3 Breastfeeding Weaning Tips Every Mama Should Know
Every breastfeeding journey is different. Women have varied reasons for deciding to wean. Know that it can be an emotional time. Still, no matter how long your breastfeeding journey has been, you have already made a big accomplishment by giving your baby the best nutrition possible.
We have asked the expert advice of Jen Butler from www.jenniferbutler.com.au on the process of weaning and how to best approach this phase in being a mama.
Reasons for woman-led and baby-led weaning
The two biggest reasons why women choose to wean is because they have damaged nipples or perceived/real low supply. Other causes include returning to work, family pressures or medical reasons. There are some, though not a lot, of medications that aren’t compatible with breastfeeding. It can also be because the mama is just plain ready.
A reason for baby-led weaning is when the baby starts to show disinterest in actually spending time with the breast.
Symptoms you can expect while weaning
When you decide to wean, there’s going to be a massive withdrawal of hormones that maintain breastfeeding. It will depend on your approach. It’s best to slowly reduce your weaning. The gradual approach can help with the hormonal fluctuations and withdrawals from what you’re used to. This is especially true since your period will also be coming back with its own hormones.
The psycho-social aspect of weaning also plays a big factor. It can be an emotional time for mamas, depending on how much they wanted to breastfeed in the first place.
It’s best to reach out for support during this period. Whether it’s about having a good weaning plan to gradually adjust your body, or having support regarding struggles with mood changes. It’s also best to explore who in your household can allow you to get a bit more rest.
Your hormones will eventually regulate in time. It’s going to happen when it needs to. But in the meantime, look at the other aspects in your life that you can control, and make those aspects easier. This will help you support yourself better through the weaning process.
Tips for weaning toddlers from breastfeeding
Weaning toddlers can be a tricky process because of the emotional connection they have with it. It’s not just about the milk now, it’s also a way for them to soothe themselves. Understand that it’s going to be a transition.
One tip is to be clear and communicate with your toddler. The good thing about toddlers is that you’ve got communication up your sleeve. They understand what you’re talking about. They might still fight it, though. There may be tears and resistance. But it’s totally okay for you to set the boundaries. It’s about being clear with those boundaries and following through.
Another gentle way you can do it is to pick one feed you’ll stop giving at a time. Try not to choose the feeding time they love the most. For example, it might be when you start the day or it might be the one before bed.
They might get upset, and sometimes you’ll feel like the easiest thing to do is just give them what they want. But in order for you to progress, you have to be the stronger and wiser kind of parent. You can also try distracting them with something else, like playtime, so you can try and get their mind off of it. In time, and with persistence, they will get past that.
There is no universal rule when it comes to weaning, but the above tips might help you make the transition with more ease. Try to focus on what you and your baby needs. Resist comparing your situation with that of other families. Remember that you’ve already done a great job giving your child a healthy start to life.
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