Weaning and how to stop breastfeeding is a star topic in the LactApp’s app, and that’s because it’s still a taboo topic. On the net you can find a lot of information about breastfeeding, especially the first months, but when we cross the barrier of the year, the information becomes scarce and often poor or unrealistic.
It is important to start from the premise that we often only treat as ideal those weanings that are done naturally or very gradually, but let me tell you that I feel neither comfortable nor in agreement, because in the ABC of lactation, from the preparatory classes, one of the phrases that we hear most is: “Lactation is a matter of two”, so I understand that a lactation the baby leaves naturally (and this will probably happen much beyond the year, maybe the second or the third year) is as ideal as a breastfeeding left by the mother, whatever the moment. After all, the mother should not be considered a means to an end and weaning is part of breastfeeding, in the same way that breastfeeding is part of our sexuality and forcing our body and our emotions to breastfeed under pressure or because “it’s the best thing for the baby” seems unwise to me.
However, it is very important to bear in mind that a baby from the age of one year onwards begins to demonstrate convincingly what he wants, with short and concise orders, and it is difficult for him or her to accept a no for an answer with the consequent heartbroken crying.
There we go with the 10 Tips on Weaning a Baby Older than 1 Year:
- Beware of expectations: if you’ve kicked yourself into the net looking for the most respectful way to wean and expect your baby not to cry when you start the plan, you can forget about it. Just as if you have a terrible fear that your baby will get possessed when you deny him or her the breast because it is also possible that your baby will conform and continue to play happily.
- Don’t expect to change routines all at once and make it work: planning and transitioning to new ways of doing things is important for weaning. For example, if you plan a night weaning using the “father plan”, but the father has never been in your “good night-routine”, it is almost obvious that when he asks you for breastfeeding and the father comes, your baby will react badly. For the “father plan” to work, for a few weeks (ideally from day one), the father can accompany you while you breastfeed, looking for the baby’s gaze, caressing him while you breastfeed, rocking him when you’re done and he’s calm, massaging him, or simply lying next to you. Even so, remember, practice always surpasses theory 😉
- Open your mind. Nonetheless never say never. There are many ways and many tricks to wean, and what may seem to you to be an aberration may not be for another family or it could be their only option. A baby who breastfeeds twice a day is not the same as one who breastfeeds every hour. It is not the same the baby that picks your navel every time he breastfeeds as the one that is sitting still, it is not the same three years without sleeping as one… Nor negotiate with a 4 year old boy than with a two year old. It’s not the same to be with the baby all day as it is to work full time…There are many ways to wean, and each one must find the one that works for her, obviously ALWAYS taking into account the baby’s emotions and feelings, but also your own.
4.Prepare yourself to be creative: you will probably have to manage many things without the breast: distraction, fight against boredom, hunger, thirst, negotiation, relationships, comfort, rest, calm … think of all the things you do now with the breast and plant yourself according to the temperament and age of your baby how you are going to manage it now. Don’t get overwhelmed, little by little and whatever you don’t get to: unforeseen!
- Reversing is not a capital sin: if you need to wean and you are well informed, don’t hesitate, do it. If when you are in it you realize that it is not what you need, simply stop and wait a few weeks until you believe that the real moment has arrived. If you had decided to wean at night and you need to give breastfeed ones, the same, act with your instinct in one hand and with your common sense in the other, no one knows about your breastfeeding more than you do.
- The theory is very nice, but it is only theory: there is a lot of information on the Internet about how to carry out a “respectful weaning” and it is very good, you have to take into account the nature of the baby and his emotions. After all, he/she was born with your breast in his/her mouth and it is what he/she knows, it is home, but as I told you in the previous point, it is only theory, it is good that you plan and that you are doing according to the “methods” that resonate most to you, but if they don’t work: Mix them, look for yours and act as you feel.
- Keep in mind that respectful parenting also includes respecting yourself: We have a lot of pressure as women but as mothers we have double the pressure and that leads to a constant feeling of guilt. We give body and soul to our baby and sometimes forget that we also have needs, feelings and emotions. When we talk about respectful parenting we constantly put the baby at the center of the concept, but there is nothing better than example for our children to learn what respect for others and for oneself is. To be able to set limits, a “so far”, or say no when we need it, is also a respectful way of educating. To be able to set a scale and distribute is basic to respect and be respected.
- Don’t forget your breasts: although it may seem to you that you have withered breasts from so many months of sucking, be careful when you reduce the feedings. Surely you don’t want an obstruction or mastitis at this point. Remember that it is not necessary to let your breast become congested: use your hands or breast pump if that happens (and give the milk it to your baby), just enough to decongest or to drain “that infernal lump” and apply cold, little by little you will lower the production and you will not need to be so attentive. Remember also that milk can take years to disappear.
- You’re not a breast, you’re the baby’s mother: if you feel that you won’t be able to approach parenting without your breast, you’re wrong. I won’t deny you that the breast is really useful, but you’ll find a new way to comfort your child when he stumbles and falls, a new way to put him to sleep and a new perspective when you look at each other. You will find your moments of intimacy and calm, but you will have to learn new ways of doing it and you will do it together and wonderfully well.
- You’ll go through a stage of mourning. Yes, you will, both of you. That time of adaptation of the previous point is also a time to feel a loss because as you know the breast is much more than food, it is an inexhaustible source of love and relationship and that source will now take on a new form and probably do not know which will take until after a few days or weeks. You may feel empty or “sorry”. Allow yourself to mourn and cry. Allow yourself to pass it on to him/her as well, it is also part of breastfeeding.
Remember that from LactApp we accompany you from pregnancy to weaning. In the app you have more information and in the blog other posts on the subject that could interest you.
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