How To Take Gently Wean Your Breastfeeding Toddler

By Subodh / January 30, 2015

Before you and your baby have settled into breastfeeding and are comfortable, it is already time to think of weaning your baby from breastfeeding to bottle feeds or solids and here are some tips to make the transition smooth.

What’s The Right Time To Wean?

Many mothers are unsure about the right time to wean one’s child from breastfeeding. Experts have said that it is completely a personal decision about the time to wean your child from breastfeeding, though it has been recommended by pediatricians worldwide to exclusively breast feed the child till the baby is 6 months old. After 6 months, the baby’s diet will include solids and milk till the baby is a year old, so mothers can decide depending upon their flexibility to discontinue breastfeeding and switch to bottle feeds.

Plugged Ducts While Breastfeeding

Have A Plan And Schedule

Put a plan and schedule in place so you are mentally prepared to focus on weaning your baby from breastfeeding. Give yourself a complete month to successfully finish the weaning process, keeping in mind minor troubles and hurdles on the way.

Patience Is Key As It May Not Work First Attempt

Babies cannot give up breast feeding easily, it is not like an on or off switch. Sometimes timing is very important, Babies may not cooperate if they are very hungry. If mothers are under stress, it may not work either. If the baby is teething, it may not be the right time to start the weaning process. If weaning does not happen in the first attempt, you need to try again patiently.

Have A Weaning Routine

Slipping slowly into a weaning routine helps both you and your baby get used to the change. It is a good idea to do away with one breastfeeding session a week, especially the one in which your baby does not show much interest. Then, you can increase it to two sessions a week. Gradually you can wean your baby from breast feeding and get him used to cups and bottles.

Have Other Ways To Comfort Your Baby

As you wean your baby from breastfeeding, have other ways to comfort and demonstrate your love for the baby. Babies love the comforting warmth of having the mother close as they breastfeed. You could cuddle together, have more playtimes with the baby, and massage the baby to provide more warmth and care during the weaning period.

Nurse Only When The Child Asks For It

This could be another way to wean the baby off breast milk, to feed only when the baby asks for it. In effect, mothers should not offer breast milk unless the baby asks for it. This way, even though weaning may not be very quick, you are doing it at a pace the baby decides.

Help From Family

It is a good idea to have the father or the rest of the family to assist with weaning. Have one of them give the bottle to the baby. Baby may be more accepting of the bottle from someone else rather than the mom. You can also change the room where you give the bottle feed or even change the position.

What Are You Feeling?

It is a good idea to turn inwards and understand your feelings and emotions at this stage. It is indeed an emotional moment for the mother as she watches her little baby grow out of the breastfeeding stage. Mothers experience a range of emotions. At one time it could be happiness, at another, confusion if they are doing the right thing. Some of them also feel rejected that the baby is growing out of the breastfeeding phase and is taking his first steps of independence. There is nothing wrong in going through these emotions, talk to your spouse or near and dear ones. Exchanging notes with other breast feeding mothers also helps.