You’re maternity leave is coming to an end. Soon you will be returning to work and you have to think about additional options to keep your baby nourished and satiated at all times.
Whether weaning is a personal decision or a result of another factor, you are going to have to do it one day or the other. But, the question is “HOW”. How can you do it without making your little one unhappy and without feeling guilty? Here are tips to stop weaning your baby.
When is the right time to start weaning?
For the first six months you should feed your baby only breast milk. Following the first six months, a mother can choose to wean completely (formula feeds) or gradually (breast milk in combination with solid foods).
Health professionals suggest that the best time to start weaning is when your baby desires it. Some babies start weaning naturally with the introduction of solid foods at 6 months while some may start after the age of 1. Some children will not start weaning until you initiate the process.
You should start weaning your baby by the age of 1 because the milk production drops and your baby may not be getting the required nourishment.
How to approach weaning?
- Slow and steady is the key. Start by reducing the duration of the breastfeed gradually.
- Also, reduce the number of times you breastfeed during the day. Drop one feed after another. Experts suggest that the midday feed should be the first to go and the night time feed the last to be dropped.
- Children tend to associate things very easily. Sitting in your regular nursing place may read as “It’s feeding time”. So, avoid sitting in regular nursing spots.
- Reduction in breastfeeding automatically regulates the amount of milk produced by your breasts. The reduced demand decreases milk production. However, some women may suffer breast engorgement during the weaning process. The breasts feel sore and flushed. To reduce swelling and discomfort you can apply cold compresses to the breasts.
- At the time of your typical feeding sessions, try engaging your little one in other fun activities or distract with toys. If he or she still insists on being nursed, nurse her for a while and then try again to distract.
- If your child is below the age of one, you can wean him to a bottle or a cup. Use an iron fortified formula feed. Avoid cow milk as the proteins are hard to digest. Initiate a bottle with a slow flow. If your child is older than one, you can substitute the dropped feed with a healthy snack.
- There are times when you may have to postpone weaning. This includes if your child is teething or is unwell. Wait for your baby to get better. A fussy baby (because of illness) may make weaning a real ordeal.
- Many children develop a favorite habit to comfort themselves during the weaning process. It could include thumb sucking or your baby may not feed without his favorite blanket. Do not discourage the habit early on. You can think about it once your little one has adjusted to weaning.
- The swirl of emotions associated with weaning is another aspect the mother is expected to handle. Right since birth breastfeeding has played a crucial role in strengthening your bond with your baby. On the contrary you know that weaning has its own set of advantages – greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to feeding your baby. Weaning thought a difficult transition has to happen one day. Give it time and things will fall in place.
Keep the following tips in mind and make the decision to stop breastfeeding a positive one for you and your child.