When to Wean and How?

Updated on February 04, 2011
L.A. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
8 answers


Any ideas on this one? I'm a first time momma, and our little boy is 3.5 months. I am back to work and am pumping while at the office. Any suggestions on when to wean and how?

I'd like to keep feeding for another month, but want to be fully done by Spring.

Does cabbage work?
Did you stop cold turkey?
How do I deal with engorgement?
is it best to do b/f teething?

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answers from Gainesville on

I would highly suggest that you continue to nurse thru the winter time/flu season as it offers invaluable protection to your little one.

And I agree with SH-it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Formula away from mom, breastmilk while with mom. That's what a lot of moms do that aren't able to pump while they are away from baby. Our bodies are amazing things that will adjust accordingly to babies needs. And think about the nursing relationship you have with your little one. Isn't it nice to be able to come home from work and spend those quiet moments nursing your little one? I treasured the time I spent with my little ones nursing. Just some food for thought.

When you do begin to wean, pump off just enough for comfort only. This will NOT signal your body to make more.

Absolutely DO NOT bind your breasts or wear super tight bras. Supportive bra yes but not super tight. That can lead to plugged ducts or even an abscess. Not what you would be looking for.

Are you asking if it's best to do breastfeeding while teething? Yes, it is. For some babies it is a source of great comfort when they don't understand the pain the are experiencing. Some babies will not nurse as much due to the pain and others are comforted by it.

Before you wean you need to know that baby will take a bottle and that baby can handle formula. As we all know there are babies that have tummies/systems that don't deal well with formula so that's another reason you are better off going gradual rather than cold turkey.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

You can opt, to just breastfeed him when you are home, after work.
The body... will tend to acclimate to that, and still produce milk, per the times of day you nurse him.

Or if you just want to be done with it... you will need to supplement him with Formula. He is very young. So, by gradually REPLACING nursings, with a bottle of Formula, the body will naturally produce less.

If you go cold turkey, you will get engorged.

BUT, before you wean, you need to make sure, that your baby WILL take a bottle. (unless he is taking a bottle already, per your pumped milk), because some babies, will not at all, take any bottles whatsoever.
My daughter was like that. She would ONLY nurse.

And... you need to see, IF your baby will even take Formula.
Some babies, will not.

*I am adding this: whether feeding baby by breast or bottle of Formula, ALWAYS feed baby on-demand, 24/7, day and night. For the 1st year, this is a baby's primary source of nutrition. Not solids and not other liquids.
And at growth-spurts, they need to feed more, get hungrier day and night, and feeding frequency increases too. Normal.

Yes, feed during teething. They still need to feed and still need nourishment. That does not change. If not feeding, baby will get dehydrated and this is dangerous in a baby.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

It's best to nurse for at least one year - per the American Pediatric Association and at least 2 years per the World Health Organization...

Why in such a hurry to force weaning on your infant?

You've got at least another 3-4 months to worry about teething - but that's a simple solution too.

Breastfeeding gives antibodies, complex and species specific complex carbs, fats, proteins and amino acids... not to mention amazing amounts of much needed skin to skin contact and one on one loving and comfort from Mommy. These are not things you can get thru synthetic nutrition in formula or another species's breastmilk...

Your little one is only this age once, only this innocent and needy once - - once it's gone you will not get this time back.

If you need help with supply - since pumping after 3 months is kinda difficult for most Moms, message me and I'll give you some helpful tips.

I wanted to add... I was a first time Mommy and 100% alone. I was forced to return to work at 6 weeks after the cesarean because I couldn't afford to heal any longer. I was full time when my child was 6 weeks old until 6 months old. I nursed EXCLUSIVELY thru this time AND pumped. At the time she was 6 months, I couldn't handle being away from her all day - so I became a Nanny and STILL exclusively nursed and pumped until she was 9 months when I introduced solids. If a single Mother with a horrible cesarean issue (I had complications) can do it - I'm sure most other Moms could too - with much more ease and less stress. She nursed past 2 years old and we both have many loving and warm memories of that. She's 5 y/o now and I am now married with #2 on the way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

If you are not opposed to it, it would be best if you continue for at least the 1st 6 mos and after that you decide. Every one is different, some wean at 1yr, others at 3yrs old. It's just how much your body can handle, produce and your child's need.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't have personal experience with weaning such a young baby, I bf til 13 months, including pumping at work from 2 1/2 months. Teething does not need to interfere with nursing. When you are ready to start the weaning process, the best thing to do is elminate one breastfeeding or pumping at a time, replacing it with a bottle feed. Give your body 3-5 days to readjust its milk supply before eliminating another feeding, usually the last to go is the before bed nursing. As you can see, this whole process can take about a month, but it's best for your body to wean gradually.



answers from New York on

Whether or not to breastfeed, and how long to do it for, is a personal decision, so I would ignore some of the responses you have had and make your own decision about this!
Stopping breastfeeding is not a bad decision if it's the right thing for you. Not everyone wants to be breastfeeding toddlers, and mixing b/f with working can be difficult.
It's best not to go cold turkey and just drop one feed at a time, replacing it with a formula feed, and if you can, leave it a good few days or a week before you drop one more feed. When I weaned my 5 month old I went from fully b/f to fully formula feeding over a week, and that was too fast - I had problems with leaking breasts, and also the sudden drop in hormones meant I began to suffer badly from insomnia! When I weaned my second I did it a lot more gradually and it was easier.
One thing I found with both of mine was that they were not very keen on bottles while they were still partially breastfed, but once I had stopped b/f altogether they were great with taking the bottles, so mixed feeding was not as easy as all that. I know some people manage to do both though, eg b/f morning and night, and bottles during the day.



answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with Rebecca P. I went back to work at 3 months and I had a very tough time breastfeeding so I was definitely done by the time I had to go back to work. The best is gradually replacing nursing with bottle feeding and mixing formula with the breast milk. 3 oz breast milk, 1 oz formula, gradually increasing not only the amount of formula, but also the bottle. I did morning nursing, then bottles during the day, then nursing at night for a week, then cut out the morning the next week, and finally the night breastfeeding going to all bottles. Neither of my boys, 2 and 4, had any problems switching to the bottle and they are both very healthy, even not breastfeeding until 1 or 2 years old as others have mentioned or should I say encouraged...strongly. :)



answers from Cleveland on

if u are sure you want to be done with nursing by spring i suggest do it now, when you pump see if he will take your milk from a bottle and then after a week or so of feeding him from a bottle with your milk get formula (either ready made or powdered i suggest ready made liquid until you are sure he can handle that kind) and if he is eating 4 oz of of milk do 1 oz formula and 3 oz of your milk and after a few feedings do 2oz formula to 2 oz of yours and the next day do 3oz of forumula to 1 oz breast milk and then after a few bottles you should be good to go to all formula and as for as dealing with the pressure wear a tight tight bra and then ice them after work if they hurt really bad and after 3/4 days the pressure will lighten up but you may need to wear breast pads to soak up the leaking milk

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