Breastfeeding Guidelines for the First Year

As your little one grows throughout the first year, the act of nursing inevitably evolves. Here’s a clear guide to adjusting, forming a part of the essential ‘Breastfeeding Guidelines for the First Year’ that every parent should familiarize themselves with.

Getting your baby to latch onto (and stay on!) your breast, functioning on what often feels like barely minutes of sleep, and motivating yourself to keep going if you’re having difficulty are often the primary challenges of the first few days and weeks of breastfeeding. But at some time in the future, once you and your infant have successfully navigated the phase of getting to know each other, you will most likely have fresh questions and worries.

The following are some of the first-year breastfeeding challenges.

Month 1:Getting a Good Latch

According to Corky Harvey, R.N., M.S., I.B.C.L.C., co-owner of The Pump Station stores in Southern California, if your baby does not have a correct latch, your infant may not get enough milk, and you may have sore and cracked nipples. The following is the correct way to do it:

* Make sure that your baby is positioned so that he is resting on his side with his belly against yours.

* Support the baby’s head with a pillow and keep him close to your chest while nursing him; nevertheless, avoid leaning toward the infant.

* With the free hand available, encircle your areola with your thumb and fingers (the dark area surrounding the nipple).

* Tilt your baby’s head backward ever-so-slightly and delicately touch him with your nipple just behind his upper lip while he is in this position.

* When his mouth is wide open, you should put your breast into his mouth using a scooping motion. Put his lower jaw on first, well behind the nipple, and then proceed to the upper jaw.

* Tilt his head forward so that his upper jaw is pressed firmly against the breast. Make sure that he puts at least one and a half inches of the areola as well as the entire nipple into his mouth.

Month 2: Understanding Your Milk Supply in the Second Month

Because, in contrast to when a baby is fed from a bottle, it is impossible to know exactly how much breast milk a breastfeeding mother or father is providing their infant, milk supply is one of the most prevalent concerns shared by new parents. Your child’s pediatrician will keep a close eye on his weight, particularly in the initial few weeks of treatment, to ensure that he and you are both progressing in the correct direction.

By the time he is seven days old, he should have at least two “seedy” stools that are mustard-colored and six to eight wet diapers on a daily basis. In the meanwhile, you should pay attention to how their diapers are changing. Keep in mind the following as well: “You can assume that your baby is getting plenty of milk as long as he is consistently gaining weight and his diapers show that he is eating enough,” says Jeanette Panchula, R.N., P.H.N., I.B.C.L.C., a lactation consultant at the Solano County Department of Public Health. Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to check their weight if your concerns have not been allayed.

Month 3: Perfecting Your Pumping Routine

This is the time of year when many new mothers begin their careers. If you intend to continue breastfeeding and will be required to pump while at work, you should inform your employer about your intentions so that the two of you may collaborate on locating a suitable space for you to do so. “It will make things run more easily if you can figure out where and when you will pump before you actually get back to work,” adds Panchula. “This will help you plan out where and when you will pump before you actually get back to work.” You ought to have started pumping when your kid was between 3 and 4 weeks old, both to get him used to taking a bottle and so that you’ll have a supply of breast milk saved in the freezer. You may find more information about this topic from the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you still need to start, get starting!

Because you will be returning to work full time, renting or purchasing a double electric breast pump is highly recommended. This type of pump allows you to express milk from both breasts simultaneously, significantly reducing the amount of time you need to spend pumping. When you go back to work, you should strive to pump as frequently and at around the same times as your child is accustomed to nursing.

Month 4: Protecting the Quality of Your Breast Milk

You might want a glass of wine, but your child definitely shouldn’t have any. It is crucial to remember that one drink, whether it be eight ounces of beer, six ounces of wine, or one shot of strong liquor, tends to be metabolized (and so removed from your milk) within two to three hours, at which point it is safe to nurse your baby. This is true whether the drink in question was beer, wine, or hard alcohol. However, the following is a more effective guideline: Do not breastfeed your child as long as you are experiencing any effects from the alcohol, even if you are just a little bit drunk or giddy. This rule applies even if you don’t feel particularly intoxicated. You want to be absolutely certain, right? If you want to check for alcohol in breast milk at home, you can use MilkScreen (

Month 5: Striking a Balance Between Breastfeeding and Sleep

By the fifth month, you could be starting to feel fatigued, and you might be counting down the days until your kid starts sleeping through the night. However, you must keep in mind that when speaking to children of this age, “sleeping through the night” refers to a period of five or six hours, not eight or nine. When they are ready, babies will sleep through the night regardless of whether or not they are nursed, according to Panchula.

Breastfed newborns do have a tendency to eat more regularly and as a result, wake up more frequently than formula-fed babies. This is due to the fact that breast milk is digested more completely and more quickly than formula. (Hint: Don’t bother looking at the time!) Feed the infant whenever he displays signs of hunger, whether it be day or night.)

Month 6: Beginning to Introduce Solid Foods

Even while it may be time for your baby to sample some solid meals, this does not indicate that you should stop breastfeeding him or her. “Breast milk is still the most important part of your baby’s diet at this age, so breastfeed right before you offer cereal or other foods,” says Debi Page Ferrarello, R.N., M.S., I.B.C.L.C., director of family education and lactation at Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “Breastfeeding right before you offer cereal or other foods” is a phrase that was coined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

When you are ready to introduce solid foods, begin with rice cereal and gradually add a fruit or vegetable that has been cooked or mashed. (Many pediatricians are of the opinion that it is perfectly acceptable, to begin with, a finely puréed fruit or vegetable, or even meat; check with your doctor to see what she recommends.) To be able to identify the cause of any negative reactions, it is crucial to wait three to five days before introducing a new food.

Month 7: Continuing to Breastfeed and Implementing Birth Control

You don’t feel quite ready for another little one, do you? Because estrogen-containing pills may cause a drop in milk supply, Ferrarello recommends going with a “mini-pill” that only contains progestin. Another progestin-only contraception that is safe to use while breastfeeding is Depo-Provera, which is administered in the form of an injection every three months. However, you must wait six weeks after giving birth before beginning use.

Month 8: Coping With Obstructed Milk Ducts

When nursing, clogged milk ducts are a potentially painful issue that occurs much too frequently. According to Ferrarello, a shift in a baby’s feeding habit is one of the risk factors that might lead to clogged ducts in the body. “Milk ‘stasis,’ which is when milk sits in the breast, can occur, and this can cause the ducts to become clogged,” especially if your kid is feeding less frequently because he is consuming more solid foods.

The most effective treatment for clogged ducts is to continue nursing or pumping frequently from the breast that is afflicted, apply warm compresses, and ensure that you drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. Visit your physician if you develop a fever or symptoms that are similar to the flu; you may have mastitis, an infection that typically requires the use of antibiotics.

Month 9: Keeping the Biting Under Control

Those teeny, tiny infant teeth might have a pointy edge. If your infant begins to bite, you should immediately remove him from the breast, firmly instruct him not to bite, and keep him away from the breast until the next feeding. Be aware that biting typically occurs near the conclusion of a feeding session; thus, if you can detect that your baby is almost finished nursing, remove him from the breast before he bites. Biting typically occurs near the end of a feeding session.

Month 10: I’m Starting To Lose Interest In Nursing

Your soon-to-be toddler may be pulling away from the breast because he is overstimulated by the many sounds he hears, which prompts him to do so. Alternatively, he may be crawling, in which case he is eager to investigate his surroundings. Harvey explains that this behavior is very typical for children of this age. “Babies are naturally inquisitive about their surroundings and are just beginning to become more exploratory at this age.” Even while you might find this to be a trying period, it shouldn’t last forever, and it almost never indicates that the baby is ready to start solid foods.

Month 11: Finding a Balance Between Breast Milk and Solid Foods

It could be difficult to know how often your child should continue to nurse now that he or she is trying out all of these different things. According to Harvey, the minimum number of times each day that should be expected is four. It is recommended that a baby of this age consume between 16 and 20 ounces of breast milk on a daily basis. It is recommended that at the end of the first year, a baby should be getting 50% of their calories from breast milk.

Month 12: Choosing the Right Time to Start Weaning

Are You not ready to wean yet? There is no necessity for it, and there are numerous compelling arguments in favor of continuing nursing. One of the finest things is the state of your baby’s health: not only does breast milk protect him from a variety of diseases, but it also assists in his speedy recovery if he becomes unwell. “As long as your kid is drinking breast milk, he is getting all of the immunological benefits nursing provides,” explains Harvey. “Nursing delivers a host of benefits for the immune system.”

However, this is not all. According to Harvey, “a nursing mother and her newborn share a special link, and there is no reason any woman should be in a hurry to give it up.” Moreover, “there is no reason any woman should be in a hurry to give it up.” There is no need to start weaning her off breastfeeding as long as she and the baby are content.

Meaningful articles you might like: Why Does Breast Milk Jaundice Occur and When Should You Worry, How to Monitor Your Child’s Meals, Diapers, and Sleep, Is Covid-19 Safe For Breastfeeding Mothers?