Sore nipples and engorgement can make breastfeeding tough. But oftentimes, saying goodbye to breastfeeding when it's time to wean can be even harder. If you are trying to get your baby off the boob, you might want to look out for some of these weaning milestones that will let you know you're on the right track.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life, and then begin to supplement breast milk with solid foods until age one. But no matter when you start the weaning process, it's best to take things slow. As Parents suggested, taking your time can help prevent your breasts from becoming engorged and your baby from experiencing anxiety.
Weaning is not an easy process. It can be difficult for mom and baby to give up this special bonding time. But with a little patience and the help of friends and family, you can get through the process. If your baby typically wants to nurse when you are at home, it can help to spend more time outside of the house as you're trying to wean, according to Kelly Mom. As you are trying to cut out nighttime feedings, allow your partner to help out with the bedtime routine, and give yourself a little time to relax and recharge, as Babble suggested. And if you're worried you and your baby will never be this close again, you can set aside a little time each day for extra cuddles.
1. You Get Them To Bottle Feed At One Feeding
According to Kelly Mom, you should begin the weaning process by eliminating or shortening one nursing session per week. They suggested starting with the session that is least important to your baby — usually a midday feeding — and offer a snack or a sippy cup as an alternative to the breast.
2. You Get Them To Shorten Nursing Time
Once you've had success eliminating one feeding, it's time to work on eliminating the rest. As you are trying to add solid foods or the bottle to your baby's diet, you should be shortening the time your baby is on the breast, according to Baby Center. If you are concerned about your baby being hungry, you can supplement the breast milk with a healthy snack.
3. You Get Them To Take Food
As my two children discovered their love for practically everything that came out of my food processor, they became less and less interested in nursing. As your child is getting used to the idea of limited nursing time, it can help to offer solid food before the breast, according to La Leche League International (LLLI).
4. You Drop Down To One Feeding Per Day
As your baby is getting closer to being completely weaned from the breast, you will be down to one feeding per day, according to the aforementioned La Leche League International article. For most, this feeding will be at the end of the day, which is often the hardest feeding to eliminate.
5. You Eliminate The Last Feeding
The final step in the weaning process is to eliminate the last nursing session, according to Babble. This may make bedtime a little more difficult in the beginning, but you can offer a favorite lovey, or a book to help your little one through the transition.