General Practice 2022

Weaning: 5 tips to stop breastfeeding without trauma

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Weaning: 5 tips to stop breastfeeding without trauma
Weaning: 5 tips to stop breastfeeding without trauma

Weaning is the process of interrupting breastfeeding which, according to the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics and the WHO, can start gradually from 6 months onwards, but which should only be complete after 2 years.

From 6/7 months of age, with the introduction of food, “gentle weaning” (or gradual) can be started, which must be guided by a pediatrician and be done by reducing the amount of feedings or of its duration, so as not to create trauma or insecurity in the baby, in addition to not hindering its development. Here's how to start food introduction.

The ideal is for weaning to occur gradually and naturally, causing the child to show less interest in breastfeeding and greater acceptance of varied foods, which usually occurs between 2 and 4 years of age, leading to total weaning, which consists of the complete interruption of breastfeeding at the breast.

Although it is not always easy to perform the “gentle weaning” process, there are some techniques that make weaning easier and should be done under the supervision of a pediatrician.

Some ways to do gentle weaning are:

1. Decrease the amount of feedings

This care is important because, by decreasing the number of times the baby breastfeeds, the production of breast milk also decreases at the same rate, and thus, the mother does not have heavy breasts full of milk.

For this to be done gradually, without harming the mother or the baby, from the baby's 7 months onwards, a feeding time can be substituted for a meal, once a week, for example, and gradually increase this frequency. At this stage it is important to be aware of possible signs that the baby intends to replace breastfeeding, such as, for example, showing less interest in the breast at a certain time.What you can do in this case is to give preference to this time to have the breastfeeding replacement meal.

2. Decrease the duration of feedings

Another good technique for weaning without trauma is to reduce the time the baby breastfeeds at each feeding. For example, if the baby normally spends about 20 minutes on each breast, what you can do is let him suckle only 15 minutes on each breast and, each week, decrease that time a little more.

However, the baby should not be forced off the breast, it is important that the mother maintains the same time as before to continue to pay attention to the baby after the feeding, playing with him, for example. So the baby starts to associate that the mother's breast is not just for suckling, but that it can also serve for a moment of play and affection.

3. Ask someone else to feed the baby

It is normal that, when the baby is hungry, it associates the mother's presence with the desire to breastfeed. So, when the mother has difficulty feeding the baby, instead of feeding, it may be a good option to ask someone else, such as the father or grandmother, to do this.

If the baby still wants to breastfeed, the amount of milk he will drink should be less than normal.

4. Do not offer the breast

From 1 year of age onwards, babies can eat practically anything and, therefore, if the child is hungry, they can eat something else instead of breastfeeding. A good strategy to facilitate weaning is that the mother does not offer the breast or wear blouses that facilitate the baby's access to the breast, breastfeeding only in the morning and at night. When the baby is close to 2 years of age, the breast should be offered at these times only if the child asks for it.

However, it is important never to refuse the breast if the child wants to breastfeed, following the “do not offer and do not refuse” method.

5. Give emotional support to the child

Breastfeeding is a moment of intimate contact between the baby and the mother, therefore, in the phase of gradual weaning, it is important to provide emotional support to the baby, such as maintaining the time, which used to be breastfeeding, to having more quality time together, with games or activities such as reading a book, singing a song or a lullaby, for example.

How to do night weaning

Night weaning should be the last step of the child's weaning process, and there is no right age to start, but it is important that the baby is already prepared for it, which can vary from child to child. In addition, it is important that the baby's daily routine is already well established, such as me altimes, playtimes and naps, as this makes the baby less likely to wake up during the night, also ending up not wanting to breastfeed..

Also, when the baby learns to sleep on its own and no longer needs the breast to soothe itself before sleep, it's a good time to stop offering the breast before bed. But this is a process that can take several months and should not be rushed.

How to feed a baby who has stopped breastfeeding

Normally, the baby starts to eat solid foods after 6 months of age, and up to 1 year of age, he can eat his baby food or other foods, alternating with feedings or bottle. Here's what to feed your 6 month old baby.

After 1 year of life, the baby can only breastfeed or take the bottle when he wakes up and before going to sleep at night. At all other meals he should eat vegetables, fruits, lean meats and dairy products, as long as he does not have any food allergies or intolerances. Check out how to feed a baby from 1 year onwards.

If the baby is breastfed until 2 years of age, at this stage he must be used to eating everything, having meals at the table, with the same food as his parents, and that's why when breastfeeding comes to an end, no supplements will be necessary, just care should be taken to always offer he althy and nutritious foods so that the child can grow he althy.

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