Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- When should we decide about breastfeeding?
- Why is the choice so important?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of formula feeding?
- Can we use both forms of feedings for our baby?
- Is there any special preparation required for breastfeeding?
- When can breastfeeding begin?
- What is the proper technique for breastfeeding?
- When should breast pumps be used?
- Should certain foods be avoided while breastfeeding?
- How can one manage minor discomforts related to breastfeeding?
- Clogged milk ducts
- Sore nipples
- When should one seek medical care for problems with breastfeeding?
- Can supplements or medications increase a low milk supply?
- Is it possible to breastfeed while pregnant?
- Is smoking harmful when breastfeeding?
- Do breast implants, surgeries, or reductions affect breastfeeding?
- How should one wean a baby from breastfeeding?
- Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding At A Glance
How should one wean a baby from breastfeeding?
Weaning is the process of transitioning from breastfeeding to other sources of nourishment. There are no established standards on when to wean a baby, although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies receive only breast milk for the first six months of life and a combination of solid foods and breast milk until the baby is at least 1 year old.
Sometimes babies will signal their mothers that it is time to begin weaning; they may nurse for shorter periods of time or appear indifferent, fussy, or distractible when nursing. Other babies may even be resistant to weaning even when the mother is ready. As babies begin to eat more solid foods, their consumption of breast milk may decrease, making breast engorgement less of a problem for the mother.
Weaning does not have to take place all at once. For example, a woman may choose to continue breastfeeding only in the evening, and to wean during the day. Weaning is also easier when the baby has been exposed to another source of milk, such as taking breast milk from a bottle.
No matter when weaning occurs, experts suggest that the process take place gradually. Many women wean by dropping one breastfeeding session a week. Slowing down the process can also help milk production gradually decrease, making engorgement less of a problem. Some mothers prefer to leave the weaning process up to the child; when a child is eating solid foods at every meal, there is often a decreased interest in breastfeeding.
- The ability of the breasts to produce milk diminishes soon after childbirth without the stimulation of breastfeeding.
- Infants triple their total body weight during their first year of life.
- The immunity factors in breast milk can help the baby to fight off infections.
- Breast milk contains vitamins, minerals, and enzymes which aid the baby's digestion.
- Breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for infants.
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk: Policy Statement." Pediatrics 115.2 Feb. 2005.
Last Editorial Review: 1/13/2011
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