Just like nursing your child is an important part of ensuring a healthy growth – so is weaning. When nursing becomes a habit, it may seem like weaning your child would be an impossible task. Most infants or toddlers do stop by themselves but there are others that form a strong attachment to the breast and for them, you may need to gradually wean them off.
Weaning your baby off breastfeeding takes time. The process may even frustrate some mothers or make them impatient, and they may end up taking an aggressive approach which would cause a traumatic experience for their child.
The fact is, you can make the weaning process enjoyable for both yourself and your baby – by focusing more on certain subtle yet effective ways and actions. To get you started, here are seven fun things to do when you’re weaning your little one.
Increase Other Forms Of Skin To Skin Contact
Nursing is considered important since it helps your baby feel a sense of intimate bond with you. Hence, your baby may be having trouble letting go of the breast if your nursing sessions are among the few times he or she get to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with you. This is especially true for mothers working outside the home for most hours of the day. So to combat this, it helps to increase your frequency of skin to skin contact at other times of the day so that the baby does not become dependent on breastfeeding only. Breastfeeding USA suggests cuddling and hugging your baby more often. Offer other forms of comfort without including the breast, and soon enough your baby will be weaned off.
Play Music Or Sing To Your Baby
Weaning disrupts your baby’s natural routine and hence most infants tend to act out when you try to wean them. Music is soothing for babies as it is for adults. So play a relaxing song or dance to happy tunes in front of your baby. All these activities will not only distract your baby from the whole weaning related outburst, it will also end up being a great bonding sessions between you two.
Go For A Walk
Medical News Today recommends taking your child out for a walk to distract from nursing. Whenever they ask for the breast, offer to take them out around the neighborhood or to the park, if you live near one. This method gives toddlers and you some much-needed exercise and exposure to Mother Nature.
Establish A New Routine For Bedtime
Weaning is difficult because it implies a change in a set routine. So a good way to implement it is by altering your routine. If you nurse during bedtime, then replace it with a new activity. Many mothers swear by storytelling. You can come up with stories which you think your child will find interesting or you can enlist the help of colorful, pop-up storybooks. Or, if you’re the one who holds and comforts the child at night, ask the dad to do it! This will gradually decrease your child’s craving for comfort feeding.
Older infants who have not yet been introduced to solids are probably ready to self-wean. Try cutting back on breastfeeding and start introducing soft solids. You can purchase ready-made baby food in the market but if you want a healthier option, you can puree fruits and vegetables yourself. Begin by offering small amounts every after breastfeeding, according to ABC Kids Inc. Gradually build up the amount, until you can totally stop breastfeeding. Another good way is to feed them amply in the day time so that you can night wean them.
Make eating fun
If you’re trying to wean your baby and your baby seems to be reluctant about eating the solid foods, then make it fun by turning it into a game. Pretend the spoon to be an airplane or make the process of preparing their food fun by adding a little nursery rhyme or dance routine to it. Infants love any kind of play and when you make the eating sessions fun, they will soon get distracted from the breastfeeding and start to embrace these foods – as these too are providing them with a fun way to bond with you.
Take Care Of You, Yes You
When weaning, the biggest tendency is to place all the focus on the baby. Your needs as a mother are pushed out of the picture. Do not wait to reach the point of frustration to pay attention to your emotional health. Take care of you. Take some time out, you deserve it. Do things that you like. Go on that healthy diet like you have always planned to. Take yoga classes. And most of all, do not rush the weaning process. It is a huge emotional shift for you as well. Maintain the pace that you’re comfortable with.
Conduct A Weaning Ceremony
Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey you shared with your little one. To commemorate this experience, the Leaky Boob encourages mothers to conduct a simple weaning ceremony by writing down your own nursing story. You can also buy or make a piece of special jewelry. Be creative and don’t hesitate to do your own thing. Get your child involved to make the ceremony more exciting.