Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weaning is wearing. 

The excitement of starting solids with a baby can quickly wear thin. I remember offering rice cereal to my first child, Tom when he was six months old and revelling in the novelty of it. I also remember the novelty wearing off about three weeks later when I realised the extra planning and cooking involved to feed this extra mouth.

Second time around with my daughter Minnie, I wasn’t as excited about the weaning process. But I was a little jovial as I tried to force that first spoonful in.

Third time around, I contemplated not starting solids and whether I could just breastfeed the child forever so as to avoid the whole process (a fleeting thought, mind you!). Anyway, as baby Daphne approached six and-a-half months, I sighed, pulled out the Farax and introduced her to the wonderful world of food.

Sure introducing new flavours to little mouths is hard work but at least you can share the load. Having breastfed my children, I find sharing the task of feeding solids a great way to enlist the family and give me some time out. The glass is always half full!

If you have chosen to breastfeed your children, well done on making that decision. You might be one of 90 per cent of Australian women that give it a go. If you’re still feeding when your baby is six months of age, kudos to you for persevering. According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, less than 50 per cent of breastfeeding mums make it this far.

Breastfeeding is hard work. Even if you succeed with your first child, you have to start all over again and teach the skills to your second. I’ve had cracked nipples and blundered my way through attachment for all three children. But somehow we made it past the first eight weeks. And in my experience, if you can get that far, it’s easy to continue - but, I never suffered from low supply or continual bouts of mastitis. I have met mums who struggled and were desperate to feed their babies. And you know what, for all its health benefits, I don’t think breastfeeding is the ‘be all and end all’. Not if it makes mum unhappy. All babies need a calm and happy mum and if that means giving your baby a bottle, then don’t feel guilty about it.   

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