HealthWatch: Breastfeeding and Weaning

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that moms should exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a baby’s life, but every mother is different, and navigating the first year of a baby’s life can be stressful.

One area mother is beginning the process of weaning her child off of breastfeeding with the support of a team of experts that has helped her through the entire process.

When Janelle Lewis’ baby was born 11 months ago, she knew she wanted to breastfeed.

“There’s a lot of benefits nutritionally and bonding-wise,” Janelle said.

As Janelle’s baby approaches her first baby, the first time mother is preparing to begin the weaning process.

“I’ve kind of started doing things to prepare myself for weaning,” Janelle said. “I normally pump twice when she sleeps, and I’ve been scaling back on time with that.”

Scaling back hasn’t been easy.

“It’s hard when you see it as a bonding experience,” Janelle said.

Janelle decided to visit Dr. Stephen Sehring, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center and Aurora BayCare’s Lactation Support Team.

“We have breastfeeding and lactation consultants that are available in any period, even before they have their baby,” Dr. Sehring said. “They’re really used a lot right after the baby, but we want people to know that they’re still there weeks and months later.”

Janelle first sought help from the team as she began breastfeeding.

“I talked to a lot of different lactation consultants and I got lots of different tips,” she said. “We did pretty much everything to make sure that I was able to make it to my goal.”

Now that Janelle is closing in on her goal of one year, she has returned to Aurora BayCare for help in the weaning process.

“I was just given advice as to just do it when you’re emotionally ready and go slowly with it,” she said. “You can’t really just cut yourself off completely.”

That’s because weaning, like breastfeeding, is different for every mom.

“There’s no one right way to do it,” Dr. Sehring said.

There may not be one right way, but with the help of the Lactation Support Team at Aurora BayCare, Janelle has found the right way for her.

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