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Erin van Vuuren

Q&A: How Much Breast Milk?

What percentage of my one-year-old's diet should be breast milk? He really doesn't drink many other fluids, and sometimes he doesn’t eat much either.

It’s great that you’re continuing to offer your child the benefit of breast milk. Relax and rest assured that you can trust your (and baby’s) instincts. If given the opportunity, most kids will eat when they are hungry and drink when they are thirsty. Simply continue to offer healthy solids throughout the day and breastfeed baby when he wants to nurse. The beauty of breastfeeding is that even if your son is going through a picky-eating stage, you’ll know he’s getting excellent nutrition from your milk.

There’s no magic food-to-breast milk ratio, and every kid’s needs are different. (Often, every day is different too.) If you are concerned that your child might not be gaining weight properly, head to the doctor for a weigh-in. He should stay close to his usual percentile on the growth charts. (Remember that growth percentiles are different for breastfed and formula-fed babies. Make sure your doctor has access to a growth chart for breastfed babies from the World Health Organization.)

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