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I know people say breast milk is most nutritious. But my 7.5-month-old has been refusing to drink from expressed milk in bottles during the day. Our best efforts (breaking into several sessions at each feed, singing to her, rocking her to feed, etc.) will yield at maximum 3 oz of intake in about 12 hours. When her mom comes home, she does feed ok on the breast.

This has been going on since she's 3 month old (You heard that right, she never liked bottles since 3 month when her mom left for work, and she's now almost 8 months old). At some point, you got to ask yourself whether it's worth it, as it's like fighting a battle every time you try to give her a bottle. Can we just increase her solid intake in place of breast milk? She generally eats solid food pretty well.

I'm thinking: no bottled milk at all during the day. Instead, feed her egg, carrots, oat meal, chicken, spinach, all pureed, and some baby yogurt. Then when her mom comes home, give her a breast feeding session.

We are at our wits' end.

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    Does she take any solid food at all yet? You don't mention anything about that in your question. :) – Catija May 5 '17 at 23:36
  • Yes she does. She generally eats solid pretty well. But is that a adequate replacement for breast milk? – user27203 May 6 '17 at 1:40
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    The short answer is YES. Of course it is okay. Breastmilk is made for your baby and is the optimal food, augmented with solid and semi-solids as she ages. However, she will be fine if she gets good nutrition in other forms. – WRX May 6 '17 at 13:34
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    I think the title is misleading. It sounds like you are going to stop the breast milk entirely while you are just limiting it to the time the mum is at home. Which is a huge difference, drinking milk in the morning and evening she still can have lots of it. – Ola M May 8 '17 at 6:42
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I really think you are overthinking this. There are millions of people who have grown up healthy without ever having a drop of breast milk. Because of medical issues, my first son did not breastfeed at all and my second son drank both breast milk and formula, until he hit about 9 months and decided to bite me because my breast wouldn't stretch enough for him to keep drinking and looking at all the interesting things happening elsewhere in the room. No more breastfeeding after that...

They are now 18 and 20 and completely healthy, smart, and show no signs that there is anything wrong with them.

We all know about the studies that show that breastfeeding is best, but personally, I think that spending time bonding with your child is more important. If stressing about getting her to drink bottled breast milk interferes with the joy you get from spending time with her, then by all means stop fretting about the breast milk.

My suggestion to you would be to feed her all of the solids that she wants, and then give her a bottle of breast milk to drink. If she doesn't want it, then offer her a bottle with water instead. This will ensure that she gets enough liquid, but is not super tasty. Keep those as her only options for the bottle.

Either she will start drinking more breast milk or she will drink water and in either situation, she will still be getting breast milk from her mom at night.

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Can we just increase her solid intake in place of breast milk?

There should be no problems doing this.

While it's true that breast milk is best for babies, the benefit declines as the baby gets older. The official WHO recommendation is exclusive breastfeeding for six months:

On a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

World Health Organization - Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

I have also read that while breast feeding has significant health benefits (both for the child and the mother), these are mostly realized during the first months of the child's life, and there is little health benefit after six months of age (though it does not harm, either).

So, since your child is over six months old, what you are proposing is precisely in line with official recommendations. Still, it cannot hurt to ask your child's pediatrician, nurse or similar health professional about the recommended diet, just in case your child has special needs.

I'm thinking: no bottled milk at all during the day. Instead, feed her egg, carrots, oat meal, chicken, spinach, all pureed, and some baby yogurt.

The proposed diet sounds fine, too - these are all things a baby can safely eat. Note that it is probably not even necessary to puree everything - babies can also grab and eat food in small pieces. Just watch them while they eat, in case they choke on something (unlikely but possible). Baby-led weaning is a method that emphasizes giving babies food in pieces.

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