Weaning Your Breast Fed Baby

Learn gently and loving ways of weaning your breast fed baby. Handy time-tested tips and suggestions for the nursing mother.

When you decide to stop breastfeeding, you will need to wean your baby from the breast. This may be at various stages of the infant's development and may lead to either bottles of expressed breast milk, formula or cow's milk. Regardless of what stage of your infant's development you decide to wean your child, these tips will help the process go more smoothly.

1. Gradually decrease the time of the nursing sessions.

2. Make use of distraction, involving your infant in an activity that distracts him or her from the fact that you have decreased the time nursing at the breast.

3. Change the usual routine by ending the nursing session in a different way. Offer a new physical activity to replace the sucking and cuddling associated with breastfeeding.

4. Make sure your child is getting enough cuddling and affection in physical ways not associated with breastfeeding, such as sitting on your lap while you read to him or her, or rocking and cuddling before nap time.

5. Eliminate the inconvenient nursing sessions first, allowing others to continue unchanged. For example, change to a bottle for the night feeding, or cut the night nursing session all together.

6. Keep your breasts covered when you aren't nursing. Sometimes simply seeing the breast can cause an infant to want to nurse again.

7. Change the location of where you have nursing sessions. If you always nurse in the rocking chair, avoid the rocking chair for breastfeeding and move to the couch.

8. If your child is old enough to understand, talk about weaning by emphasizing what a big boy or girl your child is and all the things he or she can do independent of mommy, like dressing, going potty, and feedings.

9. The most important thing to remember is to be patient, and be willing to nurse your child when he or she really needs it. Weaning can be traumatic if it isn't done over time and at a slow pace that accommodates your child's needs as well as your own.

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