How To Know If It’s Time To Wean Your Baby

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smiling young mother breastfeeding baby at night

Knowing when the time is right to wean your infant can be confusing and emotional. Breastfeeding provides an amazing connection to your baby since you have been the one responsible for solely providing for their nutritional needs. Weaning is a big step in both your life and theirs, so it’s normal to want to make sure you’re making the right choice on when to begin. If you’re wondering how you will know, there are a few clues to help you decide if it’s the right time. 

Your Baby Is Biting/ Nipping You

If you find your baby is biting or nipping you excessively during breastfeeding, they may be telling you they’ve begun to lose interest. Being nipped at is no fun and can cause damage if they snap down hard enough. Babies can bite for multiple reasons, but if they are spending more time using their teeth than drinking, they may be ready to switch to either a bottle or sippy cup, depending on their age. 

You’re Ready To Try For Another Baby

If you’re ready to try to conceive again, you may wean your baby to allow your period to restart. Many women do not have their menstrual cycles while breastfeeding, affecting their chances of getting pregnant. Typically, your period will return a few months after weaning, but it may take longer for some women. 

If you are already pregnant and breastfeeding, you may notice your baby is no longer interested in your milk. When I was pregnant and still nursing my son, he decided one day he was no longer interested and weaned himself naturally. If this happens to you, don’t worry. Your milk’s flavor may change and no longer taste the same from the pregnancy. As a result, your baby may self-wean as mine did. 

You’re Constantly Dealing With Mastitis

Mastitis, or an infected mammary gland, is one of the most painful experiences a nursing mother can face. I have only experienced it once in my life, and that was more than enough! If you have to deal with constant mastitis flare-ups, you may decide to wean your baby to end the cycle of infections. Although there are antibiotics to treat it, there is no way to avoid the risk of infection while nursing. Weaning is the best way to ensure you no longer have to deal with nursing-induced mastitis.  

You Are Ready To Have Your Body Back

Breastfeeding requires you to give 100% of yourself at all times to your baby. Although it is beautiful, it’s ok to feel like you want your body to be your own again. If you find yourself in this position, don’t allow guilt to make you ignore your feelings or believe the lie that you’re not a good mom. Whether your baby eats from the breast or a bottle, they will still feel your love and know that you are always there for them. Self-care is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. When you are taken care of and feel good, your baby will be taken care of and feel good. 

Your Mental Health Is Affected

There is no doubt that breastfeeding affects you both emotionally and mentally. It can be a euphoric experience for some women that makes them feel whole; for others, it can be stressful and invasive. If you fall into the latter category, you are not alone.  There is no set way you are supposed to feel when you choose to nurse, so there is nothing wrong if you find it’s doing you more harm than good. 

If you are suffering from post-partum or just struggling mentally, breastfeeding may be too much of a commitment. If your baby is not latching correctly, or it’s painful every time they eat, that can take a toll on you. Whatever the reason, if your mental health is being affected, there is no shame in weaning. Remember, you must take care of yourself to be able to take care of your baby successfully. 

If you’re considering weaning your baby, there is no set rule for when it’s time. Take every factor into consideration and do what you believe is right for both yourself and your child. Whether they continue nursing or it’s time to wean, your baby knows you love them, and that’s what matters most.