Breast milk is the only food babies need in the first 6 months. We recommend that you continue to breastfeed baby until they are at least 1 year or older, and that you start introducing solid food around 6 months.
Breast milk is the perfect food for babies, and it’s all they need until they are around 6 months old because:
It provides all the nutrients your baby needs.
It helps them to develop physically and emotionally.
Breastfeeding may reduce gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.
Breastfeeding makes it less likely that your baby will develop allergies.
Regular breastfeeding helps keep up the supply of breast milk that the baby needs.
Once your baby reaches 6 months they may show signs they’re ready for solid food.
As your baby starts eating other foods, they may need fewer breast feeds but it is still an important part of their diet.
Until your baby is 8 or 9 months old, it’s best to give them breast milk before solid food. That way they’ll get all the milk they need to grow well.
Many mothers successfully continue to breastfeed when they go back to work. Some mothers:
Have their baby brought to them to breastfeed at work
Leave work to feed them.
Express when they are at work so this milk can be given to their baby later by their caregiver, then breastfeed when they’re not at work.
Others who are unable to feed their baby or express when they’re at work find their milk supply adjusts so they can keep breastfeeding when they’re with their baby.
Expressing will help you keep up your supply of breast milk. You can read more about expressing milk if you need assistance.
If you’re worried about breastfeeding, your Well Child nurse or PlunketLine can help. Introducing formula can decrease your milk supply as your baby takes less from your breast. It’s best to talk about your concerns with us.