When a baby is born, a mother is also born, especially if he/she is your first child. Just like everything is new for the baby, everything is new for you, the mother too. Weaning in particular is something no one is going to talk about for a long-long time to you.
You learn to accept your new body, to walk with the stitches (irrespective of the type of delivery), to carry a new born and most importantly to nurse your baby.
You learn when the baby is hungry, how to feed him, how to make sure that the baby belches before putting him to sleep and so on.
The midwife/nurses and mothers in your family tell you how all this is exactly done.
However, how long you would want to breastfeed your child and how to wean is a point that is totally dependent on you, because it differs from person to person and also on their living situations.
Although weaning sounds simple, it is a momentous task and needs careful planning. There are two basic steps that one needs to know when you decide to commence weaning.
Introducing Other Food Before You Plan Weaning
It is advised that one year of breast feeding is sufficient for the baby. However I would always advice to continue for another 6 months, with moderate amount of extra foods.
When to Begin Introducing New Food
For the first 6 months you need to take care to only breastfeed, no water or anything extra, all that the baby needs is present in the milk you are feeding, including the required water content.
The colostrum or the first milk is the best source of all the nutrients your child will need to protect himself for the whole of his lifetime so never miss to feed him colostrum.
Read more about benefits of colostrum here.
What Can You Introduce
After the 6th month, your child will have gained good weight and also would be accustomed to the new world he has come into.
You can begin with introducing water (boiled and cooled), rice water (water in which your rice was cooked) pulse water (water in which pulse is cooked), fruit juices and so on make them one at a moment.
As a new mom you would be eager to try many things, never do that with your child, one food for at least 3 days and then the next.
Slowly switch to a little thicker consistency like porridge and so on.
Make sure that you do one at a time and maintain the timings. If you plan to start on simple solids such as rice porridge, make sure that you begin the introduction with a single meal at around the same time every day.
The next thing you can do is to introduce cow’s milk instead of mother’s milk (use a spoon and not a bottle from the beginning) by swapping it once a day at first and slowly increases it to twice a day.
If your baby likes these other food and liquids then it is comparatively easier for weaning.
If you follow the procedure right, you would not find it difficult to wean your baby, however some moms may be irregular in the introduction procedure (due to many issues which we will discuss later), this may cause trouble in the weaning process and you might need to take drastic actions, which I would, never advice.
Follow simple rules
- Reduce the number of times you feed.
- Keep your baby’s tummy full, hunger is not on call while weaning.
- Do not breastfeed at any fixed timing; be irregular with the timings so that your child does not expect to be breastfed at a particular time.
- Feed for less time than usual
- Distract with a favorite toy or song
- Let him/her spend time with other family members or out of the house like the park.
Mother Care While Weaning
For the mother, weaning is double-trouble, and is sometimes too painful both mentally and physically. It is possible for you to get Mastitis at this time.
Although Mastitis is not anything uncommon, the pain it causes is actually unbearable and you need to take proper care to avoid from getting.
Once you have started the process of weaning, begin slowly reducing the number of times you feed your baby, this will reduce the milk flow and accumulation in your mammary glands.
Reduce consumption of foods or drinks that induce increase in milk flow. Some tips to avoid mastitis are as follows.
- Use hot water baths if you find that your breasts start to swell.
- Press the heavy breasts to extract extra milk.
- Call your doctor and get her advice on how to tackle mastitis if it is painful.
Weaning is a gradual process and many mothers may worry if their baby has received enough nutrients. If a mother has fed her baby for one year with exclusive breast feeding in the first six months, you can be assured that you have done your best for your baby and wean with a guilt free mind.
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