Stress and blues: tips for easy weaning.
After breastfeeding your baby for a few weeks or months, you’ve decided to wean them for whatever reason. This step is often something of a new separation and you may be wondering about your role as a mother. Convinced about weaning your baby, yet torn by the longing this will create by no longer breastfeeding, you are frightened. This is normal. It is a tricky period both for you and for your baby.
Weaning: you’ve made your decision.
Whether for medical reasons or because your timetable will no longer allow you to breastfeed baby, you have made the big decision to wean them. Weaning means introducing an object, a bottle, between you and your baby. But it also means introducing a third person, the other parent or an adult who will take care of them, into a relationship that until now has been exclusive.
It is YOUR choice and you’ve made your decision. Once your mind is made up, it is important to introduce weaning gradually. The slower the transition to the bottle, the more stress-free it will be for baby and you1.
Once you have made the decision, you should talk to your baby regardless of their age, explaining what is going to happen, so that they are also part of it. Don’t hesitate to talk about your fears, explain that the bond between you won’t be broken by the bottle. In fact, far from being the enemy, it will be the object that may, for example, bring them closer to daddy.
Weaning: the stages of stress-free weaning.
So you’ve made your decision but... how are you going to go about it? A wave of panic may wash over you, but everything will be fine.
Weaning is a stage in baby’s diet. Like any important stage, weaning must be done gradually. To begin with, and for a few weeks, replace one breastfeeding session with a bottle feed. If you have managed to express your milk, baby will drink it happily as the taste will be familiar. To get them to take the bottle more easily, you might want to get somebody else involved at this stage. Indeed, if it is you giving them the bottle, baby is likely to want your breast and reject the bottle.
When the change from breast to bottle has been accepted, swap another breastfeeding session for the bottle and so on until you are no longer breastfeeding at all.
Remember that you can always keep your morning and/or evening breastfeed if you want to!
1 Mpedia.fr – L’allaitement mixte en pratique