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Whether you nurse your baby for 3 weeks or 3 years, when the time comes when you decide to stop nursing there is a process involved. Prior to having kids I would have never known that so much goes into breastfeeding and weaning! After experiencing weaning three times now here are 5 simple tips for making the process as smooth as possible:
1. Introduce milk/formula prior to dropping feedings: I weaned my girls from breastmilk straight to whole milk as they were older when the weaning process started. I would still continue to nurse them for each feeding but started to offer whole milk in a sippy cup along with their solid food. This helped them to learn to like milk which made it easier as I dropped nursing sessions.
2. Timing is everything: Some kids are ready to stop nursing and may not care one bit, others will take some adjusting. By picking a time where you are more busy and leaving the home or even having the child in the care of someone else it makes dropping the feedings easier. Dropping the morning nursing session? Have Daddy get the child up for the day and get them breakfast. Dropping the lunch session? Take them out to eat so they are in a different environment with more distractions!
3. Don’t rush the process: The sloooooower you wean, the easier it is. I recommend waiting a good 2 weeks if possible between dropping feedings. This gives your body time to adjust and makes drying up much, much easier. By taking things slower it also helps you emotionally accept that the nursing days are ending. It allows you to cherish those last feedings at the same time as seeing how much easier life does get as you drop each nursing session!
4. Drying up: Dropping the last session is the hardest on your body. Plan for that! Know that it could take a week or two for you to fully be comfortable again. It’s not abnormal to have chills and even flu like symptoms during that time period. Be sure not to drop that last feeding at an inconvenient time for your healing. Cabbage is so soothing and helps to speed up the process. It’s also best to wear a supportive sports bra as much as possible. You don’t want to have something too tight but also don’t want it to be too loose either.
5. Drop the guilt: Breastfeeding is a personal journey. I’ve weaned my babies at 9 months, 12 months and 13 months and I still had guilt over it. No matter how long you chose to nurse your baby, you made a big sacrifice for you child. Breastfeeding is not easy, it’s a very selfless act and it’s okay to be ready to move on to the next stage of life! After spending 9-10 months pregnant and then a good 3 months or so dealing with post-partum plus however length of time you spent nursing…you deserve to enjoy having your body back and having the freedom that comes with weaning!
You can read more about my breastfeeding, as well as weaning, experiences in these posts:
- Weaning Tess
- The Last Nursing Session
- Favorite supplies for breastfeeding
- Tips for Successful Breastfeeding Experience
- My Weaning/Drying Up Experience with Britt
- Transitioning Kye to Formula
- Weaning Kye
- Combating Plugged Ducts
- The Myth of the Breastfeeding Diet
- Increasing Supply
- Pumping and Storing Breastmilk