December 16, 2012

How I Wean

I always look forward to weaning with eager anticipation.  I know many other nursing mothers do not share in this excitement but the method in which I've weaned my babies has been effective and painless.

Step 1: Throughout the duration of breastfeeding, I usually have to pump because of painful engorgement.  I store this milk in the freezer for those "just in case" occasions and as I look forward to weaning.

Step 2: The baby is introduced to and becomes comfortable with drinking water and juice from a sippie cup.  This is usually when baby reaches around 8 or 9 months in age, at the mom's discretion.  Just as baby gets older and becomes more dependent on solid food and less on breast milk, mom nurses less often, maybe 2 or more times daily.  Continue to decrease the number of times you take baby to breast.

Step 3: The day arrives!  Baby does not return to the breast.  You give him or her breast milk in the cup at the same meal/snack time that he or she would be taken to the breast.  Use the milk that you have previously pumped.  Baby will taste the same milk in an easier to suck format and won't mind that it's not coming from your chest, especially if you hold baby while they eat.

Step 4: Cut your calories, increase the intensity of your exercise and pump any breast milk only to alleviate discomfort, giving baby this milk in the cup.  Eventually you will not have to pump any longer because you are not producing milk, maybe 2 or 3 days.

Step 5: When your breast milk stores run out, switch to cow's milk.  This is the most difficult step for baby because the taste and texture of the milk changes.  Warm it for a few seconds in the microwave until it reaches a comfortable temperature, like that of breast milk.  After baby becomes acclimated to the warm cow's milk, you can transition to giving baby/toddler cold milk.  Personally, I hate the taste of regular cow's milk and since childhood I only drink chocolate milk, if any at all.  This is what I give my girls to drink only at breakfast, and I only give them enough to wash down their meal.

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