Weaning actually means to begin feeding your baby foods other than breast milk. For most parents, however, it means the end of the cycle of breastfeeding. Weaning your baby completely from breast milk can be a difficult stage in your baby’s development. Most parents tend to view this phase with mixed feelings as it brings a sense of freedom, but not without some sadness.
There is no correct time to wean a baby. You can begin weaning at 6 months or delay it until two years. Keep the following basics in mind when you decide to wean your baby:
- Avoid weaning abruptly. A sudden stop in nursing may upset your baby and disturb established feeding patterns.
- It is easier to gradually wean your baby over a period of weeks, months or even longer.
- Your baby will be better prepared for weaning after first learning to drink from a cup.
- Infant-led weaning, practiced in some non-western cultures, may be a good way to wean your baby. According to this method, weaning happens at the baby’s pace – the baby is not refused mother’s milk. However, the breast is not offered when the baby is not interested. However, breastfeeding may continue until the baby is over two to four years of age.