Q: Hello Dr Ketch, please ma’am, my baby is 10 months old. She doesn’t like to eat baby food…not even milk. And she is very fat. She takes little of solid food that will not satisfy her. Now, my mother-in-law is telling me to stop breastfeeding her so she can eat very well. I did 7 months exclusive breastfeeding for her. What should I do ma’am?
A: Congratulations on your baby. And well done for exclusively breastfeeding her, even with opposition to this.
All babies should ideally be exclusively breastfed from birth till 6 months. This means breast milk only with no water. There’s a reason why the cut of time is 6 months. Breast milk is rich in all the nutrients that babies need for their first few months of life and it also is rich in substances that improve baby’s immunity. That’s why we love it 😀 However, breast milk is deficient in iron. In the first few months of life, this is not an issue because the iron stores the baby is born with, are able to supply the baby its iron needs and so baby does not need any additional iron…until around 6 months of age! So, there’s the catch 22 🙂 Continuing on exclusive breastfeeding beyond the 6 month mark may be laying your baby open to iron deficiency anaemia.
Exclusively breastfed babies usually look nice and plump as babies eat and absorb all the delicious nutrients in breast milk. Provided you were not feeding baby formula or any other foods during the first 6 months period, you need not worry. Most babies would usually strongly oppose weaning…which is not abnormal. Even as adults, most people oppose change preferring to continue with that which is familiar even if not better than the new! 😀
However, once you start weaning, be mindful of the foods that baby gets and ensure that she is eating a well balanced diet with foods from different food groups. Is this an easy process? I doubt that most mothers would describe weaning as a period they enjoyed 😀 However, you do have to give it all your attention. It’s easy and convenient to give baby processed meals like noodles and the like and then complain that they eat nothing else. We all need to make the effort to provide healthy, nutritious meals so that this lays a foundation for the baby’s later taste in food. Remember that each new food should be introduced, one at a time. Usually, try out a new food for about a week so that you can confirm that baby is not reacting adversely, in any way, to it before introducing another food. For more on what foods to start up weaning with, please click on this link:
In the meantime, explain to your mother-in-law that breastfeeding is actually recommended for babies until 2 years of age and so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what you’re doing.
Have a great week ahead, people.