Breastfeeding and Weaning: A Complete Cheat Sheet
Hey beautiful parents, how are you and your little ones doing? Finally am back after a break of almost two months. A lot of things kept me extremely occupied these days, will share those in this article.
Being a digital marketer by profession and a blogger, specially parenting blogger by passion, views, reviews and feedback are three of the most important things which affect me a lot. A couple of months back something happened with one of my post, titled 5 Ways to Feed Your Baby Healthy received a lot of criticism as we mentioned about a particular time from when parents can introduce their children to formula food and start weaning. There were a lot of concerned parents, specially our mommy readers were not happy with the suggestion.
This very incident moved me to a great extent and I felt a lot more responsible than ever before. In the following days I have researched, had words with peds and a lot of parents to accumulate information for today’s post, hope it can cater to a lot of your concerns or say queries. And of course don’t forget to share your views in the comments section.
The birth of a child is the single-most euphoric moment for any parent, be it for the first time or second or third – every parent will attest to it. When you hold your little bundle of joy for the first time in your life, or even before it, the inherent protective instinct of yours takes over, and you vow to give your child the best care that he or she deserves -that could only be done by good parenting.
Breastfeeding: How much and till what age?
At the very moment you hold your little one for the first time you will be advised by medical professionals to only breast feed him/her to ensure that the baby gets best nutrition from the beginning. Ideally, breastfeeding begins from the first hour of the baby’s life and it should be continued as frequently as the baby wants it. Mother’s milk constitutes of many important nutrients, devoid of which, the baby might suffer from various ailments like Asthma, Allergies, Breathing problems, Stomach problems. There are very lower chances of Type 1 diabetes and leukemia too, though probability is bare minimum.
Organizations like WHO recommends that your baby should be fed for the first six months only through breastfeeding, although you can administer a Vitamin D drink from outside but only after consulting with your pediatrician, its always better to do the same when it is about baby’s nutrition.
The standard for the first few weeks of your baby’s life is breastfeeding him or her eight to twelve times a day, which is roughly around every two hours with ten to fifteen minutes on each breast.
As your child grows older, you will experience a gradual decrease in the frequency. However, some mothers, pump their breast milk at their convenience to be fed to the baby when he/she wants it.
Breastfeeding myths debunked!
A lot of young mothers face immense confusion when they try to embark on the quest of parenthood, yes you got it it right, like pregnancy and Early Labor Myths, breastfeeding myths need to be taken care of too. Here we’ll try to throw some light and try to debunk the various myths that new moms are constantly straddled with – in the internet and beyond.
Infant formulas are same as breast milk:
No matter what the various companies might say, infant formulas are never the same as the mother’s milk. The body of the mother makes the milk in unique proportions of components of proteins and carbohydrates as per the baby’s requirement, and most importantly, it contains antibodies which are impossible to be engineered, whereas the infant formula is made unequivocally for all children. Moreover, suckling creates a unique bonding between both the baby and Mommy.
Not all mothers make the required quantity of milk:
This is a very widely spread myth that needs to be debunked! All mothers are capable of producing the required amount of milk in their bodies – maybe sometimes even more, which leads to leaking. However, if your baby’s health is somehow lacking even after required bouts of feeding, it might be because you are not applying proper breastfeeding techniques.
The baby gets confused between your nipple and pacifier or bottle:
Another dumb one! The baby can very well make out the difference between your nipple and the pacifier or bottle. However, it is advised to take turns while feeding your baby, so that the baby is comfortable with the transition.
When to start weaning?
As your child grows up, gradually you need to introduce him/her to the option of getting nutrition through solid food along with breast milk. This process of gradually shift from breast milk to solid is known as weaning, and ideally it should not be done until the baby is at least six months old. However, as you start weaning, it doesn’t mean that you should stay away from breastfeeding. Standard health protocols by WHO and medical professionals state that you must continue breastfeeding until the baby is about 4-6 month old, and then slowly start withdrawing feeding as your baby adapts itself t the new form of nutrition.
How to start weaning and introduce solid food?
At the time of your baby’s introduction to solid food, keep a couple of things in mind: a) the baby should be in a sitting position while eating and b) his/her head should be up.
Make sure your baby’s hand-eye coordination has evolved enough so that he or she can get up and grab things correctly.
It should also be made sure that the infant has grown to the capacity of chewing food, rather than throwing it out when he or she takes them in their mouth.
As breastfeeding provides a lot of intimate times between a mother and a child, when you start weaning, your baby might feel detached from you, that is why you must remember to shower your child with all the love and affection you can, and maybe more. The main point in your weaning itinerary should be – not to leave your baby alone for long. Start at a time when your baby is mature enough to wean, and take your time at the same. All children grow at their unique pace and rushing will only worsen your baby’s natural growth rate. It is advised to introduce one meal at a time, and slowly build up the habit. For example, when you first start it, it should be breakfast or lunch with solid food – and then gradually incorporate other meals as and when you feel your child is ready to adapt solid food without any complications.
How to balance between weaning and breastfeeding?
While you chalk up the itinerary for weaning your baby, make sure you are doing it at a time that is suitable for both, you and your baby. At least for the first year of your baby’s life, he or she should be put on a steady diet of mother’s milk – it will be her primary source of nutrition. However, it is best advised that when you start weaning, do not do it at one go, specially when the baby is expecting mother’s milk, it will ruin both appetite and in an extension, their health. Choose a time when both you and your baby are active, but not expecting a feed – like the middle of the day. Lunch sounds like the ideal time to start with a weaning meal.
Best food for weaning:
Weaning foods need not be special, they can constitute everyday food as well, which are like:
- Peeled and mashed banana
- Mashed and boiled veggies such as potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower and carrots.
- Peeled, cooked and mashed fruits like apples.
- Baby rice with usual baby milk.
Food to avoid during weaning:
While you wean your child, a lot of foods threaten to induce allergies, which could only be cured with prompt and effective medical attention. These include:
- Cereals with gluten
- Any other milk apart from infant formula or mother’s milk
Early weaning complications:
As important it is that you must introduce weaning at a certain age, you should not forget that early weaning causes a lot of skin and digestive problems for the baby.
At the end of the day it is your call, and it is upon you to make sure your baby gets the best parenting you can administer!
Before wrapping it up, I’d like to share something one of our mommy friend said: “Breastfeed or formula feed, important is your baby is fed and not hungry”.
Do you agree with her? Let us know!