Weaning

The time will eventually come when you will either need or want to wean your child. There are so many viewpoints on this, how to do it, what age is best, and so on. Everyone has their own opinion so I won’t get into that. Instead, I will just tell you what worked for me.

I got preganant with Lila when Logan was only 9 months old. I kept on nursing him as long as I could, but by the time I was 2 months along, I knew I had to wean him. My body felt as if there was something permanently sucking my energy and ability to do anything. I was drained 24/7. I didn’t feel better until Logan was weaned.
It is possible to continue to breastfeed your first during your pregnancy and even nurse both children after your delivery, but it is not for everyone. If this is something you want to try, I’d advise you to reasearch it well, but in the end, listen to your body. You will know if you can do it or not.
Back to Logan: When he was 11 months old, I slowly introduced him to the bottle. At this time he was already eating solids well, having meals with nursing inbetween. He liked food and ate well, so the bottle was mainly for nightime and before naps.
I didn’t feel he needed formula, since he ate such a variety of food already, so I opted to give him milk in the day and yougurt and banana at night.(Cow’s milk should be introduced slowly, because in young children, it can cause alergies and constipation. My kids are not alergic but Lila did experience the constipation caused by too much too fast. Be careful.)
I gave Logan milk twice daily in 4 oz. bottles, slowly increasing the amount as he got used to it. At first I had to focus on replacing the nursing with the bottle. Sometimes he would nurse a little and then take the bottle, but by his first birthday, he was completely weaned off the breast. At night, I gave him 2 8 oz. bottles of yoghurt and banana. I gave him this cause I felt he was too hungry in the night and that was why he woke up so much. Later I realised that the banana wasn’t needed so I eliminated it when he was 13 months old.
To make these bottles I would mash a banana, mix it with about 6 oz. of yoghurt, and top it with water. They had to be shaken well to mix and then kept in the fridge until he needed them. The problem was that I had to make an extra large hole in the nipple to allow for the banana to pass through, and if he fell asleep without finishing it, it would leak all over. So I don’t recommend doing it with the banana. I didn’t do it for Lila and she was fine at night with just the yoghurt.
Shortly before Lila was born, I decided Logan no longer needed his nighttime bottles, so I slowly got him off of them by each night, replacing one ounce of yoghurt with water. Then after he was off the first bottle I did the second. Once he was off the yoghurt, he kept having water at night, but I let him have water bottles too long, until after he was 2. He didn’t need so much water in the night and because of this, his diaper would leak. When I took the bottles away and gave him water in a cup when he woke up, he started sleeping so much better at night, and eventually slept through the night.
Lila also had to be weaned early, but being a food-loving Tarus, it took longer with her. She didn’t take to the bottle as easily as Logan had, especially at night, but I had to persist. She also took longer to be weaned from her night bottles. Logan was weaned off them by 17 months, but I think Lila was almost 20 months when she was weaned. Every child is different. She would scream and freak out if I didn’t give her the bottle, keeping all of us up in the night, so in her case, it was better to go slow. After a rough first try, I waited a few weeks and tried again, and she accepted with no fuss.
I also gave her too much milk too fast. Wearas Logan tolerated it well by 12 months, Lila had problems with getting constipated until she was at least 14 months. Her body just took longer to adjust to milk, so I gave her more yoghurt and less milk until she didn’t get constipated any more.

My plan with Scarlett will be to breastfeed her for as long as possible. Since I can no longer get pregnant (I had a tubal ligation with Scarlett’s delivery), I hope to continue until she is at least 15 months, but we’ll see. Maybe she won’t even need to take bottles.

So to sum this up:

– The age at which you wean your child is up to you, when both you and baby are ready to quit.
– If you have to wean early, you will need to introduce bottles. Some babies take to the bottle faster than others, so have patience.
– If your child is already eating solids well, you shouldn’t need to use formula. But if your baby is still mainly breastfeeding and for some reason you have to quit, find a formula that works for you and is for your baby’s age. Babies who aren’t regularly eating solids get their main nutrition from their milk and need a good balance of vitamins and minerals. Ask your doctor what they recommend.
– Go slow with weaning. If you go cold turkey, you may get painful breasts and it could lead to infections. I found that slowly replacing one nurse at a time with either a bottle or meal of solids worked for me. By the time they stopped nursing, I had only been giving it once a day so I only had a little milk and never had any problem. Breast milk is produced by demand from your baby, so the less baby nurses, the less milk you will have.
– When you are ready to get your baby off the bottle, slowly replace one ounce of milk, formula, or yoghurt (whichever you are using) with one ounce of water. This dilutes it and gradually they get used to the taste of water and will take that.
– There is no need to continue water bottles at night. If they wake for water, give them some in a cup so that they see it as something different. If you want them to have milk in a cup instead of a bottle, either introduce it early (such as for their daytime milk while weaning) or explain to your older child that they are now big enough for a cup and that bottles are for babies. Of course, you don’t want to rush it. Follow your child’s lead. Your older toddler could even help you pick a cup to encourage them to use it.
– Make sure that your child is eating solids well before taking their bottles away. On the other hand, if you have a toddler who only wants milk all day and refuses food, you will have to cut the milk down somehow. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you.
– Above all, have patience. Weaning can take time, and it can be tempting to rush it when you are newly pregnant, overtired, and just need some sleep. If you have someone who can help you during this time, all the better. But if not, just remind yourself that it won’t last forever and that you will succeed.

