Breastfeeding and Weaning: The Perfect Guide

Weaning is a term that is used to describe a child stopping from breastfeeding to feeding from a cup , bottle or solid food.

Many mothers think that weaning their child from breastfeeding is such a great task. No Mamas it is not. Lets find out how to choose the right time and what you can do to ease your child’s transition to the bottle or cup.

The Types of Weaning

There are multiple methods and types of weaning, pick the one that’s best for you and your baby:

  • Baby-led weaning: Sometimes a baby stops breastfeeding on his own. However, young infants rarely wean themselves. True self-weaning is usually gradual and happens after a child is a year old. 
  • Gradual weaning: Gradual weaning a slow weaning process. It takes place over weeks, months, or years.
  • Partial weaning: Partial weaning is a great alternative if you can’t breastfeed exclusively but you don’t want to give up on breastfeeding altogether.2
  • Sudden weaning: Sudden weaning is the quick end of breastfeeding.
  • Temporary weaning: Temporary weaning is when breastfeeding is stopped for a short period then restarted. A mother may temporarily wean her child if she has a health issue or needs surgery.2 (Paid link here).

When’s the best time to start weaning?

When to begin weaning is a personal choice

Sometimes it’s the mom who chooses when to start weaning, and sometimes the baby leads the process. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months after birth — and breast-feeding in combination with solids foods until at least age 1. Breast-feeding is recommended as long as you and your baby wish to continue.

When to start weaning your child is a personal decision. It’s often easiest to begin weaning when your baby starts the process. Changes in breast-feeding patterns leading to eventual weaning often begin naturally at age 6 months, when solid foods are typically introduced. Some children begin to seek other forms of nutrition and comfort at around age 1. By this age, children typically eat a variety of solid foods and are 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.

You might also decide when to start the weaning process yourself. This might be more difficult than following your child’s lead — but can be done with extra care and sensitivity.

Whenever you start weaning your baby from the breast, focus on your child’s needs as well as your own. Resist comparing your situation with that of other families, and consider rethinking any deadlines you might have set for weaning when you were pregnant or when your baby was a newborn.

Is There Is A Time I Should Delay Weaning?

Consider NOT weaning your child if the environment is not right

Consider delaying weaning if:

  • You’re concerned about allergens. If you or your child’s father has food allergies, consider delaying weaning until after your child turns age 1. Research suggests that exposing a child to potential allergens while breast-feeding might decrease his or her risk of developing allergies. Talk to your child’s doctor.
  • Your child isn’t feeling well. If your child is ill or teething, postpone weaning until he or she feels better. You might also postpone weaning if you’re not feeling well. You’re both more likely to handle the transition well if you’re in good health.
  • A major change has occurred. Avoid initiating weaning during a time of major change. If your family has recently moved or your child care situation has changed, for example, postpone weaning until a less stressful time. If your baby is struggling with the weaning process, consider trying again in a month or two.

How Do I Begin Weaning?

Consider weaning the right way

Slowly tapering off how long and how often you breast-feed each day — over the course of weeks or months — will cause your milk supply to gradually diminish and prevent engorgement. It might be easiest to drop a midday breast-feeding session first. After a lunch of solid food, your child might become interested in an activity and naturally give up this session. Once you’ve dropped one feeding, you can work on dropping another.(Paid link here).

Should I refuse feedings during the weaning process?

Refusing to breast-feed when your child wants to nurse can increase your child’s focus on the activity. If your child wants to nurse, go ahead. Then, continue working to distract him or her with new foods, activities and sources of reassurance — such as a favorite stuffed animal — around the times of your typical breast-feeding sessions.

What about nutrition after weaning?

If you wean your child from breastfeeding before age 1, use expressed breast milk or iron-fortified formula. Don’t give your child cow’s milk until after his or her first birthday.

You can wean your child to a bottle and then a cup or directly to a cup. When introducing your child to a bottle, choose a time when he or she isn’t extremely hungry and might have more patience. Use a bottle nipple with a slow flow at first. If you use a bottle nipple with a fast flow, your child might become accustomed to that and get frustrated with the pacing and different flow rate of milk during breast-feeding.

How long does weaning take? Really!

Weaning could take days, weeks or months. Even after you successfully wean your child from day feedings, you might continue to breast-feed in the morning and before your child’s bedtime to keep up that feeling of closeness.

Breast-feeding is an intimate experience. You might have mixed emotions about letting go. But by taking a gradual approach to weaning — and offering lots of affection — you can help your child make a smooth transition to a bottle or cup. This worked well for me. It was pretty easy for my kids to wean from the breast. When I showed disinterest, they also became disinterested. (Paid link here).

Bottom Line

So we know that weaning is the process of exchanging breast for bottle, cup use, or solid foods. Additionally, there are different types of weaning. Knowing the best time to do it and begin is very important. There are certain circumstances when weaning should be delayed. Mamas it is Ok to slip some breastfeeding in once in a while if baby wants to. Remember patience is the key.

Thank you for stopping by today . I have some affiliate links in the post to help give you some convivence in your shopping needs. I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Remember to ask God to help you as you go through every process in your life. He told us that “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path”. I ask Him and get good results. I hope your breastfeeding weaning experience be a really great one. I wish you every success. Do visit again. I would love to hear from you in the comments below.


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Published by Marilyn Smith

Hello. My name is Marilyn Smith. I am a Health Specialist with specialized skills in Clinical Practical Nursing, and Midwife of thirty six years. I am also a certified Lactation and Grief Specialist. I am well qualified to assist in meeting your breastfeeding needs. Breastfeeding is indeed the best for your baby. Congratulations on making such a wonderful decision. Consider this your home as we learn about the joys and pains of pregnancy & breastfeeding

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