Weaning is a developmental milestone, much like rolling over, sitting and clapping. Every child is different, and weaning doesn't look or work the same way for every family.
Whether you are weaning from bottle or breast, leading the wean or having your baby do the leading for you, it definitely isn't easy, and it certainly doesn't happen quickly. There are so many varied opinions, it can be overwhelming just to decide which article to read. When to wean, why to wean, how to wean, etc. If you're unsure and have questions, the Canadian Pediatric Society offers some really great information on all types of weaning and everything that comes with it. Worth a read, for sure.
Regardless of the path you take there are some common situations to avoid.
Weaning is a gradual process. Take your time. Wait for the developmental cues from your baby, and wait until you're ready. Trust your mommy gut. If you don't feel ready, wait. You want this to be a relaxed and enjoyable change for both of you.
Don't compare your weaning "success" to anyone else
I was always comparing my first child to my girlfriends' son who was the same age. He always seemed to be eating so much better than my son. What a waste of time! Just because it works for them, doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you. You owe it to yourself to stop worrying! Give yourself the space and time to do it your way, the best way for you and your baby.
Don't feel pressured to follow a schedule
Introduce solids and drop bottle/ nursing sessions as it works and feels manageable for you. Remember, until you're ready, you can continue to feed solids AND nurse on demand. The CSA even recommends continuing to do so, when possible, until 2 yrs.
Don't stress about what foods you are starting with
My second child despised cereals. My doctor explained that the cereals are fortified with iron, which makes them a good first food choice, because by 6 months a breast fed child needs to increase their iron intake. In lieu of cereals, he recommended iron rich food including meat, beans, lentils and spinach. We left the cereals in the dust, and he started eating just about anything else he could get his hands on…and he didn't break.
It's always daunting when you're heading into new territory with your baby. Change is exciting, and scary. They will eat, they won't eat, they will love it, they will hate it, they will love you, they will hate you. Give yourself permission to go with the flow, and you'll soon figure out what works best for both of you.
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