Daytime Weaning: How to Make It Work
In the life of every baby, there comes a time when breast milk must be left behind. In this sense, daytime weaning can be the perfect way to begin.
As the name indicates, daytime weaning consists of no longer offering to breastfeed your little one during the day. You can still continue to nurse your baby, but only at night.
Does this method work? How is it applied? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Generally, mothers should wait until their babies are at least 8 or 9 months old before attempting daytime weaning.
By this age, their children have started a complimentary diet. This means their babies will still get the nutrients they need, even if they consume less breast milk.
This type of weaning also requires a certain level of maturity and capacity to focus attention on other stimuli. That means the baby’s senses must be sufficiently developed for daytime weaning to be successful.
However, the task isn’t always that simple. Some babies are very attached to their mother’s breast, even when they aren’t particularly hungry.
If that’s the case, don’t fret. Nothing is impossible, and here you’ll find some suggestions to help you on your mission.
Reasons for beginning to wean your baby
Daytime weaning is a first step in the transition from exclusive breastfeeding to other forms of feeding. This may or may not include formula.
The most common arguments that bring a mother to choose to wean her little one are the following:
- The mother’s personal decision.
- Lack of interest on behalf of the child.
- Little or no milk production in the breasts.
Advice for daytime weaning
1. Stop breastfeeding during the day
Your main mission in doing a daytime wean is to gradually change your little one’s feeding habits.
Instead of breastfeeding, replace nursing with fruit purees, yogurt for babies, or some other recipes that your baby enjoys.
If your baby isn’t hungry, you can try to distract her with something else. You can try toys, songs or an outing, for example.
Remember this is a great time to introduce new textures, flavors and ingredients. Use this circumstance in your favor to achieve daytime weaning.
2. Get your child used to eating with other people
During the first months of your baby’s life, feeding times are synonymous with strengthening the mother-baby bond.
However, when it comes time to wean, it’s fundamental that your child is able to eat with other family members.
For example, have someone else take over afternoon feedings, or whatever meal works best for your family.
This is especially important for mothers who work, or plan to go back to work in the near future.
In the same way, it also helps the child develop a certain sense of independence regarding his attachment figure.
“Mothers should wait until their babies are at least 8 or 9 months old before making their first attempts at daytime weaning.”
3. Wean gradually
Once again, we want to emphasize that this is a process, and not something you should do overnight.
If you cut your baby off suddenly, you could cause problems for you and your little one.
First, your child needs time to adapt to the new diet. Second, a sudden reduction in feedings may cause you pain because your breasts will be too full of milk.
It’s also not good for your little one’s fragile digestive system to change her diet drastically. Your little one needs time, patience and consistency to gradually adapt to the changes.
4. Avoid daytime weaning during times of stress
If your baby is going through a difficult period, just at your returning to work, then daytime weaning isn’t a good idea.
This ties in with the previous point. Too many abrupt changes can be counterproductive when it comes to changing your baby’s habits.
Therefore, if you plan to make any changes to your baby’s feeding routine or life in general, it’s best to daytime wean before or after this.
“If your baby is going through a difficult period, just at your returning to work, then daytime weaning isn’t a good idea”
5. Start out by eliminating feedings further away from nap and bedtimes
Mothers should keep track of their baby’s daily feeding routine. Based on this routine, they should first eliminate the feedings that aren’t associated with sleeping habits.
This likely means taking out mid-morning and mid-morning feedings, and perhaps feedings just after bath time.
It will be more difficult to eliminate feedings that take place close to the times your baby sleeps and that help him relax.
Using formula to replace breastfeeding – whether administered by the mother or someone else – may be a good option.
Finally, always remember that every baby is unique, as is every bond between a mother and her baby.
Therefore, no one knows the best way and time to approach a daytime weaning better than a baby’s mother.
You might be surprised by your little one’s ability to adapt. It’s simply a matter of trying and then seeing how things go.
If necessary, you can decide the time isn’t right, and try again on a later date.