Is there a best time to wean your precious little one? In my opinion, I don’t think there is the best time. I believe the decision to wean your baby is a personal one. It is standard and encouraged that babies should be breastfed from birth up to 6 months old as this will protect your baby from a certain infection that may affect your baby as well as to help with your baby’s growth and development. It is also encouraged (if possible) to breastfeed your baby along with solid food up to one year old.
I believe that weaning your baby takes a different form. There are instances where there are stay at home moms who have all the time to spend with their babies and can breastfeed them until the baby doesn’t want the breast anymore. There are instances where there are those moms who have to go back to work (like myself) who have to try to wean their babies earlier. This is an awful thing that a mom has to do, as the bond that you and your baby share, is now broken.
Stay at Home Mom
Being a stay at home mom is great as you know how best to take care of your little bundle of joy. You have the opportunity to watch your baby grow, record their milestone achievements, such as when your baby starts to creep, have his first tooth, start to walk, and so on.
These are milestone achievements that you want to record and to see your baby achieve them firsthand; and not someone at the daycare center or the nanny giving you the information. It is because of this reason some moms decide to quit their jobs and stay home full-time to nurture and to give their babies the best care that they need.
Breastfeeding is so important to the development and good health of your baby. Therefore, stay at home can give their baby breast milk whenever the baby needs it. In this case, your baby will eventually wean himself whenever he is ready.
There are some cases when mom is not able to produce sufficient milk no matter how hard they try. In this case, her baby will have to take a formula. I have a friend who recently had her baby boy and she was telling me that she was not producing enough milk, and her little bundle would start to cry and get miserable because his little tummy was not full.
She had no other choice but to give him formula so that his little tummy can be filled and for him to be happy. In her case, the baby was weaned at about 3 months. When giving your baby formula it is best to give them an iron-rich formula that is beneficial to their growth and development. Every mom is different when it comes to the supply of breast milk. In that, there are those moms (like myself) who had jug loads of breast milk, so my babies always had breast milk.
There were instances where I had to express the breast milk with a breast pump and they put the breast milk in the refrigerator because I had so much milk. It even got worse to the point where my breasts were so painful that I had to use warm water and a clean rag to wipe my breast to release some breast milk.
Returning to Work After Baby
Leaving your baby and returning to work is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences a mom has to go through. You have a little human in your life now, who you love so much; who is so delicate and vulnerable and needs your undivided care and attention. But sadly you have to go back to work (the struggle is real mama). The bills have to be paid; more food to buy; more baby clothes to purchase and the list goes on.
For moms who don’t get a lot of maternity and probably don’t have any vacation leave to go with maternity leave, this is very difficult for them. In this case, you will have to express breast milk and leave it that your baby can have it when you are at work.
In my case when I had to return to work, I developed a routine where before I leave for work, I would breastfeed my baby, then I would express breast milk before leaving. At work, I would go in my car and express breast milk and then put it in the refrigerator when I was at work. At home, I would give my baby the expressed breast milk in the nipple bottle. Over a period, my baby weaned himself because he is now accustomed to drinking from the bottle.
My breasts would sometimes leak (because I have a lot of breast milk) and so I had to wear disposable breast pads to prevent my clothes from being wet. After doing this routine for a month or so, my milk supply began to decrease and I was no longer producing any milk.
Introduction of Solid Foods
At about 5 or 6 months (sometime 4 months) depending on your baby, your baby can eat solid foods, or some persons would say “start eating from the family pot”. When you start to introduce your baby to solid food, for some baby they no longer want the breast.
This is an indication that your baby is weaning himself and is growing and wants to eat more solids foods. Some babies still want breast milk despite acquiring the taste of solid food and that is OK.
The Decision to Wean Your Baby is a Personal Matter
As I had stated before, every mommy’s situation is different; every baby is different. You should know your needs and the needs of your baby and act accordingly. Don’t be influenced by anyone who won’t tell you when to wean your baby. If your baby wants breast milk when he is one year old, then nurse your baby once you are still producing milk.
For some babies and moms, weaning comes soon when you don’t have a lot of maternity leave and you have to return to work. The breast is still the best; and whatever way you can nurse your little one and keep that bonding experience, then go ahead and do it.
I hope you enjoy reading this. Share your thoughts and suggestions.