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  Baby: Weaning – Preparation
 
So far breastfeeding has been easy for me. So I would like to approach weaning in a way that makes it as painless as possible for baby and me. Any advice?

You have probably already started the weaning process without realising it. Every time you offer baby food or drink that is not the breast, then you are making a step towards weaning.

The first step towards weaning is to get baby very comfortable with either a bottle or a cup. A cup is preferred at this stage, so that you do not later have to go through the process of weaning baby off the bottle. Sippy cups are very well designed, to prevent spillage and leakage, and babies often find them quite appealing. There are a variety of styles so you may need to try a few before you find one your baby really likes. Getting baby accepting and enjoying a cup well before you plan to wean is a good policy.

As babies get older they become less flexible to new ideas and more and more stubborn about doing things their own way. So do not wait too long to introduce the cup. You may need to use some strategies to encourage baby to accept a cup. Experiment with the content of the cup that baby is likely to enjoy – some babies accept breast milk from the cup most easily, while others will take formula, diluted juice and some enjoy water. After the one year mark you can discuss with your doctor the possibility of introducing cow’s milk.

You may have to ask someone else to introduce the cup. Sometimes babies are more amenable to suggestion from other people than from their mothers. Letting baby get a bit hungry does provide an incentive for baby to try the cup. You may need to try a variety of cups before you hit the jackpot. It is vital that you act relaxed (even though you are seething inside) and give baby the impression that you really don’t mind if baby accepts the cup or not. If baby suspects that this is an important issue to you, they are apt to snatch the upper hand with alarming speed.

Once baby is accustomed to the cup, it is time to cut back gradually on the breastfeeding. Unless it’s unavoidable, the slow approach is the kindest for both mom and baby. Try to select a time when there are as few other stresses for baby as possible. Then consider dropping the feed that baby shows the least interest in. If you can wait about a week before dropping another feed, you will be able to minimise the engorgement and discomfort. If your baby is younger than six months old these feeds should be replaced by formula. However, if your baby is older, then you can give the baby a solid feed and then a drink from a cup to replace this feed.

Generally mothers and babies agree that the morning and evening feeds should be the last to go. These are the most relaxed feeds, and generally involve lots of cuddling. However, you may find that once you cut back on a certain amount of feeds, your milk supply dwindles very fast.

See also:

Weaning - Bottle

Weaning - Cutting down on feed

Weaning - Demanding dummy

Weaning - Exhausted mother

Weaning - Mother’s discomfort

Weaning - Regression

Weaning - Self weaning baby

Weaning - Sick baby

Weaning - Weaning off bottle

 
   
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