When your baby has stopped breast feeding and gets
all of his nutrition from other sources than the
breast, he's actually considered weaned. Even
though babies are also weaned from the bottle as
well, the term weaning often refers to when a
baby is stopped from breast feeding.
When weaning is a mother's idea, it normally
requires a lot of patience and can take time,
depending on the age of your baby or toddler,
and also how well your child adjusts. The
overall experience is different for everyone.
Weaning is a long goodbye, sometimes emotional
and sometimes painful. It doesn't however, signal
fo the end to the intimacy you and your child
have developed during the nursing stage. What it
means, is that you have to replace breast feeding
with other types of nourishment.
Your the best judge as to when it's the right
time to wean, and you don't really have a
deadline unless you and your child are actually
ready to wean. The recommended time for weaning
is one year. No matter what relatives, friends,
or even complete strangers tell you, there is
no right or wrong time for weaning.
How to wean
You should proceed slowly, regardless of what
the age of your child may be. Experts say
that you shouldn't abruptly withhold your breast,
as they results can be traumatic. You should
however, try these methods instead:
1. Skip a feeding - Skip a feeding and
see what happens, offering a cup of milk to your
baby instead. As a substitue, you can use a
bottle of your own pumped milk, formula, or a
cow's milk. If you reduce feedings one at a
time, your child will eventually adjust to the
2. Shorten feeding time - You can start
by cutting the length of time your child is
actually at the breast. If the normal feeding
time is 5 minuts, try 3. Depending on the age,
follow the feeding with a healthy snack. Bed
time feedings are usually the hardest to wean,
as they are normally the last to go.
3. Postpone and distract - You can
postpone feedings if you are only feeding a couple
of times per day. This method works great if
you have an older child you can actually reason
with. If your child wants the breast, say that
you'll feed later then distract him.
If you've tried everything and weaning doesn't
seem to be working at all, maybe the time just
isn't right. You can wait just a bit longer
to see what happens, as your child and you have
to determine the right time to wean together.