Friday, September 27, 2013

Weaning Process: From Breastfeeding to Cow's Milk and Sleep Training

I am grateful that the process to wean my little off breastfeeding has been relatively easy. She was down to nursing three times a day since she turned one year old and I started weaning her off breastfeeding when she was twenty months old (about a month ago). I began by dropping her night time feed (before bed) and gave her a glass of fresh milk instead. Then about three weeks after, I stopped nursing her before her afternoon nap and started giving her another glass of fresh milk after she woke up from her nap. In two weeks' time I will be weaning her completely and stop nursing her in the morning, when she wakes up. 

The Process in Details and Some Issues I Find During Weaning

1. When I dropped her night feeding, she would neither take the fresh milk in her bottle not in a cup using a straw. It took forever to finish her milk as she bit on the teats or the straw. After several days of trying, my patience ran out and I started spoon-feeding the milk to her. It's not ideal but she finishes her milk quickly this way. So it's fine for now. She has been sleeping at night without being nursed for a couple of months already so going to sleep wasn't an issue, especially when it's dark at night. 

2. When I stopped nursing her before her afternoon nap, she'd cry and ask to be nursed to sleep. I told her that she will get her milk after she wakes up. For the first to days, she cried to sleep with me by her side. It took five days for her to realize that she will not get her milkies before napping and on average it takes her about twenty minutes to one hour to fall asleep each time. So I try to put her to sleep earlier to calm her down and put her in the mood to sleep. Then I spoon-feed her milk after she wakes up from her nap.

3. I find morning feeding will be the toughest. For the longest time she'd wake up around 5.30AM and asked to be nursed. I've always given in as I considered it to be her first milk of the day and then she'll fall back to sleep until 8 or 8.30AM (she goes to bed around 9.30PM). But I realize it is a bit of a problem now. What I want is for her to sleep through until 8.30AM (11 hours) without milk. So when she wakes up at 5.30AM and she asked for milk, I gently tell her it's not time yet and she needs to go back to sleep. The first few days she'd cry and took her about an hour to go back to sleep. After a week or so it got better, she would wake up between 6:30-7AM and I nurse her. However, she doesn't fall back to sleep again after that. And it's been that way for the past couple of weeks, which means she's getting about 9.5 hours of sleep. I wonder if that's enough? Her afternoon nap is around 1-1.5 hours. Soon, I will be weaning her off completely off breastmilk and give her fresh milk in the morning as well, something that I have a mixed feeling about, but a reality that I have to face. I think she's more ready to be weaned than I do. I really don't have an answer to this yet.

What are your experiences on weaning your babies off breastfeeding? How did you do it? Are there better and more effective ways to do it?

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