If you're a new mother or a mother-to-be, you would, no doubt, have heard of weaning and the controversies surrounding it. Weaning from breastfeeding is the process of feeding a baby anything other than a mother's milk.
Nursing your baby is more than just an act of feeding. It allows you to form a unique bond with your offspring.
To learn more about the tricky process of weaning from breastfeeding, please read these articles first:
First Let’s look at why breastfeeding is so important from your child's perspective:
And, now from a mother's perspective:
Now that we've established why breastfeeding is so important to both you and your child let’s look at weaning.
If you quit breastfeeding your baby all at once, it's called abrupt weaning; this means a direct switch to milk (bottled breast milk or formula if your baby is younger than a year) and solid foods without giving your child enough time to adjust; this can be quite risky for both you and your baby.
What are the risks of Abrupt Weaning?
Your breasts become accustomed to producing a certain amount of milk each day. If you wean gradually, your breasts have time to adjust and produce less milk. If you stop breastfeeding all at once, you may cause your breasts to swell, and this may lead to complications such as:
Sometimes, there are medical reasons that may force you to abandon breastfeeding temporarily. For example, a drug that has been prescribed for you may be incompatible with breastfeeding. During this time, don't panic and start feeding your child solid foods and whole milk straight away. Use a breast pump and a bottle to keep your baby on breast milk and gradually move back to suckling once the prescribed drug is stopped.
As a mother, it is important to remember that you are more than just a source of food. Even though you may feel that your role as a caregiver diminishes slightly, this is far from the truth. A child forms a bond with her mother over the first few months that is hard to find anywhere else. Besides, once a baby is weaned off breast milk, there are other facets where your care and nurturing skills will come to the fore.
Abruptly weaning your baby should be avoided at all costs. It can cause physical and mental distress to both you and your child. Plan how and when you would like your baby to move to other foods; this will ensure you both stay healthy and happy.
Aradhana is a writer from India. Her areas of knowledge include parenting, children with special needs, health and lifestyle. She has a particular interest in parenting and shares her experiences through her other passion, writing. She writes to share her knowledge so that it may help others. Her posts on these subjects have been published on more than 200+ various reputed sites like the Huffington post, sheknows, www.Momjunction.com and many more. more of her breastfeeding articles here. Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.