Tips for weaning your baby

weanBreastfeeding your baby is a wonderful thing but eventually it's time to wean.

The American Academy of pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first year, and many moms choose to do so well beyond that. Other moms, meanwhile, don't make it that long.

Whether your baby is losing interest, pumping at work is difficult or it just seems like a good time to wean, here are some tips from Meghann Wellard, a nurse practitioner from Arundel Pediatrics, and Laurel Naff, a registered nurse and lactation consultant from Special Beginnings Birth & Wellness Center, both in Arnold.

 

  1. The process should be gradual. Weaning gradually naturally decreases the milk supply which helps prevent engorgement for mom, according to Naff. It also gives comfort to the child during the transition, Wellard adds.
  2. Drop one feeding a week. The first feeding to go should be the shortest feeding — usually the midday feeding — and the last to go is usually the bedtime feeding.
  3. Offer a cup or bottle of milk or a small snack to replace the nursing. If the child is not yet a year old, he or she should be offered a bottle of formula.
  4. If the child is older than a year, introduce milk in a cup. The child will not drink as much from a cup as from a bottle, and that is OK, Wellard says.
  5. Have dad or a partner give the bottle and help with the bedtime routine, such as bathing the baby, reading a book and rocking the baby, both Naff and Wellard agree. "Sometimes the baby rejects this coming from mom," Wellard explains.
  6. Distract the child with other activities at a normal nursing time. Walks and rocking can be helpful.
  7. If the baby is on a nursing schedule, try to change the daily routine to be busy or engaged in another activity at nursing time to distract the baby.
  8. Avoid sitting in the usual nursing spots.
  9. Do not wean the baby if there are any other changes going on, such as a move, illness, teething, etc.
  10. Try to encourage using other comfort objects, such as a lovey or blanket.

Tips for Mom

  1. Slow down the number of times you pump during the day when weaning.
  2. If you become uncomfortable between feedings, manually express enough milk to feel comfortable.
  3. Find another bonding activity with baby not centered on nursing to ease the transition.
  4. Be patient and understanding.

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