To Wean from Breastfeeding – Tips and Tricks
Weaning may seem like a scary process, but it usually takes less time than you might have expected for your little one to adapt, especially if he enjoys new things. The idea is to make the transition as easy as can be for your little one.
Should you stop breastfeeding, you must take it slow. Gradual stopping will put less stress on your baby. It will also help avoid any feelings of abandonment from abruptly stopping breastfeeding.
For you, slow weaning will also prevent you from suffering the consequences of immediately stopping breastfeeding. Abruptly stopping breastfeeding may lead to mastitis (inflammation of the breasts due to clogged and hardened milk in the milk ducts, leading to pain and heaviness of the breasts).
If you will bottle-feed for the first time, dip the nipple in a little warm water before giving it to the baby. If you will bottle-feed baby with formula milk, he may not want it at first because it tastes differently from breast milk. Do not force him if he doesn’t want to. Try again after a couple of days. He will eventually get the idea that you only want to feed him but just in a different way.
If you are feeding him solids for the first time, try to have iron-fortified baby cereal (or baby rice cereal). This is because your baby will be eating very little initially.
Formula or breast milk can be added to one to two teaspoons of cereal, to make a runny solution. You can thicken the mixture after a few days by decreasing the milk. This will encourage the baby to chew (if he already has teeth) or do gumming (if he doesn’t have any teeth yet). This will also allow him to practice taking food off of a spoon (in preparation for the time he will eat chunks of food.
Pureed fruits and vegetables are good for baby after you start him on baby cereal. This is to introduce your baby to vegetables (which most kids don’t like), to make him like and eat his veggies in the future. That would be the same logic for fruits – although fruits are usually easier to give to older kids because of the sweet taste.
Common veggies that can be pureed are carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, squash or courgettes. Fruits that are safe to puree (at least for babies below 12 months old) are apples, bananas, mangoes, papaya and pears.
Weaning is an enjoyable phase for baby because he gets to explore new and different foods. But it’s also a happy activity for mommy as you prepare and try to make imaginative and creative dishes for your little one.
Now, aren’t you glad you’ve decided to wean gradually?