If you choose to breastfeed, you did so for a reason. However, eventually it is time to get your baby onto solid foods. There are some women who will continue to breastfeed for many years while others choose to bring it to an end at 12 months. Whatever the choice, weaning is a process and here are some tips to help.
Don’t Rush Your Child Into This
Breastfeeding helps to build that close bond between mother and child. It’s important to take the first steps slowing and not rush your child into eating solid foods and never having the breast milk again.
This won’t only help her but it will help you too! Let your child feel more secure in this decision.
Try to Avoid Bad Habits to Replace It
This is often a comfort thing for children as they get older. If you rush them out of it, they will start to pick up bad habits, such as hair-twirling and thumb sucking.
You want to avoid these as much as possible. If you notice your little one doing them, explain to them that it isn’t a good idea and nip it before it becomes habit.
Allow One Feed a Day
You need to ease your child away from this—it’s not like smoking where the best thing is to go cold turkey! Allow your child one feed a day but encourage the rest to be with solid foods or liquid in a cup.
This slow start lets you assess her feelings and let her know that you are still there for her.
Work on Her Feelings
Some babies prefer to feed on a night. It helps them go through the feelings of the day, process them and sleep. You need to work on her feelings so that she doesn’t need the feed at night (or even in the middle of the night!).
Talk to her in a soothing manner and develop a new bedtime routine that will help her settle.
Listen to Her Feelings
As well as working on them, you really need to listen to them. It’s easy to assume you know what she is thinking but ask her to tell you the problems.
This can be hard when she is still young and doesn’t really know how to put a few words together, so you need to watch out for actions or the sounds in her cries. Make sure that she is cared for and loved—and knows that—and it will help her.
Be Patient but Firm
Now it’s really important to have patience but you also need to be firm. You can’t give into her every cries or she will expect it all the time.
Focus on making your voice firm, even when trying to soothe her, so she knows that this is the way it has to be.
Work on One Problem or Habit at a Time
You can’t tackle every single problem or habit your child has at once. It will be difficult for you and very hard for her to deal with.
Work on one at a time, so she gets a chance to deal with it all, process what it means and accept it.