him till he's done eating.

However, now he's only nursing 1x when he wakes in the night or early morning, and then has been given 1 bottle while I'm at work, and while I tried upping this bottle, he's drinking less and less of it (yesterday he only had about 3oz). He's dropped both the other morning and evening feeding.

So now I'm concerned he's not getting enough liquid/breastmilk each day. That said, he's a huge baby, 98% height, 75-80th for weight and he's not acting hungry any other time. His BMs are fine, a good consistency, he seems to be peeing less, but I work all day so I'm not sure exactly how many pee diapers he has.

Should I be trying to get more milk into him? Should I cut back on some of the food, stopping feeding him earlier and seeing if he wants to nurse? Or is this all fine and I should just let him go at his pace?
posted by katers890 to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He's fine, he is getting a lot of liquid in the oatmeal and purees.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:15 AM on November 9, 2012

Plus he's nursing when your supply is highest. He's probably getting quite a bit at that am feeding.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:16 AM on November 9, 2012

Check with your doctor, but as long as he's peeing, let him drink to thirst. (Maybe ask for a pee diaper count/report from your day care provider?)

If you're really concerned, seven months is around when we introduced my son's all-time favorite thing, the Zo-li cup. Our ped was happy to have him drink some water when he wanted it by then.
posted by purpleclover at 9:22 AM on November 9, 2012

My son was also pretty big and a great eater but I hear you, it seems like he isn't getting enough milk for his age. Its so fuzzy (2.5 years later) but I remember my pediatrician giving me a range so maybe check with yours? I feel like it was more like 18-24oz???? but it really depends on weight. I only say this because most of the thinking is around the fact that breastmilk/formula is still the main source of nutrition with food being an add on through the 1st year. I wouldn't sweat it about water but I'd find out what the deal is with milk based on your particular kid.
posted by bhkart at 9:31 AM on November 9, 2012


We have that kid too; huge for his age, preferred food to drink. (He has since discovered that sippy cups are the best. thing. ever.) Our pediatrician told us to monitor his pee diapers (so daycare gives us a report) and watch his fontanelle; if he's getting dehydrated it'll sink in a bit.

You could also trying adding more milk to his food; not sure how picky he is about texture but I'm betting at this point he's a lot more about the food and less about the texture.
posted by tigerjade at 10:04 AM on November 9, 2012

Have you tried varying the kind of liquids that you're offering? Our son (now 19 mos. old) would drink water and watered-down juice at times that he showed no interest in a bottle of breast milk. Even at this age, variety / novelty appear to be a factor.

Also, the curiosity value of switching up the cups we used or drinking a little myself before handing it over to him seemed to make a difference.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:07 AM on November 9, 2012

I've been meaning to try sippy cups, I just haven't found ours yet : ) That said, it isn't really that he doesn't want to nurse or use a bottle, he'll take it if offered, but he will just drink a small amount and then goof off (or fall asleep). I guess I'm more concerned about whether he's getting enough breastmilk specifically for his age than liquid in general, because I had heard (online not from our pedi) that they should be having 18-24oz a day and that nutrition should be coming mostly from milk, not food. I was hesitant to just always have a bottle available when he eats, mostly because I want him to eat food and because I don't want to have to pump all the time, but maybe a sippy cup will go differently.

I guess I'll just keep going as is, and keep an eye on his pee diapers and maybe actually go hunt down that lost sippy cup and maybe make sure he's got some food milked with milk at each meal.

Thanks everyone!
posted by katers890 at 10:21 AM on November 9, 2012

Should and could are two different things, and every child is different. After having gone through this 4 times, I've come to the conclusion that you throw the rulebooks out with every child and go with what's good for the child. If what you're giving him isn't agreeing with him, either in quantity or quality, he'll certainly let you know.

You seem like an exceptionally observant and concerned person, so I don't have a lot of worry over his nutrition or development.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:48 AM on November 9, 2012

From Kellymom:

"Sometime between six months and a year (as solids are introduced and slowly increased) baby’s milk intake may begin to decrease, but breastmilk should provide the majority of baby’s nutrition through the first year. Because of the great variability in the amount of solids that babies take during the second six months, the amount of milk will vary, too. One study found average breastmilk intake to be 30 oz per day (875 ml/day; 93% of total intake) at 7 months and 19 oz (550 ml/day; 50% of total energy intake) at 11-16 months."

Offer the breast or bottle of expressed milk before solids every time. Infants need lots of fats and calories, which typically aren't present in traditional first foods (fruits, veggies). This is the age when my son was very distractible during nursing and we had to go sit in a darkened, quiet room to get him to focus on nursing. It was a phase and went away after a bit of time.
posted by chiababe at 11:44 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can always mix the fruit solids with breastmilk too, depending on what they are. And if you don't want to pump to get more milk, which is understandable, there's always formula. It is nutritionally very similar to breastmilk. Yogurt has a lot of fat and honestly I would not worry about calories in a baby who is so obviously being well-fed, but that's just me. The best person for a "final opinion" would probably be your pediatrician.

