Weaning Your Breastfed Baby

It’s often a hard decision to terminate nursing. Especially if a mother has enough milk and would like to make time for other activities, but her child demands breast milk even when he’s close to his second birthday.

 

It’s not true that breastfeeding after the first year is unnecessary and that the milk is weak and less nutritious. Breast milk can cover up to 30% of the child’s protein and energy needs even after his first birthday.

If a mother still decides to wean her baby off earlier, its her decision and should be respected.

 

Weaning

 

Weaning demands time and patience. Fast weaning is usually accompanied by restlessness and cries. The child should be in a good health shape because weaning usually isn’t successful during illness. Sometimes, it’s necessary to return to breastfeeding in such a situation even if the child has been weaned already.

In order for your breast milk production to decrease, it is recommended to skip one feeding a day every two to three days.  Start with times when the baby is not as interested and your breasts aren’t as filled.  During the following week, reduce the frequency of breastfeeding until you completely stop.

Weaning babyFor some time afterwards, your breasts may release a small amount of milk. That’s completely normal. During fast weaning, women’s breasts still get very filled. The only thing to do in such a situation is to pump out the breast milk. Before that, it’s good to warm the breasts. During different times cold compressions bring relief. Breast pressing is not recommended.

 

Remember that:

 

– Intensive contact with a child, caressing and expressing love are encouraged during weaning. It’s not appropriate to decrease contact with a child at this time.

– When a child expects to be breastfed, try to bring his attention to other things: to a game, his favorite food, etc.

– A change in environment can help the child forget about breastfeeding.

– It’s better for the child to rest more during weaning.

– Its usually easier to postpone breastfeeding with an irregularly breastfed toddler. Some children can’t wait though and demand breast milk even more often.

– Another good way to help weaning is shortening the breastfeeding time.

– Get the father involved.  He can entertain or cook for his child when he would normally be breastfed.

 

 Reasons that don’t demand weaning a child

 

– Feelings of overload and fatigue

– Teething

– Breast inflammation (not „emptying“ the breast can worsen the situation)

– Common diseases of the mother or child (like an upper respiratory infection, etc.). Most of the commonly used drugs can be taken while breastfeeding, however it is always wise to ask your doctor.

– Pregnancy (during a healthy, normal pregnancy a mother may continue breastfeeding her child)

– Concerns about the lack of or poor quality of the milk (these are usually unfounded)

– The age of the child

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