How to Wean From Breastfeeding
If you think it’s time to wean your baby from breastfeeding, this post is definitely for you.
I did a lot of research when I decided to wean my baby boy from breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding didn’t necessarily come easy for me mentally and I think I put a lot of pressure on myself when it came to breastfeeding.
So, I was more than ready to wean when the time came and learned a few things from doing so that I want to share with you!
In this post I’ll outline a few easy steps to take to wean your baby, how to transition fully to solids, and a few things to look out for!
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RELATED: The Reality of Breastfeeding
The first thing to note is that there is absolutely no reason to rush the process of weaning your baby from breastfeeding.
The World Health Organization actually recommends breastfeeding for at least 6 months exclusively before starting solids, and then continuing up to a year and beyond.
Ultimately the decision to breastfeed for as long as you want or as short as you want is up to you! Just make sure if you stop breastfeeding before a year you transition to formula, and then cows milk at a year. Talk to your doctor about what will work best for you and your baby.
When my son was 6 months we started baby led weaning.
Baby led weaning is the process of introducing your baby to solids while facilitating the development of their motor skills.
RELATED: How to Start Your Baby on Baby Led Weaning at 6 Months
RELATED: Baby Led Weaning with Baby at 7 Months
However, breastfeeding was still his main source of nutrition until about 10 months when he decided on his own it was time to start the weaning process.
As you wean from breastfeeding, you gradually increase the amount of solids your baby gets.
My son drastically decreased how much he breastfed around 10-11 months and by about a year he was fully weaned.
Some Things to Look Out For
Before we get into the steps, these are a few things you need to watch out for while you are weaning.
When Not to Wean
First, I recommend you don’t wean your baby if your family is going through any major change, if your baby is sick, or if your baby has many allergies or is at risk for having allergies.
During a major change, breastfeeding may be a comfort to your baby. This can help make a transition period go smoother.
If your baby is sick, breastfeeding can help them heal faster as well as comfort them through their illness.
Breastfeeding has also been shown to drastically reduce the chance of allergies in babies. Many allergies in babies often lessen after the one year mark as well, when breastfeeding tends to make up less of a baby’s nutrition amount.
Don’t Rush the Process!
I don’t recommend cutting your baby off cold turkey if possible, or rushing your baby through the process.
It can be hard, especially if you are really done with breastfeeding and just want to get your baby off you. But, it can make things worse for you.
It can lead to your baby suffering from separation anxiety, making them very clingy.
It can also cause you some pain and discomfort, if you don’t give your body time to adjust. You will most likely become engorged which can lead to painful clogged ducts and even possibly mastitis.
It can also cause a lot of emotions for you, mama.
I remember being completely ready to wean from breastfeeding, but then when we were done… I was an emotional wreck.
Your body goes through a lot of hormonal changes during this time as well, and I felt very down and physically weak for a few days. It’s not easy.
Try and be as mentally ready as possible for this process.
Just remember, eventually your baby will be off the boob no matter what! Take your time and enjoy the last few moments being so close to your baby if you can.
This is how I weaned my son fully with little discomfort, and how you can too!
Drop One Feeding at a Time
Usually the first and last feedings are the hardest to drop (my son was very attached to his morning feeding especially) so try and drop the middle ones first.
Drop one and leave it for a week or so giving your baby and your body time to adjust. Then drop another.
Earth Mama Organics No More Milk Tea can help with engorgement and discomfort that can often come with weaning. Drink this tea to safely decrease your milk supply as you slowly wean your baby! Get it Here.
Distract Your Baby
Do your best to distract your baby, particularly when it’s time for a feeding you want to skip.
Bring out a special toy you buy just for this purpose, or give them a little snack.
Even if at first you only manage to distract them a little longer, just pushing the feeding, that’s fine! Just try and shorten the feeding if you can.
Remember, take it slow.
Offer Breast Milk in a Cup
This can be particularly helpful if your baby is dependent on those before nap/bedtime nursing sessions.
A lot of babies, especially as they get older, really just depend on breastfeeding for comfort and that’s totally fine and normal, even good!
But, offering breast milk in this Munchkin Sippy Cup if you’re able to pump even a little, can be helpful to cut off that dependence. Eventually you can mix breast milk (or formula if you’re moving to that) with whole cows milk to transition to cows milk only.
Cuddle Your Baby Lots
This is hard for your baby and for you. Your little one has depended for however long on you for the bulk of their nutrition, as well as comfort.
It will take some time but you will both get through it! You will most likely need the cuddles as much as your baby.
Carrying your baby in a wrap or carrier can also help allow your baby to feel close to you without breastfeeding.
Try Not to Refuse Your Baby
You can try and distract them but it’s best not to completely refuse as they will most likely focus on it more.
Try cutting the session off before it would usually end, and if your baby skips a session on their own, go with it!
It may feel sometimes like you’re taking two steps forward and one step back, but that’s okay. That means you’re taking it slow with no pressure on you and your baby.
This is what I learned from my research and figuring out what worked for my son when we weaned. I hope it helps you do the same!
Good luck mama!