It's not easy to move from breast to bottle, but at some point you'll have a weaning baby. All breastfeeding women have this one thing in common and, yet, every weaning is a unique process that can take days, months, or even years. Chances are good both you and your baby have enjoyed the bond that comes with breastfeeding. But as the saying goes, there’s a time when all good things must come to an end.
It’s difficult to decide what age is best to begin weaning baby. A lot of moms feel pressure to wean and do it before they’re ready. While it’s certainly a personal decision, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of your baby’s life (and, coupled with solid food, is recommended for the first full year).
Some children get too impatient to nurse when they reach a certain age. Others want to nurse much longer than what their moms expected. The easiest time to for weaning baby is when he or she initiates the process. But you may decide to begin for reasons of your own.
There are many ways to weaning baby. Everyone has their own strategy, and what works for some moms may not work for others. Some moms find cutting back on nursing during the day works the best.
Older children can be offered a sippy cup. And making changes in the bedtime routine can comfort babies who prefer to nurse at night.
Regardless of the weaning method or the age of your baby, a slow approach is best for both mom and little one. It allows a mom to gradually substitute other kinds of attention and affection to compensate for the loss of nursing.
Cutting back slowly also helps prevent the painful engorgement that can happen if you go cold turkey. It can even help you avoid the depression that some moms experience when they are no longer nursing their babies. If you’re having a difficult time, think of the transition as helping your child get to the next healthy step in his development.
No matter how early or late you decide to stop, you just provided the best start for your child by breastfeeding, and that’s a very special gift.