Ready to Wean Your Baby from Breastfeeding? Here’s What You Should Know
posted by The Live Better Team | February 7, 2018
For many mothers with new babies, breastfeeding and nursing can be stressful. Some women struggle with creating a normal breastfeeding routine, but many also struggle with the weaning process.
Weaning is Different for Everyone
The term “weaning” refers to the process in which the baby is being fully separated from receiving nutrients from the mother’s breast. This is often a very intuitive process, and a mother’s discretion is key. You know your baby best, as well as your lifestyle and other demands requiring your time, and as such, you’re in the best position to interpret the signs and decide when it’s time to begin weaning.
Dependency often plays a large role here. Some mothers may have a difficult time discontinuing the breastfeeding process because they enjoy the emotional attachment it creates with their child. Alternatively, many babies feel rejected when their mother begins weaning them off the breast. Some children may even become irritated.
Choose a Timeframe That Works for You
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for at least a year, and often longer if both mother and baby still desire it. Beyond this, when you start weaning your baby is primarily up to you as a mother. While some mothers base the decision on their own body, others let the baby make the decision:
If both the mother and baby want it, there’s nothing wrong with extending breastfeeding well beyond a year. It may have benefits including a strong emotional bond and better brain development.
Weaning Methods and Tips
Weaning is a trying process at times, and you have to move slowly and be patient. Here are a few specific methods that might make things a bit easier:
Physical Changes With Weaning
You can expect a few physical changes to the baby when you begin weaning:
Your doctor can offer additional tips on breastfeeding and the proper timing and tips for weaning.
I practice the full range of family medicine including obstetrics, pediatrics, adolescent medicine, adult medicine and some orthopedics. I also perform colposcopy, cryotherapy and vasectomies. Due to the volume of deliveries we do, my practice has evolved to be more centered on women and children’s medicine, although I enjoy all aspects of family medicine.
“From Breast To Bottle: Weaning Your Baby.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/weaning-your-baby#1
“Weaning: When and how to stop breastfeeding.” BabyCenter.com. https://www.babycenter.com/0_weaning-when-and-how-to-stop-breastfeeding_3272.bc
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.