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Feeding the Child

How much milk does my six-month-old baby need?

How much milk you give your baby depends on whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding.

If you have been breastfeeding, now your baby is six months old there’s no reason to stop. You can carry on breastfeeding for as long as you both wish. Your baby can continue to enjoy the health benefits that breastmilk gives.

You can’t measure the amount of breastmilk your baby is taking, so let your baby be the guide. She may want to continue with a breastfeed first thing in the morning and at bedtime.

As your baby starts to eat more solid foods, you may find that feeds between meals become shorter and eventually stop. However, just like you, your baby’s appetite can change from day to day, so you may find your baby sometimes wants a breastfeed after a meal.

The Department of Health does recommend that breastfed babies older than six months have a daily vitamin D supplement of seven micrograms (mcg). The supplement comes in the form of drops. Your health visitor can show you how to give your baby drops.

It's not that breastmilk is deficient in vitamin D. It's rather that it's hard to be sure you and your baby can get enough vitamin D all year round. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is important for growing healthy bones and teeth.

If you have been giving your baby formula milk, you can continue to do so. Once your baby is fully established on solids, the minimum amount of formula she should have is between 500ml and 600ml (about a pint) a day.

As long as your baby is having 500ml of formula a day, she won't need a vitamin D supplement. The formula already has vitamin D added.

After a year your child only needs about 350ml (12oz) of milk (breast, formula or cows' milk) a day.

You may also want to offer other drinks once your baby has started solids, as well as breastmilk or formula. The best choice is always water, although you can offer well-diluted fruit juice with meals if you wish. Offer drinks in a cup with a soft spout or a lidded beaker.