Posted by: Mommy | 2009-05-13

How long to breastfeed

Hi Doc

I have a 8.5 month old baby son. I still breastfeed him, but he seems to have lost interest in milk.
When I try and breastfeed him, he bites me!
Sometimes I give him formula milk fin a bottle and he drinks that.
My baby is doing good on solids and our whole family is following a balanced diet prescribed by a dietician.

It is just that my little one seems to prefer juice or rooibos tea to milk.

I am considering to stop breastfeeding him, but I feel guilty because I breastfed my eldest up to ten months and also my little boy has had middle ear infection about a week ago and I do not want to stop just as he needs the breastmilk most!
What is the difference - in terms of my baby' s health and wellbeing - between weaning him now (8.5 months) or at ten months?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Mommy
The World Health Organisation recommends that all babies should, if possible, be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life and for as long as possible thereafter. You have achieved 6 months of breastfeeding lus another 2,5 months, so there should not be a problem if you wean your lad now esp as he seems to be refusing the breast. It is, however, very important that he still drinks milk because this is the best source of calcium and other nutrients for a small child. Get him used to drinking rooibos tea with milk and go easy on the fruit juice as recent research indicates that excessive intakes of fruit juice can be detrimental to young children. This because: a) fruit juice replaces other liquids like milk which have a higher nutrient content (milk contains high levels of calcium, high-quality protein, B vitamins and other minerals whereas some fruit juices only contribute a bit of vit C), and the fructose content of fruit juice has been identified as a potential cause of weight gain in children. So while you can give him half a cup of diluted fruit juice once a day, and rooibos tea, make sure that the latter is made with milk and that he has about 2 cups of milk a day. Other foods that are rich in calcium, include yoghurt and cottage cheese.
Small children tend to develop colds, respiratory tract and ear infections for the first 2-3 years of their lives during the period while they are building up their own immunity. The fact that you have breastfed your baby for nearly 9 months will give him an excellent advantage in building up his own immunity based on the antibodies he has reached from you, so there is NO reason to feel guilty.
Best regards

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