Breast-feeding comes very naturally to both the mother and the child especially after the first few days. You can continue breast-feeding your child for as long as both of you want but there is also a time when the child should be introduced to solids.
For this, he/she has to be weaned off breast milk. When the right time to wean the child is dependent on many factors. Here are some of them.
Best Tips On When You Should Wean A Baby
The most important and crucial factor for breast-feeding is the duration. Ideally all infants should e exclusively breast fed for at least 6 months. Gradual weaning can be done after six months. However, it is recommended that all infants be breast fed along with solids for at least a year. Some moms continue to feed their children breast milk right up until two years.
Although this is fine, the child also needs a heavy dose of vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates through solid food. Older children who breast-feed are also likely to be more secure and happy and this has no affect on their psycho-socio development. There is however a likelihood of ear infections for babies who continue to breast feed late especially at night.
Do factor in your feelings. Are you mentally and emotionally prepared to feed your baby for two whole years? If you are keen on it and feel up to it, by all means, go ahead. But if you are the kind who is pooped from having to breast feed day in and day out and crave for some flexibility in your life when it comes to outings, work or your social life then this is the time to sit back and take a decision. If you are having mixed feelings then you can certainly call it quits but start weaning the child only after a year of breast-feeding.
The Baby’s Feelings
Babies too have a mind of their own when it comes to breast-feeding. While some like to continue until a year, others can go right up to two years. Ensure that you do not misinterpret the signals baby gives out. Rejection of the breast at five months is not a good sign and needs to be nipped in the bud.
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Weaning at seven months may mean a craving or physical activity or teething. Babies at 9 months who wean start to show independence and interest in solid foods. Take the cue from the baby and go along with it. If your baby is adamant about not wanting the breast, do not push it. Self-weaning is great. It means less of a headache for you.
If you are working and get back to a full-time job then it is practical to call it quits after a year. Juggling marathon feeding sessions with a 12-hour work shift can drive any mother raving mad. If breast-feeding is tying you down and is no longer enjoyable then it is necessary to wean the child. Do not let anyone else take this decision for you. This is strictly personal and you and your baby are the best people to decide.
The Baby’s Other Sources of Nourishment
If the baby is happily taking to solids and is keen on experimenting with variety, then this is the time to start weaning the baby off your milk. If the baby is not gaining enough weight with just your milk and seems to be lethargic, do not feel apologetic. Start the baby on solids straight away.