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You know there are different stages of breastfeeding and weaning. Two opposite things yet connected so well. Everything starts with Day 1.
Stage 1: You see your little one for the first time and start wondering when is the right time to start breastfeeding or how you would do it and how you would feel. You try your best so that the little one can start feeding. Aww how sweet… best feeling ever.
Stage 2: No, this one does not come after months. This stage starts within a week. A week of breastfeeding – day-night, day night, day night!?!?! You are exhausted, full of hormonal changes, and you have finally realised what you have actually signed up for. Your eyes are wide open, one breast out, messy hair and you look panicked. Then this little minion touches your face and you feel better, just emotionally, and physically you are EXHAUSTED.
Stage 3: Breastfeeding or Breathing – Just the Same: Now, this stage lasts for six months, an year or sometimes even two. Within a few months you get habitual to breastfeeding. It’s nothing different than any other regular thing that you do. You don’t even need those extra trendy feeding tops anymore, any t-shirt with buttons works well for you. During this six months phase you are judged for not breastfeeding the baby properly (whatever that means :/), judged for not being able to feed (for any reason)and then after six months you are judged for not weaning the baby; after one year you are judged for being lazy and continuing the “unhealthy” practice and no matter how many times you tell people that your doctor says weaning happens naturally and there is nothing wrong in feeding a toddler, people will judge you.
Stage 4: Advice to Wean: Wanted or unwanted, you are going to get all sorts of advice as to how to wean your baby. Since giving advice is our birth right, here is mine: Hahahah! NO, just sharing how I weaned my little one, it might work for you, might not but my entire point of writing this article is to let you know that it is only the mother and the baby who mutually decide when is the right time to wean and how.
By the time my daughter was 8 months old, I started giving almost everything that we ate, rotis soaked in non spicy dal, daliya, khichdi, a little brown bread in milk, baby food, organic baby food, sometimes a bite of a pastry. She had her taste buds working too well. So, instead of taking away milk from her and substituting it with other milk, I just tried that she eats as well. Most difficult part was to stop the night feeds. This was the first thing that I did, I had to rock her a lot, keep her in my arms and sway her gently, then when she was almost sleepy, I used to give her bottle feed. Then once in the middle of the night before she would ask for it, I used to give her another small feed. It took time but once I was able to stop the night feed, rest was easy. To be honest, I am not very good at cooking but I did try a lot of things, she loves soups so I made different soups for us, I make dals with a lot of veggies, funny face omelets, suji halwa, fruit custard with very mild sugar, different paranthas.
One thing that worked for me was to give her everything to eat. Now, when I say everything, I am not including unhealthy or unhygienic food but everything as in all the healthy home cooked food. We always have our dinner with her, so that she understands that all three of us are eating the same food. Since she was always full, I asked my husband give hand her the bottle because if she would see me she would ask for my milk only. SO, try to stay out of her for a few days especially when they know that the baby would ask for breastfeed. What I have learnt is that just like weaning, breastfeeding is also a natural process. It takes time but happens. Only advice I can give is to make your baby a healthy eater, give her all fruits, vegetables and eat with her
Image Credit: Sainsbury's