5 ways to wean your baby from breastfeeding

It’s not easy to stop breastfeeding, especially when your baby still asks for it and you feel emotionally attached to the process. However, it’s a necessary step in your little one’s development

Whether you’re going back to work, expecting another baby, or are just ready for your breastfeeding journey to end, weaning can be a challenging time for both you and your little one. But don’t worry as Maternity and Postpartum Consultant and Certified Doula, Sasha Romary has 5 tips on how to gently stop breastfeeding and how to overcome some of the common hurdles.

1. Don’t offer but don’t refuse

This baby led weaning process is probably the most gentle approach. The idea is to simply not offer your breast, but if your baby wants it don’t refuse them. The theory is that over time, your little one will become more independent and choose their nutrition from a sippy cup that they can hold themselves instead of you.

2. Be patient

Remember that this is a transitional time for you and your baby. Approach weaning one feed at a time starting with their least important feed. Hold back on giving the breast, and once they have adapted to this continue onto another feeding time. Don’t attempt to stop them all at once as your supply won’t have time to adjust and you could potentially become engorged. Additionally, your little one might act out in protest making the whole process much more difficult.

3. Substitution

When your little one asks for the breast, offer them their favorite snack instead. This can be done preemptively, for example, if you know that around 11 am your baby will want to nurse, come prepared with another offering instead. This will put a positive spin on the weaning rather than putting you in a situation when you have to refuse the breast which can become difficult emotionally for both you and your baby. 

4. Change your routine

Maybe your baby only nurses when you’re at home or when they first see you in the morning. Change up the schedule so that you are out and about when nursing instincts hit or have your partner go and get your baby in the morning. Sometimes a simple change in their routine can help the transition.

5. Shorter sessions

The idea here is to limit the nursing session by a minute or so each time until your baby doesn’t feel like they need that feed anymore. A great way to do this is by placing nursing sessions directly after a meal of solids as by now your little one will most likely be eating pretty regular meals. This should mean your baby isn’t as hungry which will help to encourage shorter sessions.

Just remember, weaning a baby off the breast can be a difficult and emotional time for you as a mother. Breastfeeding is a very unique and special bonding time for you both and weaning means that your little one is growing up and becoming more independent.

Take it slowly and allow you both to adjust to the change, physically and emotionally. It will take time and patience, but now you’ve made the decision to stop, in barely any time you will be nursing free. You’ve got this mama!

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