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Breastfeed first or solids first?

Many mums receive conflicting advice about this.

There aren't really any 'rules' to follow but it helps to understand your baby's needs.

breastfeed or solids first

You may be wondering how to manage your baby's breastfeeds as you start solids. Breastfeed first or solids first? You may also have been given conflicting advice about this.

It may help to think of it as 'Which food is more important for my baby now?' The answer is that breastmilk is still the most important food for your baby until 12 months. 

For the first 12 months

Breastmilk is your baby’s major source of nutrition. So it’s fine to offer a feed whenever your baby wants one. If you offer the breast before solids, then you can be sure they are getting their most important food first and you can be relaxed about them trying new foods. 

If your baby falls asleep after breastfeeds, you can offer the solids when they next wake. Or breastfeed in between family meals. 

At around 6 months

Starting solids is about tasting and learning to handle food in their mouth and swallow solids, not satisfying hunger. One ‘meal’ of solid food each day will probably be enough at first.

You can have this at any time that suits you and your baby. When the family is eating is ideal.

Your baby’s breastfeeds don’t need to be at ‘mealtimes’, they can be at any time.    

After 12 months

Breastmilk can continue to be a source of food and drink for your toddler but they will probably be eating more family foods. By this time they are often eating with the family and having breastfeeds on other occasions as needed. 


© Australian Breastfeeding Association May 2022

Read more about introducing solids

Evidence-led info and practical tips from our Breastfeeding Information Series

Breastfeeding: an family foods

Family foods booklet