Every day that you breastfeed your baby is a gift, so when you choose to wean is a personal decision.
However, weaning isn’t just stopping breastfeeding cold-turkey (although that can happen). It is a process that can take some time and generally starts when you start giving baby solid foods.
Here are four things you need to know about weaning. Read on:
It’s a transition
Weaning can take days, weeks, months or even years. Think of it as a transition: Baby is moving away from needing the breast for comfort or nourishment. It should be done gradually, so both mom AND baby are comfortable and have time to adjust.
There are different methods
Some people actively wean, meaning they set an end date and work toward that, slowly dropping nursing times and the number of feeds, offering other nourishment (either solids or formula).
Some people let weaning happen, meaning they let baby take the lead as baby becomes less and less interested in nursing and more interested in solid food.
One thing is for sure: Your baby is used to lots of cuddling if they are breastfed, so be sure to give plenty of cuddles, kisses and hugs during the process.
It can be stressful – for mom and baby
Weaning might bring on new feelings or behaviors in your baby: Separation anxiety, crying, clinginess and more. And for moms, you might notice your emotions changing as well, since nursing provides hormones that make moms feel good and happy.
If you find you or your baby is having trouble, it’s OK to delay weaning or slow it down a bit!
Pick the right time
While there is probably no perfect time to begin the process, if your child is ill or going through a developmental leap – or if you are in transition yourself – it’s OK to keep nursing as long as you and your baby both enjoy it.
We promise your baby won’t need you to nurse them forever!
At Everything Birth, we love to support nursing moms!