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I knew it was time to wean my baby when she only wanted to breastfeed right before bedtime. She had slowly weaned herself from nursing for about a month and I knew it would be the perfect time to fully wean her while I was home on vacation for a week.
I gathered up a few of my tips and tricks to help you in your journey to wean your baby from breastfeeding. I hope these will be a help!
*This content is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. Please contact a physician or lactation consultant if you have questions or concerns about your child’s health or the weaning process.*
How to Wean Your Baby
Determine When the Time is Right
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life and then be introduced to other foods while continuing breastfeeding for 1 year or longer.
The first step to stopping breastfeeding is to make sure that both you and baby are ready to move on. For some women, they are ready to begin weanning before 12 months, for others they choose to continue to breastfeed well into the toddler years. There is no “right” answer.
Signs Your Baby May Be Ready
- Your baby can hold his/her head up.
- He can sit up unassisted.
- She shows interest in other foods.
- Your baby seems hungrier than usual.
Talk with Your Child’s Doctor
If you feel that you and your baby are ready to wean from breastfeeding, the next step is to have a conversation with your child’s pediatrician.
Your child’s pediatrician can give you tips to successfully wean as well as appropriate replacements and supplements to your child’s diet.
It’s important to wean your baby slowly if possible. You can start out by simply replacing one or two of your baby’s feedings with baby food or formula.
- It’s recommended to wait to give your baby cow’s milk until after 12 months.
- If you are interested in learning more about baby-led weaning you can check out this article.
Give a Pacifier
If you have been breastfeeding for any length of time, then you know that sometimes your baby just wants to nurse for comfort.
If you are looking to begin the weaning process, then look into offering your baby her favorite pacifier when she needs a little extra comfort. My daughter loved these Tommee Tippee pacifiers the most.
Distract Your Baby
You can also try distracting your baby with a fun game or toy as her normal feeding window gets closer.
I find that it’s super helpful to keep a separate (special) toy that your child will enjoy when you are attempting to extend his feeding window.
Only bring out this special toy when you are looking to distract your baby from a normal feeding time.
Offer a Different Food
Offering your baby a new, or favorite, food that can serve as a replacement for a typical breastfeeding session is a great option fort slowly stopping breastfeeding.
I noticed when my toddler began weaning from breastfeeding that she often replaced a typical breastfeeding session with some of her favorite snacks. This was a natural replacement that she really enjoyed.
You may think that stopping breastfeeding is solely up to you and your baby but your family may also be a great help in the process.
Try asking for help from your significant other, family, or friends. Your baby may be more receptive to substituting a feeding if someone else is giving it.
Dry Up Your Milk
If you have successfully weaned your baby from breastfeeding but you want your milk to dry up quicker, you can get this No More Milk Tea from Earth Mama.
No More Milk Tea is a caffeine-free blend of organic herbs that will help you reduce the production of breastmilk.
It Will Happen
Go easy on yourself and your baby. You baby may push back against you as you wean. If you find your child becoming inconsolable, reach out to a professional for help. You may need to reevaluate, your child may not be ready, or you may need additional resources.
Just know, that when it is the right time for you to wean your child, it will come. No two children are the same. What worked for someone else’s baby may not work for your baby and that’s okay!
Maybe It’s Not Time
Maybe you have read through this and you are second guessing your decision to wean your baby from nursing. That’s okay! If you need more information on how to have a successful breastfeeding journey you can head over here.