A breastfeeding baby was separated from her mother for the strangest of reasons. Was there a point to this inhuman act? Read on!
A US-born baby was denied access to her mother at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, according to this report. Her Sudanese mum, who is a legal permanent resident in US, was separated from her 11-month-old breastfeeding baby, as she was detained alone, unsure of her future in the country. The mum and daughter pined for each other while attorneys fought to keep her from being deported. Inhuman? On various levels, yes!
While it is absolutely understandable that a government mandate of this magnitude is bound to cause havoc for the affected people, separating a mother and child during that process seems unnecessary and plain cruel. Considering the baby is 11-months-old, we can hope she had been introduced to other baby food by then. However, had that not been the case, the child’s plight would have been unimaginable.
Of course, one can't anticipate and prepare our babies for such incidents. However, after a certain age, introducing outside food is advisable. Even if you believe in extended breastfeeding, relying solely on that for all nutritional purposes is perhaps not what even a qualified doctor would suggest.
If planning to wean children off breastfeeding, it will be less traumatic for them and easier for you if you start the process gradually. Go around changing your child’s routine gradually over weeks or months since, for many toddlers and older children, breastfeeding is more about security and comfort, than food. Here are some tips to gently wean your toddler and older children off breastmilk:
- Limit nursing sessions: Drop one breastfeed at a time. Wait for at least a week before you drop the next one. This will also help you deal with breast engorgement. Suddenly stopping breastfeed may be painful for you as well.
- Commit to the decision: No one ever said it was going to be easy. but then what about child rearing is easy? Your bub may throw tantrums. He may cry non-stop for hours. When he is not crying, he may just be cranky and you might be tempted to take a break from weaning, just one last time. NEVER do that. That's a hint for the child that crying and tantrums are the keys for his favourite food.
- Drop the daytime feeds first: Most often than not, breastfeeding for older children is more about comfort. They crave for it more at night. So if you are contemplating to drop one breastfeed at a time, start with a daytime session and then gradually drop any bedtime or night-time feeds.
- Introduce a few limits: Don't breastfeed when out. Insist on finishing lunch before he gets his lunchtime feed. Avoid breastfeeding the bub to help him fall asleep. This will be the most difficult transition for both, him and you.
- Introduce more activities in his routine: Increase his playtime. Take him out for playdates. Try replacing bedtime breastfeeding with bedtime reading sessions. This will also inculcate the absolutely amazing habit of reading early on.
For me what worked liked magic was an out-of-blue work-related tour. I had no time to prepare my baby or myself (and OMG! the engorgement pain was not something I can express in words!). My parents and husband had a tough time on day one, but by day two, 'out of sight' actually led to 'out of mind'. On the fourth day when I arrived, sick with an engorged pair of breasts, my little one behaved as if she was never breastfed. And this is when she was all of 16 months. The point I'm trying to make is, more often, it's the mum who either takes the guilt trip for 'depriving' the child of his favourite food, whereas for the baby, by now it is just good-old-comfort. Skip the guilt and understand that this too is a phase.
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