How to Wean Your Baby
The baby is categorized weaned when he tends to stop nursing and gets all the nutritious supplies from the other sources. This definition usually refers to the condition of the baby stopping the breastfeeding. However, this condition doesn’t certainly the signal of the end of the intimacy bonding of mother and the babies.
Later, it just nourishes babies in different ways. At first, it will be hard to find the way how to wean your baby. You can find another way to make him comfortable and better such as reading a book, singing the song, and playing outside the home. If they start to complain, try to stay calm and be firm as well. Mother can hand him and hug him also involve your partner to do so.
The weaning process is considered complete if the child is completely no longer dependent on breast milk. It means the child does not have to stop breastfeeding directly from the breast. When weaning, each child varies depending on the condition of the mother and child. It is recommended no later than 2 years after birth but, it is not recommended to be stopped before six months old. However, there are cases of decreased milk production before 2 years, so weaning is sometimes done before the usual period.
Generally, mothers stop giving the breastmilk for their babies since they reach 2 years as recommended by WHO. The most appropriate opinion is weaning should only be carried out with the readiness of the mother and child. Forcing a mother or child to stop breastfeeding will only cause the weaning process harder. Weaning is the decision of each family by considering the child’s health conditions, especially diet, mental, and emotional readiness level. According to some experts, weaning can bring changes in hormones, emotions, and physical, especially for the mothers who are still nervous when doing it. Keep in mind, the mother’s body needs adjustments and the adaptation, including children’s reactions to being gradually conditioned.
Sometimes too quickly weaning can interfere with the mother’s feelings since the mother’s hormones change drastically. Mothers can experience swelling and breast infections if they suddenly stop breastfeeding. Keep in mind before weaning to pay attention to the children’s nutritional condition. Children with good dietary habits will reduce their own breastfeeding needs.
What if the child is still asking for breastfeeding?
Sometimes the rejection of breastfeeding will make the desire of the child to suckle bigger. We can say that restrictions only can trigger their anger. It is better if the child asks for breastfeeding, keep feeding but maintain the period, then continue the activity again. So weaning doesn’t stop immediately but can be reduced gradually. Prepare a child’s favorite food or snack to distract him, and offer it when the child wants to suckle. Meanwhile, the need for body contact between mother and child can be replaced with other activities such as hugging telling stories before going to bed or other forms of attention and activities.
Weaning children may not be an easy decision. This process requires patience. You also have to see your child’s ability, whether the child is ready to be weaned or not. The child turns out to be able to provide clues and signs when he is ready to begin the weaning process.
Following are signs of the baby’s readiness for weaning:
- The children seem uninterested when feeding in the mother’s breast
- The child remains fussy even after being breastfed
- Shrinking in a shorter time than usual
- It is easier to be disturbed while breastfeeding
- The child “plays” with the mother’s breasts, such as pulling and biting the mother’s breast
- The child suckles in the mother but does not suck it so the milk does not come out. The child may still suckle but only to seek comfort.
The principle of weaning
Some things to remember and do in weaning, namely:
- Replace yourself with other people, not with objects but with fathers. The father’s role in the weaning process will be very helpful.
- Take it slowly and gradually. Releasing the emotional closure formed from the sudden breastfeeding process will result in excessive stress on the child.
- Generally at the age of 18 months – 2 years, your child has a very strong breastfeeding urge. Because at that age your little one is getting excited to explore the world around him that he just knew.
- Say ‘no’ if necessary in a creative way that makes your child not feel rejected
- To avoid your child from breastfeeding before going to bed, create a new routine before going to bed, like telling a story before going to bed, etc.
How to Wean Your Baby
The best method for weaning children is slowly. Stopping the process of breastfeeding suddenly can be traumatic for him. Try the following method:
- Reducing the frequency of breastfeeding
Replace the mother’s milk with formula milk for the baby. Reducing the frequency of breastfeeding slowly gives your child time to adapt to breastfeeding habits. The mother’s milk supply will also decrease gradually so that the mother’s breast does not swell.
- Shorten the time to breastfeed
Instead of reducing breastfeeding time, provide healthy snacks for your children, such as formula milk or other foods. Breastfeeding habits before bed are usually the most difficult to leave.
- Pause or divert attention
This method can only be done on toddlers who have been able to communicate and capture the intentions of the mother’s conversation. If he asks to breastfeed, delay his desire by distracting him with something else.
The procedural and correct weaning process makes your child become more independent, disciplined, stable, and trust others. Sudden weaning increases the risk of anger, aggression, anxiety, and lack of ability to form closer relationships. Remember that it is not mothers who wean children, but children who break away from the mother. Weaning does not mean releasing the closure of mother and child. Replace the breastfeeding process with other activities. Make your child feel comfortable and calm by looking for other ways such as reading books together, singing, playing, and others.