If you are breastfeeding, you'll want to know when to begin weaning your baby from breastmilk. There is no generalized answer to that question. However, the following information may be helpful in determining an answer. Some may be weaning in order to go back to work while others may be weaning for other reasons, such as the transition into solid foods.
When Should I Start Weaning My Baby?
According to KidsHealth.org, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are breastfed until at least 6 months of age. At that point, it is recommended that a combination of breastmilk and solid foods be given until the baby is at least 1 year old.
Experts will vary on the exact time when moms can begin weaning their baby. Consulting with your child's pediatrician is a great way to be sure that the choice you make is catered to your baby's individual needs. Beyond that, watch for cues from your baby's actions, combining that with the doctor's advice. I always found that combining the doctor's advice with baby's cues led to a successful weaning process.
Transitioning to Solids
Some babies will wean on their own naturally during the transition to solid foods. Others may need their mother to take a leadership role when it comes to weaning. Some are not as willing to wean as others. It may be the easiest to begin weaning your baby when solid foods are a particular interest or distraction. The excitement of new foods may distract the baby's attention from breastfeeding.
When a baby is showing more interest in transitioning to drinking liquids in a cup and eating more solid foods, this is a good indication of when to begin weaning. Baby food and liquid amounts should be discussed with the pediatrician to be sure that baby is eating the correct amount.
Reducing & Eliminating Nightly Feedings
The nightly feedings seem to be the hardest to shy the baby away from. Therefore some mothers opt to use transitioning to solid foods as a perfect opportunity to eliminate nightly feedings. Some mothers may still choose to offer a nightly feeding while transitioning the baby to solids.
Importance of Gradual Weaning
During the process of weaning, you don't want to just stop breastfeeding all of a sudden. Weaning a baby should involve gradually decreasing the amount of breastmilk given, while gradually increasing other forms of nourishment. This helps to ensure that the baby is getting the proper nourishment needed to thrive. If you are at all unsure of what to do during the process, don't hesitate to talk to your child's pediatrician to accurately assess what is healthy for your baby.
-- Note that the author is not a licensed medical professional. The above is provided for informational purposes. Always consult a licensed medical professional for any advice pertaining to health matters.
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