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Breastfeeding, part 1

Deciding to breastfeed your baby is probably one of the best decisions you will ever make for your child. We have all heard that “breast is best”, baby will be smarter, etc. But did anyone ever tell you it will hurt like hell when you first start? No? Ok, well, I’m telling you now. It hurts!
You may have seen other mommies nursing their babies and thought, “Well, that doesn’t look too bad. I can do that.” You get all excited, thinking that when the time comes, you will let your baby nurse as much as he wants cause you want your baby to have the best. And it is the best. But the reality check doesn’t hit until you actually begin.
The first time baby latches on and gets that first mouthful, you smile. You observe that tiny mouth working hard to get the milk, the closed eyes, the tiny fist on your breast. You feel like a mother.
The rest of the first day you don’t mind nursing whenever baby asks for it. You may even make it through the second day…then again, you may not. At some point the pain is going to kick in, and this isn’t just a little pain – it’s enough to make you yell. Your nipples will feel like they are on fire each time baby grabs them; you will cry, maybe even wish you had never started.
The good news is, the pain will only last about a week to 10 days, or 2 weeks at the most. Your nipples will toughen to a point that you lose all feeling in them. But what can you do during that time when it hurts so much?
At first, you have to endure, even if you are yelling and crying. I remember pounding the bed with my fist and yelling “ow, ow” until the painful point passed. Yes, it will not hurt the entire time, after about the first 30 seconds, the burn will pass and you won’t feel anything, unless baby lets go and you start over.
Since a newborn nurses so frequently, you may reach a point in the day when you say “enough, I’m done”. What I did was to keep on hand a jar of formula and use it whenever I needed a few more hours in between. Sometimes the hospital will provide this so that the baby has something to eat while your milk is coming in. If they don’t, then have someone get it for you. It won’t hurt your baby to have a little formula, and your nipples will thank you for the break.
Eventually the pain will pass and you won’t need the formula any more. I always keep some on hand though, mainly for use during outings. Where I live, finding a private place to breastfeed is not easy, and trying to sit and nurse the baby with a sheet over my shoulder while my other two were running off was not practical. It is also extremely hot here (current temperatures around 40 deg. C) so covering the baby’s head would make her sweat, too. So the easy solution was to pack a bottle with the formula measured out in it, and a bottle of water, and just mix it when she was ready for it.
You can find the next part here.

A Mommy’s Best Friend

Meet my new best friend.

Elegant and practical, I take it with me wherever I go.

Many pockets make carrying needs easy.

Top: Wallet and wet wipes (Wet wipes are good for more than diaper changes. I use them for wiping sweaty, dirty faces, sticky hands, my hands and more. I always carry a pack with me.)

Bottom: Left – liquid hand disinfectant spray, mosquito repellant cream, tissues, bandaids, antiseptic cream. (The last two are just in case. You never know what could happen when out and it’s best to be prepared.)

Right – lipstick, lip balm, keys, gum, wipes for cleaning my glasses, hand cream.

Inside: Water bottles for all of us. It is easier to carry one for each of the kids than one for all of us to share. That way they can drink what they want at their pace without having to wait for the other to finish. Extra diaper, snack box, comb, sun screen, bib, hankerchief (good for wiping sweat off your head when out)and phone. I also include a change of clothes for each of them if we plan to be out for a while.

See the side pockets?

One is for the camera and the other will be useful for the baby’s bottles. Yes, I plan on breastfeeding, but when out, it is often hard to find a private place to feed and if I’m at the playground with the kids it isn’t possible at all. So I always carry a small (4 oz.) bottle of water and another one with powder formula. That way, if the baby is hungry but we aren’t ready to go home, I just add water to the formula, shake it and we are good to go. Baby is fed and happy and I can let the kids play in peace.

I know this will happen because it happened when Lila was tiny. I didn’t use formula with Logan since it was easier to stop and nurse him. I only had him to watch and didn’t have to worry about a kid running off while I’m nursing the baby. Also, we were living in Bangalore at the time and it is cooler there so he didn’t mind having a sheet over his head while nursing, but Lila always hated it, and I can’t blame her, as it is so hot here, anything over your head makes you sweat like crazy. So I started carrying the formula for her and it saved many a stressful moment when she was tiny. This time around I know better and have planned ahead for it.

The bag itself still has plenty of space for the other things I will need for the baby: extra diapers, change of clothes, sheet, changing pad, and I could even fit in a few books and toys if needed.

Now, why do I use such a big bag? Well, the more kids you have to carry stuff for, the bigger the bag you need. But it isn’t that this bag is so big but that it has lots of outside pockets that have lots of space. See, I used to carry a purse and diaper bag, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t practical to carry both, so I switched to only carrying a diaper bag.

My first one was nice, small and compact, perfect for only one child.

Logan on his first bus trip at 4 months old.

But I wore it out from overstuffing, so when I was given this one, though it wouldn’t have been my choice, I used it until it fell apart.

Logan on his first train trip at 10 months old.

I then decided that I needed something that looked nicer but could still carry everything. I opted for a large purse. This one served me for a while but I eventually found it just didn’t open up wide enough and I’d have to take everything out when I needed something off the bottom.

Lila on her first train trip at 8 months old.

I didn’t want another diaper bag that looked like a diaper bag. I’ve realised that a mommy can still look classy and carry what she needs for her kids, so I wanted something nice but useful. I also wanted something well made, as often, because diaper bags are plastic lined, the lining will rip easily. This bag is well made and it is water resistant. It only looks like leather. I searched all over, but when I spotted this one, I knew it was the one.

That is why this nice bag is my new best friend.

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