How to wean my baby from breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding is more than just feeding. Over time, it becomes a means to bond with your little adorable. And when the time ticks off breastfeeding, you really need to learn how to wean your little champ healthily.
Although this can be very emotional because you have been breastfeeding your baby right from birth. At least, according to the AAP recommendation, which is 6 months.
This can seem so tough for you and your baby, but it is all for the best. Your baby is growing, and this is right in front of you. So, you’ve got to be excited for the next phase of parenting.
Transitioning from breast milk to other sources of food is a very sensitive moment. You really want to get things right.
This is because your baby has been taking breast milk from birth, and as a matter of fact, he or she has gotten used to it.
So, giving something entirely different from this requires some level of expertise. Therefore, to help you wean your baby in the healthiest way possible, we have written this article to provide you with all you need to know. In addition, this article also answers key questions moms ask during this stage.
5 signs baby is ready to wean from breastfeeding
Experts recommend you should wean your child when he or she is ready. They believe it is not healthy to force your baby to take regular foods.
Although there are several controversies around this recommendation, the most important thing is to ensure to look out for some of these signs to be sure your baby is ready.
- Your baby sucks a few times and then stops nursing
- Ability to hold head straight up without support
- Your baby shows interest in eating from your plate or drinking from your cup.
- Mouths his or her hand or toys at regular intervals
- Your little champ can sit on his or her own without support.
What is the appropriate age to stop breastfeeding?
The World Health Organization and the AAP recommend you should breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months of life.
However, some babies are usually ready to take solids at 4 months. For this reason, after confirming their baby is ready, several moms wean at 4 months. But, for a lot of reasons, the most appropriate age is 6 months.
How do I wean my baby off breastfeeding?
One thing is important to understand, weaning doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process. Many moms out of the anxiety of getting their baby off breastfeeding want to see this happen as fast as possible.
This should not be the case. Weaning takes time, most especially if you breastfed your baby for an extended time. To help you wean your baby the right way, here are some guidelines.
Understand that weaning is a gradual process
As we have earlier emphasized, it is important to take things slowly. This makes the process easy, by giving your baby time to adapt to the transition. In fact, this could be over several weeks or months.
The only time you are allowed to wean your baby abruptly is in extreme and unavoidable situations.
Ensure your baby is getting the perfect substitute for breast milk
As you should already know, breast milk contains all the essential nutrients that your baby needs to grow and stay healthy.In fact, this is the reason the AAP suggests you should breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months of life.
Therefore, if you will wean your baby off breast milk, most especially if he or she is less than a year, which is the case for most babies, ensure to do so with foods with adequate nutritional values. This can include purees, infant formula, etc.
Skip breastfeeding sessions
The first bold step to weaning your baby is to skip your usual breastfeeding sessions. When you do so, instead of giving your baby breast milk, you can offer him a cup of water, or make him or her a fruit puree.
The most advisable session to skip is the less important one. Most times the most difficult to skip is the early morning and evening sessions. In addition to this, you can also shorten the time it takes your baby to breastfeed.
Wean at night:
Babies between the ages of 6 months and a year feed less during the night. Therefore, you can try weaning your baby at night.
This is very much preferable to wean during the day because you can get enough time to sleep. Not only this, but it also allows you to nurse your baby comfortably during the day.
Provide comfort for your baby.
To be honest, getting off what you have been doing for a while isn’t so easy. As we have earlier mentioned, breastfeeding is not only a source of nutrition. It is more than that.
Therefore, during the weaning stage, ensure you provide adequate comfort to your baby. You can hold him or her skin to skin, leverage a pacifier or teething ring. Whatever method you use, just ensure it provides comfort.
Read also: what can I feed my baby at 4 months?
How do I take care of my breast when I stop breastfeeding?
Taking care of your breast when you start to wean your baby is very important. Here are some tips to help you during this stage.
- If you feel any discomfort when weaning your baby, it could probably be because you have a lot of milk in there. Therefore, try to express enough milk. This will help reduce or even take the pain away. In addition, you may also use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain.
- Take a hot shower before breastfeeding, or apply warm compresses to your breast.
- Make sure that you examine your breast regularly. This is so to ensure that you are not developing a blocked duct. Blocked ducts usually happen if you wean your baby abruptly, and it appears like a firm tender area. If you have a blocked duct, clean the surface of your breast gently, it should disappear. However, if it doesn’t, and it feels painful, kindly visit your doctor.
Conclusion: How to wean my baby from breastfeeding
Weaning your little adorable can be stressful for you and frustrating for your baby. But all in all, it is for the best. Weaning in its self is rarely dangerous, the two major risks are malnourishment of your baby and breast infection.
But, if you following the right guidelines, weaning your baby should not be difficult. We however hope you find this article useful in weaning your baby. Congratulations on your progress to the next stage of parenting. If you find this article useful, kindly share.