How to wean a child from breastfeeding
When to wean a baby
According to the recommendations WHOUntil six months of age, it is best to exclusively breastfeed babies. Then complementary foods are gradually introduced.
Although with the appearance of teeth, the baby is already able to get by with solid food, breastfeeding should not be abandoned until two years of age. After all, mother’s milk protects from infections and helps to digest the rest of the food. And feeding itself is an important way of communication between mother and child.
Anthropological research showthat it is natural to breastfeed babies for longer than WHO advises. The final transition to adult food can occur closer to three or even four years. And this is quite normal.
At the same time, there are no strict rules regarding the duration of breastfeeding.
After six months, the most important factor is the comfort of the mother and child. Feed until three – if you feel like it. Or wean a year or earlier – if you are tired or you have to go to work. Focus on yourself and the child, and not on the opinion of relatives, neighbors and girlfriends.
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How to wean a child from breastfeeding painlessly
The main thing is to do everything gradually. Too abrupt cancellation is fraught with stagnation of milk (lactostasis) and inflammation of the mammary gland (mastitis) in the mother, digestive problems in the child, as well as psychological stress in both.
Choose the right time
Don’t start the transition to “adulthood” when kids are teething or not feeling well. It is better to postpone breastfeeding in extreme heat, as well as during the SARS epidemic.
Cancel one meal at a time
To begin with, give up one breastfeed a day – the one that the baby is the least enthusiastic about. Most likely, it will be an afternoon snack. Replace breastfeeding with a bottle of milk formula if the baby is not yet a year old. Or solid food (for an older child).
When this regime becomes habitual – and this can take from 3 to 7 days – remove another feeding. And so on, until the child completely switches to independent nutrition.
Feed more during the day
The most difficult thing is to give up night and first morning feeding, because it is at night that the body produces shock doses of prolactin – the hormone responsible for the secretion of milk. The child is used to getting a lot of nutrients at this time. Naturally, now he will feel hungry and insistently demand the return of what he has lost. The way out is to feed more often and more densely during the day.
Offer your child more high-calorie foods throughout the day to make up for the energy reserves lost at night.
Delegate feeding to other family members
A father, grandmother or grandfather is quite capable of feeding a child from a bottle or a spoon. Entrust them with this task, and retire yourself to another room so that the child is not nervous and is not distracted by the smell of mother’s milk.
Give your child enough time
Weaning children from the breast does not mean depriving them of attention. When the baby is full and no longer interested in getting milk, spend as much time with him as possible. Games, hugs and communication will help him get through this difficult period easier.
Pump a little
The production of milk in the body occurs according to the law of supply and demand. With the gradual refusal of breastfeeding, lactation also slows down – up to a complete cessation.
If you feel that the chest is pouring, express milk, but not completely, but until the pain disappears. Otherwise, the body will perceive this as a signal that the bins are empty, and will begin to replenish reserves intensively.
Apply cabbage leaves to your chest
This old folk way is still relevant. Medical research they do not deny that 20-minute application of cabbage leaves to the chest can relieve swelling and relieve milk stagnation. And although the effectiveness of the “compress from the garden” has not been fully proven, it definitely will not get worse.
Various sources advise applying cabbage either at room temperature, or chilled, or frozen. How is it better? A few scientific experiments give the answer: whatever. The temperature of the sheet does not affect its operation in any way.
Drink herbal teas
Some plants help reduce lactation, and exactly:
- jasmine flowers.
Just pour a couple of tablespoons of dry herbs in 300-400 ml of boiling water and let it brew for a couple of hours, and then strain.
What not to do when weaning a baby
No matter how much you want to stop lactation as soon as possible, there are several tricks that are better to refrain from.
Don’t bandage your chest
Our grandmothers tightly bandaged their breasts to stop lactation. Modern medicine calls refuse from this practice because it causes increased…
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