Do I need to wean the breast or the bottle after my baby turns 1?

Do I need to wean the breast or the bottle after my baby turns 1? As you approach your baby’s first birthday, you may wonder if you need to wean from breastfeeding. Your elders or friends or even paediatrician may suggest that you have done it for long enough and now it is, at best, not of much value and, at worst, a bad habit you will never get rid off. Well, we already know that nursing to sleep (or nursing in general) is not a bad habit and is, in fact, the biological norm. WHO recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 years. Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler has argued that the natural age of weaning for human babies is between 3 and 5 years by looking at various “life-history” variables (such as length of gestation, birth weight, growth rate, age at sexual maturity, age at eruption of teeth, life span, etc.) in primates and correlating them with their age of weaning, and then extrapolating that to humans. The second year of life is actually FULL of milestones, regressions and tough phases. There are clear regressions at 16 months, 18 months, 21 months and 24 months. In fact, toddler sleep is a whole different ballgame from infant sleep. Breastfeeding can be a life-saver during these tough phases. Breastmilk also continues to provide nutrition and antibodies in the second year of life and beyond. In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides: 29% of energy requirements 43% of protein requirements 36% of calcium requirements 75% of vitamin A requirements 76% of folate requirements 94% of vitamin B12 requirements 60% of vitamin C requirements — Dewey 2001 Breastfeeding is an invaluable sleep tool and can see you through regressions, teething, illness and regular wakings with minimal fuss. It is also a wonderful parenting tool in general and can be a source of connection, emotional regulation, comfort and so much more in your relationship with your child. In general, the benefits of breastfeeding to natural term – or when baby weans naturally – far outweigh the costs, if any. As far as bottles go, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends weaning them by the age of 18 months. There are organizations that recommend weaning at 12 months. This encompasses bottles containing all kinds of milk – human, animal or formula. Bottles do cause pooling of milk in the mouth and can cause tooth decay if used at night. Bottles can also cause dental issues like overbite or teeth protrusion. They have been linked with respiratory risks as well. However, weaning bottles needs to be approached with a lot of care and empathy. As we know, children do have a natural suckling instinct which they would naturally outgrow sometime between 3 and 7 years. Breastfed babies do not need to be deprived of it but bottle-fed babies do, which is immensely unfair to the babies. Therefore, bottle weaning should not be harsh or abrupt. It should be done over several months with a progressive transition to cups. Milk consumed at night from a bottle can be diluted with water very, very gradually – like 10 ml every two weeks – so that baby’s body gets used to taking in those calories during the day and also accustomed to consuming water instead of milk at night.

How can I handle my newborns’ fussy evenings?

Newborn Fussy in Evening

How can I handle my newborns’ fussy evenings? Evenings with newborns are called “the witching hour” as babies often cry inconsolably at this time of day. They may be fussy at the breast or they may cluster feed. They may refuse to sleep, though they look tired. Sometimes, this evening fussiness crosses over into what some doctors call “colic” – the infamous, unexplained phenomenon of a baby crying for 3 hours per day, 3 times a week for more than 3 weeks. Why Are Babies Fussy in the Evenings? There are several theories on what causes this evening fussiness. The first scapegoat, of course, is breastfeeding and we often hear people around us saying “baby is not getting enough milk” and then suggestions for offering top feeds begin. However, this is usually not the case. Babies do cluster feed and nurse very frequently. They could be tanking up their little bellies for the night ahead. They could be overstimulated and overtired from the day’s happenings. They may remember mum being active at this time during her pregnancy and want to be held, rocked and nurtured in the same way. Interestingly, anthropologists have found that babies in many traditional societies don’t have colic or evening fussiness. These babies are usually wrapped to their parents all day, nurse several times an hour and sleep on demand. Here are some ideas on how to soothe baby during the witching hour: ▲ Offer to nurse often▲ Burp baby and check for gas▲ Soothe with sound – play music or white noise, shush or hum while walking or rocking▲ Soothe with rhythmic motion – rock or sway with music or humming.▲ Wear baby in a sling or carrier▲ Change the caregiver as babies sometimes respond differently to a new touch and the primary caregiver sometimes just needs a break. This is a great time for daddies to step in and walk, rock or play with babies.▲ Go outside. Many babies calm down instantly outdoors.▲ Reduce stimulation by lowering light levels, number of people and noise.▲ Try a gentle massage or a warm bath, if the baby likes them.▲ Vary the nursing position or try nursing in motion. It’s helpful to have a menu of ways in which to soothe the baby. Often, something that worked before stops working and we need to try a new method or even a combination of methods.