The weaning process begins the first time your baby takes food from a source other than your breast – whether it’s formula from a bottle or mashed banana from a spoon. Weaning is the gradual replacement of breastfeeding with other foods and ways of nurturing.
**Crystal: can you wrap up this intro paragraph with 3-4 sentences on why talking about baby weaning is important, then lead in and mention you will address some of the most common questions below
When can I begin weaning?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for ideal nutrition, your baby should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, and that nursing should continue after the introduction of solids for at least 12 months and longer if mother and baby wish. The World Health Organization recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, and that breastfeeding be continued for up to two years of age or beyond.
Will my milk production stop?
It’s a myth that the benefits of breastmilk stop at a certain point. Instead, they continue and are more significant and longer-lasting for both you and your child the longer breastfeeding continues. In fact, the antibodies in human milk are more concentrated the lesser the frequency of breastfeeding is (say with a toddler or older child). If you nurse on into your child’s toddler years he won’t even need cow’s milk as long as he receives other foods rich in protein, calcium, and fats, and nurses at least a couple of times a day. Read more here about the benefits of nursing past a year. **Crystal - Just putting a few sentences on the benefits of nursing a past a year will do :)
Is there a common age when weaning begins?
All children reach an age of being ready to wean at different times. While one may be ready – or at least more willing – at 18 months, another may not be ready until closer to 2, 3 or 4 years of age. The word “wean” means a passage from one relationship to another – not a loss or detachment from a relationship.
In ancient writings, the word “wean” meant “to ripen” — like a fruit nourished to readiness, its time to leave the vine… Weaning was a joyous occasion because a weaned child was valued as a fulfilled child; a child was so filled with the basic tools of the earlier stages of development that she graduated to take on the next stage of development more independently.
— from The Baby Book by William Sears. MD and Martha Sears, RN, p. 187
**Crystal: can you conclude here with a few sentences to congratulate the mama for transitioning into a new stage of development after weaning, and also to remind the mama that she did a wonderful job getting there.