Process Of Weaning – When To Stop Breastfeeding
Many young mothers face such a dilemma: when and how to wean the baby from breast milk. First of all, mommies, do remember that this is a totally individual choice and should be decided only by you. As long as you are comfortable feeding your baby you should continue feeding because there is absolutely no substitute for mother’s milk. Whether you feed your baby for one year or two is entirely your decision. Some babies stop without much ado but some babies refuse to let go.
Here are a few tips which may help you in the weaning process.
Carry on, mommy: Never give in to pressure from peers and family. Each mom-baby equation is different from another like chalk from cheese. Give up feeding only when you feel the time is right. Your instinct will guide you in determining that time. You do not have to stop just because you have to rejoin office. You have a lot of options to feed your child even if you are working. Breast pumps will help you store adequate quantities of milk for the baby’s use throughout the day. Just make sure you use clean, sterilized bottles and containers.
Mental preparation: Do remember that mental strength is of utmost importance because this phase can be very traumatic. You may feel deprived as a part of the mother-baby bond is getting broken. And, of course, the baby will not make things easy for you. The constant crying may get to you and lead you to depression. You have to remind yourself that this is a stage essential to the baby’s growth.
Garner help: This is the time when you need all the help and guidance you can get. Ask your mom, mom-in-law, hubby or any other sympathetic elder with whom you can trust your precious one to pitch in and help you tide over the process.
Introducing food: The introduction of food for the baby is a gradual process and begins when the child is around six months old. Usually, boiled vegetables, mashed rice, idlis and the like are ideal. The food should not be hot or spicy. Before introducing cow’s milk check if your kid is lactose-intolerant. If so introduce healthy alternatives. We Indians are lucky to have such a variety of cuisine. So take advantage of our cultural diversity and give the baby what the child’s heart desires.
Doctor, doctor: Any major change in your tot’s routine has to be done in consultation with his or her pediatrician. The pediatrician can chalk out a diet chart for your baby based on his or her requirements and tolerance levels. Usually the doctor will prescribe an iron drip because the kid may not be immediately able to eat iron-rich food after stopping the intake of mother’s milk. Keep the doctor informed every step of the way, so you can receive the best possible guidance.
Stay healthy: Take care of your health too. Breastfeeding burns calories and melts fat. When you stop it, you may pile on the kilos. Enroll for an exercise regime and watch what you eat. Consult a dietician and get a diet chart written out because you need a balanced meal. If need be, consult your gynecologist and understand the changes that may take place in your body. She may prescribe calcium and iron supplements for you for some days.
Plead not guilty: When you are sure your child is getting all his or her requirements through external food and is merely clinging onto you out of habit then you have to take action. Gently prolong your time away from your kid. Reduce the duration of each feeding session and increase the gap between each session. Of course, there will be relapses, occasions when baby’s crying will melt your heart and you will give in but that is okay. Do not hold yourself guilty for it. We all know that in the case of babies, more often than not nothing goes according to plan. So we have to make provision for a few slips here and there.
Extreme measures: In extreme cases, remove yourself to a hotel in the vicinity for a week or so. Be on hand to rush home in case of an emergency and enjoy the forced vacation.