Good luck with everything (and I'd love to see a picture if you have one handy!)
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:09 PM on November 9, 2012

Chiababe, if he wasn't getting enough calories, wouldn't he be wanting to eat more often? On breastmilk only, he'd eat ever 2.5-3 hours, now he routinely goes from 7:30-noon/12:30 and isn't showing hunger signs (he naps in there, but doesn't wake up starving) and when he's offered the bottle in the afternoon, usually around 3 or 4 depending on his nap, he doesn't eat much on that (between 3 and 5 ounces), and he's not waking more at night for milk either. The need for fats is a good note, I will definitely make sure he's getting enough of that, this weeks he's been having whole milk yogurt or nice and fatty pot roast (pureed, yummy!) at most of his meals along with oatmeal with breastmilk. Nursing him before every meal really isn't feasible timewise and something our pedi requested we not do previously because he wasn't learning to eat (he couldn't eat the baby food until past 6 months old, just couldn't/wouldn't figure out swallowing), though I may see about giving him a sippy cup of milk with meals, or at least at lunch. Assuming he's eating close to what I can pump if I pump till empty during the night/morning feeding, then that plus the bottle and the breastmilk mixed food, he's probably getting around 18oz of milk a day.
posted by katers890 at 12:09 PM on November 9, 2012

Oh, here's a couple pictures of my boys (the older one is 3 years old)
posted by katers890 at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2012

Love the legwarmers and the costumes!
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:25 PM on November 9, 2012

Thanks young rope-rider, his brother decreed they need to be a knight and his dragon for Halloween, and that's the best I could come up with.
posted by katers890 at 12:38 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Think of it like this: I could eat a bag of apples and drink water all day and feel physically full, but not meet my caloric needs. I'm also surprised your pediatrician would suggest restricting breastfeeding because a 6 month old hadn't figured out solids. That's the generally recommended time to start solids and expecting them to have it mastered at that point is a little unusual.

And yes, if pumping more isn't feasible (lord that's hard work!), formula is a perfectly acceptable substitute.
posted by chiababe at 1:07 PM on November 9, 2012

Breastmilk is nutritionally dense in small amounts, which is why breastfed babies eat so often. It's easy to digest quickly, so their stomachs empty quickly and they feel hungry again.
posted by chiababe at 1:09 PM on November 9, 2012

Definitely nurse/offer the bottle FIRST, and then follow with foods. Babies still need the bulk of their calories from breastmilk or formula at that age, with other foods as a supplement. The baby oatmeal has barely any calories or nutrients. 18 oz is not quite enough at 7 months - shoot for at least 2oz per pound of baby :)
posted by checkitnice at 2:38 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Baby oatmeal has calories and nutrients. Notably, it contains iron which is one of the reasons adding solid foods to the diet is helpful for babies' development and health.

From the Gerber label:

Nutrition Facts
For Infants 0-1
Serving Size: 1/4 Cup (15g)

Amount per Serving

Calories Total 60 According to KellyMom, this is equivalent to the calories in about 2.5-3 oz of breastmilk

Amount per Serving % Daily Value+

Total Fat 1 g

Sodium 0 mg

Potassium 50 mg

Total Carbohydrate 10 g

Dietary fiber 1 g

Sugars 2 g

Protein 2 g

% Daily Value for Infants 0-1

Vitamin A IU 0%

Vitamin C mg 0%

Vitamin E IU 15%

Thiamin (B1) mg 25%

Riboflavin (B2) mg 25%

Niacin (B3) mg 25%

Vitamin B6 mg 25%

Folate,Folic Acid,Folacin mcg 25%

Vitamin B12 mcg 25%

Calcium mg 15%

Iron mg 45%

Phosphorus mg 10%

Zinc mg 20%
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:03 PM on November 9, 2012

Yeah, so 2 oz per pound of baby would be like 40oz of milk a day. Remember my baby is huge. I really think that if he wasn't getting enough calories, I'd see it in his energy level or hunger level, but I don't. I do think that the fat content is something I need to worry about and I am going to up the amount of fat stuff he gets both through more fatty food and through more breastmilk with food mixed. I also may see about giving him milk before the lunch meal, but I am 95% certain that trying to breastfeed him before a meal will just result in him not eating the meal and his pedi really wanted him eating food 3x a day (she wasn't restricting breastmilk, but because he was still physically unable to eat from a spoon after 6 months old with us trying sporadically since 4 months old, she was concerned that he may have a physical problem swallowing without sucking and wanted him to be fed food first so that he would be hungry enough to try in case it wasn't a physical problem, which it turns out not to have been). I will hunt down the sippy cup or buy a new one this weekend and we'll see about giving him milk WITH a meal as well, which should work ok without me having to pump a bunch more because I've got a stock pile plus I'm still overproducing from his relatively new transition to this sort of eating.

I appreciate all the information!
posted by katers890 at 5:18 PM on November 9, 2012

My baby book says that from 6 to 9 months babies should get 28-36 oz of breast milk or formula. That's quite a big spread, and we at 9 months are probably somewhere closer to 28 oz that 36. All the information I've come across said that before 1 year of age liquid nutrition is still the cornerstone of baby diet. My worry would be that during this age very fragile and important parts of the brain and nervous system are developing, needing appropriate proteins fatty acids etc. Breast milk is an ideal provider of those, followed by infant formula.

That being said, in the country I'm from back in the olden days women who had supply problems would begin supplementing at 4 months with cow's milk spiked with sugar. I know of people who were fed that way, and they are fairly all right. Human infants are very resilient in less than ideal conditions.
posted by Shusha at 5:28 PM on November 9, 2012

I wrote the previous post, but all of that does not really matter. You should be talking to your pediatrician mentioning the actual numbers: my son is getting x oz of breast milk a day, and this much solid food of this kind. This is a question for your doctor.
posted by Shusha at 5:33 PM on November 9, 2012

The concern I have is that by feeding solids before breastmilk is that it may restrict his intake simply because he will fill up on solids and not feel the hunger cues for milk. Offering milk with meals is a great idea to help add more milk in to his diet. I had great luck with straw cups. But it took a few months of practice before he was proficient.

Here's a list of common toddler foods and their calories and fat content for a bit of reference.

And this chart was helpful to me in figuring out how much and how often.
posted by chiababe at 7:20 PM on November 9, 2012

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