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When to Stop Breastfeeding and When to Start Solids
You decide to stop breastfeeding. Do you base the decision on what your baby wants, or do you decide on your own? Other people cannot decide for you, and must never let anyone pressure you into doing something you feel you’re not ready for, especially if it concerns your baby.
So when do you start breastfeeding? Unfortunately for us moms, there is no set time as to when a baby can stop breastfeeding. So we need to rely on personal reasons and the baby’s “signals”.
Through experience 10 years ago, I stopped breastfeeding my first baby when I got bothered enough about having sore nipples. Okay, maybe, sore isn’t the term – bloodied is more like it. Plus, my milk supply just isn’t abundant as it should be. I got concerned that my daughter might be like a vampire, possibly drawing blood and ingesting it. I bore with it a little more, and on the third month, I decided to wean her to use a bottle instead, especially since her 3rd month coincided with my going back to work.
And yes, I was criticized and given unapproving looks for it. I heard rumors saying that I didn’t love my child enough to breastfeed her. There are ignorant people who spread rumors, not digging for more information and who only wanted to gossip – I experienced all that and much more. It was true, I stopped breastfeeding (and how they learned of it was a mystery, even up to this day). But I tried to still give her breast milk by expressing what I can.
I started my first child on solids the day she had her four front teeth – biters, we called them. Those biters were almost fully developed by the time she was on her 6th month. Plus, by that time, she was already able to sit on her own and held her head up high all the time. She was also eyeing everyone’s food on the table and if given the chance, pawed and tried to grab what she could off my plate. I took that as cues that she was ready for something else other than milk.
I discussed it with her pediatrician first. Since we had a family history of allergies (I have spots when I eat fish, seafood and sometimes even eggs), the doctor advised to put off giving food until after the 6th month, just to be sure that she doesn’t develop the same allergies I have.
The solid food wasn’t really “solid” at first – I got iron-fortified baby cereal and put milk in it that it looked like a runny, weird-looking milk (I can’t remember the ratio; ’twas so long ago). For the first week, I fed her that; then I upped the texture a bit by putting a little more cereal, half a teaspoon on the first week, a whole teaspoon on the second until gradually, the cereal looked more like creamy pudding. (I did this for my second child too, who is now a year and a half.)
While breastfeeding is still the best thing for babies, preferably up to a year, there are some instances that you just can’t. As long as you try to provide your child with the proper nutrition and supplements, you can’t go wrong.
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