I just finished weaning my last baby, so I thought I’d share the process I used for each child. It wasn’t hard, but it took some planning for me to keep track. This is the system I used for weaning a 1-year-old ready for cow’s milk to a cup or bottle.
Write down all the times you breastfeed your baby. My babies were usually still eating 8 times a day, but it wasn’t a huge time commitment by a year old. Each feeding only took about 5 minutes.
Grab a calendar. Since I had 8 feedings to get rid of, I decided to drop one each 4 days. Another option would be to drop 2 a week. I wrote “drop a feeding” on each 4th day on my calendar with a very specific end date in mind, I put a big star on the end date to make sure I stuck to it!
Look at your schedule again and determine which feedings to drop first. I got rid of the feedings not correlated with naptime first. The very first and last feedings, I saved for last. Every 4th day, I crossed it off my schedule and posted that schedule right under my calendar so I’d know what feedings I still had left.
Introducing the Cup or Bottle
Obviously, your baby will have to drink out of one of these. I got 2 kids to take the cup immediately, but the other 3 had a lot of trouble learning it. I gave it a few days, and when the cup wasn’t taking, I gave those 3 kids bottles instead. I then waited 6 months to introduce the cup again, and it was much easier then. No child had a difficult time giving up the bottle at 18 months, thankfully.
Dealing With the Discomfort
A month is plenty of time to wean without too much discomfort, but it doesn’t eliminate it entirely. I find the pain a lot less severe than the original swelling from breastfeeding the very first week. I don’t do anything specific, just try not to lie on my chest while I’m sleeping.
The Emotional Struggle
I felt a little moody during some of the weaning process, but it wasn’t consistent. My feelings of sadness came and went every few days, but it was nothing like what I went through right after having a baby – maybe 1/10 as intense.
Weaning is always a nice change after a long time breastfeeding. I like to celebrate by buying a cute shirt or two without worrying about accessibility. 🙂