Oh boy… you feel ready to wean your baby but are stuck in a rut. It’s hard to let go, and you have no idea how to wean your baby. Yup been there, done that.
It’s definitely not always easy, but doable! However, there are some critical steps you must take to properly and effectively wean your baby.
But let me explain….
Lovely, the joy of weaning, the physical and emotional roller coaster that not only the baby has to go through, but mom as well.
Weaning is a natural process that every baby has to go through. Whether you need to cut back on feedings to feel better, or your baby is old enough to completely go to solids, everyone needs to go through this.
I was so scared to wean my baby when the time came. For health reasons, I needed to stop breastfeeding, and my baby wasn’t that interested in the breast anymore, so it was a perfect combination.
I gathered lots of information and tried almost all of them.
Here are the 5 tips that actually helped me wean my baby completely in ONE WEEK!
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
1. Get Baby Used to the Bottle or Cup
Before starting the weaning process, I made sure to get my baby used to taking the bottle.
This is important as your baby will get used to drinking out of something else, and make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
You can also transition to a cup if you prefer, which will save you the struggle of having to wean from the bottle in a few months.
These are the bottles I have been using, and highly recommend!
Around 7 months, I noticed my milk was reduced before bedtime. I would breastfeed my baby and then give her another bottle of formula on top. She never drank much from the bottle but got used to the act of drinking from a bottle, which turned out to be super helpful.
A month before I weaned, I gave her one full bottle before bedtime as a breast milk substitute. Through this, she got used to drinking formula or pumped breast milk from a bottle, which made the weaning process so much easier!
2. Skip One Feeding a Day
I wanted to make sure I weaned my baby at the right time and for how long WE need to complete the process.
I was still breastfeeding her 4 times per day at the time I decided to start weaning.
After getting the go-ahead from my pediatrician, I started skipping the feeding after her second nap of the day, as she seemed the least interested in that one.
After about 2 days, I dropped the feeding after her first nap as well and then breastfed her once at night and after waking up. Every 2-3 days I dropped a feeding.
On the 5th day of weaning, I noticed my body stopped producing milk completely.
My baby was happy to take the bottle, and everything still seemed the same with her emotionally. So based on that positive sign, I breastfed her once on day 5 and 6, and then nothing on day 7.
It may take more than one week to wean your baby.
Take it at your and your baby’s own pace and watch out for the signs of premature weaning which can be found in the next point below.
3. Watch your Child
Some children need the breastfeeding time to bond with their mother, as they may be still attached to nursing.
See weaning as a developmental milestone.
If you noticed your baby showing signs of:
- Fear of separation
- Increased irritability, crying
- Sleep disturbances
- Needing pacifier or thumb
- Increased attachment to an object (stuffed animal, blanket, etc,)
- Refusal to eat or acting “sick”
If any of these signs occur, then breastfeeding may be going too quickly for them and you should slow down.
If these things are happening it may not be the right time to wean. Weaning a child before the child is ready can leave them feeling unfulfilled and detached.
Make sure both you and your child are ready before starting to wean.
If you are, then go ahead! What is stopping you from making those first baby steps to complete independence?
4. Cuddle with your Baby
The hardest process of weaning is often the emotional part. It is normal to be excited about the new independence, yet sad about seeing your baby grow up.
Make sure you and your baby are ready before weaning, not only physically but emotionally!
I was sad to see my baby grow up and not be dependent on me anymore. She never enjoyed cuddling, so breastfeeding was the only time I had to cuddle with her.
A friend suggested I should still cuddle with her or hold her on my lap when she is taking the bottle. This helped us get some cuddling time in and gave us that opportunity to bond.
During the weaning process, you and your child are both going through big and emotional changes.
Your baby needs the time to cuddle, to have your undivided attention, and to feel the closeness to you. So, make sure to get a lot of snuggles in during the weaning process!
5. Use Distractions
The older your baby, the harder it will be to wean your baby.
After 10 months, children tend to become attached to the breast and see it more of an emotional and physical connection to you, rather than a nourishment source.
This can make the baby long and ask for the breast. This, however, should not stop you from extended breastfeeding, as the benefits far outreach this emotional connection.
When this happens, try distracting the baby with a game or some songs when they want to nurse.
If your baby is adamant about nursing, do not refuse. They might not be ready to be weaned quite yet.
If they don’t ask and you are wanting to wean, then maybe do not offer it to them at that time.
6. Frozen Breast Milk as a Hero!
I was emotionally burdened about having to wean my baby before my “goal”. As I mentioned before, I had to wean her off for personal health reasons and was finding it difficult to cope with that.
I remembered the frozen bags of breast milk I had and that gave me hope. Even though I may not have been able to provide my baby with fresh breast milk until her first birthday, I had something else.
I had enough frozen breast milk to give it to her once daily until she was older. This brought peace of mind as I knew she would still be getting that nutrient-rich mother’s milk, even when I had completely weaned her.
If you have no access to frozen breast milk, consider using formula as a substitute.
The formula created nowadays is so close to mother’s milk, your baby will never be lacking any minerals and nutrients it needs to grow and develop. This is the formula I have been using and loving!
Implementing these 5 steps can help speed up the process of weaning and make not only yours but your baby’s life a little easier.
Weaning is about taking time to learn something new and say goodbye to something old.
This process is hard and might leave you crying and putting yourself down.
Remember, you have given your baby so much during your time of breastfeeding, when it ends, and how it ends will never take anything away from that.
Until next time,