Stopping breastfeeding is known as Weaning. The decision about when is the right time to stop breastfeeding depends upon the mother and the baby. It has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) that babies should be breastfed till the time they become six months old. Later, after that they can be gradually introduced to appropriate family foods while continuing to breastfeed for two years or beyond.
Importance of Breastmilk
Breastmilk is the most important food during the first year. It contains all the nourishment that is required to promote normal healthy growth and development in babies in the first six months of life. Breastfeeding is beneficial even if it is done for short time. In the first few days after the baby’s birth, breasts produce colostrums which contains vital ingredients including immunoglobin i.e. the cells that help build baby’s immune system. There have been many evidences that the babies who are breastfed for the first six months of life do not suffer from many episodes of common childhood illnesses like gastroenteritis, respiratory illness and middle ear infections. If you are a new mom you can follow these easy breastfeeding tips.
Process of Weaning
You can wean either to a cup or bottle depending upon your baby’s age and need for sucking. If you decide on a bottle you will have to eventually wean your baby from that as well. You can start with whichever breastfeed of the day your baby is least interested in. Gradually, cut out another breastfeed every few days or week as per you and your baby’s willingness to cooperate.
Sometimes, weaning needs to happen more quickly than planned. It is normal for the mother to feel sad when she has to wean especially if it is earlier than expected. Most of the women combine breastfeeding with work, study and other commitments. However, most breastfeeding difficulties can overcome with help.
Importance of Weaning
As weaning progresses and milk supply reduces the concentration of antibodies to bacterial and viral diseases increases. This ensures that the baby is protected as they are introduced to new foods and surroundings. The baby should be given plenty of cuddles during weaning process so that you and your baby have plenty of close time together. Reducing the number of breastfeeds will help your baby during the weaning process and will also avoid your problems like mastitis.
Time of weaning
Babies start giving indications when they are ready to start solids. These may be somewhat like the ones listed below:
They start showing interest when others are eating.
- They make gestures which say ‘feed me too’.
- They stop pushing out any food that is put into their mouth.
- They start being able to hold their head up and sit without support.
Your child may resist all your efforts to cease breastfeeding. Your approach should depend on your child’s age. There are various strategies you can implement to stop breastfeeding. If your baby is small you can reduce the number of breastfeeds in a day. If your child can talk and understand, you can talk to them and explain them about your breastfeeding. You could seek advice from professionals about weaning or difficulties associated with weaning.