Timelines and milestones are very important during the first years of your baby’s life. One of those milestones is weaning your baby. It is very important to know when to start and how during certain times of their development.
It is a confusing time for many new moms, however. There are a lot of misconceptions about it concerning the timing and what can be fed to your child during the weaning process. And, there is also a lot of guilt placed on moms that do or do not breastfeed which complicates matters even further.
In this article, I will go over what you need to know to be able to start weaning your baby at the right time.
1. It can be gradual
Weaning your baby should not be a strict all or nothing moment. There is no time when you need to start weaning and then go wholeheartedly into it. For instance, you could already be supplementing your breastfeeding with some formula bottle time for various reasons. This is also a way to begin weaning your baby and can start the ball rolling.
The thing to remember is that a baby is going to get almost all of its nutrition up until the age of 12 months from breastfeeding or formula like Alula in Australia.
Doing it gradually is going to be a benefit to both you and your baby. If you stop breastfeeding all at once, then this will cause your baby confusion and can lead to more fussy feeding times. And your breasts will likely become engorged leading to a lot of pain and discomfort. You’re also opening yourself up to having your milk ducts get infected. Plus your baby will miss out on the benefits of breastfeeding.
Take your time, don’t feel like you need to force a schedule and let it happen organically.
2. Daytime weaning
During the day, weaning your baby is the easiest part of the weaning process. You should try to incorporate some solid foods like oatmeal, rice, or puree of fruit at the time it is age-appropriate when they are hungry. Then, only breastfeed when the child asks for it.
Avoiding going for the routine of breastfeeding at the usual time and substituting it with formula or solids starts taking their mind off of the breast. It’s also a good idea to make a diversion around the usual feeding time to distract the baby from wanting to nurse automatically.
3. Night time weaning
This is the most difficult moment in weaning away from breastfeeding. At night, when both you and baby are half asleep, there is no way to distract. It is usually the last phase to go when weaning your baby.
Though it may not be very successful, try to offer something other than the breast at night when the baby wakes up for feeding time. Even assigning your partner to do some bottle time is something to try. It’s almost guaranteed that the first few attempts will lead to some fussy feeding times, but eventually it should take.
What you DO NOT want to do is try extreme sleep training techniques like the “cry it out” method that can lead to distress and lifelong psychological damage.