Weaning

The weaning process begins the first time your baby takes food from a source other than your breast .Weaning is the gradual replacement of breastfeeding with other foods and ways of nurturing. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, the National Health Service Choices UK, and the National Health & Medical Research Council in Australia recommend waiting until 6 months to introduce baby food.

Gradual weaning is best for you and for your baby. Dropping only one feeding every week or so means that you'll be less susceptible to engorged breasts and possible inflammation. It's easier on the baby, too-less stressful and traumatic.

Start by eliminating one feeding session, and then, after a week or so, dropping another one. If your baby is especially reluctant to wean, you may need to drop one feeding session in 48 hours (rather than one feed in 24 hours). It may take longer to wean, but it will be easier on both of you.

For the first cut, choose a feeding session that can be bypassed as painlessly as possible. Most babies want to hang onto the nursing sessions associated with bedtime-the day's first feeding, naptime feeding, and bedtime.

You can eliminate some feedings without completely weaning if you'd prefer not to go cold turkey just yet. You can usually keep one or two nursing sessions a day, even after cutting out the rest.

When you begin dropping nursing sessions, replace that time with another kind of cuddling or special time. Instead of regarding weaning as something to deny your child, think of it as a time to expand your child's horizons by offering new tastes and foods and customs. Instead of hurrying the process, let it take its own pace, and the transition will be easier on you both

There's more to breastfeeding than nutrition: It represents love, comfort, trust, attachment. Try keeping a stack of picture books near the rocker, so you can find a new use together for a favorite chair. It's a good idea to cuddle in a position that's different from the one you typically used for nursing-e.g., holding your child facing away from your chest as you read a picture book together, or balancing her on your feet or legs to play airplane.

You may notice that you're feeling discouraged, sad, or distracted during the weaning period. It's not unusual to be a little depressed. Your body is going through hormonal changes again. Weaning can be painful, physically and psychologically.  


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