Weaning your baby can sometimes be tricky.
Whether it is by choice or not, it can be tough.
But weaning doesn’t have to be hard! With a little bit of planning, it will be as hassle-free as possible!
Step 1: Plan ahead
If you have the option (which of course isn’t always the case) try to plan ahead for when you want to have your baby weaned.
Give yourself a month or two to be able to fully wean, or else you may experience painful engorgement or an (especially) unhappy baby.
Step 2. Night wean first
Make sure to download my FREE baby sleep ebook that discusses the importance of night weaning.
Now, if your baby is under the age of 1, you will want to get consent from your doctor before night weaning. Sometimes babies DO need those additional calories.
The reason this is the one of the first steps though is that night weaning is both the easiest and hardest way to start weaning. It is often hard to cut nighttime eating sessions out, but once you are successful with those, the other nursing sessions are a lot easier to end.
Step 3. Cut out the non-sleep related nursing sessions
This means, all nursing sessions that are not before nap times and bedtime. Nursing is a sleep association if it still takes place before sleep, so you will need to deal with that separately.
Now, this is assuming that solid food has been started. If not, you will need to trade nursing sessions for bottle sessions. Or you can even start the transition to a sippy cup. But formula or breastmilk should be the main source of calories for any child under age 1.
If the above pre-reqs have been met though, then start one session at a time. See how one goes, and then cut out another a few days later. Do this until the only nursing sessions that are taking place are right before nap times and bedtime.
You will be surprised about how many of those nursing sessions are strictly for comfort, or even out of boredom, for your child!
Step 4. Create sleep routines
I mention more about this in my sleep ebook, but briefly, you need to replace nursing as the before-sleep norm. Instead, you need to create some solid routines so that when nursing stops, there are still other routines in place that your infant can rely on.
Step 5. Take away nap time nursing first
When weaning, it is easiest to change nap time routines over bedtime ones. So start by taking a nursing session away before a nap.
Again, wait a few days and then take away the last nap (or if your child is down to one nap, then move on to bedtime).
Step 6. Wean from the bedtime session
And finally, stop nursing at bedtime! Hopefully, your baby won’t even notice, but even if they do, try to stick it out.
At this point, you should already have a solid bedtime routine in place, so if all goes well, your baby should be weaned!
Honestly, my son didn’t even seem to notice or care when I finally weaned him, but my daughter was a different story. Even 3 months after weaning her, she still occasionally “asks” to nurse. I just use distractions or find her something to eat or drink, and she quickly gets over it.
But why take this gradual approach?
I know some people believe in going cold-turkey, but that will lead to very painful engorgement.
Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand basis. If you decrease the demand, the supply will go down. It usually takes days, or even weeks, though. So that’s why I suggest giving yourself a month or two, since that will give your body the chance to know what is going on, and stop producing so much.
But what if there is terrible engorgement?
There are a few things you can do to help with engorgement. The top 2 that could work are putting cabbage leaves on your breasts and also using peppermint oil (mixed with a carrier oil) rubbed on as well will both help to decrease your supply.
Hopefully though, using this gradual approach to weaning will prevent that awful engorgement and you will be well on your way to weaning! And even though you are weaning, be sure to watch out for possible breast infections.
Do your best to not relieve any pressure you might be feeling. Again, breastfeeding is supply and demand, so if your body knows that milk is being released, it will produce more. Which kind of defeats the hard work you have put in to wean in the first place!
And now, be sure to download your FREE ebook to get those details I was mentioning to help with weaning as well!
Get your FREE ebook!
Fill out the form below to receive instant access to your FREE ebook, 5 Tips to Master Your Baby's Sleep, and start sleeping today!