The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, followed by complementary foods, until they reach, at least, two years of age. Introducing your baby to the world of solid foods and transitioning away from breastfeeding is a significant milestone for both you and your little one. At Little Lunches, we understand the importance of this journey and are here to provide guidance every step of the way.
When you and your baby decide. It is your choice and no one else's. Breast milk continues to provide a nutritional and nurturing effect on your baby. Breast milk is not just a food. In addition to being a natural painkiller if your little one is feeling anxious or tired, they feel protected and reassured on mom's chest.
Respectful weaning consists of gradually stopping to breastfeed your baby in order to avoid a negative emotional impact on you and your baby.
This is something that should happen gradually and progressively, as opposed to abruptly. When we speak of respectful weaning we refer to discontinuing the breastfeeding journey in a way that causes the least possible impact for your baby and yourself. Discontinuing this process gradually not only prevents breast engorgement and mastitis; but also makes this chapter between you and your baby easier to close, emotionally speaking.
Respond to Requests: Only breastfeed your baby when they specifically ask for it. If they don't show interest, avoid offering it.
Explore Other Comforting Methods: Breastfeeding should not be the sole method of consoling your baby. Explore other ways to provide comfort and reassurance.
Distract and Engage: When your baby seeks to breastfeed and you're not ready, engage them with hugs, kisses, games, or outdoor activities to divert their attention from breastfeeding.
Gradual Substitution: Substitute one breastfeeding session per day with a cup of milk, formula, or a regular mealtime such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.
Seek Assistance: Enlist the help of your partner, family members, or other caregivers. Babies may be more accepting of a bottle from someone other than the primary caregiver, which can be particularly helpful during nighttime feeds.
Shorten and Combine: Shorten breastfeeding sessions and gradually combine them with complementary foods to transition to a diversified diet.
Establish a Schedule: Create a consistent feeding schedule to help your child adjust to new eating patterns and expectations. Stick to the schedule as much as possible.
There are children who spontaneously stop breastfeeding, that is, they naturally decrease feeding times. It is not the most frequent thing, but it happens and varies with age.
Remember breastfeeding is a personal choice and when you decide to stop just remember to do it gradually and patiently. With Little Lunches by your side, you can embark on this journey with confidence, knowing that you have a trusted resource to support you every step of the way.
Written by: Dr. Diana Jimenez, pediatrician specialized in child nutrition, lactation, and child development.
2 years ago