Ready to quit breast feeding

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Aroosa’s little baby girl, Maira is two years old who is still on mother feed. The baby usually demands it at naptime or when she gets cranky. The mother wants to quit the activity for good now but does not know how to go about it especially because Maira is a selective and fussy eater. There are days when Aroosa firmly decides not to gratify the little one’s demand. “But she cries so much that eventually I have to give in and my husband also gets upset when she cries for milk”. Is there a way for mothers to quit this nursing session without any fuss and anxiety?


Well, let us see what Dr Sameen Ansari, a pediatrician in Lahore has to say about it. According to her, breast milk is the first gift of newborn that is a complete nutritive package. It is more than just feed. It gives comfort, emotional attachment and sense of security to the child. Exclusive breast-feeding from birth to six months of age is necessary to give a healthy and strong start to the babies. WHO and American Academy of Pediatrics also recommend breast-feeding at least for six months. Different mothers want to give up breast-feeding at different times because of various reasons and justifications. Some have domestic problems, others have personal or medical excuses. Sometimes it is because of another pregnancy. “Stopping breast-feeding is like a bag of mixed emotions for mothers. However, when a baby is six months old, a mother can quit without repentance”.

Stopping abruptly is also not appropriate. Solid foods are important for child development and growth especially after a certain point to meet their body demands. Weaning is a process of switching an infant diet from breast milk to other food and fluids. “This means there should be a slow reduction in breast feed with introduction of solid foods”, says Sameen before adding, “sudden changes cause drastic impact on child behavior and health. Doing it in one go is painful, not only for the child but for mother as well”. Different children react differently towards weaning. Hence, mother feed should be complemented with other sources of nutrition. Begin with solid foods like rice cereal. Once he eats regularly, you may introduce other tastes and textures. However, check for possible food intolerance and allergies. “Breast-feeding till two years is no doubt a long-term investment in child health but after this, sucking must be replaced to chewing and swallowing”. That is an exciting part of growing up.

“Make an effort of transition when child is in good health. If a baby is ill, asthmatic, teething or at risk of eczema then postpone it for some time”, says Dr Sabeen Mustafa, a pediatrician in DG Khan. Many kids leave breast-feeding when mother gets pregnant as pregnancy changes the taste and flow of milk. Some children get weak as they stop feeding. But no need to worry. They will gradually regain health when they adjust with regular and balanced diet.

Australian Breast-feeding Association guides about quitting the sessions in stages. Start with dropping nursing sessions that your baby seems least interested in. Afterwards, cut out on every few days or one in each week depending on your comfort and child’s willingness. You can also reduce time duration of feed. Children are usually more attached to the first and last feed of the day when the need of comfort is greater. So wean your baby during day time as baby with a full belly will be less likely to nurse but you can continue at night. At first, you can replace it with formula milk or expressed milk. Do not use cow milk for a bay less than one-year. Selection of milk must be done according to the doctor’s advice.

Dr Sabeen says that it is good to have your partner’s support therefore do not hesitate to ask for help. “Without his cooperation, it is not possible to achieve your aim. Some babies take few weeks and some take months in quitting”. It is not an overnight change. It depends how well your baby adjusts. Change in your routine sleeping times might help. Tell your husband to cuddle him to sleep at night so that he does not demand milk. In case of older children, you can talk to them. “Try to communicate your message in a cool and calm way. For many children, the longer they breast-feed, the more difficult it is for them to give up”.

Moreover, after one year of age, encourage them to sip than to suck. They should start to drink milk from a cup. Some mothers also use pacifiers to soothe their little ones. It is however, not a permanent solution.

Distract your child with playing, singing rhymes, reading stories, swings and pour them with a lot of love, hugs and cuddles so that they feel secure and satisfied. “You can even massage them before bedtime. It will pacify them and help them to sleep sound. Make them busy with toys and take them for a drive to divert their attention”, says Dr Sameen.
Planning is important in this respect, for both mother and child. To manage milk supply and avoid lumpy, swollen, and painful breasts and depression, take proper guide from your doctor. Sudden or abrupt discontinuation can cause painful breasts as they make milk faster when they are empty and slower when they have milk stored in. Thus, let most milk stay in breast. “To manage milk supply keep cold compressors on the breasts. Fresh, green chilled leaves of cabbage can be used as cold packs. It not only reduces milk but also the swelling”, says Dr Sabeen. Moreover, flow of milk reduces slowly when the demand drops.

No matter what your reason is to stop breast-feeding, you must be prepared for some tears and cries. Nevertheless, be patient and help your tiny bird to take his first flight. As it is an all-purpose mothering tool.

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    بچے کی پیدائش اور خاص طور پر پہلے بچے کی پےدائش گھر

mother feed

ماں کا دودھ بچے کے لیے ایک مکمل غذا ہے ۔اس میں وہ سب کچھ

ننھے پھول اس دنیا میں آتے ہی رونے لگتے ہیں اور یہ واحد ر

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