BREAST­FEED­ING A BABY ON THE GO

MIDWIFE, NURS­ING SIS­TER AND LACTATION SPE­CIAL­IST

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your Baby Files -

MY 14-MONTH-OLD SON LOVES HIS BREAST­MILK BUT I THINK HE IS READY TO LET GO. HE IS A BUSY LIT­TLE BOY WHO WOULD RATHER BE RUN­NING AROUND THAN BE TIED TO MY HIP. SHOULD I WEAN HIM? I RE­ALLY WANTED TO BREASTFEED TILL HE TURNS TWO.

It can be quite a con­cern when your baby starts to show signs of wean­ing him­self and you are not at all pre­pared for this process. It catches you off guard some­times, doesn’t it? You may even ex­pe­ri­ence some feel­ings of re­jec­tion.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends that you con­tinue to breastfeed your baby for the first two years of his life and be­yond, along­side the nu­tri­tious solid foods that your baby should start eat­ing from no sooner than four months old. And even though this may be your goal, your baby may ul­ti­mately make the de­ci­sion.

Each child is dif­fer­ent and unique, and as they grow through their sec­ond year as a tod­dler, and meet the re­quired devel­op­men­tal milestones, they each be­gin to show their in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ters.

At this age your baby starts to walk, and as his sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety set­tles, he be­comes more in­de­pen­dent in ex­plor­ing his world. He may even be se­lec­tive at meal­times and choose to eat what he prefers and wants, rather than just will­ingly have what­ever is of­fered. How­ever, if a good foun­da­tion has been set, and he is eat­ing a good va­ri­ety of nu­tri­tious whole­some foods from all the food groups, and drink­ing wa­ter when of­fered of­ten, then he only needs to breastfeed in the morn­ing on wak­ing, and in the evening be­fore go­ing to bed. These two breast­feeds can con­tinue for as long as he de­mands, and will meet the emo­tional bonding needs for both of you.

There is also the im­mu­nity ben­e­fit for your baby. Although he may only be breast­feed­ing twice a day, his im­mune sys­tem is boosted by the large num­bers of an­ti­bod­ies con­tained in those feeds, pre­par­ing him to cope with ex­po­sure to var­i­ous ill­nesses as he comes into con­tact with oth­ers.

If he has nat­u­rally in­di­cated to you that he only wants to feed at these quiet, spe­cial mo­ments to­gether, then keep of­fer­ing the breast, un­til your child now se­lects a dif­fer­ent way of wak­ing or go­ing to sleep. This is con­sid­ered ad­e­quate, and is a nor­mal ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour for his age.

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