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How To Wean A Baby From Breastfeeding?

There is no one universal tip to help you automatically wean a baby from breastfeeding, but there are a few things that will make the process easier for both you and your baby.

Experts recommend that the baby should be breastfed intensively for 6 months because that will have great effects on baby’s health later in life. After one year, it is advisable to combine breastfeeding and non-dairy products. 

However, this can vary depending on the health of the baby. Some babies need to stop sucking earlier due to certain health problems, in which case it is best to talk to a pediatrician before stopping breastfeeding.

Anyway, this is a process that begins the moment you start introducing solid foods, and ends after the baby completely stops sucking and drinking mother’s milk. 

The process is performed by changing the child’s routine gradually and slowly until toddler is no longer dependent on it.

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    When is the time to wean a baby?

    The World Health Organization tells all mothers to breastfeed their baby for the first six months of life without any other food. After that, it continues with breast milk, but together with other or additional food. And so for at least two years or until mother has it. It is important to note that breast milk is much more than food. For example, when a baby feels anxious or tired, breastfeeding is a natural comfort. It also contains immunity-boosting components. Either way, you need to give your body time to reduce milk production.

    an image of a young mom breastfeeding her baby in bed

    When making a decision to stop breastfeeding, take into account your feelings and needs, but also the needs of your baby. Do not forget the advice of experts who say that breastfeeding should continue for at least 12 months, and then for as long as it is mutually desirable. You will most likely feel sad after the last breastfeeding, even if you have been breastfeeding for a long time. It will take some time for your hormones to return to normal but don’t worry that will happen within a few weeks.

    How to wean - 0-6 months babies

    It is recommended to stop breastfeeding after one year of breastfeeding. Of course, before making a decision, it is important to take into account your own and the child’s needs. At the same time, the opinion of a pediatrician must be considered. The most important thing is not to stop breastfeeding abruptly, but to do it gradually and to start after 6 months. Do not compare your situation with other mothers and babies.

    an image of a little baby crying

    Start slowly

    If the decision to stop breastfeeding is yours, not your baby’s, you will need to add a certain amount of milk to your baby’s diet. You will also need to teach him or her to drink from a cup or bottle. It will depend on the age of your baby. 

    For example, if it is 7 or 8 months old, it can already learn to drink right out of the cup. However, it is necessary to replace the breastfeeding meal for which the baby is least in the mood with a meal on a bottle, cup or if he is old enough with a spoon. Replace the next meal after a week.

    Use bottles

    Once you start slowly, your baby must be used to changes in routine and diet. However, your body is also ready for a smaller amount of milk. When it comes to using a bottle, the type of milk your baby should take will depend on its age. So, you will replace the breast with formula or cow’s milk. For example, you should not offer cow’s milk to babies under 12 months of age.

    an image of a young mom giving her baby a bottle of milk

    In that case, adapted milk formula is better for them. Eliminate one breastfeeding and then wait a few days before eliminating the next, otherwise you can disrupt your baby’s daily rhythm which can led to insomnia and similar problems.

    Avoid engorgement

    To avoid engorgement you should not stop breastfeeding quickly. This way, the breasts could quickly fill with milk, which would make you very uncomfortable. Sudden cessation can lead to breast problems, bloating or even mastitis. It also leads to a sudden drop in breastfeeding hormones, which can cause depression. A sudden interruption can be very stressful for your baby and can cause emotional trauma.

    Breastfeeding is not only a source of food for the baby, but also of emotional security. This process can be uncomfortably painful and that is why you may occasionally have to express your milk. Remember that the extra time you spend with your baby cuddling and playing will help your baby feel safe without breastfeeding.

    How to wean - 6-12 months babies

    Now you and your baby are in a period when we need to start weaning and introduce different types of food. You can start weaning with single vegetables and fruits. Of course, finger foods or solid food is not an appropriate yet so you need to stick to the vegetables and fruit for now. It is best to blend them, mash, or soft cook. Make sure any cooked food has cooled down before you give it to your baby.

    Replacing nursing with other activity

    Keep in mind the baby’s need for skin-to-skin contact, avoid only the usual breastfeeding positions to which the baby is accustomed. Therefore, the gradual cessation of breastfeeding opens up many possibilities. It is an opportunity to gradually replace intimacy during breastfeeding with other types of physical or emotional intimacy.

    an image of a mother playing with her baby

    The extra time you spend with your baby cuddling and playing will help your baby feel safe without breastfeeding. How weaning will take place depends on the age of the child and how he accepts the changes. Initially, follow the signs your baby sends you. But you have to be careful to provide baby with similar feeling of comfort but to avoid reminding it of breastfeeding.

    Make a distraction

    When it comes to distractions, it is important to be able to entertain the baby when it comes time to breastfeed. If he is older, explain to it that breastfeeding will come later and draw his attention to some other activity. It is also important that the child receives all other meals and snacks on time, as well as enough fluids, to avoid feeling hungry or thirsty.

    Change your usual daily routines, to avoid a situation in which the child will ask to suck. If he or she is used to lying next to him while falling asleep, try telling it a story or introducing a new activity.

    No bottles

    It is normal for babies to refuse a bottle at the beginning of the process, and maybe you have simply decided that you do not want to try a bottle. In any case, there are several alternatives that you can apply. If your baby is younger than six months, you can use a medicine cup or shot glass. Of course, it is necessary for the baby to remain calm before you start.

