Weaning can be a challenge for even the most experienced mothers, which is why the topic can be somewhat taboo for new moms or mothers-to-be. It's no secret that breastfeeding has incredible benefits, as it provides children with top-notch nutrition and comfort. But what about when it's time to move on? Hopefully, these tips for weaning will help!
There's no exact age when babies should wean, but whenever mom and baby are ready to take the next step in their feeding journey, these five tips can serve as a helpful guide for navigating the weaning process as easily and efficiently as possible.
Take It Slow
While it may be tempting for mothers to quit breastfeeding altogether on days when their breasts feel full and sore or their baby's teeth start coming in, it's best to take a gradual approach. Consider using the baby-led weaning method. In this method, mothers neither offer nor refuse breastfeedings and let the child decide when they want to be fed and with what. It's also common to gradually replace breastfeeding with bottle feeding until the baby is fully accustomed to eating away from the breast.
Replace Feeding Time with Distractions
Another tip for weaning mothers and their babies is to reduce feeding time with distractions. When choosing distractions, it's important to pick something that's pleasant for the child that they'll enjoy or even prefer more than breastfeeding. Ideas of distractions include playing with enriching toys like building blocks, a game of peek-a-boo, or offering a small piece of soft fruit, like bananas or strawberries.
Keep an Eye Out For Engorgement
Engorgement occurs when too much milk accumulates in the breast, causing soreness, heat, and clogged ducts that can lead to more advanced complications like mastitis. This is a common affliction for weaning mothers, especially for those who quit breastfeeding abruptly. Mothers can combat this discomfort by massaging tender areas of the breast.
Plant-based CaboCreme is a product designed specifically with breastfeeding mothers in mind. Simply take some of the lightly scented cream and massage it into the breast to loosen up clogged ducts and decrease engorgement.
Make Time for One-on-One Bonding
Babies are highly social and dependent creatures, and it's almost certain that they'll miss the bonding time they had during feedings with their mother. As mothers start weaning their babies off of the breast, they may consider dedicating specific time each day when they otherwise would be breastfeeding to cuddling with their child instead. Remember that breastfeeding is extremely comforting for babies, so weaning can be a traumatic time for them if it's not gradual, which is why it's so important to shower babies with love and affection during weaning.
Take Time to Decompress
Weaning isn't all about the baby—in fact, it's just as important for the mother to take care of herself and her emotions as much as she does for the child. Mothers may find themselves sad when weaning from their babies, as it represents a shift in their relationship and emphasizes how quickly children grow. It's crucial that mothers take time to focus on their own emotional and mental health during this time so they can provide their children with the best care possible.
Mothers can use these five tips as a guide when starting the weaning process with their babies to ensure it is safe and stress-free for all involved.