Weaning your baby from the breast can be an a challenge for both you and your baby or it will be a breeze depending on how your child reacts to the situation. When you or your baby decided to start weaning it is best to figure out a solution that works for the both of you. In fact, before you even plan to stop nursing try to come up with a game plan and talk to your spouse so that he can help you when you become overwhelmed. There are two types of popular weaning techniques that you can use to help wean your baby or toddler from the breast: baby led and mother led weaning. Of course, even if you are planning on weaning you child you don’t have to fully wean them until you are ready. Today, I will share a few tips on how I successfully weaned my youngest son without any problems for either one of us.
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. I am not a lactation consultant, doctor, or a health care provider.
Baby Led Weaning
Baby led weaning is a popular and most mother’s will gauge their nursing sessions when their baby demands to be fed. Most babies will start showing interest in table food and want what their parents are eating when they are ready to make the switch to table food. There isn’t a magical age when this will happen but most babies will usually start showing interest in solids when they are 6 months to a year old. When your child starts eating more solid food, you might notice that they no longer want to nurse as frequently. Don’t stop nursing until your child is getting enough calories from eating solid foods. They will still need to continue to get most of their nutrition from breastmilk. Typically when your child is around a year old, they will start consuming more solids and their need for nutrition from breastmilk will slowly diminish or slow down dramatically. However, some toddlers won’t fully wean from the breast until they are a bit older.
If your baby decides to stop nursing all together, remember that your baby is just letting you know that they no longer want to nurse. If you still want to ensure that your child is getting enough nutrients, you can use a breast pump and express milk so that you can put it in a sippy cup during the transition period. However, weaning before you are ready can be traumatizing especially if you aren’t ready to give up nursing yet. Allow your self ample time to grieve the process and don’t try to force your baby to nurse if he or she doesn’t want too.
Mother Led Weaning
At some point you might be ready to have your body back or you are exhausted from constantly nursing your child. If you are planning on weaning your baby or at least cutting down on some nursing suggestions, I highly suggest that you come up with a plan so that you don’t get upset or frustrated when your baby throws a fit or doesn’t like the idea of you controlling when they can nurse.
I remember when I decided to wean my youngest, I just slowly cut out a feeding every few days. It worked out great for us and I didn’t have to worry about dealing with breast infections or upsetting him too much because he wanted breastmilk. Do ask your spouse to step in and help with your baby especially if you suddenly get overwhelmed or you can’t calm your fussy toddler without nursing.
According to Kelly Mom, “It’s important to always conduct mother-led weaning in a way that is gentle, gradual, flexible, patient, and as respectful to your child’s needs as possible. Be aware of any signs that the weaning process is going too quickly for your child and be ready to slow things down some if necessary.”
I waited until my youngest son was closer to 18 months old because I knew that he was old enough to understand the word “no” and could hold off on breastfeeding until the next nursing session was planned. Night time weaning took me a few weeks and he was able to adapt fairly quickly. I weaned my oldest daughter around 13 or 14 months old and I remember her wanting to pull up my shirt when she wanted to nurse. She would get upset when I would tell her no.