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Should I supplement nursing with formula or milk?
Q: I am still breastfeeding my 12-month-old baby girl, but in the last two months we have started to sleep through the night so our night feedings have stopped. I now only nurse in the morning before her nap and before bedtime; she has also weaned off her afternoon nursing. My question is should I be supplementing her nutrition with formula or homogenized milk? Until now, I have not given her any extra milk; have I been wrong?
A: Tammy, it’s great that you’ve continued to breastfeed and give your daughter the nutritional advantages of breastmilk. It’s impossible to determine exactly how much breastmilk your baby is drinking. But if she has two full feedings each day, she might get 6-8 oz. per feeding for a total of 12-16 oz. per day.

At one year of age, it’s recommended that babies drink 16-24 oz. of milk per day. If your baby has continued to grow well and hasn’t developed constipation as she’s cut back her number of feedings, her nutrition and fluids have probably been fine between the breastfeeding and the solid foods you’ve been feeding her. But you could give her an additional cup of milk every day. Beginning at 12 months of age, give her whole cow’s milk instead of formula. Don’t give your baby low-fat or skim milk until after she turns 2 years old, since she still needs the fat and calories in whole milk. This is a perfect time for her to learn to drink from a sippy cup as her hand coordination and her desire to feed herself increases over the next few months. If you offer milk in a cup now, she’ll be an expert at drinking her milk from a cup by the time you decide to wean her.

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