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Weaning A Breastfed Baby

When to wean is a question facing all breastfeeding mums. How does a new mum know when to introduce solid food into her baby's diet and what sort of food can a baby eat?

breastfeeding, weaning, baby diet, solid food

When to wean is a question facing all breastfeeding mums. How does a new mum know when to introduce solid food into her baby's diet and what sort of food can a baby eat?

At present the World Health Organisation recommends that all babies be breastfed exclusively for six months. A long time, you may think, especially in the middle of a colic episode or growth spurt! However, there are real concerns for the welfare of babies that have led to this advice.

In the past many babies were fed solid foods at very young ages. It is now believed that their bodies were unable to cope with the demands this placed on them; a dramatic increase in the incidence of allergies and food intolerances meant guidelines were reviewed and altered.

The main danger that comes with introducing solid food too early is that babies may receive too much salt in their diets, leading to potential kidney problems in later life.

So, if you follow the advice of the World Health Organisation, you will see that it makes sense to put off giving food other than breastmilk for the first six months.

So how do you encourage a six month old baby to eat solids? The main thing to remember is that you should introduce solids gradually.

When your baby is ready for solid food he will begin to demand feeds more often, and may never seem satisfied for very long. He will start to take an interest in your meals and may even try to help himself! He will begin lip-smacking and chewing as he mimics you. A real sign that solids are imminent is the development of teeth.

Speak to a health-visitor if you think your baby is very hungry. If your baby is under six months you may find that he is just going through a prolonged growth spurt. If this is the case, his hunger will normally settle down after a few days when your milk supply has increased.

When your baby reaches the six month target, and you are sure that he is ready for solid food, try a teaspoonful of watery baby rice or baby porridge. Try to keep foods very bland and runny at the beginning.

Once he is used to solid foods, and is no younger than six months, you can quickly move onto adult cereals like Weetabix and Readybrek.

It is wise to only introduce one food at a time so that you can identify any intolerances or allergies. Sometimes these can take several days to take effect, so stick to one food for a few days before moving onto another.

Some babies are happy to have one solid feed a day at the beginning of weaning, whereas others require more frequent feeds. It is a good idea to offer the breast before and after each feed to maintain a good milk supply.

Cows milk and dairy products, eggs, fish particularly shellfish), nuts (especially peanuts), some fruits and foods containing gluten can all cause allergic reactions. So be careful with your choices...

From six months babies can digest protein so red meat, fish ,eggs, cheese, chicken and pulses can all be introduced.
Do not give peanuts to babies under one year old: if there is a history of allergies in your family avoid giving them for at least three years. As well a being an allergy hazard they can also be a choking hazard.

Honey should also be avoided for the first year as babies can contract botulism from it.

Eggs must be thoroughly cooked but can be introduced from six months.

Buy gluten-free baby food at the beginning of weaning, if possible, as gluten can cause coeliac disease. Usually a six month old baby can digest gluten without any problems but younger babies are more at risk.

Some babies react to citrus fruits such as oranges but alternative fruit juices can be given instead, such as apple juice.
Never add salt to food which your baby will eat. If he is ready to eat the same meals as the rest of the family do not add gravy until you have removed the baby's portion, as gravy can contain a lot of salt.

It is best to introduce savoury foods prior to sweet foods as babies very quickly develop a sweet tooth! They tend to enjoy pureed carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, turnip and parsnip and any combination of these foods. Babies also love stewed apples and pears or mashed bananas and strawberries!

However, many babies dislike potatoes at the beginning of weaning. When the baby is a little more experienced with tastes and textures you can start adding some potato to his meals.

Let the baby decide when he has had enough of any particular meal. Never force-feed the baby. He only needs a little bit of solid food each day. For some babies a few spoonfuls will be enough; for others a main course and dessert are required!
If he refuses to eat one type of food avoid it for a while and try something else. Return to the disliked food after a few days and try again. Some babies can be very fussy, whereas others eat whatever is placed in front of them!

Take it slowly and it will not be such a big change for either you or your baby. Weaning should be a fun experience for you both. After a very short time your baby will look forward to his solid feeds and will even start to let you know that he wants more!


Tips On Balancing Work And Breastfeeding

New MOMS can continue to breastfeed after returning to work with a little help.

Tips On Balancing Work And Breastfeeding

While many new moms have the best intentions to continue breastfeeding after returning to work, a new survey found that nearly one-third (29 percent) of new mothers who breastfeed stop prematurely due to work-related issues. These issues include having no designated place to pump (57 percent) and no place to store pumped milk (27 percent).

"While the health benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother are undisputed, returning to work can leave breastfeeding moms feeling overwhelmed and frustrated," says Sue Huml, international board-certified lactation consul-tant and member of the Lansinoh Breastfeeding Advisory Board.

