7 ways breastfeeding changes as your baby gets older

Registered midwife Pippa Hime explains how breastfeeding becomes a different experience when your baby is older.

Breastfeeding your newborn and breastfeeding your nine-month-old can be quite different experiences. Those early days can often be lengthy and stressful, with many new moms confused and even doubtful as to whether they are doing it right.

ALSO SEE: 5 ways to tell if your baby is getting enough milk

As your baby gets older, you become more confident in breastfeeding, with the experience different from those newborn days.

Let’s take a look at some of these changes:

  • You no longer need to have an uninterrupted focus on your breast and baby to have a successful feed.
  • You don’t doubt your breast milk supply. You have faith that what your baby is getting is enough to keep him happy and growing.
  • You don’t agonize about feeding durations and frequency. You learn that your baby will let you know when he needs a feed and will feed to satisfy his appetite at the time.
  • Your baby becomes more efficient at the task at hand. He can, in the early days, take about 40 minutes to have a full feed. And these feeds can happen as frequently as every two hours. After a few months, your baby may take a quick five to 10 minutes to drain the breasts and be satisfied for three to four hours. This means less feeds per day and longer stretches of sleep at night.
  • Once you introduce solids, your baby is no longer solely relying on your milk for nutrition. Your baby will start to gain most of his nutrition from food with added benefits of breast milk. This gives you a well-deserved break from time to time.
  • Your baby may get distracted. You may begin to experience intense bouts of nipple lash as your baby shoots around to see what is causing that interesting noise while your breast is still firmly in his mouth. You may find that as your baby grows, he will do better with feeds in calm, quiet spaces to limit the amount of stimulation.
  • As your baby gets older, he gets teeth. So you may get bitten from time to time. This is quite normal and more experimental for your baby as he starts to view your breast as a new teething toy. It is important that you let your baby know that under no uncertain terms biting is unacceptable. Stop the feed when he clamps down and he will quickly realise that he needs to reserve the chomping for food and toys.


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