Breastfeeding is important for nutrition of the child, well being of the mother and also to establish a strong emotional bond between mother and the child. And when the mother and child have established the right latch for breastfeeding, breastfeeding can be painless and enjoyable too. Also having these 6 breastfeeding must-haves will make your nursing journey easy.
For this reason, the decision of how long to breastfeed the baby and when to wean the baby of mother’s milk is a very important one.
When to wean?
There are no hard and fast rules on timing of weaning. Typically mothers start the weaning process between 6 months to 12 months. Most of the babies are completely weaned by their first birthday.
Baby led weaning: Weaning becomes easy when babies start taking solid food and they start becoming active. When your baby loses the patience to sit in one place and feed from the breasts then she / he is giving you a signal that she is ready to wean.
Mother led weaning: Mothers may decide to start weaning because they need to return to work. Or maybe it just feels like the right time. If you are ready but your child isn’t showing signs she wants to stop nursing, you should wean her off the breast gradually.
When it’s the your idea, weaning can take a lot of time and patience. It also depends on your child’s age and how she adjusts to change.
It is absolutely a bad idea to stop weaning abruptly. Experts say that abruptly withholding your breast can be traumatic for your baby and could cause plugged ducts or a breast infection for you.
How to take care of your breasts while weaning?
If you are weaning gradually there is a lesser possibility of your breasts becoming engorged with milk. If you feel that your breasts are heavy then express the milk, manually or by way.
Your breast might also start to leak milk during typical feeding times, it would be a good idea to wear
How do I wean?
It is important to go slowly. Expect to see signs of frustration from your baby at first. You can smoothly transition by using the following techniques:
Substitute a feeding. See what happens if you offer a bottle or cup of milk instead of nursing. You can substitute pumped breast milk, formula, or whole cow’s milk (if your child is at least a year old).
Gradual reduction. Reducing feedings over a day. You can start with one and increase it to another. Gradually increasing one at a time over a period of weeks. This gives your child time to adjust. Your milk supply also diminishes gradually this way, without leaving your breasts engorged or causing mastitis.
Shorten nursing time. Start by limiting how long your child is on the breast. If he usually nurses for ten minutes, try five.
Complementing feeding. Depending on child’s age, follow the feeding with a healthy snack, such as unsweetened applesauce or a cup of milk or formula. (Some babies younger than 6 months may not be ready for solids.) Solid food is complementary to breast milk until your baby is a year old.
It is important to keep in mind that bedtime feedings may be harder to shorten because they’re usually the last to go.
Postpone and distract. If you have an older child then you can try postponing the feeding. If your child asks to nurse, then you can tell you will do so soon and distract with a different activity like reading and playing.If she wants to nurse in the early evening, explain that she has to wait until bedtime.
Other tricks to ease your baby’s transition to a bottle, you can wet the baby’s lip with some mother’s milk before easing the bottle in. You can also give the baby a small amount of mother’s milk in a bottle with an hour or two hours of breastfeeding. It is important to do this before the baby gets hungry and frustrated between feeding.
Weaning is a very natural process. Give yourself and your child enough time and patience and the process will be less stressful and smoother.