Time To Wean?

Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing -- but all good things must come to an end. The Hatch offers insight to help you decide when it's time to wean baby from the breast.

Baby breastfeeding while sleeping

When baby seems disinterested

When you offer baby the breast and he does more gumming than sucking or turns his head away, baby may be ready to move on to a bottle or sippy cup. Cut out one daytime nursing session, offering a sippy cup of water in its place, and take note of how baby reacts to his next nursing session.

When it has become a burden

If breastfeeding baby is causing you severe stress or you dread each breastfeeding session due to discomfort, it may be time to wean. New mothers can become consumed with breastfeeding their baby because they think it's the right thing to do. And while breastfeeding is beneficial for both baby and mom, perfectly healthy babies are raised on formula, too. Don't force breastfeeding if it's not right for you.

When it's the right time for you

Whether you decide to breastfeed for four months or four years, only you (with a few cues from your baby!) can decide when is the right time to start weaning baby from the breast. Of course everyone will have their own opinons about when they think is the right time to wean. Your opinion is the only one that really matters in this instance, however... unless, of course, your doctor advises you to wean for health reasons.

Successful weaning

  • To ensure successful weaning, avoid exclusively breastfeeding baby right from the start. If you introduce baby to a bottle a few weeks after birth (and after the breastfeeding patterns have been solidified), baby will have no trouble transitioning to a bottle later on when it's time to wean.
  • Slowly weed out nursing sessions starting with the least important ones, which you can determine based on your baby's needs. Leave your morning and bedtime nursing sessions as the last ones to eliminate.
  • Implement the "don't offer, don't refuse" rule. Don't offer baby the breast but when he "asks" for it, go ahead and nurse him. You may discover that baby wants the breast less often than you think!

More on breastfeeding and weaning

Weaning woes
How long does it take to fully wean?
Ready to wean?

Tags: weaning

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