Breastmilk is natural nourishment for a newborn, and breastfeeding is a significant part of the life of many families with babies. You should begin preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy. It is useful to know where to find additional information and help, if you need them. Breastfeeding is a family matter, and the mother will benefit from the support provided by her family. Her partner should also learn about how breastfeeding is established and ways in which they can support the mother when she is breastfeeding. A maternity and child health clinic is a natural place to discuss breastfeeding. In case you have questions, you can bring them up there.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies be breastfed full-time for the first six months and partially until two years of age. Full-time breastfeeding means providing a baby only with the necessary vitamin supplements and medication in addition to breastmilk. Full-time breastfeeding until six (6) months of age is encouraged in Finland. Small sample portions of solid food can be offered at the age of 4–6 months at the earliest. This recommendation is based on the notion of strengthening the gastrointestinal tract. A baby’s sample portion should equal 1–2 teaspoons of solid food. You can feed this to your baby with a spoon or your fingertip after first having breastfed them. All the while, baby-led breastfeeding is continued.
With special groups, such as prematurely born babies, the recommendation may be to start them on solid foods as early as at four (4) months of age. All children will need solid food from the age of six (6) months onwards. Finger feeding is recommended, taking into account the child’s motor skills. The recommendation is to continue breastfeeding alongside solid foods until the baby is 12 months old. A family may also choose to continue breastfeeding for longer. A family may also choose to continue breastfeeding for longer. Read more about baby foods and food recommendations on the Baby food page.