The Dos and Don'ts of Weaning
Do: Change your routine
Alter your schedule to make your little one forget about breastfeeding. Distract him with fun activities during times when you'd typically be nursing. Take him to the park or let him play with finger paints. And to make solid foods more exciting, serve his mashed fruits and veggies in colorful bowls and let him scoop or pour the foods himself.
Don't: Expect to wean overnight
Try dropping one nursing session at a time and, before moving on, make sure your babe is completely content with his new diet. (If he's overly fussy or he's latched on to you, he may need more time.) Some tykes require several weeks to get used to the change, so be patient. Stripping your little one of breastfeeding too quickly can lead to undue stress for you and him.
Do: Offer a variety of foods
Set up your child to be a good eater by offering her a wide range of foods as she's weaning. Try an array of fruits and veggies but don't skimp on the rice, pasta, and various meats. This is the time to thwart a picky eater.
Don't: Force-feed your baby
Your babe knows when he's full, so if he throws his crackers on the ground, his belly may be stuffed. Let him eat at his own pace, be patient, and, if he refuses food, take it away and try again later.
Do: Feed your little one what everyone else is eating
Before you add any salt to your dinner, set aside a portion for your baby. As you're weaning, feed your child a mashed-up version of what you've prepared for the family. This will get her used to eating what you've made for everyone else.
Don't: Sit in your usual nursing spots
Keep your baby from thinking breastfeeding thoughts by staying out of your typical nursing chair -- even when it's not time to eat. At mealtime, give her a spot at the dinner table, where she can eat like a big girl with the rest of the family.
Do: Introduce foods people are commonly allergic to one at a time
Foods like eggs, wheat, nuts, fish, and shellfish should be introduced independent of each other. You'll spot an allergic reaction immediately and identify the source more easily.
Don't: Discourage a comforting habit
If your little one starts to suck her thumb or carry a blanket everywhere she goes, let her. Weaning can be a difficult and confusing time for a tiny tot. If she draws comfort from a safe habit, that's a good thing.
Do: Spend more one-on-one time with your babe
Nursing was a great time for you to bond with your baby, and you'll both suffer if you give up those moments. While you're weaning, spend extra time with your baby. Read books, cuddle on the couch, or take a walk.
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