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What Are Some Weaning Strategies?

When I’m ready to wean baby from breastfeeding, how should I do it?


When I’m ready to wean baby from breastfeeding, how should I do it?

The Bump Expert

First off, there’s no perfect time to stop breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and then continuing while you introduce solids for at least a year. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for the first two years. And some mothers choose to nurse their kids all through the toddler years. That said, there are many reasons moms may wean earlier than the recommendations, and you’re the best judge of what’s right for you and baby.

Go slow

Unless there’s a medical reason to wean, do it gradually. “If you do it abruptly, it can be heartbreaking for both you and baby,” says Gina Ciagne, certified lactation consultant for Lansinoh. Plus, if you don’t allow your body time to adjust as you cut back on feedings, you risk painful engorgement, plugged ducts and even mastitis.

“So if you nurse eight times a day, for example, start by taking away one of the eight nursing sessions -- choose the one baby seems least interested in, where she normally unlatches and looks around often,” Ciagne says. Then, every few days, once your body and baby adjust to fewer nursing sessions, cut out one more. End with the session baby seems to enjoy most. “Usually it’s the nighttime feeding that goes last,” Ciagne says. You may need to substitute the skipped feeding with formula, regular milk and/or solid foods, depending on baby’s age and diet. (If you need to wean more quickly, ask your doctor for help.)

Bond in other ways

Expect baby to feel vulnerable during this change, so get in plenty of one-on-one time -- cuddle, give her a soothing warm bath, read books. She should know that nursing less doesn’t equal less mommy time. “Talk to her and reassure her,” Ciagne says. Baby’s resisting? Distract her during the usual nursing time with a toy or activity, and avoid the seat you normally sit in for breastfeeding.

Be age- and child-appropriate

If you have a toddler, it can help to explain the situation: Maybe tell her the milk is going away, but you aren’t. React to baby’s cues. If it’s not urgent, you can cut back on feedings at the pace you feel your child is ready. Simply don’t offer, but don’t refuse feedings, Ciagne says. Weaning can take a couple weeks -- or much longer. Some moms start the weaning process, and then decide to go back to the old schedule. That’s okay too.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Will I Gain Weight After I Stop Breastfeeding?

Solid Food Guide

Get Breastfed Baby to Take Bottle?

Elena Donovan Mauer

re: Q: Weaning strategies?

Since the AAP recommends breastmilk for the first year she could check into purchasing donor breastmilk. I did this with my oldest baby because I struggled with my milk supply. Do a google search on milk bank and ask your pediatrician about writing a letter of medical necessity; our insurance paid a big chunck of the cost of donor breastmilk and it's soo much better than formula. Good Luck

bryans4 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

the first bottle feedings are usually best given from people other than the mother. That's what I've been told anyway.

Sadbuttrue81@aol.com |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

my 2 yr old never took a bottle. going back to work was very stressful. we introduced her to a sippy cup at 4 months and by 6 months she would take enough for me to be gone longer than 3-4 hrs. good luck. why not postpone weaning for a few weeks or so and just accept her refusal right now if it is causing you stress? she won't nurse forever, i promise.

jessicaberry |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Weaning initself is a hard thing to do during the day you should pump your milk and place it a bottle and and night give your child the best . Also breast is best is prevents ear infections colds and many hospital trips.

blkstar1 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

My daughter is going to be 4 months here in a couple days. I told myself I wasn't going to nurse longer than 6-8 weeks. Well here I am and still nursing. I started from day one nursing and supplementing with a formula bottle at times I couldn't nurse. Same I did with my son, so I figured it would be easy to stop when I wanted. Well there was actually a point where she knew that she wanted the breast and would not take a bottle what-so-ever. It was stressful but I decided I would wait a little longer till I was less stressed to try again (like someone else mentioned above). I currently nurse at night now and with her taking a bottle before bed it seems she is sleeping a little longer and nursing less at night. I did use my husband to feed her the bottle a few times cause she wouldn't take it from me which helped. Find someone he is comfortable with and try that a few times. He'll get the hang of it and like another person said as well... he wont nurse forever. Keep your head up, baby just wants his mommy, you are his comfort and he knows that. be patient. Good luck!

