When we have talked about weaning before, we have tended to focus on babies over the age of one year old. In this blog post, we’re going to talk about weaning from the breast when babies are younger than a year old or even a few months or days old. As you know, you can consult the LactApp app for further information about weaning at any age and situation so you have all the information possible in your hands and you will be able to make the decision that best suits you at all times.
How to wean babies under one year old
We could distinguish between babies younger than six months old and older babies, but the truth is that we will use the same pattern with all of them.
Things to keep in mind in relation to babies
- When babies suckle on the breast they are eating; but they are also relaxing, making a bond, looking at their mothers, developing and learning. The need to suck is very, very intense for many months after birth. So it’s important to keep in mind that if they stop breastfeeding, they also stop having that sucking that they need so much. Especially in smaller babies, the use of pacifiers/dummies is something to keep in mind. But we must be very cautious and aware and, above all, be very careful with their use because, as with breastfeeding, pacifiers/dummies could produce satiety and make them eat less.
- Breastfeeding also works on demand, so we can offer the bottle as many times as they need, as much or as little as the babies demand for. It is important to offer the bottle as horizontally as possible, so that the baby can show hunger and satiety and not be overfed. Overfeeding is very common in formula-fed babies because the quantities suggested in the cans are usually much higher than what the baby really requires. We don’t have to finish the whole bottle, babies have to eat for the appetite they have.
- Give the bottle as if it were the breast. In the same way that the breast is given with proximity, when we give the bottle we encourage babies to be very close to our bodies, so we can mutually enjoy that contact and the glances. It is also important we change the side of the baby when breastfeeding to allow them to stimulate their two cerebral hemispheres in the same way.
- Our babies poop will change colour, smell, frequency and consistency. If the poop is not
hard, no problem. On the other hand, if the consistency becomes hard, we should consult the
pediatrician for constipation and try other brands of milk.
- This is a good time not to “disappear”. Sometimes it seems easier to wean and start working, traveling, or doing other activities. Because “What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over”. But the truth is that this is only a consolation for mothers, if it is a comfort for anyone. Babies will no longer have a tit, and taking away their contact with their mothers at the same time can be too much for them. We recommend that if you have to wean, do that first and then you can start worrying about travel/work/etc. If we have the option it is important to plan it.
- Babies could have a change of attitude (or many). It will probably depend a lot on the baby’s age and temperament, but it’s normal and habitual for babies to be unhappy and miss breastfeeding a lot. This can lead to more crying, perhaps irratibility, etc., which may last for a long time or not. Remember that we can always go back if we wish and postpone it for a while, or do it more gradually.
Practical tips for weaning
- There are many babies who accept the bottle the first time, but many others who don’t. Try it. Some babies don’t have a problem with the teat but are shocked by the taste of the milk. In this case, we’ll start by trying to get the babies to accept the container and then move on to the milk. We will start by offering babies bottles with mother’s milk and we will add formula to each drink while we reduce the amount of mother’s milk more and more.
- We recommend to replacing breastfeeding with the bottle bit by bit. Remove one to two feeds one day and keep the rest for 3-7 days. Then two more feeds, etc., and so on until we finish. We can do it faster or slower, depending on our needs.
- On the other hand, other babies will immediately accept the taste of the artificial milk but it will take some time to get used to the teat.
- It’s very important not to force. Let babies experiment with the teat… if they are a little older we can offer the bottle at some quiet time, in which they were not very hungry or irritable.
- In younger babies, we will luse the Kassing Method. Although it may seem like a method to preserve with breastfeeding, it allows babies to drink artificial milk without stress and with total respect for their needs.
- If they still refuse the bottle, we can try not to be at home when someone else gives it to them. Little by little, a lot of gazing, a lot of complicity, etc.
- Preparing a bottle is not complicated but there are many things to keep in mind in order to do it correctly, and the cans of baby milk don’t always contain the most accurate information.
- In relation to complementary feeding, even if it is formula, milk will be the exclusive food until 6 months of age and will remain the main food up until the baby reaches one year old.
- Whenever we can,it is more appropriate to offer babies type1 milk during the first year of life, because this is the most appropriate formula at that moment.
In relation to mothers:
- If it is possible, it would be better to reduce the number of feeds little by little in order to help babies adapt to their new feeding routine, but also in order to avoid the risk of suffering obstructions or mastitis due to the accumulation of milk.
- If during the process we do not have any discomfort, nor do we feel our chest full or congested, it is not necessary to do anything special, the milk will gradually disappear.
- On the other hand, if we notice congestion, tightness, lumps, etc., it is appropriate to express a little milk. We don’t have to be afraid of overproducing or having more milk. It is about the gland reducing the production and we achieve this by removing the right amount of milk, leaving milk inside the breast, but without discomfort or pain. Express We can milk manually or with a breast pump until we feel relief in the breasts. If we feel lumps, we can accompany the draining with a massage.
- We can also apply a cold compress and ask the doctor to prescribe anti-inflammatories.
- The medicine which is used to end milk production (Cabergoline) doesn’t work for weaning from an established lactation.
- It is important not to wrap our breasts, stop ingesting liquids or avoid using the breast pump. These are myths that not only do not work, but can cause complications that could become serious.
- Our emotions can make everything wobble.
Do you have any other questions?
You can find more information about all things breastfeeding in our free app, LactApp for iPhone or Android. In the contact section of the app, you can find an in-app consultation channel, where our experts will answer your questions.