How to wean your child from breastfeeding?
A few days back, I received a call from my friend asking, Akkie “give me some tips to wean” She asked me to write about this and of course, this gave me the urge to jot my answer down here. So, here I am with my experience while I was on the weaning journey.
There is nothing more special than breastfeeding your baby, but there comes a time when you need to get a few restful nights. It could bring a few bittersweet moments initially. You may miss this special time spend bonding with your Little one in the wee hours so, keep your mobile off, no TV, no other distraction, just you and your baby, because it’s a very special moment.
Anything can work for your Lil one, but you have to be a little patient. Some toddlers wean themselves but for some, sometimes it’s your call to nix the nurse. After all, all good things must come to end, including breastfeeding your toddler.
Whenever you start to think to wean, Be gentle to yourself and your child. It’s a major physical, hormonal, and emotional change for both of you, so do it with thought and consideration. It can be a bittersweet moment.
It could be devastating for the baby and mom to quit breastfeeding unexpectedly. It could cause clogged milk ducts, Engorgement, and even lead to mastitis as well as being a sudden change for your baby’s digestive and immune systems to cope with. You can check about Mastitis in my post (Link here).
1.Talk about weaning with your toddler
Even if your child is barely talking to herself, she may be able to grasp what’s going to happen and react to a clear explanation. Tell her why it’s time for breastfeeding to end, in a language you know she understands (and you know your child better than anyone). Tell her that she is going to be a big kid now, and now you don’t have to nurse. As this is a very emotional aspect, reassure her that the two of you are going to continue to snuggle together. Make a list of few things you both would be doing at that time, such as playing games, reading books, play with their favorite toy. In this way She’ll understand that you’re not leaving her— you’re only saying goodbye to nursing. The end of breastfeeding can be a deeply emotional transition for mother and child.
2. Read books about weaning to prepare your toddler
Books like “Loving Comfort” and “A Time to Wean” is a picture book for babies and toddlers who are weaning from nursing. These books address the psychological aspect of weaning.
“Loving Comfort”:(here) A Toddler Weaning Story” (Book by Julie Dillemuth)” is about the life of a nursing relationship for a mother and her son, with beautiful illustrations. “A Time to Wean” (here) Follow favorite animals as they grow, discover new things, and nurse less. All with the comfort and reassurance that love & hugs from mamma never change. Try to read these storybooks before bedtime. You can choose books as per your child’s interests.
3. Seek help from Family Members
Babies tend to smell the mother and so they would just act stubborn, and will not take supplement milk, now this is the time when dad or granny can extend a helping hand.
4. Change the Spot
If you are breastfeeding a child in a particular corner or room, during bottle feeding, change the spot.
Encourage your child to try to feed herself. She’ll show interest in holding the spoon and tasting her food over time. This serves as an excellent motivation for her to eat. It is one of the ways your child develops fine motor skills like learning to hold a spoon.
I did the same with my daughter, she made a mess earlier while eating by herself, be patient, if it happens don’t make a fuss about it rather you keep the camera handy to catch the funny side of this feeding stage rather than making a fuss about it. Though it was painful to see the mess all around her, knowing it was going to take hours to clean up, that helped me in weaning in the end.
6. Plan Distraction
En-route diversions can make your weaning journey comfortable and cheerful. You may occasionally give her a favourite snack when she begins to cry, take out a special toy to play with, or head outside for a walk.
7. Substitute with loads of affection
There is a built-in baby bonding time for breastfeeding. That is one of the biggest reasons for many toddlers to refuse to leave it behind. Just because breastfeeding is coming to an end, tell your little one that it doesn’t mean there’s going to be any less love to go around. A weaning child needs a lot of love and support in another way. Stay on your feet! Going heavy on cuddles and kisses during the weaning process, particularly during the times of the day when she was most dependent on breastfeeding.
8. Stop nursing her before sleep
If breastfeeding is being used by your toddler to fall asleep at night, avoid this practice at the right time. Try to nurse her earlier in the evening and substitute her favourite snack, and a cup of milk, stories, songs for the bedtime routine. It’s easier to turn over your partner or granny’s bedtime duties.
Sometimes kids ask for a nurse when they are bored – Distract them before they ask.
Ideal weaning foods
Start with foods that are slightly soft inconsistency.
- Mashed banana is top weaning food as it is sweet, easy to swallow, and digest.
- Babies also like mild foods such as rice cereal, pureed carrots, and cooked apples.
Once your baby is familiar with the taste of these and her tummy is happy with them, you can mix two vegetables or fruits and give them to her.
My experiences with both kids were different. When I was trying to wean with my elder one, we bought varieties of sipper with his favourite caricature, and offered him, as we read stories to him. He would take little sips for fun and that helped him get used to it. I also started giving him the cup of milk while we were winding down for the evening before bed, in hopes that he will be full than usual to make it easy. This was not the same as my younger child. she eventually weaned herself, unlike the elder.
This was my personal experience, and it’s not going to be the same for you. I would love to hear about your weaning experience, so please feel welcome to share your own experience. Happy Reading.
You will also love to read: https://www.messymom.co/post/thumb-love & https://www.messymom.co/post/self-care-isn-t-selfish
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