Nighttime Weaning

Written by Anna Choi, IBCLC

A few months ago, when my youngest daughter was between 15 and 18 months old, I found myself hitting a rough patch in terms of sleep deprivation. After almost a year and half of waking up throughout the night to nurse her back to sleep, I was exhausted and frustrated. “It’s time to night wean,” I told my husband. I had been hoping and hoping she would start sleeping through the night on her own after her first birthday, but it hadn’t happened yet and I was at the end of my rope. I loved the amazing breastfeeding relationship we had built and was nervous to make a change, but knew it was needed.

Weaning from Supplemental Feedings

Written by Danielle Blair, MS, IBCLC http://www.gaithersburgbreastfeeding.com

This is Part Two in our supplementation series.  Don’t miss Part One: I'm Told my Baby Needs Supplementation...Now What?

If you were instructed to offer supplemental feedings shortly after birth, it can be challenging to know when your baby no longer needs extra food.  You will be working closely with your baby's pediatrician, and hopefully an IBCLC as well, to determine how baby is progressing.


The Why May Determine the When...

The reason for supplementation will most likely determine when supplements will stop.  Some conditions, such as low blood sugar and jaundice, are resolved relatively quickly with good management.  In these cases the doctor may instruct you to stop supplements once the problem is solved.  Longer-term supplementation, such as for a premature baby, baby with feeding challenges, or a mom working to increase her milk supply, will likely require a longer weaning process.  In both cases, though, watching the baby for signs of effective breastfeeding will be an important part of baby's care.

A Farewell to Na-Na: When It's Time to Wean

Written by guest blogger, Jessica Lang Kosa

My youngest is weaning. Most people assume she has long since stopped nursing, since she goes to preschool, eats everything, and has sleepovers with the grandparents.   She still usually nurses at bedtime, but sometimes forgets to ask.  Occasionally she'll drift off, and then bolt up, announcing "bedtime nana!"  She seems to be on roughly the same timetable as her older brother and sister, so I suspect she'll forget more and more often, and be weaned altogether in a few months.

Mostly, I'll be glad. My milk supply is now very low, so nursing can feel annoying sometimes. And in our household, weaning is a right of passage marked by a family celebration…. with balloons and favorite foods.  It's kind of her first graduation party.

Gentle Weaning: Techniques and Resources

In this third article in our Gentle Weaning series, we will start the conversation about different techniques you can try to gently wean your baby.  If you are wondering about how to pace the weaning process, check out our last article, Gentle Weaning: What is the Process?

Every breastfeeding mother eventually weans her child.  It is part of the evolutionary process.  Whether your baby is a few months old or a preschool-age child, there comes a time when the act of breastfeeding no longer occurs.   When the time is right for both you and your child to wean, there are quite a few techniques you can use to help make the process go more smoothly. 

 I have searched books and the Internet to find some of the best resources out there.  I would love if you would please share your own resources and experiences, as well, so that we can all benefit from them!

What is Weaning and When Should I Wean my Baby?

Weaning is a very personal and emotional topic for all breastfeeding moms.  My personal experience with weaning my two boys was not what I expected nor anticipated.  As my milk started to dwindle when my boys turned three months, I didn’t have the breastfeeding support or knowledge I needed to ramp up my supply.  At that time, I was not a lactation consultant.  Instead I was a full-time working mom, breastfeeding while with my son and pumping, 2 times a day, while at work. 

I was devastated that my milk supply was ‘failing’ me, but I did the best I could to eek it out as long as I could.  I made it to 7 months with my first son and to 8 months with my second son.  I had hoped to breastfeed until my boys were at least a year, but my body had another plan in mind.  I weaned as slowly as I could, for I didn’t want to let go of breastfeeding completely.  The emotional tie was too great for me to let go of.

So, what is weaning?  What does it really mean?

Gentle Weaning: What is the Process?

In this second article in our Weaning series, we will start the conversation about how to gently wean your baby and why pacing is so important in this process.  If you are wondering when you will know when to begin weaning your child, check out our last article, What is Weaning and When Should I Wean my Baby?

At what pace should you wean your child?

Very slowly.  The weaning process can take several months, as you want to make sure that both you and your child are adapting well to this new pattern of breastfeeding.  Drop one feeding at a time (for example, from 6 times a day to 5 times a day) and try this out for a week or two. This will give your breasts time to acclimate and hopefully not become too engorged.  This will also allow your child to get used to doing something else, or get his/her nutrition from another source at this time.

This process will most likely take a month to several months; depending on how many times your child is breastfeeding in a 24 hour period.  Remember, weaning can affect you and your child physically and emotionally, so it is best to take your time and wean very slowly.