When and How to Stop Breastfeeding
Weaning your child from breastfeeding
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after delivery is recommended by many health organizations including the World Health Organization. There are many benefits of breastfeeding. After six months, you can gradually begin to introduce foods whilst you still continue to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can continue until the baby is two years or beyond. The exact time you choose to stop breastfeeding is up to you.
When to stop breastfeeding
Once your baby is able to digest solid food, she can decrease the number of breastfeeds. The first time your baby eats solid food is only for taste since not much is digested or used by the baby. Most of the time, babies begin to swallow and digest foods from nine to 12 months or even later.
Breastfeeding should continue at least for the first year even after you introduce solid food. Breast milk contains all the nourishment that a baby needs especially for the first six months. It promotes healthy growth and development and remains to be the most important food in the first year. The period of stopping breastfeeding is known as weaning. Babies who are weaned before their first birthday need to be given baby formula. After 12 months, infant formula is no longer necessary since your baby can digest family foods on her own including dairy products.
Though breastfeeding should continue for at least a year in which solid foods are introduced, there are cases when weaning has to happen earlier and more quickly than expected. Such a mother might find herself feeling sad because of weaning too early and it is okay to feel that way knowing that she has no choice but to wean. The good news is that most of the breastfeeding problems that a mom might have can be solved with necessary help.
Other commitments like fulltime employment or studying can still be done without necessarily weaning the baby. You don’t have to wean your baby just because you are going to work. You can combine breastfeeding with whatever commitment you have as many other women have been able to do.
How to wean your baby
It takes times to wean your baby. Weaning your baby usually depends on her age and her need to suck. You can wean her to either a cup or bottle. In case you go for the bottle, your baby will need to also be weaned from that. Start weaning your baby off the breastfeed she seems less interested in. After that, cut out another breastfeed every few days or week depending on your baby’s willingness to cooperate.
Don’t worry about your baby’s health because as weaning progresses and the supply of milk reduces the concentration of antibodies increases. As a result, your baby will be protected as you introduce her to new foods. Cuddles are necessary during the weaning process. Lots of cuddles are good for your baby so as to help your bond with your baby.
Once you begin to wean your baby, she may start showing interest in solid foods which you can then introduce. The weaning process should be gradual to protect both you and your baby. If you need to do it quickly then you should talk to a healthcare professional for advice.
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