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Tips for Weaning Breast-Fed Babies

Choosing to breast-feed your baby is a very personal decision.

By
Cheryl Butler
July 13, 2007
Episode #023

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Hey there!  You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting. Today’s Topic:  Weaning Woes

Tips for Weaning Breast-Fed Babies

Choosing to breast-feed your baby is a very personal decision. While I am a believer that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your new baby, I also believe that every mom has the right to make that decision for herself. Similarly, it will be the mom’s decision as to when her child will be weaned. I’d like to offer some tips to help make the weaning process a little easier.

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages mothers to breastfeed their babies for a minimum of 12 months. If you have decided that it is time for you to wean your child and 12 months or more has already passed, your child will have begun eating solid foods. At this point, your child may even start weaning on his own. This is generally the easiest type of weaning, but sometimes mom is ready to wean first. If you have the opportunity to wean gradually, this will save you from a little bit of physical and emotional pain. Start by removing one or two of the daily feedings over a week’s time. You can replace the feeding with some other type of activity such as reading, coloring or just cuddle time. If your child is hungry, offer him a snack or some milk. Continue to remove feedings in the same manner until the child is completely weaned. Using this method of gradual weaning should decrease the possibility of breast engorgement. It will also ease your child into a new form of eating.  
A child can start using a cup as early as nine months of age. If you have already familiarized your child with a cup, this will help to simplify the transition. If you are weaning an older toddler who already has some cups of his own, this might be a good time to take him to the store to pick out a new cup. Let him help pick out his new “special” milk cup. You can offer him this cup during the feeding times that have been removed. During these times, avoid holding your child in any type of nursing position. If there are any locations where you normally nurse your child, try to avoid these areas as well.

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