It’s time to wean your precious child. If you are like I was with my second child, you rejoice at the thought of weaning. If you aren’t, you are on the opposite side of the spectrum, absolutely dreading the weaning process. Either way, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to wean your baby.
One of the most important actions to take while weaning is to try different techniques until you find what works.
There are so many techniques to try, and in this article, we’ll explore some of the best.
The Not Now technique requires communication from the mother and some level of patience from the child.
Whenever your child wants to nurse, you refuse the request and then tell your child “Not Now”. You can space feedings further and further apart based on your preference and how your child is coping. Over time, this technique helps to reduce overall feedings and your child’s dependence on them.
One day, “Not Now” will turn into “Not ever” and you’ll be done weaning your child.
This technique requires resourcefulness. When your child asks for the breast, or it’s time for a scheduled feeding, distract your child with another activity. For instance, during lunch time (or any other time when your child may want to nurse) instead of nursing, you can distract your child with a fun activity, playtime with friends, or her favorite show.
Plan ahead and anticipate your child’s nursing needs. Don’t wait until your child is already looking to nurse, as this is the perfect recipe for a tantrum. Make a list of possible distractions that you can pull out at your convenience.
To Do: Before starting this method, watch your child for a few days and note when she wants to nurse throughout the day. Make a mental note and prepare accordingly.
Absenteeism requires you to get away from your baby during times when your child might want to nurse. This means that you would need to get a regular babysitter to take your place during these times. To start, plan on being away during breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.
You don’t have to leave the house if you don’t want to, of course. You can simply retreat to a different room in the house for a half-hour, put your feet up, and relax. You deserve it!
Of course, if you’d rather take a trip to a café or run some errands, feel free!
This method may be preferred when a child is only interested in nursing when mom is around.
This technique is pretty widely used. Simply cut back on your baby’s breastfeeding sessions. Start by cutting one feeding session every few days to a week.
Replace each feeding session with a drink from a sippy cup, a distraction, or a snack.
This technique is good for babies who need a very slow, gradual approach to weaning. It could take weeks to months to completely wean your child using this method.
This technique is child-lead, meaning that it is driven totally by the child. If your child requests the breast, go ahead and breastfeed her. Never offer the breast unless asked, though.
This way, your child is weaning on her own terms. When she is done with breastfeeding, she’ll stop requesting it.
This is the perfect technique for moms who want to give their children full control over the weaning process. This technique has the potential to take much longer than any of these other methods. So, if you don’t mind weaning over months or years, don’t offer, and don’t refuse.
This technique requires moms to shorten the duration of nursing sessions over time.
Let’s say you currently nurse your baby for 10 minutes on each side per session. Using this method, you can start by reducing nursing time on each breast to 8 or 9 minutes and continue to reduce after that. Soon enough, you’ll be nursing for only a minute or two on each breast. Then you can stop breastfeeding completely (substituting your milk for water or some other kind of milk).
This technique is another viable option for mothers who want to wean slowly over time.
You may be aware that nighttime feeding sessions are often the hardest to stop. If you are having a hard time stopping these feedings (or routine feedings at another time of the day), consider developing a routine or changing your existing one.
For instance, instead of bathing, nursing, then putting baby to bed, you could switch the nighttime routine up by replacing your evening nursing session with a daily book reading or something else that your child would like.
Weaning cold turkey means that you simply stop breastfeeding. Don’t give your child the breast anymore.
Your milk supply will diminish quickly.
The best weaning technique for you could definitely be to quit cold turkey. While it is often desirable to wean over time, there are circumstances that make it necessary to stop breastfeeding immediately.
Some moms have to start a new medication that isn’t compatible with breastfeeding. Others develop a medical condition that requires putting an immediate stop to breastfeeding. Some have simply reached a point where they feel like they can’t continue.
When going cold turkey, it’s important to be on the lookout for potential complications. Sudden weaning has the potential to cause complications like breast abscesses, plugged ducts, and mastitis.
Choose a technique based on what you think will work best for you and your child. No one else can tell you what technique is appropriate for your child, as every child is different.
You may find that more than one technique is needed to wean your child, which is totally fine. Try a few techniques- at least one of them is bound to work like a charm.
Until next time