Baby weaning is the process of cutting down the number of breast feedings each day. Slow weaning is the ideal way to stop nursing your baby. By choosing to wean slowly, you can determine how your baby will react to formula, and your body will have time to adjust to making less milk.
Sometimes in the process of baby weaning, you will find that nursing less often will fit your lifestyle, and you will continue to nurse on a part-time basis. The most important thing is that your baby is well nourished and well loved.
Partial Baby Weaning
Some moms feed both breast milk and formula throughout the day. This is a great compromise if the demands of other young children at home make it hard to nurse your baby full-time or if you are going back to work.
To wean your baby partially, replace one breastfeeding a day with formula. Then replace another breastfeeding every three to five days until you have weaned your baby as much as you want to. This process will help prevent severe engorgement, fullness, and tenderness.
Throughout the baby weaning process, it may be best to cut out the early evening feeding first, which is when women typically have lower supply, and work back toward the larger, early morning feedings.
Total Baby Weaning
Total weaning can be uncomfortable. Your breasts can become swollen, tender, warm, red, throbbing and painful. You may run a low-grade temperature. You may also increase your risk for developing mastitis, a painful breast infection. If you develop a fever of over 101 or flu-like symptoms, call your obstetrician. You may need antibiotics.
Partial weaning, as described above, is the ideal way to stop breastfeeding. However, if you must totally wean your baby, try the following steps.
- Express or pump off only enough for comfort.
- Use ice compresses to help relieve engorgement.
- Wear a supportive bra.
- Try not to touch your breasts as this will stimulate milk production.
- Turn your back while taking a shower so the warm water will not hit directly on your chest.
- Rest as much as possible.
- Allow two to three weeks for milk production to end.
- Realize that the hormonal changes brought on by weaning can cause some feelings of sadness, crying, and the "blues."