Weaning: A Tough Start And Even Tougher But Happy End!
As Amitabh Bachchan kicks the door down the camera zooms in on his face. He looks around and shouts "Ma ka doodh piya hain to bhahar aao!" (If you have had your mother's milk then come out!). Whether it is Bollywood or neighborhood; mother's milk is by far the most critical element and perhaps also, the most difficult task for us mothers. The kind that invites loads of pressure from both, within and outside!
The breastfeeding journey is not always the most pleasant one to start off for a new mom. Imagine the plight of a nervous new mom not being able to give her baby the single source of nutrition from the very first day. The most natural miracle ironically, does not always happen so naturally. Breastfeeding is always on the mommy's mind. How to start off, how to increase supply, how much is enough, but then comes the most difficult part - when to stop!
Well, thanks to our gynecologists and pediatricians, we do know that six months is a good time to start weaning your baby off breast milk but then what happens when your baby just refuses to give up?
The Voice of Others
“Priya, how will your baby go to school? He is now seven months! Do you want him to be dependent on you forever?” The urge of raising an independent being is so common and so is the fear of being tagged a ‘helicopter Mom’.
And then there are the medical practitioners who advise formula and urge moms to stop at six months. “Food takes care of all the baby’s requirements. Mother’s milk is useless now. Just stop”
The Voice of My baby
No, I did not hear his voice but I certainly did feel it. I guess if he were to talk at that time this is what he would say. “Ma, what are all these changes around me? I have known you and your womb and now every day there is something that scares me - a new bright light, a new sound and so many voices. The only thing that seems familiar is your touch, your warmth and the wonderful comfort I get from your milk. Whenever I have had that it makes me feel safe.”
Ultimately, I did not stop at 6 months. I did not stop and 12 either. My baby chose not to take my milk when he was two years old. It was our decision because we made it together. Baby’s nutrition was being met from food and I was giving him my comfort whenever he needed it.
As the calendar struck six months I was so excited to introduce my little one to semi solids. A sweet apple sauce made by mom, with extra love on top was gulped down in minutes. I wanted to keep it natural and healthy and let my baby learn to enjoy fruits and vegetables in their own flavor. Up till now I do not prefer juices for the simple reason - A fruit with lesser fiber did not make much sense. And the moment he turned one he dined with us which meant he ate whatever we ate. He enjoyed tearing rotis and we enjoyed our new and improved diet for a healthier lifestyle (after all someone was watching us eat). Be it at home or at the restaurant our food was there on his food.
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