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Weaning Your One Year Old

Updated on April 3, 2013

Ready To Stop Breastfeeding?

For many moms, the goal is to breastfeed for at least the first year of baby's life. If you've made it to baby's first birthday and you're still breastfeeding, congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment in today's busy world! But now you may be wondering how to wean your one year old or even if it's time to wean.

My son, Zach will be one in a few short weeks and as his birthday gets closer, I'm constantly reminded that it may be time for our breastfeeding relationship to end. Friends and family keep telling me that I'm "almost done" and "can quit soon!" I am certainly looking forward to having my body back but, I also know that I will miss that special time with him. I also have a lot of questions about how weaning works and how it will affect him and me.

In my typical fashion, I started googling these questions, as well as asking friends and reading books about weaning. No question goes unanswered in my world! Now that I feel more comfortable with the idea of weaning my one year old, I have decided to share the process on this lens so that I can help other moms with this decision.

Photo Credit: All photos on this lens were taken by and are owned and copyright protected by me. Please do not redistribute without permission.

Are You Ready To Wean? - Is Baby Ready To Wean?

sippy cup baby
sippy cup baby

Weaning can be very emotional for both mom and baby. It's important to make sure you are truly ready to wean before you start. Do not let pressure from family or friends sway you if you don't feel that you or baby is ready. While one year of breastfeeding is the goal for many, the AAP actually recommends breastfeeding until at least age 2. No matter what the doctors or your loved ones say, the right time to wean is up to you and baby!

When my daughter, Allison was 4 months old she decided that she didn't want anything to do with nursing. Drinking from a bottle was faster and she wanted to eat quickly so she could move on to the next part of her day. I cried and pumped and tried everything in my power to get her to nurse again but it wasn't meant to be. In the end, I felt a peace about it because it was Allison's decision. She was happy and healthy with the bottle so I let it go and let her wean herself.

I'm honestly not sure if my son and I will be ready to wean when he turns one. Even though I've figured out how to wean, it will still take me some time to figure out when to wean. It's a very personal decision that should be made based on your needs as well as your baby's. I can't decide for you. So far, I can't even decide for myself!

The picture above shows my son practicing with a sippy cup. We'll talk about whether baby is physically ready to wean below!

To Wean or Not To Wean?

I would love to know what other moms have done when it comes to weaning at age one! Please share your personal choice and experience here.

Please be respectful and refrain from bashing other parents here. All demeaning or derogatory posts will be deleted. Thank you.

Did or Will You Wean Your Baby At One?

Yes, I did/will wean at one!

Yes, I did/will wean at one!

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No, I will breastfeed past age one!

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Physical Weaning Readiness

Emotional issues aside, your baby needs to understand the basic concept of drinking from a cup before you begin weaning. There are so many sippy cup options available and different babies prefer different styles! My son prefers to drink from a cup with a soft spout and 2 handles. Many young ones prefer to drink from straws. You may need to experiment with different cups to learn your little one's preference. Below you will see some of my favorite sippy cups.

Your little one's ability to eat solid food will play a factor in when he's ready to wean as well. Once he is done breast feeding, he will need to get his nutritional requirements from food just like you do! Make sure your little one is comfortable with different tastes and textures and before you begin weaning. If you take a gradual weaning approach, baby will be able to slowly replace the calories he currently gets from breast milk with solid foods.

Tommee Tippee Lil Sippee Trainer Cups, Blue, 2-Count
Tommee Tippee Lil Sippee Trainer Cups, Blue, 2-Count

This is Zach's favorite sippy cup. I love them too because they do not drip or spill! They also have a handy attached lid to cover the drink spout when you're on the go! (color options available when you click through to Amazon)

 
Playtex Sipsters Stage 1 Straw Sippy Cups - 6 Ounce (Color May Vary)
Playtex Sipsters Stage 1 Straw Sippy Cups - 6 Ounce (Color May Vary)

My daughter (who is now 3) still uses her Playtex Straw Cup. A cup with a straw is a great option for a baby who doesn't like the traditional sippy cup.

 

Self Feeding Yogurt

Self Feeding Yogurt
Self Feeding Yogurt
Weaning Breastfeeding
Weaning Breastfeeding

Pack Them Away And Just Quit!?

The Difference Between Bottle and Breast Weaning

When it comes to weaning, the difference between breast and bottle feeding is simple: bottles can be packed away. When my daughter turned one we just packed the bottles in the attic and started giving her a sippy cup every time she asked for milk. She was already used to the cup and never seemed to miss the bottles.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to pack my breasts away in a box when my son turns one. No matter how many layers of clothing I wear, he will always know what's hidden there. When I think about it this way, it's clear to see that we won't be able to quit breastfeeding cold turkey.

Let's Wean Gradually

Usually the best method for weaning from breastfeeding is a gradual one. Here's a simple 2 step guide to weaning gradually. How long it takes will depend on how often your baby was nursing when you began the process.

Step One: Drop one breastfeeding session - it is recommended to start with a day time session. Instead of nursing at that time, offer your baby a sippy cup with milk and a light snack.

Step Two: Follow the same schedule from the day before.

Repeat the two steps above until all nursing sessions have been dropped. Basically, you just drop one more nursing time every other day. If baby is having trouble you can always wait 2 or 3 days before dropping another session.

Often, the last nursing session to go is the one that occurs right before bedtime. This may be the hardest to drop since it is comforting for a sleepy little one. You can substitute for nursing by offering warm milk in the cup and holding him while he drinks. It may be easier for dad to take this duty though since your little one will likely want to nurse if you are holding him.

Remember it's important to be flexible when weaning! You may find that you need to add back a nursing session for a day or two if your little one seems to be getting too stressed or starts waking up a lot at night. Watch him for cues and follow your gut. A setback or two won't hurt anybody.

Mama's Boy

Mama's Boy
Mama's Boy

Tips For Weaning

  1. Do it gradually - I know, I'm repeating myself but it is important to take it slow!
  2. Be flexible and follow baby's cues
  3. Let someone else take a feeding. Baby may get upset if you try to feed him a cup or bottle when he's used to nursing. If possible, it will help to let Dad or someone else take over that responsibility.
  4. Avoid normal nursing spots. If you always sit in the rocker to nurse it will probably be best to avoid that rocker when you're not nursing. Seeing you in a spot associated with nursing may confuse and agitate your little one.
  5. Give baby extra bonding time. You will both probably miss those cuddles and the one on one time you get when nursing. As you drop sessions, make up for the lost cuddle time by spending it playing with your little one instead.

Weaning Resources

Here are some websites that I found helpful when researching the weaning process.

I hope this lens about Weaning From Breastfeeding has helped you! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions here.

Guestbook Comments

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    • Sarah Switalski profile image
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      Sarah Switalski 4 years ago from Iowa

      @aesta1: Part of me is really dreading it! I will miss that special snuggle time. It's so bittersweet to watch our kids grow up.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      There is really a special bond that goes with breast feeding. Weaning is maybe harder for the Mom.