This Q & A has been compiled from a live chat conducted on BabyChakra with a prenatal and lactation consultant, Sonali Shivlani on August 3, 2015. The questions therein, are actual questions asked by mothers.
Q: Is it mandatory to wean a child by 2 or is it ok to continue if both mom & child enjoy it?
A: It is ok to continue as long as mom and baby are comfortable.
Q: Many moms say you should not, as it decreases calcium in women's body. Is that true?
A: No, it is important that you follow a balanced diet. Make sure you consume three cups of milk or an equivalent amount of milk products every day. You need to take skimmed milk and not full fat milk. Even consumption of yoghurt or paneer every day is fine.
Q: Is it ok to breast feed and give top up by bottles if it is difficult to breast feed?
A: It is recommended that you do not use a bottle. It can cause nipple confusion as the teat is very different from the breast and a whole different set of jaw muscles is being used.
Q: But isn't it difficult for the child to hook on to bottle post 6 months?
A: If a bowl and spoon is not feasible, I would suggest trying a medicine dropper or a disposable syringe to feed expressed breast milk or formula. So basically avoid bottle to the extent possible. Post six months, a sippy cup can be used as well since the baby's teeth have started showing.
Most babies if not used to a bottle will refuse one actively at six months. I would call them smart babies as they are ensuring optimum jaw development for themselves :)
Q: Lots of my friends complain of their child not enjoying milk at all after they are weaned and not friendly to bottle.
A: It is ok for a baby to not want to drink milk for a while, post breast feeding has been stopped. You can offer other calcium rich items like curds, paneer, lassi, butter milk. Among non-dairy foods, jaggery, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, ragi are great sources of calcium.
Q: Can I stop breastfeeding for 15 days and then come back to breastfeeding?
A: Your milk will dry up unless you keep expressing actively. So if your baby is feeding six times a day then you need to express eight times, because the baby is more efficient.
Q: Why doesn't anyone tell you how hard breast feeding can be and why is it more difficult for some people and less for others?
A: Breast feeding is not hard. It is just that we don't have enough support and knowledge. The trick is frequent feeding to make more milk and if there are any concerns or issues reach out for help at the earliest. The more you feed the more milk you make.
Q: But with my baby I have been pumping and feeding and then have had mastitis as well.
A: It is recommended to do a breast massage yourself every day. Circular movements and strokes towards the nipple. Do the massage every day and watch out for lumps.
Q: Is it true that after 1 year a mother's milk doesn't have nutritional value? If so does it make sense to extend breastfeeding for more than 2 years?
A: The nutritional value reduces post six months but is not zero. The benefit is that it changes its composition as per the needs of the baby. And then there is the bonding and emotional benefit as well. So if the baby would like to continue in to the second year and the mother is able to as well, then it is recommended to continue.
Q: If the baby is a toddler of 2 years and still feeds during sleep time day and night. Should I continue and let the baby decide when to stop or should I force stop. I tried that but it just was so painful for both. He kept crying…
A: In this case, the baby is using breast feeding as a crutch to fall asleep and it is more of a habit. I would suggest trying a family member to take over nap times and slowly wean off the habit of feeding to sleep.
Find this interesting?Read the Part 2 of the Q & As from this Chat