Weaning is a gradual process of giving other nutrients like formulas or solids to your baby while still giving the breast or you decide to gradually stop your baby from breastfeeding, the weaning stage during your child’s development is beneficiary for both the mother and the baby.
When do I start to wean my baby?
Weaning is a natural stage during your child’s development when to start weaning can best be judged by the mother’s decision or condition, some mothers who find it difficult to nurse during the first few months of birth may produce insufficient breast milk, that is, they may start to wean their baby early, substituting one or more feedings with formula.
Natural or child-led wean
Naturally, at 6 months of age, your baby is ready to be introduced to other sources of nutrient to support his nutritional needs for development, in some babies, the urge to take breast milk may reduce after being fed different types of solids or formula.
However, W.H.O(World Health Organization) and UNICEF recommends breastfeeding for the first 6 months of birth and introduction of nutritionally adequate and safe complementary solid foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond, or as long as it suits you and your baby.
The decision to wean either comes naturally (Child-led weaning) or planned(mother-led weaning)
Planned or Mother's led wean
This occurs when the mother had decided to start weaning, it may be self-decision or due to some certain medical condition like illness or as a result of low milk production.
How to wean your baby
To get started, know that weaning your baby takes time and patience it may seem challenging some times your baby may show sign of resistance the first time you offer the bottle or solid, remember, weaning is a gradual process, exercise patience and don’t throw away confidence, you can do it!.
The following tips should help guide you through your weaning experience:
1. Begin with substitution: Start by substituting one feed for other, you can substitute pumped breast milk for formula or regular cow milk along offer the bottle or cup and see the one your baby can cope with the best.
2. Limit your breastfeeding nursing time: shorten the duration your baby nurses on breast, For example, if your baby nurses for 15-20 minutes at regular feedings then try and limit it to 10 mins or less.
3. Feed and distract: This method works pretty well when your baby refuses to take milk from the bottle since he is already used to the breast. Before you give the bottle, bring out the breast and fake him by putting a few drops of breast milk in his mouth and then slip the bottle to his mouth.
4. Hold and cuddle when you feed: pay attention and regularly comfort your baby if he is feeding from the bottle, holding your baby to yourself helps create bonds between you and your baby and ease the weaning process.
5. Watch out for cues: Pay attention when feeding your baby do not overfeed, your baby will let you know when she has had enough.
6. Give your baby chance to suck: during feeding avoid propping or squeezing the bottle, its risky and can cause your baby to choke.
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