Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

5 Tips that will Make Weaning Your Nursing Baby Easier

by: Dyan Eybergen
I thought my second born would surely starve to death when it came time to wean him from my breast on to the bottle. Every formula, every type of nipple I tried was to no avail. What I didn't realize was that for him, it had much more to do with the routine of nursing than what product I was using.
Breastfeeding always took place in the company of his older brother. We would sit together on the couch; babe on my lap comfortably situated a top the nursing pillow and his brother beside me would be chattering away eating a snack. When I began transitioning my baby onto the bottle, I insisted on quiet and sent my older son away to play on his own. For weeks we struggled with the new routine that only resulted in frustration and giving back in to nursing. I was returning to work in a couple of weeks and running out of time. It was my mother who suggested inviting my older son to come back and join in the ritual of our feeding time together. Once his younger brother heard the familiar sound of his voice, that baby had no problem drinking from a bottle!
My experience may be unique but weaning a baby from breastfeeding shouldn't be so difficult. Here are 5 tips to ease weaning for both of you:
  1. Drop one feeding at a time. Start with removing the feeding your baby is less fond of. Morning and night time feedings are usually the last to let go of.
  2. Replace each dropped feeding at 3 day intervals to lessen the risk of getting mastitis and overwhelming baby with too much change too fast. If baby catches on to how much easier it is to suck from a bottle and abruptly refuses to breastfeed, manually express your milk and drop a time you would pump at the same interval that you would drop a feeding, every 3 days.
  3. Make up for the physical closeness you share with baby while breastfeeding by scheduling cuddle times throughout the day. Babies get much comfort and security from nursing so you want to maintain that contact.
  4. If baby is older than six months you could start introducing solid foods and a training cup; however, keep in mind, that babies still have the need to suck well into there second year, so consider offering a bottle, a pacifier or allowing babe to suck on his/her fingers.
  5. If your breastfeeding routine resembles mine, try keeping things similar. Should this prove to backfire because of the "nursing signals" you may be giving out due to familiarity; change the location of where you typically nurse so baby won't associate a rocking chair or special pillow with your breast.
Weaning is about both you and your baby. Listen to your heart and if your not ready there is no point in forcing babe into something you will regret. Many working mom's continue to breastfeed after returning to work by keeping early morning and night feedings and pumping during coffee breaks. Do what is best for you and baby. If you decide it's time to wean, taking the gradual approach will make it less difficult for both of you.

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