image001 Some parents experience mixed emotions when they begin introducing solid food to their breastfed babies. They are excited that their baby is growing up and ready to try new foods, textures, and flavors, but at the same time this is the first step towards weaning. Now here comes the question: how much milk does a baby need when eating solids? That your baby is starting to eat solid foods does not mean that he shouldn’t have breast milk anymore. In fact, breast milk (or formula) will be your baby’s main source of nutrition until he is a year old and you can even keep breastfeeding after this as long as you and your baby are comfortable with it. Parents just beginning the transition to solid foods for their baby often wonder how much milk they need if they’re already eating solid foods and here is the answer.

How Much Milk Does a Baby Need When Eating Solids?

1. Breastfeeding

Before your baby starts eating solids, he will probably have between 19 and 30 ounces of breast milk a day with the average amount being around 25 ounces. As you introduce solid foods into his diet, however, the milk intake will probably start decreasing. Despite this, you should always make sure that he gets enough breast milk to provide most of his nutrition until he is one year old. The amount of milk your baby needs will depend on many factors including how much solid food he is eating. One study that looked at the intake of breast milk found that it was about 30 ounces (875 ml) a day at seven months and about 19 ounces (550 ml) between 11 and 16 months with this final number only accounting for about 50% of daily calories).

Other studies have looked at how much breast milk babies between one and two years usually have with numbers ranging from 14 to 19 ounces (400 to 550 ml). From 24 to 36 months, this average decreases to 10 to 12 ounces (300 to 360 ml) a day.

2. Bottle-feeding

When you first start feeding solids to your baby, his daily formula intake will usually start to decrease gradually until it reaches around 720 ml.

Once he is eating solids regularly, this number will decrease to about 500 to 600 ml a day of formula in addition to a healthy and varied diet. If your baby doesn’t want to drink this much milk, try giving him foods with milk such as yogurt, rice pudding, or custard.

After your baby reaches a year of age, he can switch from formula to drinking full-fat cow’s milk.

Want to know more about how much milk your baby needs when eating solids? Check out the video below:

Milk and Solids—How Much Is Enough for Your Baby?

Most babies have around 24 to 32 ounces of breast milk or formula a day when they are about 6 months old. When they reach a year, the number will be between 16 and 24 ounces and the remaining nutrition will be from solid foods. Most of the time, babies between 8 and 9 months are already having three meals of “solid” foods each day, but each baby is different.

When your baby is young, he doesn’t eat for pleasure, so experts recommend that you let him regulate how much to eat. He will only do so when hungry. After their morning milk, wait one or two hours and let him eat as much solid food as he wants. Simply offer a nutritious option and let him do the rest.

Many parents are tempted to know exactly how much food their child consumes on a daily basis or want a specific guideline to follow. In reality, your only job as a parent is to give your child healthy foods. He will decide how much he needs to eat. It is important to start encouraging children to eat if they are hungry and then stop when they get full while they are still young.

How to Introduce Milk to Your Baby When Eating Solids

1. Breastfeeding

Experts suggest that you give your child breast milk for their first meal in the morning. Then you can wait a half hour to an hour and give them solid foods. The goal with young babies is not to fill up on solids and sacrifice milk. Until they are a year old, the breast milk is the most important source of nutrition.

By the time your baby starts eating solid foods, he will already be signaling when he wants to breastfeed and when he is full. He will start doing the same thing with solid foods. Most babies can start eating solids when they are around six months old as they can sit up by themselves, won’t push food out of their mouth, and can hold the food themselves.

2. Bottle-feeding

As soon as you start introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet, mealtime will get more exciting. The following steps can make it easier and more enjoyable for both your baby and you.

  • Keep your baby seated while eating. You can start off with an infant seat or have him sit on your lap and then when he can sit up by himself, move on to a highchair.
  • Encourage your baby to play with and explore his food while eating. This is a great way to help with his development and you can prevent messes with a drop cloth.
  • Let your baby hold onto a spoon while you feed him with another to start introducing the idea of utensils. Eventually encourage him to start feeding himself.
  • When your child reaches nine months or so, he might be ready to start drinking from a cup. Try filling it with breast milk (or formula) to help wean him off a bottle.
  • Always put out individual servings. Chances are your baby won’t finish an entire container of food and saliva can ruin the leftovers. You can refrigerate the rest of the food for three days.
  • Don’t force your baby to try a new food if he doesn’t want to. Instead, try it again next time.
  • If your baby indicates he is full, listen to him. If he is following the growth charts and his doctor is happy with his growth, he is eating enough.