4 Things You Can Do If You’re Not Ready To Wean

4 Things You Can Do If You're Not Ready To Wean

Although some mothers face challenges in the early days, breastfeeding can end up being a rewarding and empowering experience.

Breastfeeding doesn’t only provide a child with important nutrition – it’s also nurturing.

Breastfeeding also gives mothers a chance to sit down and focus completely on their babies.

If mothers have returned to work, breastfeeding can also be a great way for them to reconnect with their babies.

4 Things You Can Do If You’re Not Ready To Wean

Some mothers and their children come to enjoy breastfeeding so much the idea of weaning is unwelcome, even if they feel there is pressure to do so.

What should you do if you don’t feel like weaning?

Here are 4 things to think about:

#1: Remember The ‘Right’ Time To Wean Is An Individual Choice

The right time to wean for you and your child isn’t set by any breastfeeding statistics.

In fact, the right time to wean is an individual choice, and should be determined by what works best in your family’s personal circumstances.

If breastfeeding is going well for you and your child, there’s no need to stop.

#2: Keep In Mind There Are Important Health Reasons To Keep Breastfeeding

The importance of breastfeeding for the health of both the mother and her child doesn’t stop when a child turns a certain age.

In fact, a dose-response relationship exists between many of the health outcomes associated with breastfeeding.

This means the longer you keep breastfeeding, the better the health outcomes for you and your baby. Or, to put it another way, the shorter the breastfeeding duration, the poorer the health outcomes.

For detailed information about the ways in which breastfeeding is important to the health of mothers and children, see these Belly Belly articles:

#3: Remember Why Breastfeeding Works For You And Your Family

Health reasons aside, there might be many other reasons why breastfeeding works well for you and your family.

For example, breastfeeding your child to sleep at night could be your golden ticket to a few hours of peace and quiet to do whatever you want to do, for yourself.

It might also be a useful strategy to help calm a tired or upset toddler.

In whatever way breastfeeding works for you and your family, it can continue if you don’t wish to stop.

#4: Think About Why You’re Considering Weaning

Some mothers feel pressure to wean because the length of time a mother breastfeeds is often more socially driven than health driven.

The views of partners, parents, family and friends, and the opinion of society influence how long a mother will breastfeed more than we realise.

That means pressure to wean might begin when a baby is only a few months old – particularly in places where breastfeeding rates are low.

From a biological perspective, however, the natural weaning age for human beings has been estimated at between 2.5 and 7 years.

So if outside pressure is causing you to question your lack of desire to wean, take no notice.

The right time to wean is when you and your child are ready. As long as breastfeeding is going well for both of you, there’s no need to wean. In fact, there are important reasons to keep going!

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Renee Kam IBCLC CONTRIBUTOR

Renee Kam is mother to Jessica and Lara, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a physiotherapist, author of 'The Newborn Baby Manual' and an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor. In her spare time, Renee enjoys spending time with family and friends, horse riding, running and reading.


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