Knowing how and when to wean your child from breastfeeding is one of the most difficult things for a mom to discern. This journey definitely goes hand in hand with a mixed bag of emotions. Some moms may feel a sense of relief and freedom, followed by an inherent sadness and guilt. Overall, weaning your baby is an emotional rollercoaster! So, how does a mom cope with it all? If you are at this stage of your breastfeeding journey, or have just started and are wondering how you will eventually cope with it, read on below now for a few pointers!
Sign That you Or Your Baby May Be Ready To Wean
There is no right and wrong definite period as to when to wean your child from breastfeeding. However, WHO does suggest you continue to feed your baby breastmilk, alongside complimentary solids until they are two years old. This is one of the compounding factors that makes this part of life so hard. However, the Breastpumps & Beyond team have found a few criteria which could help you determine when the time is right for you and your baby:
- Your baby is older than 24 months
- Your baby is enjoying a large variety of solid foods, and is eating these more frequently
- Your baby no longer needs to breastfeed as a sleep prop
- Your baby no longer uses breastfeeding as a means of comfort
- You rarely feed your baby throughout the night
- Your baby seems uninterested in breastfeeding
- Your baby enjoys drinking from a sippy cup
- You feel that you are emotionally ready
Remember, the above points are merely suggestions. Deciding on the right time to wean your child from breastfeeding is a completely personal decision.
What To Expect Emotionally When Weaning Your Baby
Weaning is definitely no emotional picnic, so expect an amalgamation of bittersweet sentiments. But, you won’t be the only one experiencing emotions, your baby will also have feelings towards the subject as well. Here is a brief summary of what to expect from both ends during this time.
What your baby may feel through weaning:
What you may feel during weaning:
All of these emotions are common during this time and should be expected.
How To Deal With These Emotions And Work Through Them
Remember, all emotions are good and should be welcomed into your life. Trying to suppress any of them will only lead to future frustration and a pent-up emotional overload. Therefore, allow yourself to work through them. One of the best things to do during the weaning period is up the amount of personal time you spend with your baby. Keep your intimacy levels high by playing more with your child during the times you would have been feeding them. This will keep your relationship’s intimacy high and allow you to still feel incredibly connected to your baby.
On a personal level, enjoy the things you wouldn’t be able to enjoy during your breastfeeding period.
You will definitely need a lot of support during this time. Therefore, be sure to seek it. Do not be embarrassed to reach out to your partner, friends and family by letting them know what you are experiencing. Their help, love and encouragement will help you make this time a lot easier to cope with for you.