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The Tiny Thing Keeping Your Baby From Weaning

It doesn't matter whether you loved every moment of breastfeeding or hated the entire experience — weaning is hard. Maybe not for you, but for your little one, it can be especially difficult. After all, it's the one thing they've had since birth and it's the perfect time to bond with you, their mom. You're bound to run into some struggles trying to wean your little one. But knowing the tiny thing keeping your baby from weaning can help you make decisions that will take weaning from difficult to OK, this is kind of manageable.

You've probably already gathered that it's a little hard to just cut your baby off from breastfeeding without looking back, but when you think your child is ready, it can still be tough to gradually take away your nursing sessions. And honestly, the reason is simple.

Your baby's missing your cuddles and they just aren't ready.

I know — they are one year old, so you feel like it's time to wean them. But that's not necessarily the case. According to Kelly Mom, Dr. William Sears suggested that weaning a child shouldn't be about detaching them from their mother, but rather about your child feeling ready to move on and grow. When you attempt to wean them before they're ready, they can face separation anxiety, become clingier, throw more tantrums, and sleep less at night.

It seems like an easy thing to recognize, but many parents may believe their child is just wanting to breastfeed or exerting their own form of independence when in reality, they just want you. La Leche League International noted that during weaning, your child will need lots of extra love, snuggles, and cuddles. Before, nursing provided your baby with plenty of physical affection, but when you give up those sessions, your baby may be confused and want more time alone with you.

Pretty normal, but it can keep your baby from weaning. You may find yourself offering the breast when they are inconsolable. But you don't have to start all over. Instead of breaking the weaning process, spend some one-on-one time with your little one. The Baby Sleep Site suggested following the "don't offer, but don't refuse" method. If your baby just wants extra time with you, then feel free to give them lots of snuggles or distract them with a day out for the two of you, but don't immediately offer your breasts when they are upset. Wait to see if they can get past it and if it's more about being with you than actually breastfeeding.