Are there any definite signs that my baby is ready to stop breastfeeding?
It seems like once you finally get used to breastfeeding as your baby gets older that they start showing signs of being ready to stop breastfeeding.
And actually this is completely normal once your baby has reached an age when they are eating more solids and becoming more independent.
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The problem is that sometimes the signs that your breastfed baby is ready to be weaned may not be so clear to you. This is especially true for first-time moms.
Now let’s get to the basics of weaning.
What is Weaning?
First of all, what is weaning?
The process of weaning is when you are replacing your baby’s food such as (breast milk or formula) for solids. Many babies are able to make this transition fairly well without having any issues.
And there are two types of weaning. One is when the mother starts weaning her baby off of breastfeeding and the other is when a baby starts to self wean.
What is Self-Weaning?
Is my baby weaning himself from breastfeeding?
Some babies don’t have to be weaned but instead, start weaning off of breastfeeding by themselves. This is called “self-weaning.”
When’s the Best Time to Start Weaning?
How do you know when your baby is ready for weaning?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusively breastfeeding for your baby’s first 6 months. And then adding solids along with breastfeeding up until 12 months of age.
Now once babies reach their first birthday, some moms may choose to start weaning their babies off of breastfeeding. There have been studies done that state that breastfeeding is beneficial when continued up until the baby’s second birthday.
However, it is a completely personal choice that each mother has to make.
I personally breastfed my son up until he was 15 months old. And even though I had every intention of breastfeeding him until he was 2, he had other plans.
So here are 5 signs that my son showed when he was ready to wean from breastfeeding.
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1. Nursing Sessions Happen Less Often
How do you know if your baby is weaning off the breast?
One of the most common signs that your baby is ready to wean from breastfeeding is when he or she begins breastfeeding less often. This is mostly due to the fact that your baby is probably eating more solid foods.
So if your baby has started dropping breastfeeding sessions and hasn’t missed them, they may be getting ready to be weaned.
This was one of the first signs that I noticed when my son was ready to wean. In fact, one day when I was talking with my husband, it dawned on me that our son had not asked to breastfeed before naptime like he usually did for a while.
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2. A Decrease in Your Milk Supply
If your baby starts dropping breastfeeding sessions, your breast milk supply will inturn start to decrease since your body is learning that your baby doesn’t need as much breast milk.
Another reason for your breast milk supply decreasing might be because your baby is not drinking as much breast milk as he or she did in the past.
And if they are eating solid foods, they may not be as hungry when they get to the breast.
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3. He or She Loses Interest in Breastfeeding
Is your baby losing interest in breastfeeding?
One really clear sign that your baby is self-weaning is if your baby quickly loses interest in breastfeeding and would rather do something else.
This may mean that your baby doesn’t really need to breastfeed, but is so used to having those sessions that they start to breastfeed but they get distracted and want to do something else.
My son loved to breastfeed. But at 15 months old, he started latching on to breastfeed and then getting distracted and wanting to go and play instead.
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4. Your Baby is More Interested in Solid Foods
Once you start to realize that your baby has lost interest in breastfeeding, you may notice that they are also eating more solids and filling up on them rather than breastfeeding.
Another sign is when your baby seems interested in the solid food that you’re eating. Babies often imitate their parents when it comes to eating.
And as a result, your baby will want to eat the same foods that you are.
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5. Your Baby Forgets How to Breastfeed
Has your baby forgotten how to breastfeed?
This is no joke. My son starting showing all of these signs and then didn’t breastfeed for a week. So I figured he was ready to wean himself.
Then that day he fell and hurt himself and was crying and acting like he wanted to breastfeed. But when I offered him the breast to comfort nurse, he didn’t know how to latch on properly.
It honestly seemed like he had forgotten how to breastfeed. And he didn’t seem to care about it. So from that day forward, he never tried to breastfeed again.
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Can I Still Breastfeed My Baby Part-time?
One of my best tips for successful weaning from breastfeeding is to listen to your instincts and your baby.
Some babies are ready to stop breastfeeding cold turkey and some may just need to cut their breastfeeding sessions in half and only breastfeed part-time. And every mother and baby is different so it’s a personal decision.
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