Stop breastfeeding your kid is known as weaning. It’s completely up to you and your baby to decide the right time for weaning accordingly. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends to exclusively breastfed babies for six months, then gradually introduced to appropriate family foods after six months while continuing to breastfeed for two years or beyond.
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Some babies lessen the frequency of breastfeeds as they became able to digest solid food.
How to Stop Breastfeeding Your Child:
Breastmilk in the First Year:
Breastmilk carries all the sustenance required to promote healthy development and growth in babies in their first six months of their lives and remains the most important food during their first year. Babies who usually stopped to breastmilk before their first birthday, they need formula milk to fulfill nutrition. Formula milk is not necessary for the infant after the first 12 months if your child is receiving a good range of family foods including dairy products.
Breastfeeding is very beneficial for a short time. After the first few days of your baby’s birth, your breasts produce the substance called colostrum. It is a nutrition rich substance which contains vital ingredients, including cells or immunoglobulin that helps build your baby’s immune system. It is proven that babies, who are breastfed for the first six months of life do not suffer from episodes of common childhood illnesses like gastroenteritis, respiratory illnesses, and middle ear infections.
Stop Breastfeeding Early:
Sometimes, weaning breastfeed needs to happen more quickly or earlier than planned. Usually, the mother feels sad when she stops breastfeeding to the kid, especially if it is earlier than expected. A mother can feel she has no choice but to wean.
Take your Time to Wean Your Baby:
Depending on your baby’s age and her habit for sucking, you can replace breastfeeding either to a cup or bottle. If you go with a bottle, gradually your baby will need to be weaned from the bottle too. Start to breastfeed weaning from the day when your baby seems least interested in. Then gradually cut out the number of times you breastfeed your kid every day, week and so on depending on your comfort and your baby’s desire to wean.
Slowly decreasing the number of feeds protects your baby during the weaning period and will also help you avoid weaning problems like mastitis.
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When to Introduce Solid Foods:
Doctor’s recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, with a gradual introduction of suitable family foods in another six months and ongoing breastfeeding for two years or beyond.
Babies are ready to start eating solid foods when they:
1. Starts showing interest in other food
2. Start making gestures which say ‘feed me too’
3. Stop spitting out any food which is fed to them
4. Start being able to hold their head up and start to sit without support.
A baby born at full term has an iron supplement which is passed on from the mother during pregnancy. You may be concerned about your baby’s iron deficiency in the first six months of age. Breastmilk contains small amounts of iron, and according to the recent studies the risk of iron deficiency is very low in full-term healthy breastfed babies who continue to breastfeed past six months as solids are introduced.
Breastfeeding While Pregnant:
If you become pregnant while breastfeeding, then you may choose to breastfeed your baby or you may like to wean your baby gradually, it’s completely your choice. It is important to maintain a healthy diet while feeding during pregnancy.
Some mothers, as well as babies, love breastfeeding so much they are not in a hurry to stop. Maybe your friends and family members feel uncomfortable about it, but don’t be in pressure if you and your baby are happy. It is ok to feed your baby up to four years of age.
The child Who Refuses to be Weaned:
You can be ready to stop breastfeeding, but your child may resist doing so. Your approach or method will depend on your child’s age. There are many different strategies for weaning a baby, you can ask your doctor which suited best for you and your baby.
About Dr. Roli Munshi: Dr. Roli Munshi has 15 years experience in Paediatrics and Neonatology. She believes in holistic care and avoids giving too many medications. If you want to consult the doctor, you can visit GoMedii and book a free online appointment.
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