When You And Baby Are Ready: Say Goodbye to the Breast
Not only is breastfeeding healthy for Mom and Baby, but it also creates a unique bonding experience for you both. At some point, though, you'll be ready to stop. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed exclusively for about 6 months, and continue for at least one year or for as long after that as both the mom and baby want, but some women think about weaning earlier. There is no magic date. Any amount of breastfeeding is valuable.
Break the Habit When the time is right, gradually reduce the number of nursing sessions and offer a bottle (or a sippy cup if your child is older). For the first two days, you can substitute a bottle for one of the breastfeeding sessions. On day three, substitute a bottle for two feedings, and so on. Let Dad do a few of the bottle feedings because your child associates you with breastfeeding. "It usually takes about five days to wean a baby completely off the breast," Dr. Greene says.
Yes! Weaning Success! "I nursed my daughter Ava for eight months, and every night without fail, she?d fall asleep on my breast. When I decided to wean her, I knew bedtime would be the biggest adjustment. First, I cut back on the daytime feedings and replaced them with a bottle, which she didn't seem to mind. At bedtime, I'd breastfeed her for a few minutes, and as she started to get drowsy, I'd unlatch her and give her the bottle. Within a few nights, Ava eagerly took the bottle without any fuss," says Donna Rivera, of Bethpage, New York.?
Originally published in the July 2011 issue of American Baby magazine.