While doctors encourage moms to breastfeed for the first year, studies show that nursing your baby for even the first three to six months of life provides substantial physical and emotional benefits for both baby and mommy. Colostrum (early breast milk that women produce while pregnant and during the first few days after delivery) is filled with nutrients and antibodies for your baby. In addition, your breast milk is specific to your baby, meeting the changing needs and dietary requirments for your little one. It is an incredible bonding experience and provides endless health and wellness benefits for both mommy and baby.
However, many moms who choose to breast feed struggle with the decision of when is best to wean their little one. Nursing your newborn is a very personal decision and is often riddled with strong and contrasting emotions of love and bonding as well as frustration and exhaustion. Because breastfeeding evokes such intense emotions, stopping this practice can raise a lot of feelings of sadness, anxiety and loss. This is completely “normal” and is often a result of a change in hormones. As always, it is important to discuss such feelings with your OB and/or PCP if you are feeling overwhelmed by such emotions.
Supplementing that special time by including another bonding experience or routine is a helpful way to still feel that closeness and connection with your baby that breastfeeding provided.
Below is a guideline for weaning your little one:
- Week One: 75% Breast Milk; 25% Whole Milk (3 oz breast milk; 1 oz whole milk)
- Week Two: 50% Breast Milk; 50% Whole Milk (3 oz breast milk; 3 oz whole milk)
- Week Three: 25% Breast Milk; 75% Whole Milk (1 oz breast milk; 3 oz whole milk)
- Week Four: 100% Whole Milk, Morning and Night Nursing
- Morning/Night nursing can continue for days/weeks after you wean from breastfeeding until you and your little one feel comfortable with this new change