A critical period, if there is one, for the whole family. Weaning refers to the transition from breast feeding to bottle feeding or from bottle feeding to nutritional variety. There is no recommended age for weaning a baby since this obviously depends on the wishes and possibilities of each mother and of baby’s evolution. For the mother, it can be nostalgic and worrying to wean baby as it is a fusional and an exclusive link which disappears. The mother will have to accept that her baby is getting older.

For the child, he will need to be reassured that his is still safe, even though he has lost the proximity with his mother.

The father will have an important role, that of ensuring the transition between exclusive nursing and the bottle, permitting the fusional link that is nursing to be expanded.

 

Weaning for the mother

For weaning to go smoothly it will depend mainly on how the mother sees the benefits it represents. And benefits there are! While the baby will gain in autonomy, the mother will regain it. She will be able to take back possession of her own body, rediscover sport, discover her body as a new mother. She will be able to invest in a marital role as well as a professional and social one. She will be able to share the nurturing role with others and finally she will be able to accompany the child as he learns, as he discovers the world, enabling him to break the exclusive link that is breastfeeding.

 

Weaning in practice:

The baby’s father will need to be more present so that the baby, as well as the mother, can switch to another way of feeding by:

  • gradually spacing feedings,
  • letting dad bottle feed,
  • mixing the milk (breast milk + formula milk), so that baby can get used to the new taste,
  • finding the right temperature for the milk or the meal, so as not to shock baby,
  • the mother being in another room or doing something else during the meal, so that the baby does not “feel” the presence of his mother and can accept new foods which are offered to him,
  • making the child feel secure and giving him what he needs, when he needs it,
  • reassuring him about the fact that her mother assumes the choices she makes, without transmitting her concerns to him.