Breastfeeding is one of the many joys of motherhood. After all, breast milk provides your baby with antibodies, boosts its immune system, and gives enough time for bonding. But, there comes a time when you have to stop nursing your baby. Most mothers wean their babies till around the first birthday. While some toddlers are easy on weaning, most of them consider it to be a battle which they would not let their mothers win, come what may. For it’s not the blankets, pacifiers, or teddy bears that they are attached to; it is your tender love and care that connects your baby to you. Hence, weaning is a gradual process that demands great amount of patience and understanding from both you and your child. To make your task a little simpler, we have brought some tips for weaning your breastfed baby and introducing him to other sources of nourishment.
Tips For Weaning A Breastfed Baby
Make Slow Efforts
Instead of giving breastfeeding an immediate stop, make slow steps towards stopping nursing and encouraging other alternative foods to your baby. Beginning with the least feed, probably during the evening hours, that your baby is likely to miss, stop feeds. Continue this for the first few days and then follow with cutting out a second feed. During this process, you will find that morning and bedtime breastfeeds are the most difficult and last feeds to stop, particularly bedtime feeds as babies consider this to be their last routine just before they doze off. As such, you can continue feeding your baby once a day and stop it over a period of few months.
Introduce Other Drinks
Whenever your baby looks up to your breasts for a feed, expose it towards other drinks and liquids. Pour in the drink in new and attractive glasses or mugs to distract it from breast milk. Use phrases like “Oh, you are a big girl/boy drinking from a big cup just like mummy/daddy”. Introduce formula milk to your baby through feeding bottle so that it will have something to lick on.
Distract Your Baby
When your baby insists on feeding it, distract and divert its attention towards other activities, especially if it is one of the feeds you are trying to cut out. Mostly, water play proves to be highly successful in keeping the kids busy for hours. Let them water plants, splash in the bath, or wash their toys in the sink. Other alternatives include painting, coloring, watching favorite cartoon serial, walk in the garden, and helping in household chores. However, avoid narrating stories to your baby as this only draws it closer to you, reminding it of breastfeeding.
Do Not Give Up
It is very likely that you may find it difficult to resist and give in to your baby’s extreme crying and demanding for feeding. If you breastfeed your baby in such circumstances, this would only defeat your whole purpose of weaning. Further, you have given a good excuse for your baby to linger around you for feeding. Thus, if your child snuggles in your arms; simply get up and walk around with your baby pretending that you are busy. This makes another excuse to distract it from feeding.