Are you hitting the point where you want your baby to transition from the breast to eating more solid foods and drinking from a cup? The process of weaning can be challenging and frustrating to many mothers. Here are 5 tips to successfully wean your baby with the least amount of problems.
Tip 1: Do not attempt to wean your baby cold turkey. This has two very negative consequences. The first is the stress on your infant. By weaning gradually, reducing feedings over several weeks, you reduce the stress, and it seems more natural. The second problem is to you. If you stop cold turkey, your breasts are going to engorge with milk, and you will experience pain. It is much easier to gradually decrease over several weeks, allowing your body to adjust.
Tip 2: Start a substitution method immediately. When you start to wean your baby, replace the bonding time from breast feeding with another bonding activity. Holding your child and reading a book, play time, or just holding them to rock in the chair. They need their time with you, and will miss it just as much or more than the breast.
Tip 3: Do not place your child in normal breast feeding positions. When you hold your child, avoid holding them in ways which can feel like you are preparing to start breast feeding. They will be reminded of what they are missing, and you could have a very unhappy child.
Tip 4: Sometimes it is better to let your child decide the proper time for weaning. When you choose when to ween your baby, you are basing it off of personal desires, or someone telling you it is time. Your baby will start reducing their desires to breast feed as they eat more solid foods, learn to use a cup, and become busy playing. You may be pleasantly shocked to discover they stop wanting the breast on their own.
Tip 5: Try to offer the cup first. As you begin to ween your baby, make sure to offer them a cup of milk before you offer the breast. Many times they will accept the cup, and will forget about the breast for now. This helps them gently transition from the breast feeding to a cup. If they are insistent at this moment, then go ahead and breast feed if it is one of the planned times.
These 5 tips to successfully wean your baby can help you overcome your baby’s resistance, and reduce your personal stress. The most important thing for both of you is to fill your time with other bonding efforts to reduce the feelings of loss you will both experience. Your baby is growing up quickly, and this is just another one of those magical times of transition you will both survive. The new freedoms you will both gain will repay both of you many times over. Trips to the mall, going out to eat, and other activities will suddenly be much easier.