Breastfeeding Your Baby:
Breastfeeding an Older Baby
Breastfeeding is the best, most nurturing way of feeding your new baby – something special you can do for your child and you.
- Benefits of breastfeeding
- What to expect in the first weeks
- How to prevent sore breasts
- Returning to work or school
- Breastfeeding an older baby
- When you need to be away
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 1 year or longer. Benefits include:
- Baby is protected from illness.
- Baby gets just the right nutrition for growing.
- Mom gets special time with baby and health benefits for herself.
If your baby is teething
Many mothers keep nursing after their babies get teeth. Some babies bite when their gums are swollen and sore with teething. But babies can’t bite when they are actively sucking. Try these ideas:
- Before feeding, soothe your baby’s gums with a damp, cold washcloth or teething ring.
- Give baby your complete attention while breastfeeding.
- Watch for signs that your baby is done and remove him from the breast.
- Give extra attention to good positioning and latch-on.
If your baby bites
Your natural reaction will be to startle and take your baby off your breast. After this sudden reaction, most babies do not bite again. If your baby continues to bite, stay calm and pull your baby in close so that he releases the nipple, or stop the feeding.
What if your baby goes on a “nursing strike”?
When a baby who nurses well suddenly refuses to, it’s called a “nursing strike.” This is different from a baby who is ready to wean. A nursing strike usually lasts 2-4 days. It may be caused by teething, illness, distractions, being away from mom for a long period or changes in routines.
These tips may help:
- Try different breastfeeding positions.
- Breastfeed in a quiet, darkened room or in the bathtub, or when your baby is sleepy.
- Cuddle and play with your baby often.
- Express or pump your breastmilk, but still try to breastfeed often. Offer your milk in a cup.
- Call a breastfeeding specialist or your doctor if a nursing strike lasts longer than 2-4 days.
Tips on weaning
People may give you lots of advice about weaning. Remember:
- Breastfeeding your older baby will not spoil him or her.
- Getting teeth does not mean the end of breastfeeding.
- Many toddlers enjoy breastfeeding. Your baby’s age is not a reason to wean.
You may decide to wait for your baby to wean himself or herself. If you decide to wean, do it gradually over several days, weeks or months. This helps your body adjust to making less milk. Your baby also needs time to adjust. As you go through weaning, you may choose to keep breastfeeding sometimes.
How to wean
Begin by stopping one feeding. Then in 3-5 days, stop another feeding, and so on. Replace each feeding like this:
- From 1-12 months of age, replace the feeding with iron-fortified formula. Start solid foods and a cup at 6-8 months. Hold and comfort your baby when feeding.
- At 1 year of age, replace the feeding with whole milk from a cup at meals.
- With a toddler, replace a feeding with playing, reading or taking a walk together.
Next: When you need to be away