There has always been much controversy surrounding the age mothers should wean their young ones from the breast. This is largely because of the nutritional goodness and other numerous benefits babies and toddlers get from mother’s milk.
But in an age when moms need to get back to the workplace as soon as possible, early weaning is pretty much par for the course. Of course, there are also those situations where breastfeeding is a struggle, or when Mom simply no longer wants to do this. Despite pressure from various sources, Mom has the right to make her own choice.
Some say you should wean your child from the breast within the first six months. This can be less traumatic for baby as he has not yet become too emotionally attached to the idea of Mom’s milk and Mom’s breast. Others prefer to do this in the latter part of the child’s first year, and then there are those who continue breastfeeding their children well into pre-school age.
Only Mom’s choice
At the end of the day it is a choice that only each mom can make for her and her baby.
It is the process, however, of weaning your young child from your breast that needs to be carefully planned in order to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for your child.
It is not advisable to start this challenging process if your heart and soul is not truly in it. As young as he is, your baby will sense negative feelings from you which will make the situation worse and you and your child can end up experiencing a stressful and torrid time. You need to be 100% ready now and 100% able to follow the weaning process through. There is just no turning back.
But if you have decided it is time to start the weaning process, then you have two options. This can be approached the fast way, or the gradual way.
The slow option
Weaning your baby or toddler slowly is generally an easier approach for both of you. A gradual exclusion of one breastfeeding meal a day, followed by another a few days later will give baby a chance to get used to the changes in his feeding habits.
Doing it this way things will also prove more comfortable for you as your body will adjust to supplying less breast milk and you won’t experience as much engorgement and leaking of your breasts.
Most breastfeeding moms will agree that this time with their babies is an enormously strong time of bonding, for both moms and their babies. But this strong bonding time can be replaced with bonding habits of a different nature, especially if the process is tackled slowly.
Due to various circumstances, however, it is sometimes necessary to wean your baby from the breast in a more speedily fashion.
Hiccoughs on the fast lane
Be prepared that this may come with a few hiccoughs, however, with just a little more patience you will get it right even though at the time you may feel that you and your baby will never find a calm again!
A truly valuable tip when fast weaning is to ask your partner or someone else your baby knows well to take over feeding times for a while. In fact, it would be an even great help if you were nowhere to be seen (and turn all the photographs of yourself down) so he cannot perform for you.
And probably the second most important rule in this instance is to bring baby’s meal times forward 15 minutes or so to avoid dumping this unfamiliar routine on your child when he is too hungry or tired.
Just remember, there is life after breastfeeding. Your beautiful baby will learn that very quickly, too!