There's a ton of weaning advice out there, but here's the best


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Laura Falin

posted in Parenting

I'm noticing that with my last baby I get more sentimental over things. When she learned how to walk...when she first tried solids...when she went to school. For the rest of my kids those were exciting "firsts," but with her, they were tinged with a little heartbreak that I would never again have a little baby who needed my help in that way.

So weaning her from breastfeeding was bittersweet. I think weaning is an even harder milestone because we always phased it out gradually so I never had that moment of "This is it. This is the last time we'll be breastfeeding." There was just a day when I went to bed and realized before I drifted off to sleep that I hadn't nursed my baby. It was a milestone no one really recognized except me.

weaning your child

These BabyCenter moms have some great advice on how to wean your baby. My favorite, and the advice I'd give people myself, is "Don't let anyone talk you into weaning your child before the two of you are ready." One mom had weaned her baby earlier than she wanted because she was getting outside pressure not to breastfeed a toddler. If you want to continue nursing, do what feels right.

Also, a lot of moms are fans of gradually cutting back how often you breastfeed during the day until your child is fully transitioned. This was my favorite method, too. No engorgement, no abrupt ending to the special time you have with your child -- and usually a much happier little one because they've been getting used to this slowly instead of being cut off cold turkey.

There were some other great suggestions on the community thread. Jackie's suggestion that you change up your bedtime routine if that's the last feeding left is a good one:

My then 26-month-old daughter Elise's favorite time to nurse was at night, right before bed. Instead of nursing, I read to her from her favorite books. She would then drink her milk, and snuggle into the pillows ready for sleep. It took a few weeks to get her used to the routine — and some crying — but we learned to bond in a different way.

And Jessica's suggestion that you avoid your go-to nursing spots or positions for a while is a creative idea to get kids out of a breastfeeding routine and to introduce new routines instead.

When I became pregnant, my son was 19 months old. I started to cut down the feedings gradually until it was mainly at nap time and bedtime. As I became more pregnant, my breasts became tender and painful so I had to stop. I avoided getting into our favorite nursing positions and places so as not to trigger any breastfeeding associations.

weaning your baby

Everyone's in agreement that cold turkey is the hardest method to try -- for moms and babies! -- and most say they'd only do it if it's absolutely necessary. But it can be done and you'll both be okay.

I had to wean my 24-month-old suddenly because I'm taking some medications that pass through breast milk. We had given him boxes of organic vanilla milk when we traveled, and he always liked it. So I bought a case and explained that he could not nurse because of the medicine. He cried hard the first night, but Dad got him to sleep. Now he reminds me to take my medicine and we cuddle a lot during the day. Only go cold turkey if you absolutely have to. I know it would be easier on both of us if we'd had the time to gradually wean.

For more advice, these articles from BabyCenter experts do a great job of explaining how to know when your child is ready to wean and what techniques you can use to help them transition to other foods. Although it's a little sad when your baby no longer needs you in that way, it's exciting to see all the other things they're learning and exploring as they grow.

Did you wean your baby? What was your experience like?

Images by iStock

For more kids' activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on Facebook and Pinterest.

The post There's a ton of weaning advice out there, but here's the best appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.