How do you know when the right time to wean is and how do you do it?

Isn't wean a dreadful word? Ok, now that I've said that I can get down to business.

This is a tough one, because people are very opinionated; very, very opinionated on this. It runs the gamut from Enfamil to La Leche - people care. Perhaps people subconsciously believe if you aren't defending whatever you are doing as the single best option - then it could mean it places second, third, or something else. And no one wants to say they are giving their child second best. But, since we don't finger point here at Ask Angie - set the biases aside and just glean what's helpful - there aren't different ribbons - just different choices...

I'll start with what I did. I nursed my babies for a year. My mom almost died I didn't go longer - and I almost died that I lasted so long. So my answer to when, is simply - when you are ready. The reason I aimed for a year was that I wanted to transition straight from breast milk to whole milk. Personally, I've always thought change is hard, so the fewer changes the better. In fact, I skipped the bottle stage and went straight to sippy (although its a lifesaver for many).

As for the specific stopping - I just eliminated one breast feeding every three days - supplementing with baby food - and offering milk (but not forcing it). This way, physically, it wasn't too taxing to on me. The last one to go was the morning and night time feeding - those are just the hardest to eliminate. Simply, eliminate five to fifteen minutes a day-one step at a time.

Some kids don't want to change to a new milk - and yes, I'll admit it, with one of my children adding a little chocolate to the milk was just the thing. Just enough to get him interested and then I faded it out.

Once you start, stick to it! Some babies seem to take it as an emotional insult - they are just pulling out all the stops. If you stay calm and committed they will go along in just a few days. Nothing too magic - mostly time! I know this is a fairly general start - so if there is a specific problem - I am happy to address it as well - just leave a comment.


Ann said...

I've got one for you: cereal. How do you do it? Do you replace a feeding, eat as a snack between feedings, or add it to a feeding? Do you mix it with breastmilk or formula or water? How many times a day do you give cereal?

Also, you can give whole milk when they are about a year, right? And not before?

Thanks! I love 'Ask Miss Angie'!!!

Leslie said...

the two kids i have weaned so far have been totally different experiences. i started weaning my daughter around 11 months, and also went straight to milk (formula costs too much $$). it was a pretty easy transition, i did the same, eliminating feedings one at a time. but i was never really on a 4-hour schedule or anything, it was more about replacing her need for comfort with something besides nursing. my son was 14 months old and it took me going to hawaii without him for him to finally quit. he just loved it, poor little guy.
as for the cereal, i say (even though this isn't my blog) :) don't stress about it so much. i actually skip it altogether because it's so yucky and such a pain to prepare. we go straight to peaches. :)

laurel said...

I think this is a great post with great advice Ang. The actual process of weaning was similar for us - the elimination of feedings, etc. With Avery it was a piece of cake actually since she was sooo not attached to nursing. The weaning was more for ME, how to get my body to wean from producing milk. We did bottles occasionally from day one so that transition was not hard either. I think every baby and mom is different! We'll see how it goes with the next one. I am actually hoping it's similar to Avery because I wasn't all the attached to nursing either :)

Lynette said...

Thank you for the advice! Since I'm ready to wean, I guess it's time! I've been trying the chocolate milk thing and it's been working...somewhat. Wes won't suck on his sippy cup, he just let's it drip and then he gets frustrated. I'm partly to blame because I cave-in. I'm going to stick to it though, thanks again!

angie said...

rice cereal - it doesn't replace a feeding - if there isn't any fat in something then you don't get that "full" feeling - so if you are wanting to do the rice cereal thing 4-6 monthsish - then do it right before a feeding - ending up with milk. you can mix it if you want - water, milk, apple juice - after they get going a variety is nice. i even added it to the baby foods for more bulk.

oh, and no vitamin d whole milk until they are one!

rebecca said...

When chocolate milk did not work for Andrew, we moved on to strawberry syrup - gross, but it worked!

Lynette said...

Success! Thanks again!