What is Weaning and When do you Start?

what to eat after child birth

Weaning refers to the process of stopping breastfeeding. Some mothers choose to wean their babies from breastmilk and transition to formula. Whereas others wait until their little one no longer requires milk feeds. Weaning from breastmilk often coincides with returning to work, as being away from bub makes it hard to keep up the feeds.

Although it’s uncommon, some little ones self-wean. And on the other hand, some bubs refuse to take a bottle, making the weaning process incredibly difficult. So, it really comes down to when mum and bub are both ready.

It’s important to remember that weaning from breastmilk will be a huge transition for your little one and yourself. So, have a plan and take it slowly. Allow yourself and your little one time to get used to this significant change. Offer plenty of extra cuddles and be kind to yourself. Many hormone changes occur when we stop breastfeeding, so don’t be shocked if you feel a little low for a few days.

There is one thing all mothers can do postpartum, that doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or effort but will make a world of difference. And that’s having a solid nutrition plan, one that will nourish you back to health post-birth. This article will look at how you can nurture your body and recover from pregnancy and labour by focusing on what you eat. 

How to Wean a Baby

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusively breastfeeding for at least the first six months of an infant’s life. After this, it’s recommended to continue breastfeeding, along with the consumption of solids for two years. 

The current recommendation for introducing solids is six months of age. Experts believe six months is when babies are physically and mentally ready to begin eating food. But, learning to eat takes time, and, likely, your little one will still require milk feeds for a few more months. So, if bubs is between the ages of 6 and 8 months, formula in the form of bottles is likely the best option. Alternatively, you can offer a cup from around 7-8 months. 

If your little one is older than 12 months, you can go straight to cow’s milk rather than formula. In addition, you should opt for an open cup at 12 months, as extended bottle use beyond this age is associated with improper dental development and delayed feeding skills.

Babies breastfeed for a wide range of reasons besides from nutrition. One of the main reasons is for comfort and to feel safe. Babies love to snuggle into their mums and are soothed by the familiar smells. So, there’s a big chance that bub might be reluctant to transition to bottle feeding. You must allow enough time to make the transition gradually. 

Start by swapping the feed that they are least interested in. This is usually a mid-morning or afternoon feed. Start replacing one of these feeds with a bottle for at least a few days, and then gradually replace another feed and so on. Generally, the night-time feeds are the hardest when bubs crave closeness and comfort the most, so you might want to tackle the night feeds last.

However, if you’re desperate for a full night’s sleep, you might want to do it in reverse. It’s important to do what works for you and your family. And with a little patience and persistence, you’ll be sure to figure it out. 

How to Wean From Breastfeeding Safely

It’s not only important to take weaning slowly for the sake of little ones, but also for the Mumma. If you stop breastfeeding too quickly it can lead to engorgement, blocked milk ducts, or mastitis. This is because your body is making more milk than your little one is drinking, and it will take some time for your milk production to adjust. 

To avoid engorgement, blocked ducts, and mastitis, try not to let your breasts become too full. If you’re skipping a feed, hand express a small amount of milk so that your breasts soften. This will signal your breast to make less milk, which will help to reduce your milk gradually. 

If you find your breasts are a little lumpy you can gently massage them. Do so by gently brushing your palm across your breast in the direction of your nipple. Be very careful not to push too hard, it should be a light motion. 

Can I Still Have In Shape Mummy Health Shakes When Breastfeeding?

It's absolutely okay to continue drinking In Shape Mummy health shakes once you've stopped breastfeeding. The shakes are full of so much goodness, including over 25 essential vitamins and minerals and over 12g of protein, so we understand why women don't want to give them up. However, we recommend ceasing the shakes while weaning, as you need to give your body time to stop producing milk.

Each In Shape Mummy breastfeeding shake contains galactagogues, herbs and foods used to support milk production. Our shakes contain two of the most potent galactagogues, milk thistle and fenugreek. And it's the main reason why the women using our shakes have some much success when it comes to breastfeeding. 

We understand it's hard to give up something you love, even if it's just for a little while. And that's why we have an alternative shake, The In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Busy Mums. It contains the same goodness as our breastfeeding shake, including organic vegan protein, 25 essential vitamins and minerals, probiotics, and organic superfoods. But it doesn't contain the milk boosting herbs you'll find in the breastfeeding shake. It's a fantastic alternative for anyone who is weaning or has reached the end of their breastfeeding journey

Essential Things to Remember When Weaning

  • Take it slow: It’s a huge transition for you and your little one, don’t stop or change what you’re doing too abruptly. Make gradual changes, and don’t forget the extra cuddles. 
  • Please don’t feel pressure to wean: Many women decide to stop breastfeeding because their friends or mothers' group members have decided to wean. The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for at least two years, so if your lifestyle and commitments allow it and it’s working for your family, there’s no reason to stop before this. 
  • Remember to be easy on yourself: many hormonal changes occur while weaning, so maybe keep a little choccy on hand. 

Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.

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