Weaning & Not Breastfeeding

If you do decide that early weaning is right for you and your baby, here are some guidelines to follow:

-Try to do it as gradually as possible. Eliminate one feeding each day for several days to allow your milk supply to decrease slowly. After a couple of weeks, he should be down to nursing just a couple of times a day. Usually the last feedings to go are the first one in the morning, and the last one at night. If you’re not in a huge rush, you may want to continue these couple of feeding for another week or two.

-Talk to your baby’s doctor to find out what formula he recommends. Since babies are not ready for cow’s milk until they are a year old, it is important to find the appropriate formula. Since young babies have a strong need to suck, offer a substitute (bottle or pacifier). Some babies will find their thumbs during this period, and there’s not much you can do about that one way or the other. There are advantages to having a thumb-sucker – those babies tend to be self-soothers, and often are better sleepers and travelers than babies who depend on pacifiers.

– Offer lots of physical closeness during this time. There is a tendency to avoid cuddling, because the baby associates the nursing position with breastfeeding, but it is important to snuggle your baby and get lots of skin-to-skin contact, even if you avoid the cradle hold. If the decision is left up to them, most babies will wean themselves gradually, beginning by cutting back on nursing around the time they start solids.