DavisM522 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

My newborn wouldn't take the EBM bottle from me either - until I tried NOT heating the bottle - It's made life a lot easier - She now takes the EBM bottles cold from anyone and nurses from me when we can. It's great too because I can just pop a bottle out of the fridge or cooler bag and give it to her. No need for warming!

Monkey524 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I have to say--my daughter turned 9 months today and I'm starting to wean her. It is very hard nursing this long, but I think that it's worth it (I'm a very busy executive/working mother myself)... I think that if your child is wanting to nurse as badly as you describe, then maybe she's not ready to be weaned? Maybe another month or so? Just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, she will not nurse forever and will probably (like many babies I know) let YOU know when she's ready... Just my thoughts. :)

jenkulp |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Just recently my 4 month son started rejecting the bottle of my BM. All week I had to rush home to feed him and go back to work. Its very obvious he teething. So I tried different bottles and nipples but still no luck. I noticed hes been wanting my breast more. Especaially at night. Dad tried giving him the bottle today and did 50/50. Formula and BM. And he drank it like a champ! So its kinda weird.. Think Ill start doing 50/50 during the day and all BM at night.

desireejoy |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I had some what of the same problem. I was trying to get my daughter to take a bottle, because I was worried she might not be using the bottle at a later stage. She would just refuse the bottle and cry and cry till I eventually gave in. However after a doing quiet a bit of research, I used the playtex brown nurser nipples. Then I would warm up the milk usually by warming up the water first. And then I asked my parents to feed her initially. In the beginning she cried, so then I distracted her and then fed her myself after a while and slowly we started to show her toys while feeding her. It took a few tries, but she slowly but steadily took the bottle. I know it takes a while, but patience is your best friend. Keep trying she will take the bottle soon enough. In the beginning though, you might want someone other than yourself to feed her with the bottle, but soon you can take over. We used to lay her down and put a small cushion under her head, as to make sure the milk isnt going into the wrong tube and choke her. You can try using any means to get her to take the bottle. Don't worry you don't have to keep up the habit once she is comfortable with the bottle. Contrary to what people say, babies don't always get used to certain things, it takes a while may be longer than we are prepared, but they eventually do adapt. Just hang in there.Good luck

SahiAmma |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

If you are stopping BF to go back to work, then try and have your future caregiver give her the bottle durring the day when she would normally be feeding to 1, get her used to the caregiver and 2 to get used to getting fed by someone else. If this is not possible then your husband could try. It may be difficult, but be sure to leave the room. If your DD sees you she will still try and fight. If you can get her to take a sippy cup of BM more the better, that way you wont have to wean her a second time, this time from the bottle.

Foreveryoung0323 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

If the baby won't take a bottle from you, make it a habit for someone else to bottle feed the baby during the day. After several days of bottle feeding during the day, and only nursing at night, she should be more apt to take the bottle from you.

InterStarBurst |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

My baby is almost 9 months old. She has taken maybe 3 BM bottles her whole life. An these were given at a very young age. She is all boobie all the time. I have no idea how I will ever wean her. I can't even get her to take a sippy cup.

Dancer86 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

My boy is 5months still nursing him snd has never ever had a bottle of anything!!! I started bf at the hospital and thereafter he always refused to be bohttle fed... Im waiting one more month before I start introducing him to solids by a "baby-led weaning" method. you can google it and get loads of info on it. Also there's a book im reading called "baby-led weaning-helping your baby yo love good food" by gill rapley and tracey murkett. I SUPER recommend anyone interested in using this method to read this book! ive read half of it and am getting ready to start it nxt month and the friend who passed it on to me used it with her 2 children and they love all sorts of foods and love trying new things! wont say no to anything, what makes cooking sooo much easier because they'll eat what you do. Also it encourages baby to eat with you at the table which makes it a social time as well. I find it really good! deff worth checking it out for consideration! :)

mariaelena_rs |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I am going back to work in 2 weeks and I have exclusively breast fed our 3 month old. We have tried a few times to get her to take a bottle but she so far has refused it. We tried it warm the first time with my husband giving her the bottle and she got so upset she was red and crying; today I tried it cold and I gave it to her and she did a little better. I have to go back to work and do not work close enough to her daycare to breastfeed but I am going to pump so that she will still have breast milk while I'm away from her. Its so hard watching her cry and be upset. She sucks on the bottle a few times and then pushes it out. Like she can't get a grip. I have searched for different nipples and we are going to try a different type tomorrow but I am getting discouraged. This morning I tried talking and singing with her and smiling and it seemed to go better than yesterday but she's still not liking it. A friend of mine said to leave the house and so did our doctor and let my husband feed her. We are going to try that tomorrow.

