Weaning – How Does Weaning Work?
Choosing to breastfeed can be a very enriching and connecting experience. A moment of calm on an otherwise busy day, exchanging the bonding hormone Oxycontin, looking down at your child’s face and seeing pure satisfaction … perfection.
Perhaps you have the feeling that you have already learned everything there is to know about breastfeeding. At some point, however, the adventure of breastfeeding will come to an end. This can be an emotional time, but it can also be an interesting one when you watch your baby take their first steps towards independence. What exactly should you pay attention to if you want to stop breastfeeding? We’ve put together some advice below:
When should I stop breastfeeding?
As with so many things to do with parenting (and life in general!), There is really no right or wrong answer. Every child is different and when to stop breastfeeding depends on many factors. For example: is breastfeeding comfortable and easy for you? Is the baby already eating solid foods? How often do you breastfeed the baby? So there are a few questions to consider.
Maybe you decided to quit for pragmatic reasons, e.g. B. when you go back to work or become pregnant again. Or you have physical problems while breastfeeding, such as painful nipples or inflammation .
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding babies until they are at least six months old, and even suggests that you continue to breastfeed until they are two years old. Of course, this is not always feasible for various reasons and all parents decide for themselves when to stop.
If you would like to continue breastfeeding but feel that you lack support, contact your midwife or lactation consultant in your area. They can give you practical advice on overcoming difficulties and where and how to meet other nursing mothers.
Transition to solid food
When the baby starts to eat solid foods, they should continue to drink breast milk or follow-on milk as the main drink until they are at least one year old. It is important that solid foods do not simply replace breast milk. There is evidence that breast milk can play a role in helping the digestive system deal with solid foods.
It is also possible to give your child a mix of breast milk and breast milk substitutes, rather than just one or the other. This can be a good solution if e.g. B. the primary nursing mother goes back to work. This creates a certain balance, a balance between being able to breastfeed or resorting to powder.
Infants want to be breastfed not only when they are hungry but also when they are seeking comfort. Weaning them slowly from breast milk will help make the transition as smooth as possible. This not only applies to your child, but also to your body. Weaning too quickly can sometimes lead to swollen breasts. Which can sometimes lead to mastitis , an inflammation of the breast tissue.
If for any reason you suddenly need to stop breastfeeding, you can use a pump to make sure you can still express milk and that the breasts don’t swell or become painful.
Some mothers sometimes feel sadness and loss when they stop breastfeeding – it is an emotional time when you may feel like you are no longer connected to your baby in that special way. Take it easy, get support – whatever you mean by that – and take your time. There are many other ways to be connected with your child.