In an earlier post, I shared five tips for mother-led weaning, which dealt mostly with time. Now, we’ll conclude this two-part series, rounding out the final five of my 10 tips which focus more on mother-led weaning techniques.
6. Try different nipples or try something other than bottles
If you are offering formula to an infant, or cow’s milk to a child, you’ll need to offer it in some sort of container. Typically, parents think “bottle with nipple.” Some kids just don’t want to have anything to do with a bottle/nipple. This means you’ll need to be a little more creative with your mother-led weaning techniques.
Try using a different brand of nipple. I haven’t any idea why, but some kids just do better with one nipple than with another.
Try using a sippy cup. In general, because breastfed infants use the back part of their tongues to nurse, they use a similar tongue technique for getting milk from a cup or a sippy cup. Try this – I’m telling you, it can work!
Offer table foods on your finger. Your finger has skin on it, as does your breast. The familiarity might help. My interview with Gill Rapley convinced me of what I’ve always known: Some kids just don’t like spoons. A piece of avocado or a piece of banana can be easily given on the end of your clean finger.
7. Reduce “breast” sensory stimuli
Like the rest of us, babies have five senses. All of them come into play here. If you’re attempting mother-led weaning, reduce the sensory stimuli that would encourage nursing. Keep your breasts covered in a way that your baby cannot see or touch them – or smell your milk. If that’s not enough, ask other people to hold or feed or cuddle him. Avoid sitting in your favorite nursing chair. Maybe rearrange the furniture!
8. Beware of breast pain, continued let-down, more
This happens. It will eventually subside, but I’ll be the first one to caution that it can take several months (maybe even more than a year) before the let-downs completely cease.
Just remember, though, if you have significant leaking or a true let-down, your baby will pick up on it. He’ll smell that milk or feel those wet splotches on the front of your chest. If you want mother-led weaning techniques to work, try to avoid this.
You can put your hands or arms firmly over your breasts, and that will likely stop the let-down. But if your shirt is wet, your baby will think it’s time to nurse. And, if you’re away from home, carry a clean bra and shirt.
9. Anticipate resistance to mother-led weaning
Let’s think about this. None of us wants to give up something pleasurable. You’ve worn your favorite shoes until they fell apart because you didn’t want to give them up. I can almost promise you, your baby will have resistance to mother-led weaning.
10. Be flexible: On the spot, and in the long run
Yeah, sometimes life just doesn’t work out quite the way we expected it to. If it’s just “one of those days” you may find yourself just putting your baby to breast at a time or in a situation where you hadn’t planned. But he’s happy, you’re happy, and the whole family is happy for the moment.
Even in the long run, sometimes you realize that your plan was a little too stringent. Lighten up. It will all be okay!
Mother-led weaning is a process, not a one-time event. What works for one family, may not work for another, and the process can vary from child to child. Consider age-appropriate mother-led weaning techniques. Most of all, be flexible and have patience. It will be okay!
Have you tried any of these mother-led weaning techniques? Tell me what worked for you in the comments section below!