There are many reasons you may be ready to transition away from breastfeeding. Whether you’ve decided it’s time or your sweet baby is showing signs of readiness, it can be an emotional time for both of you. If you’re planning to start weaning your baby, there are a few tips to consider that may make this transition smooth sailing. Check it out!
One of the best things you can do when beginning to wean is to do so on your baby’s schedule.
Slowly tapering your child from breastfeeding can make the transition go smoother than if you stop breastfeeding cold turkey. Depending on how often your child still breastfeeds, this could take weeks or even months. Patience is the key to keeping both you and your baby happy. Slowly tapering will not only give your baby time to adjust to a new feeding schedule, but it will also give your milk supply adequate time to adjust, thereby reducing the risk of painful engorgements.
Chat With Your Pediatrician About Nutrition
It’s always advised to chat with your child’s pediatrician before weaning. If your baby is still under 1 year old, you may have to supplement breastmilk with formula; your provider can advise you best on this point. Moreover, if your child is older than 1, he or she may be ready to start drinking milk or milk alternatives in lieu of breast milk. Again, your pediatrician is the best one to steer you in this regard.
Celebrate Your Journey With a Keepsake
The bond between a mother and a breastfeeding baby is an intimate and emotional one. Gearing up to wean your baby may bring up some unexpected feelings. If weaning your baby has you feeling emotional, you may consider commemorating your breastfeeding journey with a keepsake like breast milk jewelry. If you’ve never heard this, you may be wondering how to make breast milk jewelry. Essentially, you can turn your breast milk sample into a selected piece of jewelry; you can choose from necklace, ring, and bracelet designs among others. The breast milk jewelry is personal and can be worn as a reminder of the special breastfeeding journey you shared with your child.
Breastfeed When Your Baby Wants
One of the most stress-free approaches to weaning your child is to simply taper by not offering the breast when the child doesn’t want to nurse. La Leche League International calls this simple method of weaning the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach. Coupled with other weaning methods, this approach is a gentle way for both mom and baby to transition away from breastfeeding. This approach is especially useful for weaning during the daytime.
Naptime & Bedtime Solutions
Undoubtedly, the most challenging feedings to wean your breastfed babies from are during nap and bedtime. Besides the sustenance that breast milk provides your baby, the simple act of nursing is a pacifying action that often lulls the baby to sleep. There are a few ways to navigate this issue. For starters, if you’re cosleeping, you might consider moving the baby to his/her own bed; doing so makes the on-demand availability of breastfeeding less accessible. Another option is to allow your partner to take over at bedtime during weaning; this will allow for the creation of a new routine that’s not centered around breastfeeding.
Continue to Make Time for Cuddles
Although first and foremost, breastfeeding is how you nourish your baby, it’s also a gentle and intimate way to comfort and show love. Just because you’re beginning to wean your baby doesn’t mean it’s time to withdraw your physical affection. Continuing to make adequate time for snuggles will ease the transition for both mom and baby. Rocking your child, sweet hugs, and snuggling up with a book are good ways to maintain that close bond that you and your baby have forged.
Just because your breastfeeding journey is coming to an end doesn’t mean the intimate bond between you and your baby is too. Being patient and flexible with the process as well as continuing to make time for physical affection with your baby will make the transition more agreeable. Lastly, a sweet keepsake such as breastmilk jewelry can help you commemorate this special time in both of your lives.