Weaning Your Baby

Weaning means when your baby would be shifted from breastfeeding to solid foods. This may occur naturally or you may have to work on it. You also feel excited that both of you are going to be independent.

When to wean?

Breastfeeding provides benefits to both mom and baby and weaning is a part of breastfeeding experience.

Babies wean at different ages as every baby has different needs so weaning is an individual decision, and sometimes early weaning is the right decision. If mother is too stressed to breastfeed while the baby has start eating solid food weaning is the right decision. Most babies do adapt easily on formula.

Avoid abrupt weaning

Abrupt weaning should always be avoided because if you suddenly stop nursing, your breasts will become engorged, and you may develop a breast infection or breast abscess. You may fall into depression because of the drop in hormone levels.  Mothers with a history of depression should especially consider this when making decisions about weaning.

Weaning should be a gradual process rather than an abrupt event. Weaning may take days, weeks, or months.

Letting your baby set the pace for weaning spares you the unpleasant task of weaning him before he is ready.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Each day eliminate one feeding and stick to it for several days to decrease slowly your milk supply.  After a couple of weeks, the child’s need to nursing comes down. The child will then be nursing once or twice a day like just after getting in the morning and before going to bed.
  • Ask your baby’s doctor to recommend the appropriate formula for your baby because babies are not ready for cow’s milk until they are a year old.
  • Offer a bottle or pacifier to your baby because young babies have the need to suck.
     
    Most toddlers are ready to wean because they eat a variety of solid foods and breast milk is no longer their only source of nutrition.

However, some older babies make the transition from infancy to the stage of toddler without indicating any sign of weaning. Weaning an older baby is not an easy job but it can be done as weaning is natural experience for babies.

Some tips to help you wean your baby:

 

  • Niether offer, nor refuse breast. Follow a demand-supply rule. Nurse him only when he is really adamantbut don’t offer to nurse at other times.
  • Offer regular meals, snacks, and drinks to minimize baby’s hunger and thirst.
  • Babies nurse for reasons including comfort, boredom, and to fall asleep. If dad is around, ask him to put your baby to sleep, even in the night so that his habit of nursing in the morning, will be stopped.
  • Shorten the duration of nursing by gently removing the breast from his mouth by diverting his attention to something else.