Weaning Your Breastfed Baby (cont.)
When weaning older children from breastfeeding -- toddlers up to 2 or even 3 years old -- Hodge says moms should expect some acting out and anger from their children.
"Sometimes the child will get so angry and feel so deprived when nursing stops they can become very irritated with mom -- and really give her a hard time," says Hodge.
Regardless of your child's age, if you are having problems weaning experts say you can make the process easier for you and baby if you maintain a close emotional bond in other ways.
"There is clearly a comforting aspect to nursing, for mom but especially for baby. So you need to recognize that and to incorporate some of that same close physical bonding and comfort into feeding time, regardless of whether or not you are breastfeeding," says Adam Aponte, MD, chairman of pediatrics and ambulatory care at North General Hospital in New York.
Next: Tips to Help You Wean Your Baby
Tips to Help You Wean Your Baby
To help your baby feel more secure and less upset by the lost of breastfeeding, try these tips from Aponte:
Your baby may have problems learning to suck on a bottle (babies suckle at the breast, a different mouth action). If so, you might proceed directly to a sippy cup, suggests Aponte. This is an easier transition for some older babies.
"There is nothing magical about a bottle," says Aponte. "Very often going right to the sippy cup is a good solution. They are amused by the cup and somewhat entertained. Often babies who just refuse a bottle will take very well to the cup."
If your baby is a toddler already eating solid food, then you can skip the bottle altogether. Your child won't miss it, says Aponte.
Physical Changes During Weaning
Expect some physical changes that often take place once you wean your baby. Most noticeable is a change in the consistency and frequency of your baby's bowel movements.
"They will likely have fewer bowel movements on formula than they had when breastfeeding, and usually somewhat harder or more solid stools -- this is normal," says Aponte.
Hodge adds that you can also expect some minor gastrointestinal upsets. "Depending on the age of the baby, there could be some cramping and gas when you start to wean, particularly if they are between 6 and 12 months old," says Hodge.
To avoid these problems, Hodge suggests you give your child formula -- not milk -- until your child is older than one year. Once your child's digestive system is more mature, after the first birthday, introduce milk.
If you stop breastfeeding before the first year of age, experts say you can also expect some fussiness and tears now and again as your baby makes the physical and emotional transition from breast to bottle.