What To Do When You Are Not Ready To Wean

For the first few weeks of birth, when I had my daughter I struggled with breastfeeding, first, my nipples were inverted so my baby could not latch on to it.

Then when I overcame that, I  struggled with lactation, so many times I would put her to breast and it would feel as if there was no milk coming out anymore, then as result of poor latching, I had sores on the nipple which made breastfeeding painful for me. If anyone had told me I would breastfeed my daughter till she was over a year old, I would call such a person a liar.

Fast forward to two months after birth, breastfeeding gradually became a second nature. To the point that I unconsciously associated carrying my baby in my arms with breastfeeding. She too became so used to breastfeeding that whenever I carried her she would reach for the breast. For me, it was an enriching time because I bonded well with my daughter.

Not everyone is eager to wean his or her babies off the breast, so if you are in this category read on. When you continue to breastfeed, it offers you the opportunity to nourish and nurture your baby and perhaps you have returned to work, breastfeeding enables you to reconnect with your baby.

Here are the things you need to think about when you are not ready to wean your baby.

1.The timing of weaning is personal. Don’t let anyone pressure you, the choice of when to wean your baby is yours to decide which is determined by what works best depending on your family dynamics. If you are okay with it, then continue breastfeeding.

2. Continued breastfeeding improves health outcomes and when you continue to breastfeed, your baby’s health gets better as the day goes by. So, babies who are breastfed longer are healthier than those who are breastfed for a short time.

3. Note your reason for wanting to continue breastfeeding and keep at it. Many women feel somewhat when their babies are over a year and they are still breastfeeding them. It is quite saddening that the people mounting this pressure are fellow women who should know better. They call the baby of about a year plus ‘old woman’, ‘old man’ and then ‘remain the breast milk for the others oo’ indirectly shaming the mother for breastfeeding.

4. It has been proven that the length of time a mother breastfeeds is socially driven not health driven. The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding until your baby is two years old. If you really want to keep breastfeeding stick to your plan and wait it out till when you feel it is right for you and your baby to stop.


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Clearing The Path For Pumping Breastmilk At Work

After the joy and excitement of having a baby, you still have to get back to work, for a number of reasons. First there’s the economic recession and the need for financial stability in homes. if you’re getting back to work and you want to keep breastfeeding, you might have to pump and express breastmilk while away from your baby. Thus you might be faced with additional challenges, pumping at work requires research, practice and patience.

You rent or buy equipment; learn how to use the equipment; we purchase the containers needed to store the milk; and then we plan when, where and how this is going to happen while we juggle work and life.

In some organisations, a nursing mother would be given time to pump and have access to a clean private room that contains refrigerator so she can express and store. But this is rare, women have had to express breast milk inside their workplace kitchen or toilet.

Most organisations don’t even recognise the fact that a nursing mom needs to pump hence the provision of time, space and refrigerator is seen as the woman’s business and not theirs. Imagine women having to pump in dirty places like the toilet, milk that’ll be their baby’s next meal, no wonder most moms wean their baby before getting back to work.

And here’s what a new mom can do to ensure that she’s given the time and space to pump when they return to work;

1. Negotiate

On getting back to work, your supervisor already know a lot has changed. Have a talk about the need to have some privacy and the time to express milk.

2. Have a plan

This will probably see a lot of revisions in the years to come but you still need a plan on when to express and how many minute you’re going to spend expressing. Include this in your plan;
• Potential locations you could pump in private.
• What you need (chair, refrigerator to keep milk cold).
• Estimated time needed.
• Suggested schedule (one that works for both you and your employer).

3. Share your plan

After coming up with a plan, share it with the HR department and/or your manager. A little talk might be needed, be prepared.

Finally, I’ll say this, you need support, in your workplace and at home. Someone who you can share your struggles with, who will lend a listening ear like your mom friend at work, your mom or even other Mamalettes, just reach out to someone who will make the journey easier.

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