5 breastfeeding tips for mamas of little ones aged 6-12 months. From keeping up your milk supply to introducing bottle feeding, here’s an idea of what to expect.
In one month it will officially be a year of breastfeeding my daughter Sage, which is just crazy to me! It feels like I’ve been breastfeeding forever. It’s definitely been a journey! You can check out the video I posted recently about all my top tips for breastfeeding, from newborn to 7 months, right here. But now that we’re approaching the one year mark I thought it would be helpful to answer some of your questions, so here goes!
Around the 6 month mark, basically when she started sleeping through the night and eating solids, I noticed a definite change in my supply. Another thing I noticed is when I’m on my period it can affect my supply too. I had to become more aware of it and start to be a little more strategic, which I didn’t really have to worry about before. I did pump before the 6 month mark just to have back-up stock or because I was engorged, but it wasn’t really about increasing my milk supply.
Now that I need to be more strategic with keeping up my supply, I’m making sure to pump at least once a day, twice a day if I can. I usually give Sage her last breastfeed around 6pm, and then won’t pump until about 9pm, so that my body has a chance to build up some more milk. Even then, I only get about 2-4 oz max. I have been trying out a technique I found online called “power pumping”, and that seems to be helping for sure! You basically pump for 20 minutes, break for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, break for 10 minutes and then pump for 10 more minutes. After doing that consistently for a couple of days, your supply should increase. Also be sure to drink lots of fluids (I’ve been drinking this Mother’s Milk tea), and eat things like oats and flax seed which help with milk production.
Over the last month, we’ve been adding a bottle to our routine. Before that, Sage never really took a bottle that well, but when I noticed my supply drop I started to dig into my freezer stash. I don’t know if it’s because she wasn’t getting enough milk from my breasts anymore, but she suddenly started to take the bottle much better. I think we avoided nipple confusion purely from making sure breastfeeding was well established before giving her a bottle. We tried a few different bottles, but the only one she’ll take are these bottles.
She’ll get a bottle once or twice a day max, just to top up what I’m able to give her from my breasts. Obviously this means it’s really important for me to be pumping regularly as well, since I need to replenish my freezer stash. Although pumping is a bit of a pain, having her take a bottle has been life changing. It means it’s not all on my shoulders and it’s so much nicer to have that flexibility. My top tip for pumping effectively is to make sure your nipple is centred in the flange, that it’s secure and properly attached, and that all the parts are dry. I also love this pumping bra accessory, which means I don’t have to physically hold the pump.
If you’re just starting off with breastfeeding and you’re experiencing that soreness for the first time, don’t worry! It does go away. The number one thing to help with soreness and pain at the beginning is to get a good latch, which I go into detail about right here.
Assuming you’ve made it to the later months of breastfeeding, the soreness should have eased. I don’t have to use any creams or balms anymore. If it hasn’t eased, definitely see a lactation consultant! I know some babies start biting once their teeth come in and that can cause issues. Luckily, Sage has only bitten me a couple of times and it’s not been particularly hard, though it is startling when it happens! I haven’t really had to navigate biting too much. If anything, she tends to bite the skin on my arm instead.
A lot of you have asked if I’m planning to breastfeed beyond Sage’s first birthday, and the answer is yes! Honestly, I don’t have a plan for when I’d like to stop. I’d love it if I could continue until two years, especially since I work from home and can breastfeed on demand, but I assume she’ll be breastfeeding much less by that point.
At 12 months old, Sage is still breastfeeding around 6 times a day, so every 3 hours or so. It’s just a lot quicker per feed. In the early days, I could be feeding her for 40 minutes at a time. Now it’ll be 10-15 minutes max.
Now that Sage is bigger, the cradling position is no longer comfortable. To be honest she doesn’t really like it anymore anyway. I like propping her up sideways in a kind of sitting position. Another good one is a kind of front straddle with her legs either side of my hips. This position allows me to have my back up straight. Lying down and breastfeeding is still the best, and it’s what I do every morning.
Do you have any top breastfeeding tips? Leave them in the comments below to help out other moms-to-be!