Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PSA: How to wean a baby

(The title doesn't lie, so if you aren't interested in hearing about how I weaned my babies, you'll want to skip this post.)

I nursed all of my babies.  The shortest time was 10 1/2 months, the longest time was around 18 months.  They all went from:

*nursing ALL! THE! TIME! when infants

*nursing first thing in the morning, before and after (multiple) naps, before bed time, and during the night


*nursing first thing in the morning, before naps, before bed time, and during the night


*nursing first thing in the morning, before the ONE nap, before bed time, and during the night


*nursing first thing in the morning (I always HATED to give this one up because it would let me get a little more sleep), before the nap, and before bed time

After going down to two feedings, one of my babies just wouldn't nurse one day (he was about 11 1/2 months old), and so he was weaned, but I chose to wean the others. 

When I knew I wanted to wean the baby, I started replacing one nursing session with a bottle, sippy cup, or snack (depending on how old the baby was) every few days.  I didn't replace another nursing session until I wasn't feeling overly full from having replaced the last one, but it only took 2 or 3 days for my body to adjust to each missing session (This, of course, will vary according to each person's milk supply/production). 

Usually, at the very end of nursing, my baby was down to one nap.  I replaced the nursing session before naptime with stories and songs (making sure I had given the baby a drink before we went to his/her room).  Once my body had adjusted to that, I replaced the  bedtime session with stories and songs.  About this time I got to this point with Marie, she got a cold and had a stuffy nose, so she couldn't nurse very well.  Her cold lasted a few days, in which she did no nursing, and a few days after her cold had passed, when I was rocking her for her nap, she suddenly sat up, looked at me, and patted my shirt.  I told her that mama's milk was all gone, she cried a little, and that was that.

This method of weaning took a few weeks, but I never suffered (like I did at the beginning of nursing, OUCH!), so it was worth it to me.

So!  My REVOLUTIONARY! tips on how to gradually wean your baby from nursing are:
1.  Replace one feeding at a time with a bottle, other food, or an activity (depending on the age of your baby). 
2.  Wait until you aren't feeling uncomfortable from skipping one nursing session before you eliminate another one.

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