5 Ways To Make Weaning Easier For You And Your Child

5 Ways To Make Weaning Easier For You And Your Child

19 Apr 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 216 Articles

When a baby moves from the mum’s breast milk to other sources of nourishment, it is called weaning. The process of weaning your baby takes patience and understanding from both you and your child.

However, the way one mum weans her child does not have to be exactly the same for another. There are many ways to wean a child and sometimes the reason for weaning may differ too. Deciding when to wean your child or how to wean is a personal decision.

But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breastfeeding is recommended exclusively for about the first six months of a baby’s life. It can also be longer if both the mother and the baby want.

Some keep their attachment to nursing till toddlerhood, while some start to self-wean before their first birthday. It’s common between nine to 12 months.

Weaning tends to be easier when you follow your baby’s cues and let the little one lead the way. Going against your little one’s preferences can make them cranky and ultimately the process becomes more challenging.

Here are some ways that could make weaning easier for you and your little one.

Ways To Make Weaning Easier For You And Your Child

It’s never too easy weaning a child but there are some ways that could make the process easier:

  1. Communicate what’s happening: Let your baby know that the end to breastfeeding is near. You could interact with them in a playful tone and explain that they no longer need to breastfeed as they are growing up. Mums could also try to incite excitement in them while talking to them.

If these conversations about the future seem to have a negative reaction, mums can hold off on these discussions and wait until the baby is a little older.

There’s no need to rush. Weaning, when done gradually, works better both for their emotional response and your health.

  1. Recognize when your baby is ready to stop breastfeeding: Your little one would give some clues when they’re ready to wean. For example, they would hold their head in an upright position and sit with support.

They could express interest in what you’re eating. Besides, their active tongue-thrust reflex would disappear, and they may become cranky during routine breastfeeding sessions, indicating that they are ready to wean.

It’s important to provide comfort to your little one while you are weaning. | Image Source: pixabay

  1. Provide emotional comfort and make time for cuddles: Babies who are breastfed love close physical contact with their mums. Hence, it’s important to provide comfort even while you are weaning. 

Make time for cuddles too. You can spend quality time with activities that keep them emotionally stimulated.

Cuddling together while singing a lullaby or romping around together at the playground can be a great way to make weaning easier.

  1. Avoid weaning during a major life change: Mums should avoid weaning if they decide to transition from a crib to a bed or are preparing for another pregnancy. It might seem like a good time to just call an end to it all at once.

However, babies thrive on routine. Too many changes at once can make them cranky and ruin their mood.

It is also advisable to avoid weaning during a major life change like teething and starting daycare. Mums should take some time to work through those changes before they start off weaning.

  1. Offer alternatives: You can replace the time spent together while breastfeeding with something that provides that special time for both of you.

You can also consider swapping breastfeeding sessions for:

  • a special bedtime routine
  • an extra story or a lullaby
  • an extra activity together, such as a puzzle or game
  • a walk on the terrace or garden
  • a phone call to a grandparent
Embrace your little one’s independence as they take some time to get used to weaning. | Image Source: freepik

It will take some time for your little one to stop breastfeeding and get used to weaning. Embrace their independence and take your time settling into this new cusp of life. Talking to other mums who have experienced this can also be helpful.

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