Weaning is a personal choice. But when to wean a baby – this every mother need to understand. Weaning is gradual introducing babies to solid food from breast milk.
Mother no need to stop breast feeding if she is not ready to do so. Generally, infants can be exclusively breast fed for the first 6 to 8 months and solid food can be introduced at around 6 months. If mother wishes she can continue breast feeding for one year or up to 2 years.
Mother need to know that after one year breast milk is only a comfort food for the baby and baby already is on solid food that gives other benefits for the developing body.
- Solid and formula foods: Starting solid food is important milestone of baby’s life. If the baby under one year and weaning, then it is better to talk to the pediatrician and get advice. Reason is breast milk should be replaced with infant formula. Babies older than 6 months need breast milk. If baby weans at this point talk to your doctor and introduce best nutrient food that boosts baby’s immune system. Babies at this early stages need iron, protein, vitamin D for their growth. Talk to pediatrician to get advice if not breast milk what would be the option.
Remember: Giving solid foods too soon may not be good for infant, so an infant should not be fed solid food until he or she is physically ready.
- Night weaning: Once the baby is on formula and solid food, night sleep will be generally peaceful. It means not many night nursing session. In the process the protein FIL (Feedback inhibitor of lactation) slows down the milk production. This natural approach is always better for both mother and baby.
- Baby led weaning: Sometimes babies themselves stop craving for breast milk. This usually happens after one year of growth. It is possible that the baby is adjusting to other nutrient food. Mom no need to get too emotional about it. It is a natural phenomenon.
Some signs that helps you to recognize baby’s weaning:
- Baby stay in sitting position and holds head steady.
- Baby picks up the food by hand and puts in her mouth by herself
- Putting things in mouth
- Chewing fists
- Watching others with interest when eating
- Demanding feeds more often
- Reduce session: Quitting breast feeding can be frustrating as both baby and mother must undergo pain, psychological distress and engorgement. Reduce number of feeding session slowly in days. Stop one session per day initially. And, continue to reduce the number of session. Give baby few days to adjust before stopping next session of feeding. The last feeding session is always difficult, prepare your mind for that. Humans tend to produce less milk when the session and feeding is reduced. Slowly reducing breast feeding session will also help prevent mastitis and engorged breasts conditions.
Weaning can be a source of worry. Reason is when baby herself weans then sometimes parents need to deal with cow’s milk allergy or other allergies that can be an added pressure. Dairy is part of child’s favorite foods like butter, yogurt and cheese. Many baby food formulas also contain cow’s milk as ingredient. Similarly, bread, cereal, biscuits – all these contain hidden dairy ingredients too. For these important reasons, it is very important to talk to pediatrician before starting weaning. Pediatrician or dietician can give suggestions to ensure your baby gets enough nutrients and allergy safe foods.
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