Separating Your Baby from the Breast

From the moment the baby is born, the first communication with the outside world begins with its mother. The first bond he establishes with his mother is formed by suckling. Breastfeeding is an important way for a baby not only to be fed, but also to feel love and security. Many factors, such as the mother’s holding her baby in her arms while feeding, her verbal-non-verbal communication with her, her contact with the baby, and her feelings, reinforce or disrupt the baby’s sense of trust not only towards the mother but also towards the whole life. The mother’s readiness for motherhood and the healthier the bond she establishes with the baby, the more confident the baby will feel. The basic sense of trust is possible by meeting the baby’s sleep, nutrition, relaxation and basic needs. If the sucking process takes place in a peaceful environment for the baby with a reassuring mother, the baby is satisfied and after a certain month they stop sucking without any training.

When should you quit?

Health authorities recommend that babies be fed only with breast milk for the first 6 months, and that breastfeeding should be continued after 6 months by supplementing with additional foods. Although it is recommended to continue breastfeeding for up to 24 months, the frequency of breastfeeding should be reduced after the 12th month and it should be terminated at the 18th month when there are enough teeth to chew. The breastfeeding process, which is left to a later period, interrupts the psychological development process of the baby in the future and prevents his individualization.

If the baby decides to leave the breast, this process is easier, but if the mother decides, this process is more difficult. The most suitable method; Gradually weaning from the breast is to give both the baby and the mother time to get used to this new situation. As we mentioned at the beginning of our article, because another meaning of breastfeeding is to relax, it is not a good option to leave the breast in intense stressful situations (such as moving, starting a job, changing caregivers, teething).

Babies under 6 months
If your baby is younger than 6 months and has to leave the breast, he or she must be fed with bottle formula. It would be appropriate to gradually switch to a bottle instead of sucking one meal a day, and to gradually increase the number of bottle meals. However, the baby accustomed to receiving breast from the mother, b. He may not prefer his first bottle attempts, except for the mother. It will be easier if someone other than the mother (could be a father or a family member) manages this process. If the baby still does not accept the bottle, different bottle caps and different formulas recommended by the doctor can be tried. A bottle given between naps is also more acceptable.

Babies over 6 months
If your baby is 6 months old, the bottle may not be needed. It can now be fed with additional foods and items other than bottles. In this way, breastfeeding can be reduced. Babies need to suckle the most when they wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night. It would be more appropriate to leave these habits to the end. It is also easier to distract the baby with different environments and activities during the day.

How to separate it from the breast?

Make sure your child is mature enough to let go of the breast. They should be able to consume solid foods, use glasses, be free from stress (like a new sibling, toilet training, a new caregiver…), and your child’s development should be in harmony with their peers.

Do not cut the breast abruptly. If you cut it gradually, you will have a more comfortable process. When your child wakes up and is hungry, give him solid food. If he insists on sucking when not hungry, obey. Do not breastfeed unintentionally.

Babies want more to relax, especially at night. But this is a situation that complicates the process even more. So try not to breastfeed before sleep. Let your child be put to bed by his father or another loved one. Keep your baby busy and distracted by taking them to different places during the day with different activities.

Mom can be sad!

Weaning from the breast can affect you as well as your baby. The transition of your relationship to a different dimension and the differentiation of the bond between you can put you under stress. Do not forget that the relationship between you does not end, on the contrary, you are moving towards a process where you will be more connected to each other. It is exciting to welcome this new period with joy and witness your baby step into his first childhood.

If you still have not been able to separate your baby from the breast despite the age limit;

  • Dental health may deteriorate (the milk teeth remaining in the mouth will rot),

  • Appetite may decrease over time (loss of interest in solid foods),

  • Depends on his mother (weaning from the breast is also proof that the baby is able to calm himself down, while the baby who cannot leave the breast constantly wants his mother to calm him down)

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