One question that’s I’m frequently asked is about how your pumping schedule should change when your baby starts solids. Should you pump less often? Do babies drink less milk after starting solids? Here’s what you should know about solids and breast milk.
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Do Babies Drink Less Milk After Starting Solids?
At first, no.
So let’s say you prepare two tablespoons of pureed peas for your baby. This little meal would have about 15 calories.
But one ounce of breast milk has 20-22 calories. So by feeding your baby one meal of solids, you’re replacing the total calories in less than an ounce of breast milk – and that’s assuming that none of the peas end up on your baby’s face, in your baby’s hair, or thrown on the floor.
So while over time, yes, your baby will probably start to take less milk (you can see a graph of what that might look like here) as they get more and more nutrition from solid food – in the beginning, there probably will not be much of change.
Should Your Pumping Schedule Change When Baby Starts Solids?
If you’re on a set pumping schedule, I wouldn’t change it based on when baby starts solids.
Instead, I would focus on dropping pumping sessions based on your baby’s age and what you can handle, life-wise. (More info on sample pumping schedules for different ages here.)
On the other hand, if you pump whenever your baby eats, this could get a little more complicated. I would suggest continuing to pump whenever your baby has a bottle. That way, you’re still lactating at the same time your baby is taking breast milk, just like you would if you were nursing.
Using Breast Milk in Solid Food
If you have any extra breast milk, you can use it in the solid food that you prepare for your baby!
If you’re making a grain like oatmeal or rice cereal, you can stir breast milk into it instead of water. And if you’re making fruits or vegetables, sometimes stirring in a little breast milk can help thin it out a bit to whatever consistency you’d like.
One fun option that I wanted to share if you like the idea of preparing solids with breast milk is Amara Baby Food – it’s freeze-dried baby food in without any preservatives or stabilizers or anything. It comes in a pouch and you just stir breast milk (or water or formula) into it. It has a long shelf life and comes in small pouches so it’s easy for trips or throwing in your diaper bag.
Amara gave me a discount code – use EPUMPING for 20% off if you want to check it out!
Have you started solids yet? Tell us your experience with solids and breast milk in the comments!