    To keep her in an ideal position, straighten it to its knees or lap. Then place the edge of the cup on his lower lip. Do not pour milk directly into its mouth, just tilt the cup so that it touches his lip. You don’t have to be so careful with older children, they will be able to drink enough milk on their own. You can also choose spoon feeding, eye dropper or syringe, fingers, etc.

    What to feed your 6 months old baby with?

    Between 4 and 6 months, it is better when it is closer to 6 months, your baby is ready to start eating the first solid food, because then its digestive system is ready. The breastfed babies should consume half a cup of soft food two to three times a day. You start her diet by adding healthy snacks such as mashed fruit, between meals.

    Cow’s milk

    It is recommended to use cow’s milk in cooking or mix it with food after the baby is 6 months old, but it should not be given as a stand-alone drink. It should not be consumed until 12 months of age, because it is not a good enough source of iron. Also, baby’s development in the early stages does not start the development of some enzymes that are needed for a successful use of cow’ milk so take this into consideration.

    They need more than that to meet their development needs. On the other hand, excessive exposure to cow’s milk 12 months ago can lead to anemia, diarrhea or vomiting. Sometimes there is an allergic reaction due to the small number of proteins in relation to other dairy products such as yogurt. That is why formula is a better choice.

    Eggs

    Make sure they have the red lion stamp. Then the egg is considered a safe food for babies. However, delve a little deeper into the family history of the disease.

    If someone in the family has had allergic reactions to eggs or your baby has eczema, talk to your pediatrician. These things are not good conditions in which you will feed your baby eggs.

    On the other hand, eggs are the main source of protein for work and are very easy to make as well as serve. They are also a rich source of fats and other nutrients such as biotin and iron. They are extremely important for the growth and healthy body of the baby. If your baby is 6 months old, you can mash a hard-boiled egg or scrambled egg and serve it to the baby.

    Nuts and peanuts

    Today, experts are increasingly reminding of the importance of early introduction of nut products. In this way, preventive measures are taken in case of allergy to nuts in children. Some research shows that introducing peanut products in babies from 4 to 6 months reduces the chance of developing a peanut allergy.

    an image of nuts in a bowl

    If the baby does not have eczema or any other disorders, feel free to use these products. They are an excellent source of vegetarian protein, vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. Either way, they are delicious, healthy and convenient. We are sure your baby will like it so include it into baby’s diet.

    Soya

    If your child is not yet 1 year old, it should avoid soy as well as cow’s milk. To be more precise, it should not drink soy or some other plant-based milk.

    It is recommended to stick to breast milk or formula. When your child is 1 year old, you can start introducing soy with other foods. However, don’t forget to make sure that it is rich and unsweetened enough.

    Either way, soy formula is probably the right choice for most healthy babies. It is mostly a choice for vegan families or for babies who have certain health problems.

    On the other hand, it is not an appropriate choice for babies born prematurely or born with low body weight, etc. If your baby likes soya, you can try baby rice mixed with soya as well.

    Fish

    A lot of people avoid fish because they don’t like its taste. One of the reasons is the absence of this food during childhood. However, this food is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is very important for the proper development of the brain and eyes.

    It also contains vitamin D, which children need much more than adults. When it comes to the type of fish, the best is salmon which has proven to be the most important and healthiest fish to feed newborns and toddlers.

    It also has much less mercury than other species. However, the most important thing is to cook the fish thoroughly. Children are given fork-mash first. You can also add a little water, breast milk or something similar.

    If your child is older, it is enough to break the salmon into small pieces with your hands and let it just eat. It is very important to check that there are no hidden bones. Add a mashed sweet potato to start introducing your baby to potato slowly.

    How many meals should a baby have?

    After your baby is 7 months old, you should gradually introduce 3 meals a day. This applies to breakfast, lunch and tea. So, feeding milk is a common thing and you can do it several times a day. For example, you can feed your baby after waking up, after lunch, before bed…

    However, by eating solid foods, you must reduce the milk in each food or eliminate it completely. Variety in meals is also gradually being introduced, and the main goal is to provide your baby with the necessary energy and nutrients.

    That is why her meal should consist of iron such as meat, fish, dark green vegetables, beans, and lentils. Of course, the intake of starchy food is important, as well as other non-dairy sources of protein.

    Should you give your baby breast milk all the time?

    If you also have the feeling that your baby constantly wants to eat and for you to hold it into your arms, know that this is not the case. This is usually due to crying that follows after going to bed or similar situations. This behavior is typical for babies who are satisfied during other parts of the day, fed and healthy.

    However, it is true that during the first days after birth, the baby is fed up to 12 times during 24 hours. The reason is their small belly capacity, as they need a very small amount for the first two days. Later, their need decreases and the way of feeding changes. These changes occur approximately 6-8 weeks after birth. By breastfeeding, you give your baby all the nutrients that will help him grow and develop, and the breastfeeding period usually lasts during the first year of the child’s life.

    an image of a mom breastfeeding her baby

    Conclusion

    There is no universal formula that would apply to all families when it comes to stopping breastfeeding a baby. This can be influenced by several factors such as the mother’s feelings, her needs, the child’s needs, the child’s health, etc.

    Experts recommend that you breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months after birth, after which the introduction of additional food with breastfeeding should follow. At the same time, breastfeeding is gradually reduced by using various techniques, delaying breastfeeding, observing the child and the like. It is especially important to pay attention to the food that you introduce into the child’s menu, it must be a rich source of energy and nutrients in order for the child to develop properly.

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