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Weaning is when a baby transitions from breast milk to other sources of nourishment. When to wean is a personal decision. Moms may be influenced by a return to work, her health or the baby's, or simply a feeling that the time is right.

Weaning a baby is a gradual process that calls for patience and understanding from both you and your child.

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  1. 1. EducationHealth TopicsWeaning
  2. 2. 1OverviewWeaning is when a baby transitions from breastmilk to other sources of nourishment. When towean is a personal decision. Moms may beinfluenced by a return to work, her health or thebabys, or simply a feeling that the time is right.Weaning a baby is a gradual process that calls forpatience and understanding from both you andyour child.
  3. 3. 2Deciding When to WeanThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommendsfeeding babies only breast milk for the first 6months of life. After that, the AAP recommendsthat a combination of solid foods and breast milkbe given until a baby is at least 1 year old.
  4. 4. 3Deciding When to WeanSome experts say that after the first birthday is thebest time to begin weaning because kids are moreadaptable to change at that age. A 1-year-old babyis also eating more solid foods and so maynaturally lose interest in nursing. Engorgement willalso become less of a problem for moms aroundthis time because as the demand for breast milkdecreases, so does milk production.
  5. 5. 4Deciding When to WeanWeaning does not have to be an all-or-nothingproposition. Some women choose to wean duringthe day and breastfeed at night, depending ontheir work situation and their schedules. Somechildren wean themselves earlier than the motherhad intended and some babies are resistant toweaning when the mother is ready.
  6. 6. 5Deciding When to WeanWeaning is easier if a child has also taken milkfrom another source. So try giving an occasionalbottle of breast milk to your little one oncebreastfeeding is well-established — even if youplan to continue breastfeeding, this can facilitateweaning later. This also allows other familymembers to feed the baby and also makes itpossible to leave your child with a caregiver.
  7. 7. 6Deciding When to WeanIf you decide to wean before 1 year or find thatyoure not making enough milk, you will need togive your child an iron-fortified formula. Checkwith the doctor to see what formula is right foryour child. If your child is near the first birthday,consider placing formula in a cup instead of abottle.
  8. 8. 7Deciding When to WeanAlthough some kids are content to nurseindefinitely and will wait for their mothers toinitiate weaning, others will give clues that theyreready to wean. They may express indifference orcrankiness when nursed or may nurse in shortersessions than they did before.
  9. 9. 8How to WeanTo allow both mother and baby to adjust physicallyand emotionally to the change, weaning should bea gradual process.
  10. 10. 9How to WeanOne approach is to drop one feeding session aweek until the child is taking all of the feeds from abottle or cup. If you are planning to continue togive your child pumped breast milk, you will needto pump in order to keep up your milk supply. Ifyou are weaning your child off breast milk,gradually dropping feeds can help avoidengorgement. You might want to start byeliminating the midday feeding because its usuallythe smallest and most inconvenient — especiallyfor working moms. Many m
  11. 11. 10How to WeanAnother approach is to leave the decision of whento wean completely up to a child. Once theyreeating three meals of solid food a day (plus snacksin between), kids often breastfeed less and less. Inthis situation, you may find that your milk will dryup from lack of demand, and pumping may benecessary if you want to keep the milk flowing.
  12. 12. 11How to WeanIf your child is breastfeeding less, make sure he orshe is getting enough formula or milk. Check withthe doctor about the amount your child should behaving.