Weaning baby from breast milk is a real step in the life of the infant, as well as in that of the mother. Breastfeeding is a very special moment that some women find difficult to let go of for emotional reasons, or simply because they are afraid of the transition to a less natural diet, which the baby might refuse. Remember, however, that babies have been born and grown since the dawn of time and therefore, even if each experience is obviously unique, this stage has been lived by billions of women before you, and without the slightest difficulty. So let’s see how to schedule, prepare and implement the weaning period smoothly.
Choose your time
For a successful weaning, it is important to choose the right time, during which you know in advance that you will have the time and patience to carry out this stage. If you have a busy schedule, wait until you’re on vacation, for example, or if possible, arrange with the other parent to take over at home or with any other children. You will be in better conditions to devote yourself to the good progress of this transition and more willing to accompany baby progressively in his weaning.
Be patient and confident
Weaning is not an easy task for either the infant or the nursing mother. Your baby may have trouble adjusting and may not want to take a bottle or may not take it well. If you have some difficulty at first, don’t give up and don’t feel guilty about it. If your baby needs a little time, that’s okay. You may need to offer several types of nipples to get him to accept a bottle. Again, nothing to worry about. And if, despite several attempts, your baby still doesn’t take to the game, it may be a sign that he’s not ready yet. If this is the case, nothing serious. Resume breastfeeding if you can and try again later. In any case, keep in mind that in most cases, the transition goes smoothly.
Tailor the weaning method to your baby’s and your own needs
You may sense that your baby is ready for a new form of feeding, especially if he nibbles frequently and insistently on the tips of his nipples. However, you, as a mom, may not be ready to give up breastfeeding, or not completely. Remember that mom’s and baby’s bodies are very much fused together and most often evolve together in the first months/first years of the infant’s life. Therefore, it is imperative that you are in tune with yourself when weaning, if only to prevent baby from sensing your anxiety and ultimately refusing the bottle.
For a smoother transition, you can start with mixed feeding. For this, several options are possible. For example, you can replace one of the feeds with a bottle, into which you will have poured your breast milk, previously extracted with a breast pump. Another option is to replace the same feeding with a bottle filled with age-appropriate milk. This will give you an idea of how he reacts. Then, gradually, try replacing several feedings, with or without breast milk, to get baby used to the bottle. Moreover, at 18 months, your child is able to understand certain things and you can therefore take the time to explain to him, in simple sentences, why you, his parents, want to change his diet and why this is good for his health.