Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for your baby. It’s recommended that you exclusively breastfeed baby until around six months of age, and then continue breastfeeding alongside solid foods for up to two years or longer.
Until your little one is around eight to nine months, breastmilk should be offered before solid foods. After eight to nine months, offer foods in an appropriate texture before baby’s usual milk feeds so baby begins to get more of their nutrition from food than in the earlier stages - breastmilk will still be providing much of the nutrition your baby needs.
Here are a few benefits:
- Continuing to breastfeed alongside the introduction of solid foods (at around six months) is important for maintaining adequate nutrition for your baby.
- The composition of breast milk changes in response to your baby’s feeding habits and adjusts over time to meet baby’s specific needs as they grow.
- Every month of breastfeeding, and any amount of breastfeeding (even if partial), will benefit your baby.
- Breastfeeding also has many benefits for you as a Mum too.
- As you probably know already, breast feeding is portable, hygienic, easy and an important bonding time for you and your baby.
Duration of breastfeeding:
- It’s recommended that you exclusively breast feed your baby for the first six months, and ideally continue breast feeding (or give expressed breast milk) alongside solid foods for up to two years or longer.
- The two year mark doesn’t need to be the end! You can keep breastfeeding for as long as you and your baby want. Remember, every baby is different and you should do what works best for both you and your baby.
Going back to work
If you are considering going back to work and you're still breastfeeding, that doesn’t mean you have to stop! Many mums work full time and successfully breastfeed their babies, it just takes a little forward planning. You can express and store breast milk at work and home so someone else can feed your baby, breastfeed before and after work, find a daycare nearby, have someone bring your baby to work for feeds – there are plenty of options to help you through.
Talk to your employer about returning to work and breastfeeding. Feeding baby or expressing milk while at work will help maintain your supply and expressed breast milk can be fed to baby when you are not with them. Employers and workplaces must be able to provide a clean, private, comfortable area and breaks where you can breastfeed or express and safely store breast milk during the day. More information about breastfeeding at work can be found here.
Look for a daycare or crèche near your work. If you can breastfeed your baby during the day, it’ll be a great deal for both of you.
Make sure that you eat properly and get plenty of rest. Changing your routine and getting back into the working world can take a lot out of you. The most important things are you and your baby.
Before you start back at work you can talk things over with your Plunket nurse or health professional. Get your partner or family on board too. That way you’ll have a solid plan for when you start back in the working world and plenty of support around you.
Ministry of Health. 2021. Healthy Eating Guidelines for New Zealand Babies and Toddlers (0–2 years old). Wellington: Ministry of Health.
The materials published on this website are of a general nature and have been provided for informational purposes only. Always consult your medical practitioner or a qualified health provider for any further advice in relation to the topics discussed.