There comes a time in every mum’s life when the breastfeeding journey must end. Weaning starts when you first introduce your little one to solids and ends when your little one no longer breastfeeds. This may take days, weeks, months or even years – it all depends on you and your baby.
It’s not always easy. And it’s not always straight forward. So here is our guide to surviving the weaning process, Babyology style.
1.Introduce one meal at a time
Breakfast, lunch, dinner – it generally doesn’t matter but stick to one meal at first, then gradually up it to two, then three.
2. Expect to have your shirt pulled down in public
A lot. Because when bub gets hungry and there isn’t food around, he’s going to go for the boob, even if you’re in the middle of the checkout line at the supermarket.
3. Eliminate the easy way
Your little one uses feeding for comfort, not just for nourishment and often the morning, night and midnight feeds are the ones that will be hardest to drop. So take the easy road and start by eliminating day feeds first and offering a sippy cup throughout the day. Remember that if your child is less than 12 months old, you’ll still need to wean to formula as a milk drink. Over 12 months, you can go straight to milk.
4. Invest in a dog
Why? Because as soon as food comes into the equation, there is going to be mess. Perhaps a dog isn’t the best way to keep the floors clean, so it is a good idea to have extra wipes and bibs handy.
5. Puree and freeze
Successful weaning does involve some preparation. Storing and freezing purees in individual containers is the easiest way to get a meal ready in a hurry. After all, we all know that when a baby gets hungry, we have about 17 seconds to either offer the breast or offer him a spoonful of food before the tears start.
6. Grin and bear the bites
When your little one gets teeth, she’s going to want to test them out. Biting doesn’t mean you need to wean – you can usually pick up the signs when your child is getting ready to chomp – but you’ll need to be paying attention!
7. Get ready for some serious leakage (and deflation)
Supply and demand is a funny thing and once you start to wean, your breasts are going to get a little confused. Thus you can expect to have a bit of a leakage issue for a little while, followed by a loss of substance as the milk eases away.
If you are lucky, gradual weaning may not have an effect on your breasts and you may even return to your perky self. If not, you’re certainly not alone!
8. Prepare for some extremely interesting nappies
Breastfed baby poo is pretty standard. By the time you’re ready to wean bub, you’re pretty much comfortable with the smell and texture right? And then you introduce foods and things can get, well, colourful.
9. Go with your gut
Or his gut, rather. If he doesn’t seem interested in solids, then don’t force it. Experiment with different flavours and textures to give him a taste of what foods are out there. If you are ever in doubt, talk to your doctor, early childhood nurse or a nutritionist.
10. Enjoy the food fun to come
Ending your breastfeeding journey can be a bit sad. But you also have so much to look forward to! Starting the weaning process is just the beginning – there are plenty of food fun adventures ahead, like when you make three different meals and she refuses all of them! Or when you cut her sandwich in squares and she wants them in triangles… Oh the fun to be had!