I’m blessed to have had a very productive and painless breastfeeding journey. I’ve been able to nurse my son, exclusively, for nearly 11 months. My plan is to be done nursing by the time he’s 12-months-old. And while it didn’t seem so bad in theory, now that he’s a little over a month shy of his first birthday, I’m starting to question whether or not I’ll be successful in weaning from breastfeeding in time.
I didn’t even entertain the idea of weaning until we were no longer co-sleeping and he was his own bed. Once we transitioned to him sleeping in his own bed, he began sleeping through the night—eliminating the middle-of-the-night feeding. Boy, was I happy to have that freedom!
With a set bedtime and the peace of mind that came with knowing that he would sleep through the night, I felt like me again. That’s one of the reasons why I gave myself a loose time-limit on nursing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being my son’s source of nutrition but with that comes a lot of sacrifice. He’s totally dependent on me which makes it hard to do anything spontaneously that involves being away from him because I have to first make sure I have enough milk.
If you’re considering weaning from breastfeeding, here are three ways that I’ve been able to gradually decrease the amount of time my son spends on the boob.
Weaning From Breastfeeding Tip No. 1: Distract Your Baby
I’ve typically relied on this method to cut out a feeding during the middle of the day. I’m not ashamed to admit that I turn into a complete circus clown when trying to keep my son’s attention away from the fact that normally he’d be nursing. I use anything from flash cards, noise-makers, and yes, that damn baby shark song!
But I’m not going to lie, this first tip only works when you have a well-rested baby. Trying to distract a fussy baby with toys, songs, and television shows won’t work! Take my word for it.
Weaning From Breastfeeding Tip No. 2: Use A Trainer Cup
This tip has helped me completely eliminate feeding my son from a bottle when I pump. In fact, he hasn’t drank from a bottle since he was around six-months-old. The trainer cup has two handles on the sides that help him hold the cup on his own. He’s really taken to it and sometimes I swap out breastmilk for water and he seems to love it just fine. Thank goodness!
Weaning From Breastfeeding Tip No. 3: Offer Solid Foods
I find this one to be the best tip when it comes to weaning from breastfeeding because, after all, he’ll be getting all of his nutrition from solid foods pretty soon. At this point, my son eats pretty much everything we eat. Although, we haven’t given him seafood just yet. I love sitting him in his highchair and watching him feed himself. It’s so rewarding. So far, his favorite foods are Cheerios and bananas in the morning; chopped fruit for lunch; and shredded chicken, broccoli, and brown rice for dinner.
Weaning from breastfeeding will be my way of teaching my son to be more independent while also helping me learn to make time for myself, even though I’m a mom. It’s still a work in progress, but these three tips have really helped along the way. I hope you can find them helpful, too.