Weaning a Breastfed Baby
Weaning from breastfeeding is not always that easy!
Here we have "weaning from breastfeeding" advice, on how to wean a baby in a way that is bearable for the mother and baby.
It is recommended to continue to breastfeeding for at least six months.
The benefits of breastfeeding.
Child led weaning “BLW” is also recommended.
Weaning my Baby, when we are Both Ready!
If you are feeling pressurized to weaning, by friends and family,
know that it is perfectly normal to keep your baby at your breast, until
he/she decides to wean naturally.
Read our page about breastfeeding older children.
Mothers that are returning to work, might feel that weaning their babies from the breast is required, but you can still continue to breastfeed.
When to Wean your Baby
Weaning your baby when he/she starts teething: You do not need to wean your baby when he/she starts to teethe.
Should you wean if you have developed mastitis? You do not need to wean if you have a mastitis infection, weaning could make mastitis symptoms worse!
Should you wean when you go back to work? You do not have to wean when returning to work. You can pump at work, or make arrangements to breastfeed at work.
Should you wean when you are ill? You can continue to breastfeed when you are ill, breast milk delivers important anti bodies to your baby, that will prevent him/her from catching the bug.
What if your baby is ill, or is going for surgery? Breastfeeding during these times will actually help your baby heal faster.
Do you need to wean when you fall pregnant? Breastfeeding during pregnancy is recommended.
Breastfeeding Weaning Tips
Tips for weaning a baby / toddler
- Always wean a baby slowly. This will be an easier transition for
you, than your baby. A gradual decrease in demand of breast
milk, will lead to less milk produced. You can start by removing one feed a
week and then more as you go along.
Offer your baby something as a breast substitute, such as finger foods. Infant weaning will require supplementation with formula. Babies that are a year or older can be given
cow’s milk in combination with their solid foods
- When weaning your baby, you will need to give him/her more attention than usual; this is to reassure your baby.
- You might need to let somebody feed your baby, while you leave the
room; with you absent, he/she will not be reminded of the breasts.
Weaning at night: Leave the before-bed feedings for
last to go, as these will help your baby sleep better in the evenings, and is a
greater comfort to him/her.
- If your baby is capable of drinking out of a sippy cup, offer
him/her this instead of the bottle. Bottle feeding may be an even bigger challenge to wean from at a later stage.
- It might be easier to wean a nursing toddler onto the Sippy cup, if the cup contains breast milk. Weaning
from breast to bottle might be easier for younger babies, as they have
not grown emotionally attached to the breast, as much as a toddler.
The Introduction of solid foods
will commonly be the start of the weaning process, so the more solids a baby is eating, the easier it will be to wean from the breast.
Making Weaning more Comfortable
- Gradual weaning from the beast, will let your body know that it is time to start producing less milk.
Weaning breastfeeding pain: If your breasts start to feel a little tight, you can pump them a little for comfort. Ice packs can also be used to decrease the swelling and pain. Lansinoh Thera Breast therapy is recommended.
Cabbage leaf wrapping of breasts can relieve swelling, but not necessary if weaning is gradual.
There are safe weaning herbs, that can be taken while breastfeeding.
A weaning toddler: Get somebody in the family to take your toddler out and distract him/her when he/she wants to breastfeed.
Weaning breastfeeding depression: You might feel a little depressed during and after weaning. You might experience feelings of guilt or feel terribly inadequate. This is normal, but, if these feelings do not stop, you should seek professional help. Weaning your baby from breastfeeding is not just difficult for your baby, but is a huge transition for you.
It is rare, but some mothers have noticed that their breasts still contain milk, a year after weaning. This is normal. It can take from a few months to two years for milk to dry up completely.
Signs that your Baby is Ready for Self Weaning
- Your baby drinks out of a bottle or sippy cup with no problem.
Your baby drops a few feedings on his/her own.
Your baby is between the breastfeeding weaning age of 2 and 4.
Never do when Weaning Babies
- Weaning from the breast should never be done abruptly.
Never put any horrible tasting thing on your breast for weaning off the breast; this could have a negative emotional effect on your baby.
Weaning breastfeeding engorgement: Do not bind your breast to stop milk production, as this will cause blocked milk ducts, which could result in mastitis.
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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr. Currently studying through Child birth International (CBC, CBD). Also an accomplished author and Mommy of two.