Weaning Baby Pt. 4

Sorry for the delay on last month’s final blog. I’ve learned over the years to listen to my insides when I need to focus elsewhere. I strive to be transparent with all of my clients as a doula, and I plan to practice the same ethics with my blog.

So, last month we discussed various topics and incidents that take place with weaning a baby. Today we will simply talk safe breastmilk storage, and I will be listing all of my resources for last month’s topic.

Breastmilk Storage

·      It can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 hours

·      It can be stored in the fridge for up to 8 days. Be sure to keep the breastmilk stored in the rear of the fridge where it stays consistently cold. Storing them in the door can shorten its lifespan.

·      It can be stored in the freezer (again, away from the door) for up to 3-4 months, as well as a separate deep freezer for up to 6 months.

Breastmilk has a tendency to carry a metallic smell/flavor after it has been stored. This does not mean the milk has gone bad. The active enzymes (that help baby break down the milk) will break down the fats, often resulting in what parents describe as an off smell or flavor. To avoid this, you can bring breastmilk almost to a boil, let it cool down, and then store it. This process is called scalding the milk. When breastmilk goes bad, it smells putrid, I promise you will know when its not suitable for baby.  

You can store the milk in multiple containers. The most commonly used are the plastic bags. These are great for marking dates, and not taking up too much space in the freezer. Some parents prefer glass or hard shell containers. Keep in mind that milk follows similar rules to other frozen liquids. You will want to leave enough space for the breastmilk to expand when frozen. Be sure to store all breastmilk according to date, oldest first and newest last. Try and make the effort to store it that way, that way anybody can take the liberty of thawing and feeding.

When thawing breastmilk, keep it in the container and immerse the whole container in hot water. Be sure to swirl the milk to combine the fats and reduce any hot spots, and test the temp on your wrist before giving to baby. It’s ill-advised to use a microwave to thaw breast milk. A microwave oven heat kills many of the living immune cells that help fight disease, you are also risking hot spots in the milk that can burn baby’s mouth. Once milk has been completely thawed it can be refrigerated for the next 24 hrs. and then must be discarded.

Weaning Your Baby Resources

http://www.workandpump.com/

http://www.modernmom.com/f0263948-3b3d-11e3-be8a-bc764e04a41e.html

http://kellymom.com/ages/weaning/wean-how/depression-and-weaning/

http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/pumping-and-breastmilk-storage.html

http://www.lalecheleague.org/faq/weanhowto.html

Weaning Baby pt. 3

Now, for the later stages. Introducing solids is an exciting time for parents. By now baby is sitting up on their own, giggling, and even making demands. The timing of the introduction of solids varies for every baby, as well as every mother. Weaning a baby with solids is helpful, because it is an entirely different feeding process for baby, in comparison to bottle/breastfeeding. This way instead of refusing the breast and fighting baby to take a bottle, you can offer a new experience to share with mom, or whomever is feeding them at the time. This practice is often referred to as “don’t offer, don’t refuse.” Once you and your little one establish a rhythm with this, you can begin to utilize breastfeeding as a soothing technique. Maybe a tender intimate moment before naps and bed, or a nurturing moment after a bad spill at the park. This is often how mothers reestablish and/or continue the connection with their older children after bringing new babies home. Some of us can’t even fathom what it would be like still breastfeeding a five-year-old, or even a three-year-old. Oddly enough, a great deal of moms feel this way until they have found the love for these moments with their babies that is the pure joy of making the right decisions for you and your little ones. I commend mamas these days for offering encouragement and not judging other mamas for their choices. These decisions only grow into greater issues in the future, and we need to be able to feel confident that we have our children’s best interests at heart.

One aspect of weaning baby that often gets overlooked is the hormonal changes that come with reducing milk production. Prolactin,  and oxytocin  work in tandem to produce and bring milk down. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone brings on feelings of calm and comfort, it works as a bonding agent for you and baby. It is hypothesized that any abrupt stop of breastfeeding can cause an influx in your hormones inducing feelings of sadness, depression, and even irritability. Some mother's will be more susceptible  to depression then others. This can be due to past history of mental illness, it could just be the current circumstance. Some ways to reduce the emotional drop would be to gradually decrease your feedings. Try and plan as far ahead as possible, removing one feeding a week and replacing with hand expression. Any sign of depression or change in normal behavior should be addressed. I have pasted a link below to a bonus blog of mine that will cover how to address depression and knowing your options

Weaning takes patience and persistence, similar to teaching your body to produce you are now conditioning it to stop producing. The frustration often arrives when bay becomes frustrated, and mama is exhausted from the changes in her body. Remember to give yourself and baby a break every once in a while, that comfort you exchange will help nurture your experience. Find joy in letting baby taste new flavors, and have a camera ready, those moments can be absolutely priceless. 

Next week we talk storing breast milk basics, in addition to my list of resources for this month's topic!

Here's a bonus link to my latest blog featured with Stork Maternity Consulting. Here I address the steps you can take to get help during times of emotional turmoil:  http://storkmaternityconsulting.com/blog/your-new-identity-mom