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Should I nurse before or after offering baby solid food?
Nancy, it's great that you're providing your daughter the nutritional benefits of breast-feeding. At 6½ months of age, most of her nutrition still comes from breast milk. In these first few months of starting solid foods, she is mostly practicing how to eat and swallow and getting accustomed to new tastes and textures.

If you want to keep up your milk supply, breast-feed your daughter when she's most hungry, before feeding her the solid foods. Most parents work toward a schedule of three solid food meals a day. When you breast-feed at these times, don't nurse as long as you usually do to leave her some appetite for the solid foods. Be sure to breastfeed on both sides to stimulate your milk production. In addition to those three meals a day, you may also be breast-feeding at other times—such as first thing in the morning, before naps and at bedtime—and these can be longer sessions. In addition to nursing frequently, remember the other ways to keep up your milk supply: get plenty of rest, eat well and drink lots of fluids.

In a few months, your daughter will be eating more solid foods at each meal, which will start to contribute more to her overall nutrition. At that point, depending on how well she's eating, nursing and growing, you can decide whether to breast-feed before or after the solid foods. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your doctor.

Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician