Breast Milk as Baby Food for the First 6 Months

Breast Milk as Baby Food for the First 6 Months

Breast milk is the most important food for babies for the first 6 months of life. The nutritional content in breast milk is very good for the growth and development of your baby's body. Therefore, Busui is recommended to only give exclusive breastfeeding to the Little One for the first 6 months.

Mothers may have heard the advice to give baby food for the first 6 months in addition to breast milk? This is not justified, because breast milk alone is sufficient to meet the nutritional and energy needs of the first 6 months of the baby's age.

Then, what are the virtues and how much breast milk should you give your little one?

The benefits of breastfeeding for babies

Breast milk is the best baby food for the first 6 months. This is because breast milk has the following advantages:
  • Breast milk protects babies from bacterial and viral attacks that cause infectious diseases, so babies don't get sick easily.
  • Breast milk contains all the nutrients needed for baby's growth and development, such as protein, fat, calories, vitamins, and immune-forming substances (antibodies).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the baby's risk of infection, diarrhea, vomiting, and sudden death (SIDS). Several studies have also shown that breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life can reduce the risk of babies becoming obese later in life.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding without formula in the first 6 months, can reduce the risk of ear infections, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory infections.
  • Studies show that breastfed babies have higher IQs and better cognitive abilities than formula-fed babies.
The volume and composition of breast milk depends on the needs of the baby during breastfeeding. The nutritional content is also different for newborns, transitional breast milk, mature breast milk, and breast milk at the time of weaning.

For example, breast milk produced on days 1-5 of breastfeeding is rich in nutrients, especially protein, while transitional milk contains a lot of fat and milk sugar (lactose).

Breast milk from mothers who gave birth to premature babies contains more fat and protein and less lactose than breast milk from mothers who gave birth to term babies. The content of breast milk is biologically adapted to meet the nutritional needs of each baby.

Amount of Breast Milk Needed by Baby

Newborns up to 6 months of age do not need water, juice, or other fluids. Never give your baby solid food at this age, because his digestive tract is still in the development stage and cannot digest other foods other than breast milk and formula.

Newborn babies need to be breastfed 8-12 times a day or every 2-3 hours. With age, the frequency of breastfeeding your little one will be 7-9 times a day, but the amount of milk he drinks will increase.

If breast milk is given in the form of expressed breast milk, the amount is adjusted to the needs and age of the baby. Here is the reference:

Baby Age
1 month 60 ml – 120 ml 6-8 times a day
2 months 150 ml – 180 ml 5-6 times a day
3-5 months 180 ml – 210 ml 5-6 times a day

Stepping on 6 months, in addition to drinking breast milk, your little one can begin to be introduced to solid food or solid food.

If your little one has started to move their hands, feet, body, and mouth, and starts fussing and crying, that's a sign that they are hungry. The sooner you breastfeed your little one, the better.

If your baby closes his mouth, stops sucking, or turns away from the nipple or bottle, it's a sign he's full or wants to stop breastfeeding for a while. Wait a minute before feeding him again. Lastly, don't forget to make your baby burp after being fed.

Signs that your baby is ready for solids

Mothers are allowed to introduce solid foods to their little ones after the age of 6 months. However, you have to make sure first that your little one is ready to be given solid food. To find out whether your little one is ready or not, you can see it from the following signs:
  • Your little one's weight has reached twice the weight at birth (at least 5.8 - 6 kg).
  • Your little one can hold (support) his head and sit up straight in the baby seat.
  • Your little one can close his lips when he is given food.
  • Your little one can move their mouth and chew food well.
When starting to give complementary foods to babies, make sure the amount and texture of solid foods are in accordance with the stages of growth and development.

Sometimes, the baby may want to feed or eat more often with more volume or portions than usual. This occurs when the baby experiences a growth spurt. Growth spurts generally occur at 7-14 days, 3-6 weeks, about 4 months, and about 6 months.

Are you not sure whether your baby's breast milk needs are being met? Watch for signs. If your little one urinates at least 5-6 times a day, defecates regularly, and gains weight, then this means that his breast milk needs are being met. If your little one does not show these signs, consult a pediatrician.