So you really feel it is time to wean your baby and you are wondering what is the best way to approach it. A lot depends on the age of your child. , but your Babies under the age of six months will usually transition quite easily to the bottle. As a child ages and realizes that their relationship with the breast is more than just nutrients are when things become a little trickier. Babies are smart, and often will protest; especially if they see their mom standing there with breasts filled with milk. Before we go into a few methods of weaning let’s review a few things.
A baby can nurse from a mother successfully up until four years of age (I understand that that is not the ‘norm’ in our modern society), but the woman’s body will produce healthful milk filled with vitamins and nutrients until the baby is age four. If you decide to wean sooner it is important to ask yourself a few questions:
- “Is this what I feel is intuitively correct, or are others influencing me.”
- “Has my baby stopped gaining the weight the baby was gaining before?”
- “Am I taking a medication my doctors has told me I cannot continue breastfeeding with?”
(Dr. Thomas Hale has a book that discusses which medications are safe while you are breastfeeding and unfortunately most doctors do not know this information).
It is important to speak with a qualified lactation consultant so you make sure there is another solution to your problem other than weaning, but if you really feel you must wean lets go over a few rules.
- You need to cut down slowly because you are producing more milk than you think. You need to have cut down to two feeds a day.
- When you are down to two feeds a day we will use ice and cabbage to reduce the swelling in your breasts.
- Ice your breasts 6x a day for 10 minutes.
- Wear cabbage in your bra throughout the day. Use green cabbage, crunch the leaf in your hand to break the leaves, place against your skin inside of your bra. Wear until the smell of cabbage gets to you.
- Don’t just take away breastfeeding suddenly. Change is difficult for most people, that includes your baby. Make sure to speak with your child not matter what the age of the child is explaining the process you and your baby is going through. All people like to be explained clearly what is changing in their lives.
- After you have gotten down to one feed a day, many cultures will put an herb or oil on the breast that does not taste good so that the child makes a decision themselves to stop that final nurse per day. It is not cruel. If a child is well loved and taken care of than it is best for the child to make that final choice. That way the child does not think that their mother took something away from them. They have made the decision on their own.
- Some suggested nipple applications are olive oil with a little black pepper or aloe vera.
Weaning your baby is often difficult for both the mother and the baby. Some herbal suggestions for the mother are below. The herbs are best taken in tincture form and the usual dose is 25 drops diluted in either juice or water, either with or without food.
- Motherwort – can help balance her hormones and help with the gloomy sad feelings.
- Lemon balm – can help the mother feel more relaxed and calm.
- Skullcap – used for nervousness and anxiety.