There comes a time in every breastfeeding woman’s life when she decides to stop breastfeeding her baby and switch to bottle feeding. There are many reasons for this decision, depending on the mother’s individual situation. How to wean the child from the breast? What methods should be used to achieve the desired results? Definitely, this change will be even more difficult for the child than for the mother. Therefore, it should be done gently and gradually.
Breastfeeding is not just “eating time”
Most often, mothers decide to wean their baby when the child turns one year old. According to the recommendations, it is until a year that milk is necessary to consume. However, during breastfeeding, whether in the second or third year, natural food will still meet the nutritional need, as well as the health of the child. In its composition it contains valuable fats, lactose, protein with vitamins or mineral salts, as well as important antibodies. A breastfed baby needs this closeness to its mother for longer because it is one of its psychological and physiological needs. Thanks to this closeness, the baby feels above all safe.
How to wean a baby from the breast?
Weaning the child from the breast should be spread out over time. Definitely, it should not be done suddenly. Both the baby and the mother will suffer, as she may have problems with the quantity of milk, which may even lead to breast inflammation. The child is a great visual observer, therefore moms should avoid clothes, which the child may associate with breastfeeding. Moreover, at the beginning it is worth giving up at least one feeding, e.g. every 2 – 3 days on average. It is best to give up daytime feedings first in the initial stages of this process
Your baby is used to the breast, so he likes to demand it in any situation. Even when it is not hungry, but needs closeness. It’s worth occupying the child with something else, diverting its attention, e.g. showing it another toy. Another important thing to do is to offer the baby something to eat before it gets really hungry, because then it probably won’t want anything else but the breast. The baby is getting smarter by the month and is starting to understand more, so it’s very important to explain to him that mummy will no longer breastfeed, but instead will continue to cuddle and stroke him, showing him her love. Weaning must not involve a reduction in closeness
Weaning your baby – when NOT to do it?
Weaning your baby cannot always be done at any time. There are often a number of different situations in life that make it necessary to continue breastfeeding naturally. These situations include:
- increased emotional tension caused by various reasons, situations in the life of the child and its parents, especially the mother,
- times of increased need for sucking,
- breast inflammation,
- heat in the summer, because it is more difficult for smaller babies to replace breast milk with ordinary water,
- illness of the mother/baby, unless the mother is taking medication that is not intended for consumption during the lactation period.
When weaning a baby, it is important to observe him carefully, paying special attention to his behavior. Such a change can cause stress in a toddler. The child may be irritable, and in the worst case, its resistance to diseases may decrease. It is necessary to react to all signals immediately. However, it is important to remember to show closeness to the toddler at every step, so that he does not feel somehow rejected
There is no single and proven method for weaning a baby from mom’s breast. Each little one is different and will take a different time to get used to the new situation. One baby will finish natural feeding faster and the other slower. This change needs, above all, a lot of time, patience and love. Breastfeeding creates a great bond between the baby and its mother – this is when the baby feels best. The transition to replace the breast with a bottle is another stage in the life of mother and child. It is the mother who decides when she will stop breastfeeding and switch to formula milk.
Main photo: Jonathan Borba, source: unsplash.com