Question submitted on Facebook: How can I wean a breastfeeding baby?
Answer: There are many factors to consider when weaning a breastfeeding baby. Think about timing, nutrition, and the reasons why you are starting to wean your baby. And remember, take it slow and be patient.
If you start introducing your baby to solid foods at about six months, he or she may start to naturally wean. If not, your baby might start to wean on his or her own when entering the toddler phase, since he or she might not want to sit still for the duration of feeding.
If your child doesn’t start to wean on his or her own and you have been introducing solid foods and sippy cups for liquids, start the process slowly. Decrease the number of daily breastfeedings you provide and replace that meal with solid food. Over time, you can continue to cut out more breastfeeding sessions and replace them with solid food meals. Plan activities after these meals so your child will immediately engage and be less likely to notice that he or she didn’t breastfeed.
Talk to your baby’s doctor about getting him or her the proper nutrition as you start to wean from breastfeeding. The Mayo Clinic has excellent advice on weaning a baby, so visit their website for more tips and considerations.
For more information on breastfeeding, formula feeding, and providing a healthy start for your baby, see the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher book Through the Early Years.