Is it the right time to wean your baby? We often hear this question from moms. When you ask this question to your family members and friends, you will get a range of suggestions and advices, some may say, “definitely, any time you like” and some may say “your baby should take that decision and not you.
But it may not be appropriate for someone else to make that decision on your behalf. You should gather information about how the process of weaning should go and what are the advantages of that process. Knowing these things may help you in taking the decision about whether to wean your baby or not.
Nursing includes a close relationship between you and your baby that affects both of you deeply, that relationship and bonding is very important between the mother and the child. If you are nursing but you feel tired, or if you are pregnant with another child, the stress on you will affect your nursing hours.
Though your baby might stick to a relationship that she likes, but she may not be getting the best from you. And according to me, getting help and making the decisions is parent’s job that saves her energy for the entire relationship of parenting.
There are many reasons to think about weaning, you are not enjoying the nursing process anymore, you are feeling drained out, feeling sleep deprived because of night nursing etc. Night nursing is very important in first 4 months in child’s life, children have many health benefits of nursing in these months. You can take help from others during the day to take care of your child so that you can nap during day and save your energy for night time nursing.
Give time to your child and wean slowly
If you are thinking about weaning, you should do it slowly. Children have many emotions and feelings attached with nursing, and they will be in advantage from a process that will provide them enough time to beset the loss of nursing. If you try to do it quickly, your child may feel scared and start crying. When you suddenly implement change, your child will bury her emotions in order to adjust with the change. She may start behaviors like hair twirling or thumb sucking to control her feelings and emotions.
If you do it slowly, you will get a chance to address to the feelings of your child until they are completely eliminated. You aim is to provide your child with hundred percent attention and love, and make sure that she is full. You will know if it is difficult for her through her behaviors.
As you are providing connection and your child is performing her task of conveying her emotions, her love for you will remain same. But the desperation of weaning will soon be gone with lot of crying in your arms, when she is crying, try to console her with your love.
Start with one feeding in a day
Your first step would be paying attention to your child’s feelings about nursing, you should begin with one feeding in a day. It can be anytime, you can feed your baby at night to make her fall asleep. She might be using nursing as her method to deal with her feeling from the day that disturbs her sleep. In this step, you will not challenge her emotions about the need of nursing. Deal with the feelings that she has about not getting sleep without nursing as a first step. Try to solve one issue at a time.
You talk to your child, tell her that you will nurse her earlier tonight and you will help her in going to sleep without needing to nurse. She may not talk to your but she will definitely understand what you are trying to tell her.
While you nurse your child, pay complete attention on her. After several months of nursing, many children often enter into a zone of comfort. Many moms like it too, this is the time when they both get a break from their mental stress. But to have this, you will have to pay lot of attention to your child throughout the nursing time. Make eye contact with her and convey it to her that you love her and the moment.
Make sure that she doesn’t sleep while nursing. Stop her when you think she is full, and if she is closing her eyes, wake her up and make her sleep in her place. Then lie down close to her, make her feel your feelings and connection. Make eye contact but don’t nurse at that time.
But don’t let her go to sleep nursing. Stop her when it’s clear she’s had enough, and if she’s dozing, wake her enough so that she knows she’s going to bed. Then lie down next to her, and offer warmth and connection. Offer both eye contact and physical contact. But don’t nurse.
You should make her realize that no nursing to sleep. She will slowly understand this with your effort and love. Offer more love and support but don’t nurse. If you think she is hungry, you can offer her a cup of milk if she is crying. If she is hungry she will definitely take it. She may cry a lot in the beginning but it will reduce with the time and your support.
You are not holding back your attention, your love, intimacy or closeness. Give yourself to your little one as much as you can. You are just trying hold back an activity that broke down her feelings. She will start getting more confidence as her feelings are hurt now. You may not see this until next day or week if she is very much attached with nursing for sleep and needs to cry often. But you will see the changes in your child’s personality that will assure you that she is going to be fine soon with your love and attention.