Breastfeeding: When to Wean Your Baby

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Breastfeeding: When to Wean Your Baby

By Jane Chou for Love Sleep Play

If you’re breastfeeding, you know that nursing is a wonderful
experience that brings you and your baby closer. But even good things
come to an end. How do you know when it’s time to wean?

There’s no magic age when you must wean your baby. As long
as you and your little one are happy, you can continue breastfeeding
into the toddler years. It’s also worth noting that, given enough time,
all babies will wean themselves naturally, gradually reducing the number
of times they nurse while increasing the amount of solid food they eat
until eventually they are no longer breastfeeding.

Here are three signs that weaning has begun naturally or that it’s time to begin:

1. Your baby has become too busy to breastfeed.
Once your child is mobile, he may become too busy exploring his world to
sit still and nurse, especially during the day. But don’t be surprised
if he still nuzzles up to you for a little breastfeeding closeness
before bedtime or when he’s in need of comfort.

2. Your baby’s tastes shift to solid food. Once
your little one discovers solid food, she may begin to lose interest in
breast milk in favor of all the interesting new tastes and textures you
are now offering her. Keep in mind, however, that solid foods should not
replace breast milk before your child’s first birthday. Instead, think
of solids as an addition to breast milk (or formula) until your baby is
at least 1 year old.

3. Your lifestyle has changed. Your baby isn’t the
only one whose life is evolving. A new pregnancy, a change in your job
situation, a shift in schedule, new activities, or simply a waning
desire on your part to continue breastfeeding — these are all valid
reasons to start weaning your baby.

Finally, if you are weaning your baby (or she is weaning herself),
don’t forget that her delicate digestive system won’t be ready for cow’s
milk until she’s 1 year old. Until then, offer breast milk or formula
in a bottle or cup to supplement solid food. No matter when weaning
starts or how it occurs, mark this transition as another positive step
in your little one’s development.

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