When to wean your baby from breast milk

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The topic of weaning a baby off breast milk is a hot one and not everyone you talk to will be helpful. Most of the “advice” given will probably be from a biased perspective and either way it may end up confusing you rather than being helpful. Here are some thoughts before you make up your mind...

Today with access to information being boundless, mothers are taking the time to read and research more on the topic before making any decisions about weaning. Unfortunately, this does not eventually lead to a comfortable and better decision-making process and more often than not, it leaves the mother even more confused and a little guilty.

The first step…

Perhaps the first thing you need to explore and understand – is why you need to make this decision in the first place. Once you understand and are totally comfortable with your thought process on the reason for weaning, measures can then be taken to approach the actual process in a systematic and less traumatising way for both you and your baby.

Most experts would like to encourage mothers to nurse their babies for as long as possible, as the consensus is that, your baby will reach a point where they will naturally wean themselves of breast milk. However, society and daily commitments may not always conveniently match the needs of mother and child. Circumstances and commitments have to be considered, as these will dictate the nursing period.

Forced to wean…

Another reason, you may be forced to consider weaning as a necessity, is the fact that once your maternity leave is over, you would have to return to work, thus being away from your baby for long periods of time. Although your baby will still be able to enjoy your breast milk, which can now be extracted and bottled, the actual skin-to-skin contact will now be naturally limited. These circumstances may be unavoidable but certainly necessary and in some way can help to take the burden and trauma of weaning decisions out of your hand.

If you lead a very active lifestyle, weaning your baby may be an ideal decision to make, as it will allow you the freedom to address your own needs and therefore limit the chances of resentment building up, due to your nursing schedules. This will create a need to naturally start the weaning process.

Finding the right solution…

In the quest to find the right solution for yourself, you should remember that nursing should not be stopped suddenly, as this can have a traumatic effect on both you and your baby. It can also be physically painful for you, as your breasts become engorged with milk.  Once you make the decision to stop breastfeeding, take steps to introduce this to your baby with the least possible disruptions.

Talking to your doctor and working out a baby formula that would be ideal for your baby’s current needs should be done before the actual weaning process takes place. In the beginning substituting a couple of feeds, a day with baby formula would help to slowly ease your baby into the new mode of feeding, should be as closely simulated as the breastfeeding experience.

 Other articles that you may like related to weaning:

Weaning recipes for your baby

Prolonged bottle feeding does harm

How do I wean my baby off breast milk?

 

 

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