The gradual weaning process will take at least one month. This
transition period is slow, but prevents discomfort and hopefully any
breast infection from breast milk not being emptied from your breasts.
Each time that you take a breastfeeding away, you must take care of your
breasts until they are comfortable with missing the deleted
breastfeeding, It will take your breasts about five days to be
comfortable as you remove each breast feeding. Follow either of the
following suggestions for breast care as you wean
At the same time that you are removing (weaning) a breastfeeding
and substituting a bottle of formula, place two to three large
ice bags or large bags of frozen peas over and around each
breast including your armpits for a fifteen-minute period. Us a
layer of clothing under the ice to protect your sensitive breast
skin from the cold. Hold bags in place with your arms. Each day
repeat the use of the ice for a 15 minute period while baby is
fed the formula bottle. Continue until your breasts are
comfortable with skipping a breastfeeding. It will probably take
your breasts about five days to tolerate not being nursed. Then
remove another breastfeeding, substitute another bottle of
formula and apply ice bags/frozen peas to your breasts. Repeat
in five-day cycles until all the breastfeedings are replaced
with formula feedings.
Breast milk can also be weaned from your breasts by use of a
homeopathic remedy of applying raw chilled green cabbage leaf
compresses to your breasts. Core the cabbage, pull the leaves
off in whole pieces and rinse the leaves under cool water.
Placed the rinsed leaves in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to
chill. Apply the cabbage leaf compresses to your breasts at the
same time that you are removing (weaning) a breastfeeding and
substituting a bottle of formula. Use enough fresh raw chilled
green cabbage leaves to cover your entire breasts and armpits.
Hold leaves in place with your bra. If the ridges of the cabbage
leaves are hard, gently roll a soup can over the ridges to
soften before use. Wear the leaves continuously for two hours
then discard. Repeat each day until your breasts are comfortable
with not being nursed—usually three to five days. Then remove
another breastfeeding, substitute another bottle of formula and
apply the cabbage leaf compresses for two hours. Continue until
all the breastfeedings are replaced with formula bottles.
Discontinue the use of cabbage leaf compress if you notice any
rash on your breasts while using The cabbage leaf compresses
help to reduce bodily swelling and you may notice an increase in
your urine output while using.
Part-Time Breastfeeding/Partial Weaning:
Partial weanings or part-time breastfeeding is possible. If you choose
to keep certain breastfeedings and replace other breastfeedings with
formula bottles, you will need to follow a strict plan. Your breasts
will need the same signal every day for when to make breast milk and
when to not make breast milk. Remember breastfeeding works on the
principle of demand and supply. Less or no demand equals less or no
supply. Wean the feedings that you wish to remove carefully and slowly.
Continue the breastfeedings that you wish to keep, nursing the baby at
the same feedings each and every day. Demand (emptying) stimulates
supply (volume). If you are returning to work and feel that you will be
unable to pump your breasts at work and maintain your breast milk
volume, then you may wean the work feedings away and continue to
breastfeed all the other feedings at home. Your baby will receive
formula bottles from the day care provider and you will not pump at
work. Request that your day care provider to not feed your baby for two
hours before your pick up time so that you can begin breastfeeding as
soon as you arrive and pick baby up after work. On your days off from
work, you will need to follow the same schedule of breastfeedings and
formula bottles. Your breasts will receive the same signal every day and
maintain your breast milk at the times when you are able to breastfeed.
Remember to keep well-hydrated while breastfeeding.
During complete or partial weaning, you need to be alert to any signs of
a breast infection (mastitis). Call your physician if concerned.
Weaning to Cup:
Weaning to a baby cup avoids baby learning to bottle feed and then
needing to be weaned from the bottle. Babies are able to drink from cups
from birth—small baby cups are available for use in nurseries to avoid
nipple confusion if formula supplements are needed during the early days
of breastfeeding. Teaching your baby to feed from the cup is fun. Never
pour the liquid into your baby's mouth; let baby feed him/herself. You
just present the liquid to the baby's lips and let baby do the rest.
Babies have two techniques: either sipping or lapping the liquid.
Experiment with different baby cups when teaching your baby to cup
feed—Avent, Playtex, and Gerber all make baby cups for use with babies
from 3 months of age. Practice cup feeding in the tub—where spills are
no problem. try expressed breast milk or white grape juice—neither
Tips to Remember:
Sudden weaning is very traumatic to both mother and baby. Taking your
time with weaning will decrease the stress and loss of the closeness of
the breastfeeding experience.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that solid foods begin at
six months. Your baby will thrive on breast milk, formula or a
combination of both until six months of age. Around six months your baby
will be "ready" for solids. Baby will signal his/her readiness by
watching you intently as you eat and actually grabbing for your spoon
while you are eating. Baby is finally interested and won't wait any
Discuss introducing solids with your baby's physician. Remember, to
maintain your breast milk volume always breastfeed first then offer the
solids to baby. Solids can be offered immediately following
breastfeeding or between breastfeedings.
Experiment with baby bottles and nipples. Avent bottles and nipples are
preferred by many breastfeeding mothers. Talk with friends and nursing
mothers support groups for suggestions.
As you wean, some babies need the comfort of a pacifier or their
fingers/thumb for soothing. If you choose a pacifier, purchase a
one-piece pacifier that is unable to come apart and avoid any choking
hazard to your baby.
Pinch bottle nipples and pacifiers daily. Discard and purchase new ones,
IF the pacifier or bottle nipple sticks together.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.