Weaning is the process of stopping a child from breastfeeding. While there is no general rule for when to stop breastfeeding your child World Health Organization (WHO) suggest a mother should breastfeed her baby up to 2 years of age. The process of weaning is not only tough on the mother but also the baby. Because breastfeeding creates a bond between mother and child when you decide to stop breastfeeding, it feels like letting go of that closeness.
While some mothers wean as early as three months, some have also breastfed as long as four years. Some mothers peg the weaning to the moment their baby begins to walk, or the moment the baby clocks one year. Breastfeeding is essential to babies because they get their best nutritional supply from breastmilk. Even when babies start eating solid food, they are unable to tap all the nutrients from the food before they are one year of age, and that is why breastfeeding is essential and recommended for 2 years.
Some Myths about Weaning
- Stop breastfeeding your infant the moment you discover you are pregnant because it would affect the nursing baby. This is totally false. Keep breastfeeding your child until you feel the need to stop. Only eat enough for three.
- Once a child is 9 months, stop breastfeeding. This is not recommended because the child can digest most solid foods you eat. Breastmilk also helps fighting infection in your baby.
When to stop breastfeeding your baby?
On health grounds:
If a mother is on medications, it enters the breastmilk in a considerable amount, she would be advised to stop breastfeeding because of the adverse effect the medicine might have on the baby. For the health benefit of the baby even if the baby is 3 months, the mother will be advised to stop breastfeeding.
When a child rejects breastmilk:
Some babies stop taking breastmilk on their own. This can cause a mother to worry, especially when the baby is below 6 months of age. But there is no cause to worry if your baby isn’t sick. Do not force her to breastfeed, and you can try expressing your milk into a feeding bottle if the child would take which some children do while some outrightly refuse the breastmilk. Introduce them to baby appropriate milk and food and watch them grow healthy.
When a mother feels she is ready to wean her baby:
A mother can tell she is ready to stop breastfeeding, or her baby is ready to let go of the breastmilk. A mother might want her body back to herself and decides she is ready to wean her baby.
You notice your baby cutting down on her nursing time
It just might be a signal to let her go off the breast already. Your baby might be showing more interest in solid food and finding contentment in that than in breastfeeding.
When you are ready to wean your baby off breastmilk, it is better to allow the process to be gradual. Prepare your baby’s mind by telling her she is about to be weaned. Pay attention to your baby’s needs and do not wean your baby when he or she is sick or just recovering from an illness. Shower your baby with love and attention during this period of weaning; you don’t want her to miss the closeness that came from the bond of breastfeeding.