Yes!! I really meant that. I weaned by daughter overnight from breastfeeding. Was it easy? Kind of!! Did it help our life get easier? Definitely yes!! Will I recommend it to someone else? Hell no!!
Before I explain the answers to these questions, let us get some facts straight.
- Breast milk or Formula milk is the main source of nutrition in the first year of a baby’s life.
- WHO recommends starting complementary foods at the age of 6 months to meet the demand for extra energy and nutrients?
- Formula milk is best weaned off by 1 year.
- Breastfeeding still remains the main source of nutrition till 1 year after which it should be offered on demand.
- A baby is said to be weaned after he/she is completely on solids with no breast milk or formula milk. This age has not been defined and depends on each child. Ideally it should be continued till the age of 2.
I am sure all moms out there would like to feed their kid till 2 years or sometimes even beyond. But is it always possible? I had to make the tough decision of weaning my daughter at 1 year due to a medical condition I suffered from.
Now coming back to my questions. WAS IT EASY? I said kind of because it did not take much time for her to adjust to the new normal. Night weaning was much tougher than day time. My strategy was-
- During the day, my action plan was to distract and redirect. My husband and parents helped when situations got overwhelming
- During the night, my husband rocked her to sleep. Trust me when I say that it wasn’t easy but she settled down by the third night.
- For about a week, she woke up occasionally demanding for night time feeds. But has been sleeping through the night ever since.
DID IT HELP OUR LIFE GET EASIER? The answer to this was a big yes cos my daughter started sleeping through the night as soon as I weaned her. She ate solids better too. I was finally getting my night’s sleep as well. Though this worked for us well, let me add to this that night weaning does not ensure that the child will sleep through the night. It is a milestone that is usually achieved at the age of 2 to 3 years.
WILL I RECOMMEND IT TO OTHERS? Never. I was very badly engorged and had to pump and hand express for days after weaning. It was the worst pain ever and I developed fever for a day too. This besides the fact that my daughter was distraught, even if for a few days. It would have been much better if both of us got some time to adjust to the changes.
Tips if you ever need to wean cold turkey-
- Make sure you have help as you will definitely need it.
- Keep a pump handy.
- Pump or express before breast becomes full or gets clogged.
- Consult your doctor if you develop high fever or if you have a lump in the breast which does not disappear on hand expressing or pumping.
- Take a hot shower and hand express in the shower itself. This was the most effective remedy for me. (Brownie points for no mess)
- Cold cabbage leaves did give atleast some relief from the breast pain.
- Shower extra love on your kid. Let in those extra hugs, kisses and cuddles. Your kid has lost the most secure and comforting thing they knew till now.
- Be patient and consistent. I promise things get better.
- Don’t feel guilty of weaning. I am sure you have a perfectly good reason to do so.
Though weaning cold turkey is definitely not the right way to go, sometimes that’s the only way to do it. When in doubt, do what’s best for both your child as well as yourself.