Breastfeeding: How to Wean Baby From Nursing
The decision to stop breastfeeding and wean your baby can be an emotional one. While the end of nursing can afford Mom considerably more freedom (ahem… like that second glass of wine), many moms find themselves second- (and third-) guessing whether or not it’s the right time to make the change. The knowledge that this can—and should—be a gradual process can help lessen the finality of the decision. And know that when you are ready to start weaning, there are a few ways to help make the transition a little easier.. both for Mom and baby.
How to Wean Baby Under One
If you’ve exclusively breast-fed, this means you’ll need to start introducing a bottle. Here are some tips to get you started.
Feed During the Least Favorite Feeding Time
Try offering a bottle at baby’s least favorite feeding. For some, this can be a feeding where baby isn’t as hungry as others (think of it as substituting a “snack”). If you’re pumping, use breast milk in a bottle so you’re not offering an entirely new taste and format. Let it be a gradual process over the course of a few days (or weeks, if possible) between substituting a new feeding with the bottle.
Create a breastfeeding weaning schedule
It may help to chart out a weaning schedule to help keep you on track. Be sure to express a little milk from your breasts (just enough to take the pressure off) each time your baby is offered a bottle to help signal to your body to make less milk.
Avoid breast pain from weaning
To help avoid breast pain and engorgement, you definitely will not want to stop breastfeeding cold turkey (this is one instance where slow and steady definitely wins the race).
Tips for Daytime Weaning
When baby asks
Offer baby the breast when he or she “asks,” but don’t offer it when he or she doesn’t. This may sound simple, but it can be an effective weaning method. Mix up your daily routine and offer distractions.
A different environment
Try to avoid your typical nursing location/chair at the times baby would typically expect to breastfeed.
Ask for help
If baby seems less-than-enthused to accept a bottle from Mom (he or she knows that breast is around somewhere!), try a spouse or caregiver when you’re out of the room.
Tips for Weaning at Night
Setting up baby's room
Nap and bedtime nursings are often the most difficult to drop because the act of nursing is a comfort baby has come to know and expect. If your baby is still sleeping in the same room as you, this might be a good time to transition him or her to their own room.
A new bedtime routine
You may want to enlist a spouse or other caretaker to help take over sleep-time routine for a while, or begin a new bedtime routine, such as reading books. Offering hugs, cuddles, and other comforts such as a lullaby can help soothe a baby for sleep.
How to Stop Pumping
If you’re weaning off pumping, you’ll want to try and stretch out each pump for a bit longer every day. To begin with, this can be just 10-20 extra minutes. You’ll eventually work up to “dropping” a pump each day / night altogether. Remember to do this gradually to minimize breast pain from weaning and prevent engorgement and mastitis.
Breast Changes Post-Weaning
After you’ve fully weaned off breastfeeding, chances are that you may need to take another look at your bra drawer. Motherhood brings many changes… and breast size (and shape) is a common one! Some women’s breasts may get larger after nursing, some may get smaller (while a few lucky mamas experience no change at all). With all these changes, one thing is constant, the need for supportive bras.
It’s not easy to tell off the bat, what size you’d be in need of. That is why we have our ThirdLove Fit Finder quiz. It’s a fast, easy, and accurate way to determine your new bra size. We use thousands of measurements from real-life women (at every stage of motherhood!) to help determine your ideal style and size and solve any pain point. We offer a wide range of bras—from underwire to wireless—to support every size, shape, and lifestyle. Read on to learn more about how to find your perfect fit the ThirdLove way.
Wishing you all the best in your motherhood adventure. ThirdLove bras are here to support you (literally) through each and every stage. You go, mama!