Nursing and Solids

N U R S I N G

Updated: April 2, 2015 

Several folks have asked how I schedule nursing and solids. So here’s my answer!

We have never had a schedule. I’ve always nursed on demand, and he eats meals when we eat meals. That said, there are a few things you should know about mixing the two.

Especially at first, it’s important to remember that breastmilk (or formula) is the primary source of nutrition up until the age of 1. So solids are a side note, an after thought, a bonus. If your baby would rather nurse, let him! Don’t get too stressed about how much solid foods he/she is eating.

When you first starting out with baby led weaning, you don’t want your baby to be hungry when you offer solids. He may get frustrated because he’s hungry, and he isn’t able to eat much solid food. What he really needs is milk at that point. What I would suggest (from what I have read and experienced) is nurse first, then play for 20 minutes or so, and then offer a meal of solid foods.

If you feel like baby didn’t eat enough, in your opinion, there’s no need to offer purées to “top up”. Instead, just offer more boob (or formula)!

Remember, your baby knows what she needs. So just follow her lead. You know her hunger cues. So if she seems hungry, you want to nurse and not offer solids. 

My baby is 14 months (so some might call him a toddler, but I reserve that title for age 2 and up!). And here is the “schedule” we have settled into:

  • Wake up
  • Nurse
  • I make breakfast, and we eat about 45 minutes after we wake up.
  • Play time
  • Nurse
  • Nap #1
  • Nurse
  • I make lunch, and we eat about 45 minutes after he wakes up.
  • Play time
  • Nurse
  • Nap #2
  • Nurse
  • I make dinner, and we eat about 90 minutes after he wakes up. So sometimes I’ll nurse again before that, but usually he is rested and just wants to play.
  • Play time
  • Snack time (usually something handheld, like Cheerios or blueberries)
  • Bath and books
  • Nurse
  • Bedtime

It’s repetitive and doesn’t happen at the same times every day. Our nursing sessions are anywhere from 3-15 minutes, depending on Alexander. If he is feeling playful, he doesn’t want to nurse. If he is teething or tired, he wants to nurse longer. Meal times last around 30 minutes, unless he doesn’t feel like eating at that moment. (Again, we go with the flow around here!)

I’m a stay-at-home mom. If any working moms have a routine you’d like to share, feel free to email me or leave a comment below!

We are starting to transition to one nap, I believe, so I will probably share a new post then or update this one.


UPDATE! 

Alexander is now 21 (almost 22) months. He still nurses regularly, not on a schedule, but solids are a bigger part of his diet. I want to share his daily “schedule” that he has fallen into.

  • Wake up
  • I make breakfast while he plays. 
  • Sometimes, he nurses while I make breakfast (when something is just simmering, or in the oven).
  • Breakfast
  • Play time
  • Nurse
  • Lunch time (usually 30 minutes of cooking while he plays)
  • Nap time is after lunch usually (he nurses to sleep)
  • Play time
  • Dinner when my husband gets home
  • Play with daddy
  • Bath and brushing teeth
  • Bedtime
  • Tiffany Smith

    Did you notice when you started solids that he wanted to nurse more? Or did the number of times stay roughly the same?

    • blwideas

      Honestly, I found that it stayed about the same. He has always nursed on demand, and he still does!

      • MMosleh

        Hi. I’ve moved over to BLW from purees, we had lots of issues, but now he’s eater a better variety of foods when it’s him feeding himself. I have noticed he is nursing more, but that may be out of comfort as the top two teeth are cutting through.

        • blwideas

          Definitely teething! Okay, not definitely definitely, but most likely! Some babies really take to BLW and others are more keen to stick to their purees. I’m glad yours is doing so well now. (Thank you, for your other comment. 🙂 )

      • MMosleh

        By the way, gorgeous pic =)

  • Tess Bell

    Awesome post!!! Love your website!

  • Anne Mini

    I’m nursing my baby on demand too, he is 11 months but he doesn’t want to eat that much this week. I don’t know if I need to be concerned about that, I’m not really worry because he stills breastfeed a lot during the day and night

    • blwideas

      Just keep offering solids! As long as baby is eating a decent amount on a weekly basis, then it is okay. He may have off-days or weeks, but as long as it comes back, no worries!

  • Jaime

    What about introducing water? My 11 month old loves to drink the pool water, ocean, water from the hose… I know I know. He has taken small sips of water from my straw, but never have I given him a cup of water. Ebf and have been blw.

    • blwideas

      Hehe the water is fine, as long as it isn’t used to fill him up!

  • Sarah

    I’ve just discovered your website, love it!! Maybe you touch on this somewhere but being a stay at home mom maybe you haven’t. Do you have any tips on how to have a daycare start doing blw? My son is almost 8 months and until this week I’ve done all his food at home which isn’t much as he’s not very interested (now that I’ve found this site though I have tons more inspiration!). I’ve given the daycare some of my purees to give him but he gags every time and I’m afraid he’ll start to associate gross feelings with eating of any kind. What can I give them to safely start introducing pieces of food he can hold/choose that won’t create more work for them? Thank you-can’t wait to explore more of your site!!!

    • blwideas

      Does the daycare feed older babies and toddlers? It’s very unlikely your baby will associate bad feelings with food, unless every single meal is a bad experience. But they’re pretty resilient little things!
      I would see what they offer to older babies and mimic that. I think I have a post of daycare ideas that I compiled from working moms! Let me know if you can’t find it!

  • This is SO useful. Thanks for posting this. My dr told us that my baby should be nursing for at least 15 minutes at a time, only 4 times a day. But our schedule is basically identical to yours and it works well for us. He eats a ton and is growing, but I was afraid that we were some kind of outlier, nursing as often as we do!

    • blwideas@gmail.com

      You are welcome! Sometimes solidarity is all it takes for some peace of mind. 🙂

  • Annskii

    Oh I’m so happy I stumbled upon this. Thank you for sharing this. I have stressed myself out with the whole when to nurse my son or not before or after solids. I need to remind myself to follow his cues and not go by some book. This really helped because his “schedule” is always changing.