Breastfeeding Weaning

Weaning a Breastfed Baby 

toddler breastfeeding, older child breastfeeding, three your old breastfeeding

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 breastfeed 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.

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 begins 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 antibodies 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 for 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. 
  • 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 an adverse 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.

Ambivalence About Weaning

by Amina (Australia)

"Hi, My nearly 2-year-old son (#2) absolutely LOVES booby - in fact, he calls them "my boobies.'

After having a preemie baby, the first time (now 5yrs old) and struggling with my breastfeeding journey then - though I am immensely proud of what I accomplished - it has been much easier this time around.

But now, I am dealing with some pretty major hormonal imbalances and notable weight gain that is not moving regardless of what I do.

I am working with a very good Dr (who is not encouraging weaning) and yet I am reluctantly feeling like it may well be time. I would be happy to (in fact, planned to) feed until he was 3 or 4 - but my body is struggling.

My son can get a bit obsessed with booby and prefers it over solids (though he does have a good and balanced diet). It can interfere with his sleeping and I think it is interfering with my relationship with my husband as well - I just feel sometimes like everyone wants a piece of me. Anyone else ever feel like that sometimes?

The problem is, I guess, that I would rather he just chose to give it up on his own - but I want that to happen sooner rather than later, so I can get well again - and given the choice, I reckon he'd wean at about 12 years lol!

I really love the deep connection we share and that close time when feeding, and I love how into it he is - also being able to give that to him feels good, but sometimes I am a bit resentful too - and that can't be good. I am having trouble letting go."

Re: Ending Your Nursing Relationship

by: Tracy

"Hi, congrats on making it this far!

I know how you feel, my little girl was also very attached to her "boo-boos." 

I had to make that very same difficult decision about six months ago, just before her second birthday.

I also wanted her to "self-wean" from the breast, knowing that that is ultimately the best thing to do most times, but I believe that in your and my case, it is not the best thing to do. Why?

Because you are unhappy, and so was I. The reason why I weaned, was because I needed to sleep at night! She would wake me at least three times at night to breastfeed. I needed my sleep!

So, sometimes we need to look after ourselves and be a little selfish! So that we can be the best mommies for our babies.

It was not easy! But, I decided not to give in, I stopped breastfeeding in a matter of about three weeks. I first started refusing feeds during the day and only breastfed before bedtime and at night. All I did was told her that "boobie has gone away" she asked me a few times, but I kept distracting her with something else.

Night feedings were a bit more difficult; I would wake up and just lie with her until she fell asleep, the first few nights she cried quite a bit. It wasn't three days of doing this, and my little girl was sleeping through at night!! I was so relieved, and finally, I had the best sleep I had had in literally two years!! LOL

Do it for yourself, mamma; you deserve to be happy, you have done enough!"

Re: Taking a Deep Breath and Diving in...

by: Amina (Australia)

"Hi, thank you so much for your reply to my post. I was very touched by what you wrote and felt validated too.

I think I needed to hear what you said - that it's time to look after me - that I've done enough.

I have tears now just writing this. Well done to you for handling that process so beautifully with your little girl too -- I'm taking notes."

One Year Old Has Stopped Breastfeeding

by Sara (Uk)

"Hi, I have a one-year-old who has stopped breastfeeding the last three days, he bites me every time I offer it, And doesn't seem interested.

I was wondering why this is? Teething? Strike? Or weaning off? I usually feed him once a day in the morning and feed him three bottles throughout the day. I would like him to breastfeed again, what can I do?

Also, I am close to starting my period, would this affect him not wanting the milk? Please help! Thanks"

Re: One year old has stopped breastfeeding

by: Anonymous

"Hello, it sounds to me like you're one year old is trying to self wean. Some children like to breastfeed longer than others.

Something that may affect the taste of your breast milk would be the food that you eat.

While you can't force your child to continue breastfeeding, if it is his strong desire to wean, there are a couple of things that you could try to prolong your breastfeeding relationship.

You can offer the breast as soon as you know your child is hungry. Try to do it when they're first hungry, to avoid your baby being agitated because they have been waiting for a while. Try breastfeeding in a secluded environment. Children around the age of one can be easily distracted.

If your child is no longer asking to breastfeed verbally or through any signal he used to give, and none of these tactics work, you can continue to pump your breasts and offer your baby breast milk in a sippy cup.

From experience, I know that the act of breastfeeding is a bonding moment between mother and baby and it is difficult for a mom to give up for that reason.

If your child is completely refusing to breastfeed, you can still be sure that they're getting the excellent nutrition and immunological properties of your breast milk, even if it is in a sippy cup. 

You can also try to make breast milk lollies and breast milk ice-cream for him. I found the recipe on this is the link..."

Breastfeeding 2-year-old

by Jamerl (Chennai India)

"Hi, my daughter is two years old now and I am trying to stop breastfeeding her.

I had stopped during the day but at nights she demands it. I tried giving bottle milk, but it didn't work out."

Re: Weaning

by: Lyssa

"Weaning before a child is ready can be very difficult for mother and baby.

Two years is an incredible accomplishment for a breastfeeding mama, and you should be very proud!

Several solutions to help ease the transition include offering another special nighttime routine such as reading a favorite book or singing a special song.

It will no doubt take several days, sometimes even a week or more, for a baby to adjust to nighttime weaning. Weaning should be done gradually. 

Stay strong, mama. You can do it. This too shall pass."

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