Weaning from Breastfeeding Quickly and Painlessly 2

Weaning from Breastfeeding Quickly and Painlessly

From the moment my husband and I decided to try for a baby, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It just made sense to me. I don’t want to get into the controversy surrounding whether breast is best, but rather, for those mom’s who have chosen to breastfeed, I want to discuss the process of weaning. As much as I love breastfeeding my son, I was ready to wean him at 12 months.

I wasn’t necessarily sick of breastfeeding. What I was sick of was not being able to lose the last few pounds of baby weight, wear any of my old (and non-nursing) bras, and having to think about the logistics of his feeding times before leaving the house. Some will say that you should breastfeed until age 2 if you are able, per the recommendation of the World Health Organization. For me, 12 months was long enough that I felt like my baby boy received all the best benefits of breastfeeding, and it was time to move forward. How did I do it? Read on to hear my method for weaning from breastfeeding quickly and painlessly. 


Weaning from Breastfeeding Quickly and Painlessly

Every Baby is Different

I couldn’t possibly start this article with anything other than a disclaimer about how all babies are different. My method worked wonderfully with my son but that doesn’t mean it will work well for your son or daughter. Also, I am focusing on weaning at 12 months. If your baby is younger or older, the method may need to be adjusted to meet their developmental stage. 


Avoid Weaning During other Big Changes

Before you start the weaning process, make sure that your baby isn’t already going through some tough changes. Did you just move to a new home? Is he/she having a tough time with teething now? Is there anything different in your baby’s routine that involves more separation from mom? If any big changes such as these are happening or just happened, you might want to hold off on the weaning process until things calm down a bit. While they may seem to be handling the changes well now, adding weaning into the mix could put them over the edge.

Weaning from breastfeeding does not need to be a negative experience, in fact it should be a positive experience for both you and baby. By planning the timing right, and catering to the specific needs of your unique baby, you can make weaning into an exciting new chapter for your little one! Throughout the process, try not to focus on being sad that the breastfeeding journey is ending and, instead, focus on how proud you are of your baby for taking this new leap. Your positive attitude can have a big impact on how your baby reacts to the changes. 


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Determine Your Replacement Method

For me, this was easy. My son drank only breast milk from birth to 12 months. At 12 months, babies can start drinking cow’s milk. I decided that I was going to use cow’s milk as my replacement, unless he showed any signs of an intolerance. If your baby is under 12 months, you will obviously be using formula instead. Additionally, some parents decide to use toddler formula when weaning babies 12 months or older if their baby has issues with diary. 

I’m sure there are a great deal of other options out there that I am not covering. My intention is not to discount these other options in any way. I simply am not educated enough on them to make any sort of recommendation and I would hate to misinform my readers. If you feel strongly about an option I did not mention, please feel free to let me know in the comments and I would be happy to look into it more and potentially add it into the article as well. 


Decide on  a Weaning Plan

This is where I strongly urge you to take it slow and focus on your baby’s response. I decided that I would remove one feeding at a time, replacing it with milk, and maintain the new schedule for 3-5 days before removing the next feeding. With each feeding, my son was well-adjusted by day 3 (he’s quite independent) so I moved on at that point. If your baby seems to need more time, go with 5 days, or maybe even longer.

Of course, you can always go cold turkey. There’s no physical harm to you or your baby if you choose to go this route, but I certainly don’t recommend it. It’s a very abrupt change that will likely be a negative experience for both of you emotionally. Additionally, you will experience discomfort due to engorgement. Taking it slow not only creates a more positive emotional experience, but ensures that your body adjusts naturally. 


My 10 Day Weaning Plan

(By his 12th birthday, he was nursing 4 times a day)

Days 1, 2 & 3

7:30AM – Nurse

11:00AM – Cow’s Milk

4:00PM – Nurse 

7:00PM – Nurse


Days 4, 5 & 6

7:30AM – Nurse

11:00AM – Cow’s Milk

4:00PM – Cow’s Milk

7:00PM – Nurse


Days 7, 8 & 9

7:30AM – Nurse 

11:00AM – Cow’s Milk

4:00PM – Cow’s Milk

7:00PM – Cow’s Milk


Day 10  – Weaned! 


Click Here to Learn More About Why I Chose a Parent-Led Schedule!


Tips and Tricks

Adapt to your Baby

I read up on weaning from breastfeeding quite a bit before I got started, but opinions vary so much. You really need to think about your own baby and their personality. My son is fairly independent, but he still gets clingy with me on days where I don’t give him enough attention. While some say that you should avoid familiar nursing places or have another caregiver do the feedings while weaning, I did just the opposite.

I would sit in the rocker in his nursery, where I always nursed him, and cuddle with him while giving him the sippy cup filled with milk. He wasn’t always super cooperative, and he did tug on my shirt a bit, but he also still got his mommy cuddle time and didn’t feel deprived of that. For us, this method was absolutely essential. Obviously it won’t work for everyone, but I wanted to present it as an option.




Consistency is Key

Being consistent is VERY important when weaning from breastfeeding. If you decide to start weaning – don’t go backwards. If your baby seems to be having a hard time, maybe linger on one step for a bit longer. Say you remove the first feeding and your baby is clinging to you like a little monkey constantly! Perhaps you want to take it slower than I did and wait until he/she has adjusted before moving on. But don’t simply give in and go back to nursing full-time. It will only make things harder when you try to wean again. 


Pumping Moms

If you don’t physically breastfeed at every (or any) feeding, the process will likely be even easier. Many moms will start by giving half breast milk and half of the replacement (cow’s milk or formula) and slowly removing the breast milk all together. While I cannot personally speak to this method, it seems to be a popular an effective option. 


What did YOU think of my method for weaning from breastfeeding? Did you do something different that worked well? I would love to hear about it in the comments below! 


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About Sane Momma

Jessica is a happily married stay at home mom of a little boy with a big personality. After having her son, she realized how important it is for moms to take care of themselves physically and mentally. Sane Momma is her contribution to help mommas everywhere find some sanity and focus on self-care.

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2 thoughts on “Weaning from Breastfeeding Quickly and Painlessly

  • Dana

    Hello! Love this. Only question I have, was your little one still waking at night for milk? I want to try but my little one still wakes 5/6 times in the night for milk! Thanks in advance x