"While many mothers may fear returning to work will disrupt the breastfeeding routine they've worked so hard to establish, it is possible and common for women to breastfeed and return to work outside the home. It does take planning, commitment and flexibility, however," advises noted pediatrician Dr. James Sears.

Dr. Sears and Sue Huml offer some tips to help moms successfully ease the transition back to the office and continue to breastfeed while working:

• Invest in a Quality Electric Breast Pump: Many women find that using an electric breast pump helps to keep up their milk supply better than manual pumping and allows for pumping enough milk to have on hand while they are at work. "Look for a pump where you can control the speed and suction, which can enhance the milk flow by mimicking your baby's natural sucking pattern," adds Huml. "The Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump is quiet, which is good for being discreet, and uses a patented system that keeps condensation/breast milk from getting into the tubing and damaging the motor. It also comes with an instructional DVD."

• Stock Up: If possible, mothers should start pumping and freezing their milk about a month before returning to work. Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags are specially designed for freezing expressed breast milk safely.

• Talk with Your Employer: It is important to talk to your supervisor about your pumping schedule and work out a designated area that is safe, clean and private, where you will be able to pump without being disturbed. You can also point out the many benefits of breastfeeding for the employer, such as reduced absenteeism.

Most moms create a pumping schedule that mimics their baby's feeding schedule. As a general rule, it is best to pump every two to three hours that you will be away from your baby.

"Whenever you are not working and can be with your baby you should breastfeed exclusively in order to maintain and build up your milk supply," adds Dr. Sears.


Successful Breastfeeding - Prepare Yourself!

“I’m going to breastfeed”, is a common refrain amongst pregnant women. But what many women don’t do is to prepare for breastfeeding beforehand. They simply make the statement and then put it to the back of their minds. The next time the issue arises is often in the delivery suite when the new mum has just gone through the ordeal of childbirth...

Breastfeeding, preparing to breastfeed

“I’m going to breastfeed”, is a common refrain amongst pregnant women. But what many women don’t do is to prepare for breastfeeding beforehand. They simply make the statement and then put it to the back of their minds. The next time the issue arises is often in the delivery suite when the new mum has just gone through the ordeal of childbirth.

When presented with her newborn, the new mum may be exhausted and the last thing she wants is to have anyone else poking at her. The result? All her good intentions to breastfeed become overshadowed when a bottle is produced and the exhausted mum is told that she can try to give a breastfeed later on in the day!

To stand the best chance of successfully breastfeeding, pregnant women need to prepare during their pregnancy. Successful breastfeeding results from careful planning. And the most important way to successfully breastfeed is to give the newborn baby a breastfeed within half an hour of her birth! Not later on!

Being committed to breastfeeding, but not placing too much pressure on oneself, can work wonders! If a new mum pressurises herself she is likely to end up feeling stressed and, as a result, will be more like to give up breastfeeding early. Having a new baby is stressful enough! By preparing to breastfeed whilst you are still pregnant, you will feel more relaxed about it when the baby is born.

The following will certainly aid you in your breastfeeding experience:

Join a Breastfeeding Support Group to chat to new and experienced breastfeeding mums. Ask questions about breastfeeding and enquire if you can watch some babies being offered the breast.

Observe how each baby is put on the breast.

Look at how different mums hold their babies. Getting the right position is essential to avoid early problems.

Also ask for advice about breastfeeding friendly shops and changing facilities!

Read books, magazines or online articles, to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding successfully.

Get measured for a nursing bra when you are around 38 weeks pregnant.
Many baby stores now offer this service. Try a few different styles to find one that is comfortable. Also purchase a couple of night-time nursing bras.

Nursing pads are essential for absorbing leaks and avoiding embarrassing stains!

Nursing shells can be very useful on nights out, as they will catch leaks. Or you can use them during breastfeeding to collect milk from the breast not being used, storing the milk for later use.

Nipple Creams can help soothe sore nipples.

Front-opening or Nursing Nightdresses or Pyjamas can make it easier to breastfeed at night.

Loose- fitting tops can be comfortable during the day. Try layering so that your back is not exposed when you are feeding. Or use a poncho or wrap if you feel anxious about breastfeeding in front of other people.

A Breast-pump is a fantastic investment as it can be used to collect milk for bottle feeds, making up first solids or when you are away from the baby to prevent engorgement or ease mastitis. Ask other mums to recommend one they liked.

A V-shaped Cushion can make breastfeeding more comfortable as it offers good support for mums back. Or a Nursing Pillow can be used to raise the baby up to a more comfortable height for mum.

A Steriliser is a compact way to keep baby utensils and breast-pump attachments clean and sterile. Some mums find a Gliding chair very useful, particularly for night feeds.

If you are well prepared for breastfeeding there is no reason why you should not succeed.

Breast-milk is nature’s diet for babies; perfectly balanced for a great start to life.


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