|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
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.
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