Struggles with weaning present in various ways, Mum’s plan to wean from the breast may be well thought out but stymied when the baby’s response is “No Way!” or baby so loves the breast he won’t eat any solids. Or as today, mother’s health meant she must stop breastfeeding so she can better manage her health issues.
But if you look at weaning as an aspect of attachment and separation, the baby’s reluctance becomes easier to understand. and plans of a ‘cold turkey’ nature may be given away.
Any weaning is also about separation not just about food. This means the mother leaving the baby as well as the baby being without mother/ breast.
Starving the baby and refusing them the breast/bottle is only upsetting for all concerned.
It may be that a baby, especially when breastfed, has not previously left his mum for any length of time.
The first step is to think about what separations the baby has had from you, and how you feel about this and how the baby reacts to separation.
- Start by gently creating a longer space between the feeds.
- Visit grandparent or stay with Dad or go out etc. and with help or distraction start delaying the feed by 30 minutes.
- The distraction should be an enjoyable shared experience for the baby rather than just a mad rattling of toys.
- If the baby takes solids, give this 30 minutes before a feed is due, so he is full or satisfied enough without needing milk (and you knows this too) then delaying the feed is easier.
- Leave baby for short period and when you return do not immediately feed but rather engage in playful interaction.
- The baby can learn to get mum’s attention without having to be on the breast or have a bottle.
- Plan to skip a breastfeed once you’ve spaced the existing ones.
After 9 months it is probably not worth trying to push a bottle if baby has never had one but rather move to sipper or open cup initially. Drinking milk in a small open cup is a more interesting skill to master than being given a bottle.
Do you and your child need further assistance?
If you would like to speak to me directly about these issues, feel free to call in or book an appointment here.