Posted by Krystal Duhaney, RN, BSN, IBCLC Jul 19th, 2023

Weaning: How Do I Start Weaning My Baby From Breastfeeding

Weaning: How Do I Start Weaning My Baby From Breastfeeding

Weaning: How Do I Start Weaning My Baby from Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a wonderful, demanding, and emotional journey. The decision to breastfeed and the decision to end your breastfeeding journey is yours to make. As your baby grows, they become more interested in exploring the world of solid foods. Weaning is the process of gradually reducing breastfeeding sessions while introducing solid foods. Weaning is an important milestone in your baby’s development. And just like laughing, playing, speaking, and walking; weaning is a milestone that your baby will reach on their own time. Keep reading as we guide you through your weaning journey, providing helpful tips and encouragement to help make your transition smooth and enjoyable.

Understanding the Weaning Process

Weaning does not need to be an “all or nothing” approach. Weaning should be a gradual process, done with love. “If you decide to wean “cold turkey”, your breasts will likely become painfully engorged, and you might develop a breast infection” (La Leche League). Slowly tapering off how long and how often you breastfeed each day will cause your milk supply to gradually diminish and prevent engorgement. Keep in mind that every baby is unique, and the timing and pace of weaning may vary. Also, remember, it is your decision. Listen to your body and know that when you and your baby decide to wean is what is best for you.


Signs Your Baby is Ready

Look for these signs to determine if your baby is ready to start weaning:

  • Your baby can sit up with minimal support.
  • They show interest in your food and try to grab it.
  • They have lost the tongue-thrust reflex, which prevents them from pushing food out of their mouth.
  • Your baby seems to still be hungry after breastfeeding.


Introduction of Solid Foods

Offer small amounts of pureed or mashed foods, such as soft fruits and vegetables, during regular breastfeeding sessions. Offer them during a time when your baby is relaxed and not overly hungry, which will help the time be more enjoyable and successful, rather than a hangry meltdown. Keep in mind, breastmilk or formula should still be the primary source of nutrition for babies under one. Consult with your pediatrician, but some recommend introducing one type of food every 3 days before starting a new food to watch for allergic reactions.


Gradual Reduction of Breastfeeding Sessions

As your baby adapts to the taste and texture of solid foods, you can gradually reduce the number of breastfeeding sessions. Pay attention to your baby’s cues. Encourage your baby to self-feed by introducing finger foods. They might play with the food. Remember, this is them exploring and learning about new textures and tastes. They are also developing fine motor skills and growing their independence. These are all healthy milestones, Mama!


Gradual Night Weaning

Nighttime feedings are often the last to go in the weaning process. They can also be the most difficult ones to let go of. When you feel you and your baby are ready, start by reducing the amount of time at the breast during nighttime breastfeeding sessions. Continue to offer comfort, maybe even extra comfort. Hugs, cuddles, reading books, gentle rocking and soft singing, can help soothe your baby back to sleep. This also might be a great time to allow another family member to take over nighttime routines. Remember, Mama, consistency is key. With time, your baby will adjust to the new routine.


Emotional Support

Weaning can be an emotional and difficult process for both you and baby. Providing reassurance, paitience, and kindness during this transition will help make it a more enjoyable and successful transition. Continue offering skin-to-skin contact, cuddles, and other comfort to strengthen your bond with your baby. Embrace this new chapter, but also celebrate your breastfeeding journey and the incredible bond you have created through breastfeeding.

It’s okay for you to feel sad or to have mixed feelings of sadness that this beautiful journey is coming to an end, while also feeling relieved or happy that your baby is becoming more independent. If you are feeling sad, anxiety, or despair, please reach out to a professional who can listen.


Weaning your baby from breastfeeding is a natural progression, a milestone, in their growth and development. While it may be an emotional journey, it’s not one you have to do alone. Remember, you are still nurturing your baby, just in a different way - by providing a safe place for them to grow their independence and explore new flavors and foods. By understanding your baby’s readiness, introducing solid foods gradually, and providing emotional support- you can ensure a positive weaning experience for both you and your baby.

You are not alone in your journey, Mama! Join our Facebook group, follow us on Instagram, or speak to one of our lactation consultants

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