Weaning your baby from the breast can be both a physical and emotional challenge for you and your baby. Unfortunately, it has to occur at some point in your baby’s young life. Some mothers may have to quit sooner than others, due to returning to work, an illness, or whatever other surprises get thrown at new moms.
However, we must remember that weaning baby is not a negative, sad situation, in reality, all that is happening is that your baby will be drinking milk a few further inches away. Moms can still cuddle, play, and bond with baby the same as when bringing baby to breast. So, realizing that it is not a devastating event will make the transition less stressful and emotional for both of you.
In addition, you may be worried about what to feed your baby. Though you may be in a situation where you will not be bringing baby to breast as often, you can still provide your breast milk to your baby as opposed to infant formula. Breast pumping is becoming quite common place for mothers today. Employers are beginning to realize the importance and benefits to their company by allowing moms to breast pump and continue to provide breast milk to their babies.
Yet, if you decide to provide formula for your baby instead of breast milk, this is still a fine alternative. Because of the immense push to breastfeed your child, some advocates of breastfeeding have gone on a witch hunt for companies and mothers that provide formula to their children, thus making many mothers terrified that if their baby is not drinking breast milk, then illnesses, obesity and many other critical problems will occur to their precious one. Breast milk is absolutely best for your baby, but moms should not feel guilty for providing infant formula to their baby if this is their choice. In fact, most baby boomers were brought up on infant formula, and over 75% of babies were drinking formula by the 1970’s when the trend at this time was moving away from breastfeeding your baby. Whatever choice you make, feel comfortable with it.
However, there may be some tips that will make weaning your baby a little easier.
- First, attempt to give your baby the first-time bottle when not hungry. If baby is already crying, hungry and wants the breast, shoving a bottle nipple in your baby’s mouth would not be a welcome introduction. After you have fed your baby from your first breast, instead of going to the second breast, try the bottle and let your baby play with it some to become comfortable with it.
- You may have to spend some time and money experimenting with the right bottle and nipple. Every bottle out there says that it is just like mommy, but the people who make the bottles don’t get their sole nutrition from this source like you baby does. Your baby is the judge of whether it is just like mommy and will let you know which one is best.
- Try to use bottles that are much more like mommy’s breast, as opposed to the traditional $1 bottle that you can find at Dollar General. There are so many new, innovative bottles out there today that some babies may not even realize that they are not drinking from your breast.
- Temperature and flow are crucial to getting baby to enjoy this weaning process. Baby has been used to the warm temperature that your body has provided for breast milk. Giving a baby a bottle from the refrigerator probably is not going to substitute very well for that wonderful breast milk that came from your body. Also, the milk that came from you was controlled very well by baby. You need to make sure that the milk coming out of the bottle is not too difficult to suck out or comes flowing out quickly causing baby to choke each time baby attempts to take a sip.
- Also, only substitute one feeding with the bottle each week. Going from all to nothing can be very stressful for baby, however, if you make a slow, comfortable transition, then baby may be much more excepting of the idea.
- Most importantly, listen to your instincts. You are mommy and know this baby better than anyone. If something tells to let baby suck on your pinky while introducing this new nipple than try it.
Weaning your baby from your breast does not mean that someone is taking your baby away from you. Put it into perspective. Bringing your baby to breast may have been one of your favorite things to do. However, some situations may cause you to curtail this pleasure, but be creative; you can still cuddle, have quality time or bring baby to breast a couple of times a day instead of for every feeding. Just realize that for the rest of your baby’s life, you will have to discover new and exciting ways to get in those sweet, quiet times together, this is just your first challenge of many.