Weaning: When Mom and Baby Are Ready

November 13, 2012
Weaning: When Mom and Baby Are Ready

As a mom, you made the decision to breastfeed, and you and your baby will be the best judge of when it’s time to wean. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed for at least a year, and despite what anyone else says, there’s no right or wrong time to wean. When you and your baby are ready, we’ve got tips to make weaning as smooth as possible.

First of all, it’s important to understand that each family’s experience with weaning is different, and these guidelines are just meant to provide general support through what can be an emotional and unfamiliar time.

Don’t offer. Don’t refuse. If you are looking for a very gradual approach to weaning, this is a great option. In fact, many moms naturally move toward this habit without actually thinking about weaning. By not offering your breast, you may be able to extend the periods of time between feedings and replace some feedings with solids completely. However, if this is too gradual for your liking, you may have to consider other options.

Drop a feeding. This tends to be a more active approach, where you drop one feeding per day for 3 to 7 days. Approaching weaning any faster could cause you discomfort and engorgement or stress your little one out. If you’re eager to get more sleep, try dropping a night feeding first. Also, think about which feedings would be easiest and most challenging to skip. For many moms, the bedtime, nap time, and morning feedings are the last to go.

Distract or substitute. Try to anticipate when your little one will try to nurse and plan distractions or substitutions when he or she enjoys. For example, during a routine feeding time, offer your baby’s favorite snack or game. Also, consider scheduling a play date during that time.

Shorten or Postpone.  By adjusting the amount of time you spend nursing or by delaying it, you can gradually help your baby grow less interested in breastfeeding. If your little one asks to nurse, you can either say “not now, but later,” or “only for a few minutes.” The hope is that later they will forget about their desire to breastfeed or they will grow more comfortable nursing for a shorter amount of time.

If you are still looking for more tips, our Lactation Consultant is happy to customize her tips for weaning based on you and your baby’s needs

Do you have tips for weaning your baby? Share them in the comments below.

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