Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Dear Doc | Is breast still the best?

Published:Tuesday | July 31, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Q Dear Doc, I know they say breast is best, but I want to stop my baby from breastfeeding now after six months of doing it, but I have tried everything and it is not working. She just cries non-stop and I feel so bad. I just give in and give her the breast again. I know she has to stop breastfeeding, but I feel like a wicked mother to be forcing her to stop.

Can you please help me?

A Your issue is shared with many mothers, and is not one to feel bad over. You are right. Breast milk is best for your baby, hence the term "breast is best". It is recommended that breastfeeding without any supplementation, (no added infant formula, water, or solid foods) should occur for the first six months after birth. Partial breastfeeding is then recommended until the infant is at least 12 months old, and for as long as a woman and her child chooses to continue after that.

You are not a wicked mother. Weaning can be a very emotional time for the mother and child and some women develop feelings of guilt. Although this is a normal reaction, you should feel proud of any breastfeeding you have done, knowing that you have provided a wonderful start to your child's health and well-being.

During the weaning process, your child may need more attention and cuddle time to take the place of nursing time. Being flexible and understanding will go far in the weaning process and make it a comfortable time for everyone involved.

However, women choose to stop breastfeeding (wean) at different times and for different reasons. Some babies wean quickly. Other babies can take months to wean.

When trying to wean, do not stop breastfeeding all at once. Instead, try to reduce your breastfeeding gradually. Instead, you can: drop one breastfeeding session every two to five days, shorten each breastfeeding session or increase the time between breastfeeding sessions.

You can also try to wean by stopping the daytime feedings first, and still breastfeed at night or before bedtime. The night or bedtime feedings are usually the last feedings to be stopped.

When weaning, you can give your baby a bottle or a cup. Most babies younger than six months old are weaned to a bottle. Most babies older than one year are weaned to a cup. Babies between the ages of 6 months and one year old can be weaned to either a bottle or a cup.

To help your baby's first bottle or cup feedings go smoothly, you can have someone else give your baby the bottle or cup, give the bottle or cup before your baby gets too hungry, put breast milk in the bottle or cup or use a cup with two handles and a snap-on lid (if you use a cup).


Dealing with a stifling snooze


Q Dear Doc, I need some help. My wife keeps complaining about my snoring. She says I sound like a truck, and that it is loud and very disturbing. I used to accuse her of trying to stifle me silent, so I left her to sleep in another room. But now I still jump up out of my sleep feeling like I'm choking. I am now too ashamed to confess it is still happening so I am asking you what could be causing this, and what I can do to help stop it.

A I am very happy to know you have now realised that your wife was not choking you. It would sound as though you may have sleep apnea and that is what is responsible for that stifling sensation.

Sleep apnea is a condition that makes you stop breathing for short periods while you are asleep. People with sleep apnea do not know that they stop breathing when they are sleeping, but they do sometimes wake up startled or gasping for breath. They also often hear complaints from loved ones that they snore.

In obstructive sleep apnea, you stop breathing because your throat narrows or closes. This is what I think is affecting you.

The main symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, tiredness, and daytime sleepiness.

Other symptoms can include: restless sleep, waking up choking or gasping, morning headaches, dry mouth or sore throat, or waking up feeling unrested or groggy

Here are some things that might help:

- Try to avoid sleeping on your back.

- Lose weight, if you are overweight

- Avoid alcohol, because it can make sleep apnea worse

The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is a device that keeps your airway open while you sleep. This treatment is called "continuous positive airway pressure," or CPAP. People getting CPAP wear a face mask at night that keeps them breathing.

If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor. It may also help to have your wife observe your sleep to help share what she notices with the doctor.

If your doctor confirms this diagnosis, he may recommend a CPAP machine.