If you made the decision to breastfeed like I did, at some point you will have to wean your little one, which, tough as it may be, can be made easier with these 7 important tips for weaning. Remember, keep your wits, stay patient and in the end, your baby will be weaned without any problems. Here are my tips for weaning to try, and make your weaning experience a little more manageable.
1. Keep Your Little One Busy
For about a week after you’ve started the process of weaning, keep your little one busy as much as you can. It will be a lot easier to wean if your baby is distracted and not climbing all over you to nurse. I spent a few days running errands I had been putting off, then I spent a few days in the park, swinging and pushing my baby down the slide. When we were at home I played a billion games of patty cake and sang and danced to as many silly songs I could think of. When it comes to weaning, distraction is your best friend, which is why it's earned the top spot on my list of tips for weaning.
2. Go Slowly
If you can help it at all, go slowly; don’t stop nursing all at once. Take one feeding a day away from week to week and save night time feedings for last (those are mostly for comfort beyond the first year). I took one feeding a day away for 3 weeks and when it came to night time it was one feeding every two weeks. There was a lot less crying and screaming this way.
3. Be Affectionate
Once your baby starts eating solid foods nursing becomes less about food and more about comfort, so when starting the weaning process, be extra affectionate. Let your baby know that even without nursing he can receive comfort from you. Give lots of kisses and lots of hugs... remember this is a transitional period for both you and your baby.
4. Provide Alternatives
I never denied my son his boob juice when he was really insistent but I always provided an alternative first. If your baby starts going in to nurse, offer a sippy cup, a snack, or a bottle, anything that will give your baby what she wants without nursing.
5. Avoid Nursing Positions
If you sit or hold your baby a certain way when you nurse, try to avoid that position when you’re weaning. After a certain amount of time nursing that way, your baby will associate that with nursing. After you’ve weaned you can go right back to cuddling your baby normally.
6. Change Your Baby’s Routine
Now to some of you this may seem a little odd but I don’t mean that you have to change any times that your baby does any certain things. Just tweak everything a little to cut out nursing. For instance, my son always had a bath, a story and then got nursed to sleep. So, we started giving him his bath after dinner then he got a bath, a little baby massage, a story and we would relax on the couch with a bottle until he was ready to lay down in his crib. Nothing was changed too much but we cut out nursing and made sure that he had a full tummy before bed.
7. Let Your Baby Lead
Once again this is an "if you can help it" tip. If you have to stop nursing because you’re going back to work or school, that’s not something that you can really help. BUT, that being said, if it can be helped you should let your baby lead. My son started to wean by himself and I took that as my cue that he was ready. Your baby will let you know when he or she is ready by cutting out a feeding or two.
Weaning can be a hard task but if you put in the time and follow these tips, weaning can be a simple process that will give you and your baby a little bit more independence! These tips worked for me over a period of a couple months but everyone has their own method and pace. What methods did you use to wean your baby? Let me know down below!