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Weaning

To help take your child’s mind off missed nursing sessions, try distracting him or her with activities, such as playing outside or taking a walk. If you have a special nursing chair or area, avoid sitting in that spot during normal nursing times.

Be sure to give your child lots of love and affection during weaning. Nursing is an intimate bonding experience for mother and baby and your child may miss the closeness with you. Be sure to cuddle and hold your child as you would if you were still nursing to reassure him or her that you will always be there. You may notice that he or she begins a comforting habit during weaning such as sucking her thumb or cuddling a blanket. This is normal and may help your child adjust emotionally and may be spontaneously abandoned once he or she feels secure again.

While you are weaning, you can still express milk and give it to your child in a sippy cup so he or she begins to understand that milk doesn’t just come from you. If your child is under 12 months of age, use your breastmilk or iron-fortified formula, but do not give him cow’s milk. The iron in cow’s milk is not easily absorbed and babies are more likely to have a negative reaction to its protein content. If your child is older than 12 months, you can give him whole cow’s milk, but do not give him skim or 2% milk until he is at least two years old. Low-fat milks do not provide your child sufficient calories or essential fatty acids and contain too much protein.

It’s important to note that, if you decide to continue breastfeeding after your child’s first birthday, breast milk alone will no longer fulfill all of his or her nutritional needs and you need to provide nutritious, solid foods as a regular part of his or her diet.

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