Whatever you may say, breastfeeding is just one of the stages in the life of your baby and he will eventually outgrow it just as he did with swaddles and diapers. And for each baby, the natural age of weaning (known as self-weaning) will certainly come by itself. It’s just that every baby is unique and some children self-wean from the breast before they celebrate their first birthday, some are not even close to self-weaning even at the age of 4.
Being aware of this fact, there are situations when many mothers decide to finish breastfeeding ahead of time (before the baby turns 1 year old) for some solid reasons. Some mothers breastfeed older children and come across difficulties of weaning them, too.
Regardless of your baby’s age, if you’re still actively breastfeeding and started thinking about weaning but you’re not sure whether it would be the right time for your baby to stop breastfeeding him right now, this easy test will help you to weigh all the pros and cons. It will also answer many questions you might have about the process of weaning. With its help, you can objectively assess whether your child is ready for weaning at this stage or not.
The table below shows the questions that you need to answer with either “yes” or “no”. For each answer, a certain number of points is scored, which is indicated in the corresponding cells. Based on the total amount of points at the end of the test, you will be able to understand whether your baby is ready for weaning right now or not quite yet.
|1. Does your baby need several nighttime feedings?||+1||0|
|2. Have you managed to significantly cut back on daytime feedings lately?||0||+1|
|3. Does your baby need to breastfeed after awakening from the nap?||+1||0|
|4. Can your baby easily fall asleep (during night or day) without breastfeeding?||0||+1|
|5. Does your baby ask for your breast after eating solids?||+2||0|
|6. If your baby is thirsty, will he prefer your breast milk rather than water?||+1||0|
|7. Does your baby sleep through the night without nighttime feedings (or with just one breastfeeding session)?||0||+1|
|8. If you don’t give breast to your baby right after he asks for it during the daytime, does he forget about it and switch his attention to something else?||0||+1|
|9. Does your baby want to breastfeed when he sees you after you were away for a long time?||+2||0|
|10. When your baby needs comforting, does he ask for the breast?||+1||0|
|11. When your baby wants to breastfeed, is it hard for you to distract him and switch his attention to something else?||+1||0|
|12. Do you breastfeed no more than 3 times in 24 hours?||0||+1|
|13. Does your baby have difficulties falling asleep when somebody else is putting him to bed?||+1||0|
|14. Does your baby ask for the breast when he is bored or you have a sit close to him?||+1||0|
|15. If you distract your baby right after he wakes up to avoid breastfeeding, will he forget about asking for your breast for a long time?||0||+1|
|16. Does your baby easily fall asleep for a nap with another person (his dad or relative)?||0||+1|
|17. Does your baby feel the need to breastfeed when he wants comforting?||+1||0|
FIND OUT THE RESULTS
Your baby is almost ready to be weaned. But if you notice that he sometimes sucks his finger or lower lip (that’s showing he still wants to breastfeed) – do not ignore these signs and pamper him with your breast milk from time to time. Keep in mind that breastfeeding after a year is not about satisfying hunger anymore, it’s about connection. So you would want to take it slow anyway. Aim for gradual weaning. No rush. Sometimes you take one step forward and two steps back, which is absolutely normal! You don’t want to harm neither your baby’s mental health (by abrupt weaning), nor your breast appearance (rapid weaning can cause breast sagging). You just need to be patient.
Your baby no longer needs your breast so badly. He can calm down and even fall asleep without it, too. Nevertheless, weaning should not be forced in this case. Try to gradually take away all daytime breastfeeding sessions and see how it goes. Then you can try putting your baby to sleep without offering your breast and distract him when he wakes up. You might want to save 1-3 breastfeeding sessions until you see that your baby is fully ready to be weaned.
Your baby is not yet ready for weaning yet. But you can be sure that it won’t last forever! You have to be observant. Watch for the signs which show that your baby is less physchomogically attached to breastfeeding and don’t miss your opportunity to cut off some daytime nursing sessions. Little steps will eventually lead to great progress! Just keep your head up and keep trying. Do your best not to force things and let your mother’s instinct be your guide.
Now, hear me out, mama!
Even the most accurate test has its errors and is not a reliable ground for making a decision. Keep in mind that every baby is unique. Every breastfeeding experience is one-of-a-kind. This test will not tell you the exact date and time good enough to start weaning. It just gives you the understanding of how much your baby is ready to let go this amazing connection you had with breastfeeding (not that you will no longer have the bond) and take a step forward to explore new possibilities for growth, development and bonding. All you need is to follow your gut feeling to catch the right moment for when your baby is truly ready to let go and the weaning in this case will go easily! Sometimes you just need to wait a little longer and be patient. Remember, you will stop breastfeeding eventually. Although, I’m more than sure, that right from the moment you wean, you will miss that wonderful experience of your life. So just be conscious when making a decision and fully accept and enjoy these last moments of nursing…
WHAT ABOUT YOU, MAMA?
How did you understand that your baby was ready for weaning? Share you personal experience in comments below. Weaning is the most stressful part of breastfeeding for new moms. Your feedback will help many mommas to feel empowered and confident when they decide to finish nursing.
SHARING IS CARING
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