how to wean your baby from breastfeeding

We did it! Ben is weaned. I am D-O-N-E. I wrote in this post that I was planning to wean Ben by removing one feed each week for four weeks. I was a little clueless about how to wean and how to stop milk production.

I did some research but it seems like everyone’s situation is different. Some women were pumping at work and reduced those sessions, some were doing formula during the day and nursing at night. Some kids Ben’s age were doing more or less feeds at the one year mark.

I knew I needed to do what felt most logical to me. I didn’t know that four weeks was the perfect plan but again, I just had to trust my gut.

I made a plan of my own and it worked! It worked so well!

Where We Started

Just for some background…

From about 9 months on, we were doing 4 feedings a day. One right when he woke up, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and before bed.

Ben never had formula and had not had cows milk. It was always my personal goal to get to one year of exclusive breastfeeding and then wean.

As I’ve said before, I’m grateful I was able to do this, that breastfeeding wasn’t hard for me, and that I had the option to work from home and did not need to pump.

That said, I wasn’t really emotionally attached to breastfeeding and by the end, it was just a thing we did and went about our day. Honestly, snuggling and feeding him a bottle gave me the same amount of warm fuzzies.

Introducing Cow’s Milk

I’d read that you should introduce cow’s milk slowly and since Ben hadn’t had much dairy, I thought that seemed smart. For the first four days we did half pumped milk (which I had frozen in the freezer from back when I was pumping before bed every night) and half cow’s milk. He seemed totally fine so after four days we proceeded with full bottles of cow’s milk.

Of note, each of Ben’s feedings is about 5oz. of cow’s milk. I honestly don’t know how much I was actually producing but this seems to be enough for him when combined with a healthy diet of solids.

The Weaning Plan

Days 1-4

7am Breastfeed
10:30am Bottle of half pumped breastmilk, half cows milk
3pm Breastfeed
7pm Breastfeed

Days 4-7

7am Breastfeed
10:30am Bottle of cow’s milk
3pm Breastfeed
7pm Breastfeed

Week 2

7am Breastfeed
10:30am Bottle of cow’s milk
3pm Bottle of cow’s milk
7pm Breastfeed

Week 3-4

7am Bottle of cow’s milk
10:30am Bottle of cow’s milk
3pm Bottle of cow’s milk
7pm Breastfeed

And finally

7am Bottle of cow’s milk
10:30am Bottle of cow’s milk
3pm Bottle of cow’s milk
8pm Bottle of cow’s milk

This schedule worked super well for us. We introduced cow’s milk slowly enough that Ben never had any issues.

If you’re attempting to wean your baby and you are doing more than four feedings a day, I would probably add extra weeks and remove one feeding per week. You really want to give your baby time to adjust and your body time to reduce milk production.

My Comfort During Weaning

This schedule was also gradual enough that I didn’t experience too much pain until about three days after we were done.

With some of your advice from Instagram (thank you!) I did one day of cold cabbage leaves and some peppermint oil in a carrier oil. Whoa you guys. Peppermint oil! Cooling and delightful! I’ve since started putting it on my temples for headaches and WOW.

About five days after we stopped, I found a few clogged ducts and worked them out in a hot shower (painful AF), expressing a bit in the process. This helped me be more comfortable and didn’t seem to amp up my production at all.

I experienced a few days of discomfort which faded gradually and was gone within about two weeks of our last breastfeeding session. Now I’m very comfortable and we’ve been done for a few weeks. My body feels pretty much back to normal.

Overall I’m incredibly happy with my breastfeeding experience and honestly, pretty proud of myself and my body.

I realize this was a lot of boob talk but I’m so grateful for every woman who shared her birth/breastfeeding/child related experience and it feels like the best thing I can do is share my own and hope it helps someone too.