Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Helpful tips for weaning your child.

Yes, I said child, and not baby. My daughter is turning 2 in May and we are still breastfeeding, and yes I know this will bring about mixed reactions. I mean the worldwide average age of weaning is 4.2 years.  Just to provide a little background information, I breastfed my first until 10 months because I became pregnant, I breastfed my second until 4 months because my supply could not keep up with her appetite and we are still breast feeding number three. Because I had never breastfed longer than 10 months I really wanted to breastfeed until 2 year with this one. Call it stubborn, call it determined, I just really wanted to breastfeed her for longer. And now we are at the tail end of this journey and I am struggling. The other two weaned very easily so this my first experience with weaning an older (possibly stubborn, probably determined) child. Like anything I’m not familiar with, I did some dirty work at tried coming up with a plan, some strategies and tips and hopefully we can all benefit from these steps and come out the other side with our sanity and our nipples unharmed. I will share a biting incident below. Yes this child bit me!




When and why to wean

That’s really up to you and baby. Sometimes you have to wean unplanned (like when I fell pregnant) or planned (like now with my almost 2 year old child). Sometimes baby indicates when they want to wean, sometimes mummy has just had enough. I’ve been advised by midwives and doctors to breastfeed at least until 6 months and in combination with food until one year. Again it’s really is up to you and dependent on your situation. You might be going back to work or having or trying for another baby, either way, I would say to avoid getting or feeling pressured to wean. The little one has bitten me (to the point of cracked and bleeding nipples), so yes I have paid my dues and it’s time to stop.

When NOT to wean.

I’ve heard it’s best to avoid starting weaning when:

·        If you or your child are not feeling well. And YES you should feed through mastitis. I did!
·       A major change is happening. Something like moving house or starting childcare might cause too much distress or confusion for the little one so maybe it’s best to hold off for a while.

How to wean

Okay, let’s get to the nitty gritty. Again, remember it is all up to you and what you and baby feel is best for you.
·         It’s best to start slowly. (I have a case for cold turkey down below). See if there are any feeds that can be dropped or cut down. For me personally, the day feeds are minimised. Some days she doesn’t feed at all during the day, if she is distracted enough. So I am mainly feeding in the night.
·         There is the distract or postpone method. This doesn’t always work for me but when I know she is about to want a feed, I redirect and distract her with a toy, or a snack or a game, and sometimes it works. It really depends on her mood.
·         In the first few days of weaning I just refused to feed her during the day and it worked, but there were a lot of tears and tantrums. The key is to be consistent. It was tough when she was sick to not let her feed because I know she was feeding for comfort and that inconsistency really put me back at square one really. So with commitment and consistency, you will wean!

The case for cold turkey!

I know two mothers who disappeared off the scene for a week (one went to Hawaii, the other went to Bali, yes I am jealous too) and their children who were both around two, weaned just like that. I asked the fathers who took care of them for that week how they did it and well simply, it’s not there so how can they ask for it.


Okay mummy, you got this! You also have the support of those around you, remember it takes a village to raise a child. You and your boobies are not alone.

The List


Step 61,

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Sarah
    My youngest is 19 months & I'm ready to wean but he's very resistant! Might have to book myself a trip to Bali ;)

    ReplyDelete

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