Weaning is a natural process that occurs when your baby is ready to start solid foods. Every mother needs to decide when to wean based on her baby’s needs or her own. Here are some ways to wean breastfeeding:
1. Start partial weaning
This is one of the pediatrician recommended weaning tips. In this method, the baby receives breast milk while completing its feed with other foods like formula or solids. This is a great method of weaning for women who need to get back to work. It is best to discuss which formula to feed the baby if s/he is less than 12 months old. Partial weaning allows the mother to follow breastfeeding weaning schedule when she is with the baby.
2. Do it abruptly
In this method, a mother puts a complete stop to breastfeeding but it can lead to weaning breastfeeding pain due to breast engorgement. To prevent this complication, mothers should manually express their breast milk or apply a cold compress to the breasts. This method of weaning is usually not recommended since it offers very little time for adjustment for both the mother and the child.
3. Bottle feeding
A milk bottle is the best way to wean off breastfeeding at night or at 18 months. Warm the nipple of the bottle so that the baby accepts it. You can also feed expressed milk instead of giving a formula. If a mother is planning to go back to work, she should ask someone else feed the baby with the bottle. The caregiver can also try holding something of the mother’s that smells like her so that the baby has a higher chance of accepting it. Many pediatricians recommend alternatives to bottle including cup, glass, spoon, straw and other breastfeeding aids.
4. Wait for the baby to be calmer and happier
Sometimes babies tend to get fussy due to nipple confusion during weaning off breastfeeding to formula. If this occurs, try holding the baby in another position or wait until s/he is calmer and happier. Always make sure that the baby is happy when presenting him with a new experience. Do not try to wean when the baby is very angry or crying.
5. Put it off for a few more days
If the baby is too frustrated or fussing a lot, try putting off weaning for a few more days. Always listen to your baby. Delay introducing the cup or bottle until later if the baby gets upset.
6. Watch out for signs baby is ready to wean
Weaning should be a positive experience for your baby. If needed, consult an expert for the same. Look for signs baby is ready to wean from breastfeeding. These include:
- Holding his head up/sitting up so that s/he is in a better position to swallow.
- Showing interest in your food
- Making chewing motions and sounds
- Sucking and chewing his fingers
- Waking up at night when he previously slept through
- Hungrier than usual-often unsatisfied with usual feed.
Weaning off breastfeeding to formula is ideally done after 6 months. Do speak to your doctor about important weaning tips and the right breastfeeding weaning schedule.