Weaning is an interesting time in your child’s life. It’s the point in their life when you begin feeding them less breastmilk and instead slowly introduce them to foods. For some babies, this is an easy process. Babies are curious and love to try new things, at least most of them.
Some babies are harder to wean off breastmilk, and it may take a while. When your baby is a year old, what is the best way to wean them without having a fussy baby? Let’s find out.
When Should You Wean?
You may wonder when the best time to wean your baby is. There is no best time, but it is recommended that you have at least a year of breastfeeding on your baby’s belt before you start weaning. So 12 months is a good time in general, but it all depends.
Don’t Do It When Your Baby Has a Lot On Their Plate
Some mothers think that weaning during another transitional period, such as when the baby is learning how to walk, is a good idea. However, it is advised that the mother doesn’t do this. The baby having too much on their plate may make them feel like they’re under a lot of stress, and that’s never good. Instead, you should wait until there is a stable moment in the baby’s life.
Don’t Do It Too Quickly
This especially applies if you decide to wean early. Your breasts will be filled with milk, and feel quite heavy. If you keep the milk in there, you could get mastitis, which is the inflammation of breast tissue. Mastitis could lead to infection. If you slowly wean, you won’t have to deal with this. If your breasts feel full, perhaps you can ice your breasts or pump a little bit of milk out.
Under 6 Months
If your baby is under six months, and you want to stop breastfeeding, you’ll have to replace it with the bottle. If the baby is under three months, they might not care as much. However, if they are over three, they are a little more aware and may hit you with resistance. You may feel annoyed, and your emotions may rub off on the baby. It is recommended that you try to use someone else to feed your baby with a bottle.
If you want to wean around this time, you do need to make sure that it’s during a stable time. Babies are making quite a few transitions, from teething to learning how to crawl, and it can be a hassle to figure out when the most stable time is.
Sometimes, the baby naturally starts to lose interest in breastfeeding. They may do so before 12 months. While some mothers are happy to not breastfeed anymore, others may feel a little emotional over it.
Bottle Or Sippy Cup?
If your baby is over 9 months, you may consider weaning them from the breasts to the bottle. However, they are close to the age where they will be drinking from a sippy cup. Because of this, many mothers will choose for their baby to transition from a breast to a cup instead of making two transitions. It’s less of a hassle and worth trying.
There’s No Right Way
With weaning, there are all sorts of techniques you can try, and there is no such thing as a right way to do it. Different babies will react to different weaning techniques, and we recommend you try them all out.
The Gradual Technique
Some mothers will choose to gradually wean off the baby. In other words, they’ll feed the baby less and less breastmilk while slowly introducing more foods for the baby to try. How slow will depend from person to person, but one technique you can do is to try to wean your baby off in two weeks. Every few days, like three to four, drop a feeding, especially the feeding the baby doesn’t seem to care about.
Replacing Feeding With Affection
The problem with weaning your baby from breastmilk is the fact that they get fussy. Not only do they like the food, but they like the attention as well. Your little one loves getting noticed when you feed them, so when you take that away, they get mad. So give the affection and love when they seem fussy.
Distracting the Baby
If your baby gets fussy whenever you stop breastfeeding them, it’s important you have something that can distract the baby. You may try distracting them through a toy, TV, or something else that can get them thinking about more than just breastfeeding. Having toys readily available can make the process much easier.
Clinginess And Cold Turkey
Despite this, some older babies will be even more clingy, and will experience separation anxiety whenever the mother tries to wean from them. Separation anxiety is a sign that the baby is attached to you, and that’s a good thing in the long run, but it can be annoying when you just want to wean your baby.
If your baby is overly clingy, gradually weaning them may work, but sometimes, they just may not want to let you go. Some mothers will go the cold turkey route, taking the breasts away and letting the baby scream it out until they are over it. This can be a terrible thing, yet it may be the last resort.
Keep It Covered
It may be worth it to wear shirts that won’t show any cleavage or indication of a breast. If your baby sees some of your breast, you may end up with a crying baby. Other mothers may avoid sitting in a breastfeeding position, too. These subtle clues your baby does pick up on, and they may think it’s time to breastfeed.
Weaning your baby is a challenge, but with a little patience, you can be able to do it. Try it out and see if it works.
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