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Weaning, Where’s the Support?

A tear rolls down your cheek, as you sit in the glider that you have spent many hours over this first year of your baby’s life, holding them close to you. You quietly think, “Is this the last time”? Or maybe it’s as you get a frozen bag of milk out of your freezer stash that your heart breaks a little. You know you have done all you can for your baby, but it somehow still doesn’t feel like enough because you want to start weaning. Many breastfeeding moms have been there, myself included.

You started your breastfeeding journey with a lactation consultant or a doula helping you daily to get your little one to latch. You’ve joined Facebook groups that have moms supporting each other, adding lactation friendly recipes, tricks and tips, etc. You go to a breastfeeding support group. Baby is successfully latching and gaining weight. Hard work and persistence has paid off! You are set for breastfeeding and feel like you can take on the world!

weaning

Fast forward, three, eight, fourteen months later.

You are back in that glider. It is time to wean and your heart is breaking. Your little one has grown, they are moving like crazy, there is biting at the breast, or maybe it’s your mental health that you need to prioritize.

At the same time your mind is asking, “Can I do this?” “How will my baby react?” “What does this mean for our relationship?” Or maybe you are thinking “I’m excited to get my body back” or “my mental health will be so much better”. Personally, my primary thought has been “How do I do this?! Where’s the support for this?” Whatever your reason is, you decide that it’s time to start to wean your baby off the breast.

Now what…

What do you do?

Where do you start?

Where’s the Facebook group that talks about how to wean a baby off the breast?

Are there lactation consultants that teach you about weaning?

If you haven’t found support, please know you’re not alone.

There’s no one way to wean, much like there’s no one way to breastfeed. There are no written directions or handbooks on how to wean. Through many Google searches, Instagram accounts, and talking to other moms, I’ve found some helpful advice with weaning, that may help you. Once you decide to start weaning, decrease the time you are breastfeeding or pumping. For many, (who’s babies are consuming solids) this is a midday session as the baby is distracted after a solid meal and has no need for additional milk. If your baby expresses interest in nursing, try to distract them with other activities, toys, or solids. This may not work for all but refusing can also cause frustration and wanting to nurse more.

Weaning doesn’t have to be done over a few days, a week, or even a month. It can be done in whatever period of time it takes you and your baby. Ask for help if you need it, know the plan may not always stick and you may have to come up with a plan B (C, D or the rest of the alphabet). Most importantly, however you decide to wean, know you’re doing it for YOU and YOUR BABY.


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