Breastfeeding & Weaning

When breastfeeding frequency is reduced, and a mother starts to introduce solid foods into her baby’s diet, it should be done gradually. The end of the breastfeeding relationship can occur days, weeks, months and even years after the weaning process has begun. 

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Different Approaches to Weaning a Baby

  • Partial weaning off breast milk: When a mother cuts back on nursing sessions,  and either feeds her baby pumped breast milk or other foods, depending on baby’s age. She may also shorten the nursing sessions. This is usually done when a mother feels a little overwhelmed by the demand of breastfeeding. It is not recommended to do this before breastfeeding is fully established as this could lower the milk supply. 
  • Abrupt Weaning: Sudden weaning is only necessary for extremely special circumstances. Abrupt weaning can lead to engorgement, mastitis and even a breast abscess; it can also be traumatic for the mother and her baby. 
  • Planned weaning from the breast: This is planned by the mother before her baby shows signs of readiness to wean. Some cultures believe that it is time to wean when the baby starts to walk, or when the baby gets teeth or when the mother falls pregnant again. It all depends on the mother's personal beliefs and preferences. 
  • Natural weaning from breastfeeding: Waiting until your baby decides to stop breastfeeding. This is called child-led weaning. Natural, gradual weaning usually occurs any time between the age of two and four. 

Weaning Techniques for Gradual Weaning 

  • Do not offer out of your own to breastfeed your baby, but allow your baby to nurse on demand. 
  • Distract your baby with something else when he/she wants to nurse. 
  • If your baby is older than 6 months, a mother can shorten nursing sessions and offer alternative foods and drinks. 
  • Avoid triggers or situations that remind your baby of breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding Weaning Video

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