11 months old
Weaning from Breastfeeding
If you decided that the one-year mark was the end of your breastfeeding road, it’s time to start thinking about a gradual weaning process. Unless there’s some medical emergency or lifestyle upheaval, it’s really in your best interest to take the matter slowly.
- The first step is to really think about whether you’re ready to stop nursing. While some family members and even strangers might say that it’s “weird” to breastfeed a toddler, there are actually many benefits for continuing for a few more months or even another year.
- Yet many women are anxious to reclaim their breasts and their body after over 20 months of selfless service.
- Regardless, you’ll want to be physically and emotionally prepared for this momentous milestone – whenever you decide the time is right.
- Believe it or not, you actually started weaning the moment that you put a spoon to your baby’s lips. Step one was getting your baby used to eating and drinking from a source other than your body, which most 11-month-olds practice regularly with solid foods and sippy-cup drinking.
- If you haven’t introduced a cup to your baby, now is a good time to do it – even if you have no intentions on quitting breastfeeding anytime soon. The sooner that you introduce something new, the more likely it is that your baby will take to it.
- Also, if you aren’t on a regimented nursing schedule, you might want to sort one out before deciding to wean. It’s easier to drop one feeding at a time, which can be difficult if you’re feeding on demand.
- The second step in the weaning process is to gradually reduce one feeding a day. Granted, after your baby’s first birthday you might naturally reduce your feedings down to two or three times a day (given that solid food is now a major source of nutrients), but this is also a good way to stop nursing completely.
- Once you drop a feeding (whichever feels the most natural), wait a good week before dropping the next one. This should give your body (and your baby) enough time to adjust. Try replacing the feeding with a snack or meal.
- Keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to coincide weaning with a major life change, like starting a new day care or moving to a new house.
- You also might have to postpone weaning if your baby is sick or teething, as he or she might want to nurse more than ever.
- While some babies move on quickly – quicker than you – others need more time to let go. If you’re concerned that your baby is never going to stop breastfeeding, understand that your baby will eventually be ready to let go – but maybe not yet. If you’re willing to work with your baby, it might be beneficial to stretch the weaning out over several months.
- If you decide to wean more suddenly, you have a higher chance of experiencing painful engorgement – which can lead to clogged milk ducts and infection. To relieve some of the pain, try warm compresses (or just getting into a hot shower) and a pain reliever.
- Your baby will need more attention and affection if weaned suddenly, as this can be a hard transition to get used to.
- It’s not only difficult on your baby, but you should be prepared to feel mood swings and possible depression from the hormonal upheaval. (Especially if you’re having a hard time letting go of your baby.)