Rarely does a mother not ask the question: “How to wean a baby correctly, and most importantly, painlessly?“. Pediatricians insist that the longer the baby receives breast milk, the better for him. But, until a certain age, breastfeeding becomes difficult. How to be in this case? We asked the doctor and he gave the answer.
What every mother needs to know about lactation?
Doctors distinguish three stages of lactation.
one. Formation stage begins several months before the birth of the baby and ends several months after the baby is born. The formation of lactation is that your hormonal system is rebuilt, preparing the mammary gland for milk production, and lasts until an adaptation to the needs of the baby takes place.
This stage can be accompanied by unpleasant symptoms:
- Periodic breast swelling;
- Painful sensations in the chest.
The main thing for mom is not to be intimidated by this. Very often, because of such symptoms, a woman refuses to breastfeed for one reason or another, when in fact it can be completely avoided. But if the excitement does not leave you – consult with a knowledgeable and competent specialist.
2. Mature lactation stage, when the adaptation has already passed and the needs of the crumbs in milk are fully satisfied. During this period, milk is produced exactly as much as the baby needs, and all unpleasant symptoms, as a rule, disappear.
3. Stage involution of lactation comes when the baby turns 1.5 – 2 years… At this time, breast milk becomes more like colostrum in composition: it contains antibodies, hormones and immunoglobulin. Such a composition prepares the baby’s immune system for independent functioning, without the support of mother’s milk.
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Signs of late lactation
- Duration of lactation: the stage of involution cannot occur earlier than the child is 1.3 months old. Most often, involution occurs when the baby is 1.5 – 2 years old. The only exception is the situation when the mother is expecting a second baby. In this case, the last stage of lactation occurs by the fifth month of pregnancy.
- Increased baby sucking activity: this is due to the fact that the mother’s milk is becoming less and less, and the baby’s need for the amount of food taken is increasing. By active sucking and frequent latching, the child intuitively tries to increase the milk production in the mother.
- The physical condition of the mother after feeding: if, after the baby has eaten, the mother feels tired or drowsy, or feels pain in the chest or sore nipples, the mother has dizziness or headaches, this can also be a sign that the last stage of lactation has come.
The main question is: when is it time to wean the baby?
If there are no reasons forcing the mother to give up breastfeeding earlier, then it is the most reasonable both from the point of view of the psychological readiness of the child, and from the point of view of the physiological readiness of the mother. The best period for this will be just the final stage of lactation – the stage of involution.
This is not only the most beneficial for your health, but also for the health of your baby: studies show that the immunity of babies weaned at about two years of age is much stronger and they are less susceptible to infections than babies who were weaned from breastfeeding at one year old. age.
The psychological readiness of the mother to stop feeding is no less important.
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How to painlessly wean a baby from breastfeeding?
But now you have weighed all the circumstances and firmly decided to stop breastfeeding the baby. How to make this period the most painless and gentle for your child?
Method number 1: mild weaning
The meaning of this method is the gradual weaning of the baby from breastfeeding.
How to prepare your baby for weaning:
- Explain to him that the milk will end soon. These conversations with your baby should be started well in advance, before you start weaning.
Weaning itself is best done in several stages:
- First, remove all intermediate feedings, leaving breastfeeding only in the morning, afternoon, evening, and also at night.
- When the baby wants to “kiss” the breast at the “inopportune” time – translate his desire into a game. This will not only distract the baby, but also show him that you can communicate with your mother in a different way, no worse, and in many ways even better and more interesting.
- After a while (depending on how the child goes through the first stage), day feedings are removed.
- Typically, daytime feeding is a way to get your baby to sleep. Now the mother will have to cope with the help of other methods: reading or telling fairy tales, singing songs, rocking the baby in her arms or putting her to bed on the street or on the balcony. True, the latter method is not suitable for everyone, but if possible, as an option, it is very good
- Remove morning feeds. The child experiences this stage almost painlessly – the mother does not have any difficulties in switching the baby’s attention to something more interesting.
- Remove evening feeding before bedtime. This stage is the penultimate and very difficult: the child must learn to fall asleep without breast. Mom will have to show all her ingenuity to distract the baby and persuade him to fall asleep.
- The final step in weaning from breastfeeding is to remove night feeds. Rarely does a baby not wake up at night. It is best if during this period the child will sleep with his mother (if you did not practice joint sleep).
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Method number 2: abrupt weaning
It consists in immediately transferring the child from breastfeeding to traditional nutrition.
They usually recommend:
- Smear the breast with mustard or something bitter so that the baby himself abandons it. Sometimes mom is recommended to lubricate the nipples with brilliant green.
- Mom go away for a few days, or better for a week. This method, although effective, will be a great stress for the baby: after all, he immediately loses both his mother – the closest and necessary person, and the breast – the most reliable sedative.
- Situations are different, sometimes the mother is faced with the need to complete breastfeeding, and does not have time for gentle weaning.
And whichever method you choose, the main thing is to firmly decide to complete breastfeeding and be confident in yourself: after all, it is you, and not one of the outside advisors, who know your baby best.
Experts advise also to pay attention to two important points:
- You cannot stop feeding at the first signs of involution: this will affect the child’s immunity;
- It is undesirable to sharply wean a child from breastfeeding.
Why do you need to know about the stages of lactation? For several very important reasons:
- First of all, in order to painlessly wean the baby from the breast, at whatever stage it is necessary to do it;
- To avoid unpleasant sensations during the period of weaning from breastfeeding by the mother herself
- So that the mother is ready, first of all, psychologically (which is an important factor) to wean the baby from breastfeeding.
It is undesirable to wean the baby from the breast in early spring – during the period of spread of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza, mother’s milk is the best prevention and strengthens the baby’s immunity. The hot summer is also not suitable for stopping breastfeeding – high air temperatures contribute to the occurrence of intestinal infections.
Teething. During this period, the baby’s immunity is weakened, and the mother’s support for the baby is simply necessary. It is also important that during teething, the child experiences discomfort and anxiety. Mom’s breasts are the best way to calm down.
If, after the child’s illness, less than a month has passed since weaning from breastfeeding, it is better to wait.
Stressful situation associated with the mother’s going to work, the beginning of the baby’s visit to the nursery, moving or the appearance of a new family member. Completion of feeding in this situation will become unnecessary stress for the baby.
The emotional state of the baby. The unstable condition will only get worse, the baby can only get worse, it is better to wait until the more opportune moment comes to start weaning from breastfeeding.
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