One more topic I want to cover in my How to Breastfeeding series, is weaning your baby. This can be a really sad moment in your breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding is such an intimiate time with your little one & weaning means your coming to the end of it. But no matter where you are on this journey, you should be proud of what you have done. I don’t care if you are only a few months into it or a year, breastfeeding is a difficult journey & you should be proud of what you have accomplished!
Weaning is a natural state in your baby’s development though. Weaning can start when your baby starts eating solid foods, which is typically around 6 months.
Your weaning journey is like your breastfeeding journey in that it depends on your baby for how long this journey lasts. For some, it can be a few weeks while with others it can last more than a year. Just depends on you and your baby & how you want to go about it.
You can let your baby lead this process & adjust the feedings based on their interest or you, momma, can lead this process. I want to boil this down to three ways you can wean your little one.
- Gradual Weaning
- Partial Weaning
- Abrupt Weaning
Let’s look at each of these a little deeper.
This method, I would say it the best approach for both you and your baby. It allows your body to adjust and slowly decrease your milk production without experiencing engorgement (or other discomfort). It also gives your baby time to adjust to drinking from a bottle or cup.
How to go about gradual weaning is to start by skipping one daily feeding. You can supplement with milk or soild foods depending on the time of feeding.
I would pick the feeding that is of least interest to your baby. If you wait a few days until you are not producing as much milk at that feeding time, then you can pick a second feeding time to eliminate.
To help lessen engorgement, you can pick the feeding 1 or 2 hours after the one you’ve already stopped. Keep this up until you are only nursning your baby once a day.
Once you have your feedings down to once a day, then you can move to feeding every other day. Over time, you will be producing very little milk. Keep this up until you are done nursing all together.
Partial weaning is when you can eliminate certain feedings but you can continue breastfeeding at other times.
What I mean by this, is that you can nurse in the morning and at night and then supplement with formula or other food. One benefit of doing this method is that if you want to go back to breastfeeding full time again, you can!
The last method is abrupt weaning. I don’t recommend this method but there are some women that need to go with this method, so I want to make sure to cover it. Again, it is rare that you should need to use this method though. This one, can be hard on both you and your baby.
If you need to stop breastfeeding abruptly, you will probably experience engorgement. If this happens, you can see my post here on what you can do to help with this.
If you are having problems weaning, contact a lactation consultant or reach out to other mommas who have been through this. Always remember you are not alone on this journey, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.
Have you already weaned your little one? What method worked for you or how did you do it? Leave a comment below!
All the best,