smshybug |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I had to go back to work when my son was 6 weeks old, but I was determined to stick with EBM for as long as possible. So I started pumping early, small amounts here and there, and giving my son a few snacks through the day with a bottle. For the first couple of weeks he absolutely refused the bottle from me, and wouldn't take it from anyone else if I was in the room. We started slowly - first trying to give him the bottle first and I would stay in the next room so that when he got fed up with the bottle I would come in and feed him so he didn't get too wound up. After about a week he would take a whole feeding by bottle, but again - not if I was in the room and not from me! After another week or so, he finally took a bottle from me though he fussed through most of it. The best advice I can give is, since every baby is different, the only consistent thing you can do is be patient. Just like everything else, it takes time for them to adjust to the new thing, whether it's a new sleeping place or a bottle or a new person. Every baby seems to adjust to things at their own speed. If you try one technique and it doesn't work the first time, keep at it for a little while and look for progress. Somewhere in there is a perfect combination of location, person feeding, type of bottle/ nipple and temperature of the milk for your baby. Good luck!

shoedawg06 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I managed to wean my child by using the best food for him. Although prices are too high, I used coupons for baby formula and I can say that I reduced a lot the costs on baby food.

samantha3121 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Weaning a baby must smell like a work perfume where the boss - in this case, the baby - doesn't want to let you go home earlier. You must be strong and chase what you want for, because the kid doesn't know anything until you teach him.

KumaraKama |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

It's hard to wean your baby, mostly because no mother is tough enough to see her little one suffer and reject something from her. I, for one, can't wait to feed him a diaper cake and see him stained with whipped cream.

LindsaySkye |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Hi, it took me 3 days to get my daughter to take a bottle at 3/4 months.She was BF all and every time till i had to go back to work. It was the worst 3 days i went through. BUT by day 4, absolutle SUCCESS!. I do BF at night still, or when shes sick/cranky and /or clingy. I pump during the day. By month 4, she was getting curious about a plastic blue cup i always drink from (water). So i introduced her to it and she now gets BM in a bottle during the morning, a sippy cup of water in the afternoons and BM bottle in the evening or me at bed time and throughout the night. She's 6 months now. I haven't gotten firm on breaking the weaning part at bedtime, but she isnt throwing a huge fit if i dont give her the boob. Again those three days were the hardest, but I STUCK TO MY GUNS DURING THE DAY, i cried when she wouldnt take a bottle right along with her, held her, repeated that its ok to take a bottle, made sucking sounds really helped her and daycare/babysitters and such. I reccomend "NUK" orthopedic nipples or any orthopedic nipples when going from breast to bottle. Also, it helps if you make your nipples "hard" before she feeds. So when she starts a plastic/silicone/rubber nipple, becauses they're not as soft as skin, a "hard" nipple will be close to the "new" one.

Onemandygirl |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

If your baby really isn't ready to give it up, keep breastfeeding if you can - it will be worth it in the long run!

nikkibs |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I've been having the same problem getting my daughter to take a bottle. First off, I tried a few different bottles (Tommee Tippee and the Playtex Nursers are highly recommended for breastfeeding babies). If you're switching to formula, I pumped and fed her breastmilk from the bottles. I read a suggestion somewhere to gradually add formula into the breastmilk to get baby used to it. MOST IMPORTANTLY I found that she needs to be in breastfeeding POSITION to feel comfortable and take the bottle. Laying on her back probably feels unnatural because she's never eaten like that before!! So I hold her belly to me just like I do when nursing and she takes it with no problem. Good luck~

LaffeyMama |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I managed to wean my child by using the best food for him

Knottie08209572 |