Breastfeeding is advantageous not just for the child but also for the new mum. It makes your child healthy, strong, and calm. You may have checked many articles on the internet revealing breastfeeding benefits. Do you know how long you should breastfeed? When you should decide to wean? Continue reading to find some breastfeeding facts and the right time to wean.
How Long You Should Breastfeed Your Child?
Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months! You may already know that because it’s the right age to supplement breastfeeding with complementary foods. You should breastfeed your baby for at least 2 years.
The child is ready to consume external foods after six months. It does not mean that you should stop breastfeeding. The baby learns to eat complimentary meals when he is 6 months to 12 months old. The weaning period begins after 1 year.
You should slowly increase formula milk feeding frequency and the amount of complementary foods in your baby’s meals. Breastfeed whenever you are comfortable and make sure breast milk is his first food.
Start weaning before the spring and autumn. Thus, your child will be ready to fight health issues without consuming breast milk.
How to Feed Complimentary Food to A Breastfeeding Baby?
Other foods will be strange things for your child if you breastfed him exclusively for the first 6 months. It is not easy for a child to adapt to a new diet. Some babies like to put things in their mouth but they don’t eat them. The same thing your child can do with the baby formula or complimentary meals.
You have to ensure the baby consumes foods you feed him with breast milk. So, feed him breast milk in the morning. Keep the baby formula prepared and feed it along with breastfeeding.
You can make the kid curious about new foods when he is hungry. Prepare nutritious smoothies, cereal, formula milk, and other easily edible cuisines. Feed these foods in tiny amounts. Begins with a small quantity and feed more as the days pass.
It may take a few weeks, but your baby will eventually start consuming complementary foods. You have to continue breastfeeding the child until he is 1.6 years old. Start weaning after that age because it will be easy for both of you.
When Should You Start Feeding Formula Milk to the Child?
Formula milk is a nutritious alternative to breast milk. However, it is not as nutritious as breast milk is. Therefore, the WHO suggests breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months. Babies are fed before 6 months only if the mother has an infectious health condition or lack of milk supply.
You should follow the WHO’s advice if you can meet the child’s food demands. Feed a small amount of formula milk after 6 months. Follow the right mixed feeding method to reduce health concerns. Those methods are:
Breastfeed first and then feed formula milk. Stop the baby for a while and then gently put the formula milk bottle in his mouth. The child may refuse to consume this way, but sooner or later he will drink formula milk.
You can switch to the substitute feeding method if the baby has started consuming formula milk. Start the child’s day by breastfeeding and then feed only formula milk in the next turn. Use a clean milk bottle to feed the baby formula.
Ensure the milk flow rate is good and the child can do not fill too much milk in his mouth. The baby may take a few days to learn how to feed milk from a bottle. So, be there to help the child whenever he is hungry.
Can You Feed Water to A Breastfeeding Child?
A newborn child does not need water. He gets water from breast milk because it is 80% water and 20% other vital nutrients. Therefore, you should not feed water to the newborn child.
Even though you know breast milk is enough, the grandma might not agree. She might suggest feeding water to the child during the first few months. Do not listen to any of such suggestions. Strict to breastfeeding until your baby is 6 months old. Follow the below-given tips when it’s time to feed some water:
- Do not force your child to drink water if he is not thirsty!
- Feed water in very small amounts to maintain the smooth performance of the child’s kidneys.
- Ask the doctor whether you should feed water when the child is sick or not.
- Do not feed child water to the child. It will cause health problems such as cough, cold, allergies, and fever.
- Feed a small amount of water when the child is eating complimentary food. Soothe his thirst after 15-30 minutes of lunch or dinner.
What Are Some Common Breastfeeding Misunderstandings?
The most common breastfeeding myths are as follows:
1. Women with small breast have a lack of milk supply
The large breast size does not indicate the amount of milk is available there. It simply indicates that there is too much fat. Women with small breasts can also fulfill the child’s food demands.
2. Mothers should not feed colostrum to the child
Some people discard colostrum because they believe it is a dirty-yellow fluid. Colostrum is not dirty! It is liquid gold for your child’s health. It strengthens your child’s immune system and speeds up his growth.
3. Milk is thin because it lacks nutrients
It is another myth and it has nothing to do with the real quality of breast milk. Whether breast milk is thin or thick, it is nutritious for the child.
4. Feed formula milk because you don’t have enough milk after delivery
Newborn babies do not demand hundreds of milliliters of milk. They have quite a small tummy and a mother can provide more than enough milk to soothe the baby’s hunger.
5. Avoid breastfeeding when you are taking medications
Certain medicines can affect the milk quality, but not all. You should consult with the doctor before you deprive the child of breast milk. Continue breastfeeding if the doctor says it is safe to breastfeed the baby. Avoid breastfeeding only when the doctor asks you to do so!
6. Do not breastfeed when you are angry
A mother’s emotions do not change the quality of her milk. It will remain nutritious in all conditions. However, the changes in mood and emotions can affect the amount of milk you produce. So, stay happy and healthy to meet your child’s food demands.
Which Breastfeeding Principles You Must Follow?
You will meet all the nutritional needs of the newborn child if you adhere to the following breastfeeding principles.
Breastfeed exclusively at least for the first 6 months
You are well-familiar with this principle and there are no exceptions. Continue breastfeeding as long as possible. Add complimentary meals to the child’s diet only when he is 6 months old.
Don’t follow a schedule
Feed the child whenever he gives you the sign of hunger. Do not follow any schedule to feed the baby. You might accidentally feed when the child is almost full and you may not be around when he is hungry.
Feed complimentary meals after 6 months
There is no need to breastfeed exclusively after 6 months. Choose high-quality formula milk and some complementary foods to feed him. These foods should provide immunity-booster nutrients.
Feed more often to increase milk secretion
The amount of milk produced in breasts is equal to the demand of the child. Therefore, you must breastfeed more often to get more milk for the child.
Don’t wean suddenly
Weaning needs to be a gradual process. Do not stop breastfeeding suddenly because it will affect your child’s health.
Do Breastfeeding Babies Have Higher IQ?
Breast milk provides a rich supply of nutrients essential for brain development. It provides everything your baby’s body needs to speed up the overall growth. There are no studies that show breastfeeding babies are smarter than formula-fed babies. However, your baby will get smarter if he gets the right food at the right time.
Feed the baby when he is hungry. Do not feed formula milk before 6 months and do not refuse to feed it after 6 months. Your baby’s diet should change daily once he starts consuming complimentary meals. Those nutrient-rich meals will make your child immune to several diseases. He will grow naturally and get stronger.
You have learned how long breastfeeding exclusively is good for the child’s growth. This article has helped you in debunking several myths related to breastfeeding. Follow the things you have learned here to take better care of your baby.
Lack of breast milk, infectious diseases, and certain other health issues can prevent a mother from breastfeeding the baby. Stay focused on a quick recovery if a health condition prevents you from feeding the child. Get healthy as soon as possible and feed the baby again. It is essential for his good health and the steady growth of the baby.