Everyone knows that the best food for a baby is mother’s milk. But, unfortunately, not everyone is able to breastfeed on their own. What should a young mom do in case her child isn’t getting enough breastmilk? Can formula replace human milk and be just as nutritious? Let’s find out.
Is weaning from breastfeeding dangerous?
The short answer is there are certain risks related to early weaning but they are not extremely high. In each specific situation, the consequences might be different, both negative and positive. The medically positive ones, however, are much rarer. This is why medical professionals always recommend opting for breastfeeding if possible. There are at least a couple of reasons for that:
- breastfed babies and their moms are less susceptible to certain diseases and conditions;
- infants on a mother’s milk diet are less prone to diabetes.
- breastmilk can also provide protection against certain colds and viruses
How long should you breastfeed your baby?
In general, doctors recommend breastfeeding at least during the first six months of a baby’s life. After this, you can introduce complementary foods in your child’s diet while still giving them breastmilk until they are about 2 years old. You can choose not to wean them for a longer period of time, of course, it all depends on you and your baby.
The composition of human milk changes over time, but there is no point after which milk turns into water and provides no nutrients at all. It’s just that over time babies get more nutrients from other foods, and they become preferable for them and their mothers.
Can infant formula replace breast milk?
Unfortunately, formula can’t be completely identical to breast milk. Breast milk has a huge number of biologically active components, such as proteins, oligosaccharides, and a variety of bacteria, on top of having thousands of other known components. Breast milk is practically magic!
Fortunately, the composition and quality of baby formulae have significantly improved over the past decades. Infant food manufacturers do their best to make their products as similar to the real thing as possible. Holle, for example, offers a line of products based on goat’s milk. They are much easier to digest and more filling. Various kinds of HiPP baby formula are designed for babies from 0 to 1 year old and older, children with allergies, reflux issues, and sensitive digestive systems. This means that whenever there’s a need to switch to formula, you can safely do that without endangering your child’s health and wellbeing. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that asking for a pediatrician’s recommendations on your baby’s diet is always a good idea.
If you have to wean your baby, it’s better to do that gradually, but there is no perfect pattern. Usually, at two to four years old, children choose to stop eating their moms’ milk on their own.
If weaning is planned for a certain period, breastmilk should be gradually replaced by formula or, if a baby’s age allows, by milk and/or complementary foods. Do it at a pace that’s comfortable for both you and your child so that everyone has time to get used to changes.
Before You Wean!
Before you completely wean your child, consider the other surprising uses for breast milk, other than feeding your baby. You might be surprised to know that breast milk has many other incredible uses, such as treating an ear infection, clearing up acne, soothing mild tooth pain, and even healing diaper rashes, cuts, and scrapes too!
Aside from these healing properties, it even has cosmetic uses you might not know about. One mother uses her breast milk to whiten her teeth, soften her skin and keep her hair healthy.
These intriguing uses of breast milk greatly contribute to the empowerment of women which is why we think it is so cool that one woman handcrafts breastmilk jewelry to symbolize the power breastmilk holds.