Most mothers are trained to breastfeed their newborn, but, in most cases, there is little training for how to wean baby from breastfeeding and when.
No biological mechanism tells mothers about when to wean baby or how to do so. Baby weaning depends upon many factors including social and cultural ones. The appropriate time and manner to wean baby from breastfeeding has become a concern for many mothers, because most of them have to deal with with pressures and interventions from their families and friends about baby weaning.
The process of weaning baby from breastfeeding is very important for both the mother and the child because it involves a critical level of separation between the mother and the infant who have been in close physical contact and intimacy through breastfeeding. Moreover, in the process of weaning, the child loses the main source of the pleasure related to the oral stage (sucking), which has significant psychosocial effects on the baby. In our current society, where promoting mother-child health is an inseparable element of primary health care, proper training on how and when to wean baby from breastfeeding cannot be neglected.
It is recommended to wean baby from breastfeeding in a gentle and gradual manner.
Baby weaning tips
The best time to wean baby from breastfeeding is spring and autumn. The weaning process can also start at the end of the summer and the end of the winter. In general, the most suitable time to wean baby from breastfeeding is in mild weather.
If the weather suddenly rises after you have started weaning your baby, you should of a solution to satisfy your baby’s thirst. One way to quench baby’s thirst is to give them diluted yoghurt every hour.
The best first foods for the baby after weaning in hot weather include rice, yogurt and wholegrain bread. Avoid greasy foods.
Other great first foods after weaning include almond porridge, rice and milk porridge, and wholegrain gruels.
If weaning time coincides with cold weather, the first baby food you feed them should be warm. Avoid giving them cold water and keep their body warm at this time.
It is best to increase the amount of baby’s first food at the time of weaning to reduce the child’s appetite for breastfeeding.
Traditional medicine recommends to wean baby from breastfeeding in a gradual and gentle manner. A gradual weaning gives the baby’s body an opportunity to adapt itself to the new conditions; new scientific studies have shown that baby weaning is associated with an increased occurrence of diarrhea. There is a risk of diarrhea immediately after weaning baby. However, the risk of diarrhea is significantly reduced if the process of weaning baby from breastfeeding is gentle and gradual.
The weaning process should start when the child is not ill. It is especially important to make sure the baby has no digestive problems at the time of weaning.
Mothers are advised to prepare the child for the weaning process by speaking about how grown-up they are.
Affecting pain or fake wounds in the breast by the mother to evoke the child’s pity is not advised by physicians and psychologists on the grounds that it can have a traumatic impact on the child who may blame herself/himself for the mother’s injury.
If the child keeps demanding to be breastfed, a harmless bitter or sour substance can be applied on the breast to create an aversion in the child. It cannot be emphasized enough that the substance should be absolutely harmless for the child and the mother.
Remember to entertain the child and increase demonstrations of love and affection for them during the weaning process.
Breast pain after weaning
After the mother starts to wean baby from breastfeeding, there is a risk of pain and swelling in the mother’s breasts, which causes her severe discomfort due to the blockage of the milk duct and the accumulation of the remaining milk in the breast. This complication is particularly more severe when breastfeeding is terminated too suddenly for the body to adopt itself.
Recommendations for the mothers to relieve breast pain after weaning:
The weaning process should be gentle and gradual. This will make it easier for the mother’s body to adjust itself to the breastfeeding termination, and there will be less pain and discomfort as a consequence.
Use a perfectly fit and firm bra
Cut down on your salt intake to reduce fluid retention in the body.
Do not use spices that increase breast milk supply, such as cumin, black seed, fennel, dills, etc…
Peppermint is known to reduce breast milk supply in the body.
Apply cool cabbage leaves around the breast to help reduce breast pain and swelling.
Mix vinegar with cooked and crushed lentils, and apply this mixture on the breasts. It helps reduce breast milk by contracting blood vessels and decreasing blood circulation at a harmless level.
Apply cold compresses on the breasts
Avoid stimulating or touching the breasts.
This pain and swelling in the breasts is at its peak on the first few days after weaning. Breast discomfort should decrease gradually. If breast pain and swelling is accompanied by fever, it is recommended to consult your doctor to check for infection or other illnesses.