By Ceres Chill
Photo by Mariel and Joey Lifestyle Photography
First of all, you should feel *amazing*, because 10 months is a huge deal! You have given your baby the best possible start to life, and experienced some great health benefits (like quicker healing and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers) while doing it!
Now that you’ve reached this epic milestone, you’re probably getting comfortable with leaving home without your baby. Your baby is probably getting comfortable with things as well - like all the new solid foods they’ve been trying for the last few months!
So, where do we go from here?
Your baby is a little older now, and has likely been able to enjoy a variety of textures and tastes for the past 3-4 months. You might now know what kind of flavors they enjoy, and what they don't like.
If you haven’t already been doing so, now would be the time to expand the textures and types of food that they’re eating. It’s thought that by the time your baby is around a year old, they should be eating the same kinds of food that the rest of your family is eating - with some exceptions, of course.
To help reach that goal, try offering them tastes of the meal that you're eating, and feed them at the same time as everyone else is eating. This will help get them used to the breakfast, lunch and dinner schedule!
If you really feel like your baby is turned off of a certain flavor, try offering it to them in a different way. Sometimes babies need to try a food up to 10 times before they accept it into their diets!
*Your baby’s appetite can change from day to day, so don’t be worried if they’re eating less than they were the day before. Funny faces are also totally normal when trying new foods - try not to take it as a sign that they don’t like the flavor!
You should be introducing some common allergy foods before your baby reaches 12 months of age.
According to Lancaster General Health,
"While any food can potentially cause an allergic reaction, the biggest culprits for babies are:
- Cow milk (Remember not to give cow’s milk to babies under 1 year old. You can introduce products made with cow milk such as yogurt and cheese earlier)
- Tree nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, etc.)
About 5 percent of children have food allergies, and around 40 percent of children with a food allergy are allergic to more than one food. Certain allergies, such as those to milk, egg, wheat and soy may resolve throughout childhood."
In our 6 month check-in, we recommended offering one 'single-ingredient' new food from each food group every few days, and watch for reactions. The same applies when introducing common allergy foods. Give your baby a very small amount of the single-ingredient food to minimize the potential reaction. If there's no reaction, you can begin gradually increasing the amount of the ingredient that you're adding to your baby's meals. So, if you're adding a small bit of milk in their oatmeal and you don't see a reaction, you can slightly increase the amount of milk added next time. Once an allergy is ruled out, be sure to continue offering that food to your baby overtime to minimize the chance of them developing an allergy to that ingredient in the future.
It's generally recommended to introduce potential allergens to your baby earlier in the day, and then watch them over the next 1-2 hours as the reaction could be delayed. Be sure to speak to your pediatrician before starting this process!
If your baby does have food allergies, check out these amazing resources:
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Weaning is a very personal decision, and it really depends on the needs of you and your baby. Some moms wean before 6 months, some moms wean at 3 years. Some babies wean themselves!
Please note that the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommends that parents breastfeed for two years and beyond if possible, so there's absolutely no pressure to stop nursing If you're not ready. It's perfectly healthy for you and your baby to continue your journey.
If you feel that your time nursing your baby is coming to an end though, remember these helpful tips from our 6 month check-in (LINK BLOG!!!!):
1. Gradually drop nursing sessions
Try to drop morning or afternoon sessions first, since night sessions are usually the ones that give your child the most comfort. You can start slow and drop one session to see how things go, then wait a few days until you try dropping another one. This will help with engorgement, which might happen if you stop too suddenly.
2. Distract, distract, distract
If you're dropping a morning feed, try to wake up and give them a bottle in place of that nursing session. You can also ask your partner or a caregiver to wake them up and give them a bottle instead, so they're less likely to miss breastfeeding in that moment. Out of sight, out of mind!
3. Have shorter feeds
If your baby tends to fall asleep on the breast, try keeping them up and engaged, and moving them to the floor to play.
4. Set boundaries
It is okay to say no. You are allowed to set limits, like not nursing when you're out or only breastfeeding once a day on busy days. Give your baby something else to eat so they're full and fed, and soak in that bit of freedom!
5. Know that they will be OK!
Mom guilt is normal, and while weaning is definitely a big deal for you and your baby, they will be okay and you will both get through this! Do your best to keep your baby happy and healthy - that's the most important thing.
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The decision to stop breastfeeding can bring up a lot of emotions. It's completely normal to feel happy that you can have your own body back, but also sad that your nursing journey is over. It makes you feel so close to your baby, and losing that is intense! It's such a bittersweet feeling.
Some moms choose to get a keepsake, like breastmilk jewelry or a breastmilk stone, to have something to look back on and be proud of. Mammas Liquid Love is owned by an amazing mom and artist who creates beautiful pendants, earrings, rings and bracelets to commemorate your journey!
Remember with Roberts Keepsakes is also an epic option if you want to go the jewelry route - they're a veteran-owned business ran by a stay-at-home mom. She makes incredible one-of-a-kind pieces to honor your motherhood and breastfeeding journey. There are so many epic options out there depending on what you want to do!
Use code MOMLOVE for 10% off of your Mamma's Liquid Love order!
You have almost reached a year, and it's so important to step back and look at how far you've come. You've done all the amazing things for many, many months. You have kept your baby healthy, fed, and happy. You have kept yourself and your family alive. You have done it all.
Be proud of that - it makes you so strong ❤️