How to wean your baby off breastfeeding

How to Wean off Breastfeeding

Posted in 4+ Months, 4+ Months Development, 4+ Months Nutrition, 6+ Months, 6+ Months Development

Breastfeeding is a great way for you and your child to establish an intimate bond. It is also a vital part of a baby's daily routine as breast milk provides your child with the nutrients they need for growth and development. When your child is born, your breasts initially produce a fluid called colostrum, which has many benefits and helps to keep bub healthy.


However, there will come a time when you will need to stop breastfeeding your child and start introducing them to solids. This process is called weaning.


When is the right time to wean off breastfeeding?


Most babies are weaned off breast milk by the time they turn two to three years old. However, it is ultimately up to you and your child to decide when is the right time. This may be influenced by many factors including your baby's adaptability to change, the condition of your breasts and your emotional readiness.


The World Health Organization recommends for babies to be breastfed from birth to six months of age  During this period, breast milk alone is enough to give them all the nutrients they need. Once they reach the six-month mark, they will start needing other nutrients from solid foods, especially iron. It is also around this time when babies are most likely to show signs of wanting more than milk feeds alone.


How to start weaning your child


Once you have made the decision to start weaning, it is best to gradually reduce the number of times you breastfeed your baby. This will help your child (and you) become used to the weaning process and will also help to prevent problems like mastitis or breast inflammation caused by infection.


You can begin by skipping breastfeeding every few days, depending on how bub reacts. You can also try shortening the time you breastfeed your baby and offering them solids after breastfeeding.


How to get your baby started on solids


Here are some helpful tips to help bub get started on solids:

  • Gradually replace breast milk with formula or full fat cow's milk (the latter is only recommended for children one year and above)
  • Give your baby solids when they are neither too hungry nor too full. Watch for signs that your baby may have had enough to eat (e.g. pushing a spoon away) or that they are still hungry (e.g. reaching for more food)
  • Use a small spoon that is shallow and soft.
  • Start with small portions or about half a teaspoon per mouthful.
  • Choose foods that are appropriate for your baby’s developmental stage
  • Start with one meal a day and gradually increase the amount over the following days or weeks.
  • Never force your baby to eat if they don't want to.
  • Always supervise your baby when they are eating



What if my child refuses to be weaned?


If your young one finds it hard to adjust to the new routine, you can postpone weaning for a few weeks' time. You can also try explaining to them in a positive manner, the exciting stage of introducing solids. If your baby continues to be reluctant to wean, it's best to seek professional help.



Learn more about breastfeeding and first foods by checking out our articles on Breastfeeding: The Dos and Don’ts and A Quick Month by Month Guide to Feeding Your Baby.





About the Author

About the Author: Rafferty’s Garden is a brand brought to life by our love of good food and by our belief in ensuring Australian babies get an amazing start to their food journey. .


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *