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Let’s Talk Weaning – Tuesday’s Tastes on Second Base

Weaning is a tough choice no matter who makes that decision. Many women ask the question “when is it time to wean my baby?” Although the answer to that really comes down to a personal choice, it is recommended to exclusively breastfeed for at least six months, and to breastfeed in combination with foods until baby is one year old. With my oldest son, I decided when to wean and that happened a bit earlier than I wish looking back. It happened around 10 1/2 months. My second, LA, self weaned at 12 months. Although my milk supply dropped and shortly after 11 months we started the transition by giving him organic milk, he didn’t stop nursing until the night before his first birthday. I nursed him to sleep and that was the last time he decided to nurse.Baby Addy turned one last week and we are still nursing, although I see signs of her slowing way down.

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Self Weaning

It’s obviously easiest to allow baby to self wean. I am thankful that I didn’t have any problems with my oldest since it wasn’t his choice to wean. I don’t remember him being fussy or crying so he may have been ready to self wean anyway. Changes in breastfeeding patterns leading to weaning often begin naturally at around 6 months, when many parents introduce solid foods. Some children begin to seek other forms of nutrition and comfort at around a year old. At this age, little ones typically eat a variety of solid foods and might be able to drink from a cup. Other children might not initiate weaning until they become toddlers, when they’re less willing to sit still during breast-feeding. Self weaning can happen gradually, you’ll see baby slowly giving up sessions or shortening sessions and one day he/she may just stop and never want to nurse again. It can happen quickly, too. My personal choice is self weaning this time, as it was with LA and it will be with our next baby.

Weaning – Your Choice

If you decide when it’s time to wean it may be more difficult but can be done with some extra care and sensitivity. Take it slow, and consider holding off it there’s been a major change at home or if baby has been sick. You’ll want to take it slow to prevent engorgement. Simply lessen the amount of time you nurse at each session as a beginning step. Baby needs the most comfort in the morning and at night and therefore those will be the two sessions that are hardest to wean baby of. Be patient and understand that this is baby’s way of being comforted by mama and he/she may not be ready to give those sessions up. After lessening the length of the sessions, you can drop the mid-day sessions first, one at a time. The Mayo Clinic offers another great tip when weaning: “Refusing to breast-feed when your child wants to nurse can backfire and increase your child’s focus on the activity. If your child wants to nurse, nurse him or her. Then, continue working to distract him or her with new foods, activities and sources of emotional reassurance — such as a favorite stuffed animal — around the times of your typical breast-feeding sessions. It might help to avoid sitting in your usual breast-feeding spots with your child during these times.”

Whether you chose to wean when you are ready, or when baby is ready know that the longer you can breastfeed, the better it is for baby. If you’ve made it to the recommended six-month mark, congrats! If you’ve made it farther, kuddos to you! 😉

What do you plan to do? Self wean or will you make that choice when you think it’s been long enough?

 

Be sure to check out Courtney’s thoughts about weaning at Joy of Momma Joyner! We would love to hear your thoughts with either a comment or a blog post! You can link up below if you write about this topic and you can get the InLinkz code. 🙂


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