Breastfeeding is and has always been a special moment between mother and child.
More importantly, breastfeeding creates a bond like none other between the duo. However, as your little one advances in age, a time will come when he or she will have to let go of breast milk and progress onto other real foods.
This transition is usually a tough one for many mothers and babies. Not to worry though, this piece will walk you through all you need to know about weaning your baby. Hope you enjoy it!
1. Do It Gradually
Weaning may be introduced gradually so that both you and your baby can get used to the change. For instance, you may skip one breastfeeding session every week—probably the one that’s the most difficult or that your kid doesn’t seem to enjoy—and reduce the number of feedings until they’re just getting bottles and solid foods.
You’ll produce less and less milk if you go gently, which will make weaning more bearable for you. Additionally, because your baby will gradually become used to nursing less and drinking more from the bottle or cup, it will make weaning easier for them.
2. Be Prepared to Meet with Some Resistance
It’s common for infants to fight weaning. Just know that most young children will start eating solid meals and drinking liquids from a sippy cup without any issues after grieving the loss of the breast for a day or two. Regardless of how much they would want to breastfeed, healthy babies will eat when they are very hungry.
3. Pay Attention to Your Emotions
Your baby isn’t the only one who must get used to weaning; everyone else must as well. You must manage a maelstrom of emotions, such as the desire to regain control of your body. It’s very normal to have feelings of nostalgia as your baby gets older, even if you may be happy to put a stop to breastfeeding for good. Your best option? Weaning is an emotional process, so embrace your independence, be aware of it, and speak to other nursing moms who can empathize.
4. Be Armed with Information on Soothing Engorgement
You may have engorgement in your breasts if breastfeeding stops abruptly, which is another reason to proceed slowly. Why? Your milk ducts don’t get the message that they need to produce less milk, thus there is nowhere for this to go. Use cold packs or acetaminophen to relieve pain if you are engorged. Or, use your dependable breast pump. The milk you produce may be served in bottles or combined with your baby’s cereal.
5. Change Your Feeding Routine
If your baby refuses to take a bottle from you, try leaving the room and see if he’ll take it while someone else (such as Dad, Grandma, or the babysitter) gives him. Alter your bottle-feeding pattern by doing something different from the usual. For instance, if you usually breastfeed your baby in bed, try feeding him in the living room and holding him in a different position. If a new routine is unsuccessful after a few weeks, return to the old one before trying again in a few weeks.
6. Be Emotionally Present for Your Little One
Breastfed infants thrive on their moms’ constant proximity, so it’s crucial to find alternative methods to soothe your child when you wean them off of breastfeeding. Quality one-on-one time may be spent engaging in activities that keep them emotionally engaged, such as snuggling up to read a book or sing a lullaby, playing tag at the park, or receiving a back massage.
7. Create a Weaning Schedule
Offer yourself a full month to wean off breast milk; this will give you and your baby some wiggle space in case there are any hiccups along the way. Weaning should also be avoided at times of significant transition, such as the onset of teething, a move, the start of daycare, etc. The baby will be more cooperative if well rested and well fed.
8. Know When Your Baby Is Ready to Quit Breastfeeding
When your baby is prepared to wean, they will offer you some hints. They could, for instance, sit firmly, hold their heads erect, and show interest in what you’re eating. Additionally, during typical nursing sessions, they might appear irritable or disinterested, and their active tongue-thrust reflex will cease.
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