Breastfeeding your baby is just one of the many joys of motherhood. Breast milk provides your baby with antibodies, boosts her immune system, and provides a special time of bonding for you both. Most doctors recommend that mothers try to breastfeed their babies until they are at least one year old. Some mothers breastfeed only a few weeks, while others surpass the year mark.
Eventually, you will have to wean your baby, however. With some babies, weaning is easy to accomplish, but other babies may fight you during the entire weaning process. No matter what age your baby is when you decide to wean her, there are some things you can do to make the process of weaning less traumatic.
If your baby is not a year old and you are planning on weaning her or at least cutting back on breastfeeding sessions, you will need to give her formula. Once she has reached her first birthday, you can swap the formula for whole milk. Until she has turned one, however, she still needs the extra iron and other nutrients available in breast milk or formula.
If you still plan on breastfeeding your baby some during the day, but you are going back to work or just want to supplement with formula, dropping one feeding at a time is a great way to wean her off your breast altogether in the future. Decide which feedings you do not want to give her breast milk. These will be the first feedings that you drop. Allow yourself at least a couple of weeks per each feeding that you will drop.
If you know you won’t be able to breastfeed at 10:00 in the morning, give her a bottle during that time for at least a week. It is important to be consistent. Once you have dropped a feeding, your milk supply will begin to adjust. The milk you produce is based on supply and demand, so the less milk that is needed means there will be less milk produced.
Once you have successfully dropped that one feeding, pick the next feeding that you want to drop and replace that feeding with a bottle, also. You will continue to do this until you have dropped as many feedings as you want. Remember, you will need to replace a breastfeeding session with a bottle. Eventually, as your baby eats more solid foods, the amount of bottles you give her will also decrease.
If your baby is a toddler, she may be more difficult to wean. Because she is older, she will be much more aware of what you are trying to do. If she is a toddler, you wonâ€™t want to wean her by replacing the breast with the bottle. She should be using a cup. She may become very insistent on her desire to nurse.
In this case, it is extremely important to be consistent. You will need to discover what works best for your child. You might set up a reward system for her, such as allowing her to watch an extra video if she doesn’t nurse. You could give her a special juice that she might like.
Be sure and praise her for being such a big girl. Even though she will probably protest loudly in the beginning, you need to be gentle but firm. If you give in to her demands, it will become that much more difficult to wean her.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for both you and your baby. When it comes time to wean your baby, however, you will want to make it as painless and pleasant as possible. Allow yourself several weeks to achieve the complete weaning of your baby. If you are patient and consistent, you and your baby will be fine.Breastfeeding