It's finally time. You've enjoyed the pampering, the pandering and the carte blanche to load up the plate with second and third helpings. But it's time to work your way back into the size 8s and...remember that world outside of the nursery? It still exists. No, we're not saying it's time to drop your new mommy duties, we're saying that it's okay to want to rejoin the world. And it's okay to not be around each time your babies need to be fed.
Regardless of what well-meaning aunts and grandmothers say, you can start weaning your babies around the first birthday without worrying about whether they're being deprived of something essential. They are not. Most pediatricians recommend that you feed your babies:
Only breast milk for the first 6 months of their lives. If you need to return to work before 6 months are up, use a breast pump. If frozen, breast milk can be stored for up to a year! So don't worry about losing the nutritional quality of your milk-especially if you're storing it only on a daily basis.
Tip: If you're storing breast milk for everyday use, store it in feed quantities. For eg: If your child drinks 100 ml milk in 1 feed and you need to pump enough for 3 feeds, fill 3 bottles of 100 ml instead of 1 big bottle.
Semi-solid foods like mashed bananas, apple juice (no citrus juices), baby rice, etc., as well as breast milk for the next 6 months.
After the age of one, your milk alone can no longer provide the nutrients that growing babies need. So rest assured that your baby will be perfectly fine if you start weaning then. Weaning is usually a more emotional process than a physical one, and what you really need to make sure of is that your baby doesn't suddenly begin to feel emotionally deprived.
- Start with cutting down on the number of feeds in a day, gradually decreasing them till the baby is taking all the feeds from the bottle or a cup.
- For working moms, to cut down the midday feed might be the most convenient option. This will also help the babies adjust to being fed by other family members or the nanny. A gradual process will help avoid engorgement as well.
- While weaning, children might pick up habits like thumb-sucking or become overly attached to their blankets. Do not panic, it's only their way of adjusting to the change in their lives.
- Break the cycle by changing your usual nursing clothes and nursing spot. Take up an activity at your usual feeding time that'll help you bond with your babies.
If for some reason, you need to wean your baby before the age of 1, pick an iron-rich formula, after consulting your paediatrician, of course. And remember, your babies don't need you any less for this, they just need you more for other things!