Correct time to wean the baby…

Being in dilemma of whether to wean off, infinite questions boggle a nursing mother. Let alone that, the unwanted advice haunts her. Weaning off is as personal choice as choosing to nurse. Most lactating mothers agree on importance of breast milk for a growing child, though nursing is not all about milk. It is a special bond between a mother and an infant. Readiness of the two of them is important before bringing that bond down.

The Why:
Scenario 1: You are tired, can’t do it anymore!

A big NO for weaning off as per this reason. Tiredness is a short phase that ends with proper rest.  Try breast pumps, occasionally giving breast milk from bottle wouldn’t harm. Sleep when baby sleeps. Whenever feasible delegate baby care to others. Spanking or screaming at baby due to tiredness will not help either.

Scenario 2: Classic advice: Your child will not grow independent, if you do not wean! And many more…

Be assured, they always outgrow. Your child will also find new interest and progress towards it. Your weaning him/her off will not make him/her more independent than (s)he already is. A big NO for basing your decision on such baseless advices.

Scenario 3: Feel it is right time! Baby Ready! (S)he intermittently plays with surroundings! Does not nurse more than 5 min at a stretch! Shows interest in solid foods! (S)he over age  1!

GO FOR IT!. Not to belittle the benefits of breastfeeding, going on solid foods has its own benefits. It helps child recognize hunger cues, in weight gain, prevents tooth decay etc. Every child cues for readiness proactively catch them to start. If currently you see no cue, then wait and reassess after a few weeks. Help them gain interest.

The How:

Word weaning comes from ‘Ripening’, which is a gradual process. Abrupt weaning using pepper, red chili powder on breast to create aversion (a big NO) not just makes process difficult but also poses breast engorgement/abscess infection threats to mother. Child led weaning using distractions, feeding buddies, timed feedings, catching hunger cues and providing heavy food/cow milk are better options.

Tears are normal. You are tearing the safety blanket; hence need to replace it by giving extra attention to child. Plan ahead. And use all the help in the world to provide an extra safety blanket to your growing up baby.

Happy weaning!

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