First published: 1 February 2023 @ 6:00 pm
Weaning is a process that children go through in order to transition from breastfeeding to eating other foods.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization suggests exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth and introducing complementary foods as the first step towards weaning your baby.
Weaning should ideally start a month or two before the six-month deadline to provide your baby gets the nutrition they need.
However, you can still continue breastfeeding sessions by introducing appropriate complementary food until your baby is at age 2 to make sure they are getting the best possible nutrition.
How Do I Start Weaning My Child from Breastfeeding?
When you start weaning, you should continue to provide your baby with plenty of comfort and love.
Somehow, it’s quite difficult for moms to let go of their breastfeeding relationship, but it’s important to remember that your breastfed baby is slowly growing up and needs to move on to new experiences.
Here are some tips for weaning your child from breastfeeding:
1. Get All Information about Weaning
Before you start weaning your child, it is important that you already have the information about the process.
You can get them from credible books, and official websites to help you understand the different stages of weaning and what you should do during each one.
Additionally, you should also talk to your pediatrician or other health professionals about weaning your child. They can give you advice on when and how to start the process and help make the process as smooth as possible.
2. Start Slowly and Make the Transition Gradual Weaning
When starting the weaning process, it is important to start slowly. You don’t want to shock your child or cause them any discomfort.
So, the process of weaning a child from breastfeeding routines can be a gradual one.
Start by gradually reducing the amount of breast milk your child is getting each day until your child is exclusively eating complementary foods.
Besides, always be patient and be prepared for some bumps in the road – weaning can take time for a few weeks or even longer, and your child may be resistant to giving up breastfeeding for this partial weaning, and that’s normal in life.
3. Start Offering Complementary Foods Regularly
Once your child is exclusively eating complementary foods, offer them food regularly throughout the day.
This will help them transition from breastfeeding to eating on their own. You can offer them a variety of foods, including solid foods, juice, and baby food.
It is important to introduce new foods gradually so that your child does not become overwhelmed. Try to have several different types of food available at all times in order to make it easier for your child to make choices.
Besides, try to make sure that the food you are offering is healthy according to the doctor’s recommendation and will meet your child’s nutritional needs.
4. Make Sure Your Child is Comfortable
It is important to make sure your child is comfortable during the weaning process.
You should provide them with lots of affection, plenty of comfort, and love. This will help them transition smoothly from breastfeeding routines to eating other foods.
Moreover, offer your child alternatives to breastfeeding, such as bottle-feeding while wearing a breast milk pump. This will help them to become more familiar with the idea of weaning and help them to transition more smoothly.
Be patient and consistent – over time, your child will become more accustomed to the change.
5. Allow Natural Weaning when the Child is Ready
There’s no need to rush the weaning process – when the time is right, it will happen naturally.
You’ll know your child is ready to wean when they start showing less interest in the nursing sessions, and may even start rejecting the breast altogether.
This is usually around the age of 1 and a half but can be earlier or later depending on the child.
If you choose to wean your child prematurely, they will probably not receive the benefits of breast milk, such as the important nutrients and antibodies from other food that breastfeeding provides for your child.
6. Maintain a Positive Attitude
It is natural for a baby to want to suckle and be close to their mother’s breasts. Therefore, as a mom, you should remember that weaning is a natural process and try not to feel guilty about it.
However, there comes a time when a baby needs to be weaned from breastfeeding. If you are finding the process difficult, talk to your husband, a family member, or a friend who has been through it before.
You can also seek professional help from a lactation consultant or other health care provider.
Apart from that, provide plenty of emotional support for both you and your child during the weaning process.
Let them know that they can talk to you at bedtime routine about anything they feel uncomfortable about – this will help them to feel comfortable and confident during the transition.
There’s no one right way to wean a child from breastfeeding. It’s important to do what feels right for you and your child.
There are a few things to keep in mind, though, such as making the transition gradually and being prepared for some emotional ups and downs.
With a little planning and patience, you and your child can successfully make the transition to solid foods.
Check out our blog MatureParent for more useful tips about Parenting, children’s development, and so on!
What are the consequences of breastfeeding for too long?
Breastfeeding for too long can lead to social hostility, and a loss of freedom and an older child may become overly dependent on the mother
Should a 3-year-old still be breastfeeding?
It is fine for a 3-year-old to still be breastfeeding, but it is important to introduce complementary foods at a younger age in order to help them transition more smoothly. Besides, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that mothers breastfeed for the first 12 months and beyond, with benefits including boosted immunity and nutrition.
How long does it take to wean off breastfeeding?
It can take a few weeks to wean a baby off breastfeeding, but it is important to keep in mind that your baby may take longer than others.
Does stopping breastfeeding affect your emotions?
Stopping breastfeeding can lead to feelings of sadness, grief, anger, anxiety, or emotional instability. This is because the hormones released during breastfeeding, such as oxytocin and prolactin, are associated with feelings of calm and happiness.
How to get my 1-year-old to sleep through the night without nursing?
Some tips that may help include establishing a sleep routine for your 1-year-old, such as a calming bath, infant massage, diaper, and jammies, patting or rubbing their back, and having dad put baby to sleep instead of nursing them