Weaning babies completely from breastfeeding is not a simple task. You will have to keep yourself calm and cool in this process. As the babies are used to breast milk from the time of their birth, they would not leave it so easily. You should be ready for lots and lots of cries in this process which may be irritable at times. In this article I would like to share with you how I weaned my baby from Breastfeeding.
The list of questions that came to my mind when I thought of weaning off breastfeeding was:
- From when should I start weaning?
- How long will it take to successfully stop breastfeeding my son?
- Can I do it alone or do I need any help?
- How should I do it?
- What methods can I try for weaning off?
Let’s go with the points one by one:
From when should I start weaning off breastfeeding?
It depends on how long you want to nurse your baby. Remember, it is not an easy task and it takes good time for weaning off completely. If you wish to breastfeed your baby for 2 years then you can start it from his 19th month or 20th month. Have patience, it is definitely not a miracle that happens overnight.
How long will it take to wean off completely?
This depends on you and your baby. It might be between one month to six months approximately. My son took five months to completely wean off.
Can I do it alone or do I need any help?
This depends on the mommy. If she has the capability of going through this by herself then she can manage it alone otherwise she can take help from others (like her mom).
How should I do it?
Weaning in the mornings
As the babies would start taking outside food or solids from their Sixth month, weaning them from breastfeeding in the mornings is little easy. I used to nurse my son every 4 hours in the daytime till he turned 18 months old. Then I have decided to slowly reduce the frequency of nursing, so I have made it every 5 hours. Remember, you need to feed them with some other food that keeps them full. If your baby has a habit of latching onto the breast to sleep, then you might face a little difficulty. But still you can manage by feeding him food before he sleeps (This works well only in the daytime initially). For this you need to maintain timings. If the baby is habituated to sleep at a particular time then that becomes a daily routine and he sleeps at the same time without troubling you much.
Weaning in the nights
Weaning in the mornings is easier compared to the nights. You need to have all the patience while handling your babies in the nights, particularly while stopping them from having breast milk. I advise you not to stop it all of a sudden. As in the mornings you need to slowly reduce the frequency.
How to do this in the nights? Let the baby sleep by latching onto your breast before going to bed. If your baby wakes you up for feed three times every night, then try to avoid breastfeeding your baby once and feed him twice. That one time you can observe your baby crying like crazy and you might give up. You should not fall for their cries, this is the secret. I know, as mothers we can’t see them cry. But if your heart keeps melting each time they cry it would not happen soon. Once he is ok with that one time, then you can slowly make it two times and stop breastfeeding him in the midnights.
What methods can I try to wean off?
I have followed a few of the below methods and they have worked well for me. I have also included a few other methods advised by my granny.
- Carrying him on shoulder.
Babies are used to breastfeeding in the nights. They demand more if they understand that you are making some plans to wean them from breastfeeding. My son especially, he used to cry terribly. So, I used to carry him on my shoulder and pat him continuously. This helped me to a certain extent. Don’t forget to sing lullaby songs for your cuties. This soothes the baby and makes him fall back asleep soon.
- Patting on his back.
The next stage of my weaning process is patting my son’s back in the bed. I slowly stopped getting up from bed and carrying him on my shoulder. I used to pat him on his back in the bed and sing lullaby songs to ensure my presence. The babies are intelligent enough to understand that you are trying to stop breastfeeding them. Finally my son cooperated with me and stopped asking me for breast milk in the mid nights.
- Let your baby sleep in a different room.
I have stopped breastfeeding both in the mornings and in the late nights, but I used to give him breast milk in the nights before going to bed. I tried reading out stories for him but that didn’t work for me. So I have decided to sleep in another room leaving him to my mother. I used to hide from him after 7 pm and my mother used to put him to sleep. And finally!!!! My baby successfully weaned off completely.
- Bottle Milk in the nights.
A few mothers try bottle feeding their babies in the nights to wean. But this may lead to dental issues in the baby if continued for a longer period of time.
- Neem juice.
This is my granny’s tip. You need to make juice from fresh neem leaves by blending it and apply on the area where your baby latches. The babies might not ask for feed because of its bitter taste. I didn’t try this tough.
If you have any other methods for weaning off, please let us know through comments .
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