Q: I’d like to know how to go about weaning a 12- to 15-month-old. From my reading I’ve found that weaning should start with the feeding that seems least important to the baby. I’ve also found that it’s hardest for the infant to give up the first morning feeding and the last feeding at night.
Once you have substituted other food for the feeding in which the baby is least interested, wait about a week to allow both your breasts and your baby to adapt to the change. Then, be alert to identify which is his/her next least important feeding, and so on.
As you have noted, feedings before bedtime, naps and first thing in the morning are typically the baby’s favorites. Some mothers are comfortable nursing at these times until the baby shows signs of being ready to give them up.
I’d encourage you to watch your baby as you wean. There are babies for whom breastfeeding is a habit, and they wean fairly easily. There are other babies for whom breastfeeding is a need and they do not adapt as well. Responding to the cues your baby shares will make weaning go smoothly.
By Karen Zeretzke
IBCLC, Lactation Consultant