Suggestions For Weaning Your Child

Suggestions and tips for weaning your baby or older child from the bottle or breast.

Weaning your child from the breast or bottle is a decision best made between the family members. It should be done gradually and with lots of love and patience. Different methods work at different ages. These suggestions work for the breast and bottle.

If your child is under one year old, you may have to substitute with a cup of milk or something to eat. Anticipate when your child will want to nurse and offer milk, juice or a snack first. If your child is sick or there is some other changes going on in his life, it may be best to wait until issues have settled down. If he becomes frequently upset, cries and is not responding well, shelve the weaning for the moment and pick it up again in a week or two. If you are not truly ready to wean, your child will notice those feelings and might ask to nurse more. Knowing you are committed in your mind will help through those tough sessions.

Start with the least favorite nursing session. Spend a few days keeping track of when he is nursing and what is happening. There is probably at least one session where he is alert and interested in other activities such as a toy or playing with others. Once you start eliminating a session, keep to that for at least a week. Dropping too many sessions too fast can create problems. Any time that your child does not ask to nurse, do not offer it. Rearranging the favorite nursing area can help. If you usually sit in a particular spot to nurse, avoid that area to start removing the association with nursing.

Have someone else become part of the daily routine. Let Daddy pick him up first and feed him breakfast. Wearing different clothes is another easy idea. If the child has to wait for you to untuck your shirt or overalls, he may get bored and go do something else. Since the bedtime feeding is probably the last to go, add books or some soft singing before nursing. He will need a new bedtime routine anyway and this is a good start.

Some children may be fine with just laying their head on the breast or accept extra hugs and kisses. Trust your instincts, no one knows your child as you do. Weaning is a big event so try to complete it before moving on to another milestone such as sleeping in a toddler bed.

Weaning an older child has some advantages. Once children are over one-year, their increased mobility and urge to explore can work to in your favor. If they are over two years old, they may have enough verbal skills to understand. You can bargain with them and set limits. One idea may be to have a weaning party for him. Make it a big deal about how grown up he is and have a cake and presents. If they were using the bottle, have them bag up their bottles so they feel that they are in control.

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