Respectful Weaning: How and When to Do It

Respectful Weaning: How and When to Do It

Respectful Weaning: How and When to Do It

earRespectful weaning seeks, among other things, to ensure a smooth and harmonious transition of the baby from the breast to other foods. This approach focuses on the needs and rhythms of the child, promoting a positive reinforcement experience for both baby and mother. In this post we will contact you about how and when to carry out a respectful weaning, offering you practical advice to make this stage as comfortable and natural as possible.

What is respectful weaning?


Respectful weaning, which is also known as natural weaning, is a process of gradual transition from breastfeeding to complementary feeding, guided by the baby's signals and rhythm. It is based on the idea of respecting the needs and preferences of the child and the mother, both physical and emotional, and not forcing them to do anything from one moment to the next.

When does weaning a baby begin?

The reality is that there is no single and definitive time to start this process, since it depends on various factors, both for the baby and the mother. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding until at least six months of age, and then continuing with breastfeeding along with complementary foods until two years or more. The WHO points out that the decision of when to wean the baby is personal and should be made by the mother, considering the needs and preferences of both her and her child. If you are not sure what factors to consider to know when to start weaning your baby, you should know that they are the following:

About your baby

Your baby must be prepared for weaning both physically and emotionally, that is, he must have good control of his head and neck, as well as be able to sit with support, and show interest in solid foods.

Over you

You as a mother, ideally, have to feel comfortable and secure with the decision to wean. Don't do it just because people tell you so, although it is important that you have the support of your family and partner, remember that health professionals are the ones who really know if it is good or not for the baby to continue breastfeeding. If you have any doubts or insecurity, talk to them, don't be ashamed or afraid.

How to wean a baby respectfully?


There is no single, universal way to wean respectfully. As long as the needs of both the baby and the mother are respected, weaning will be respectful. Now, as a guideline, the most recommended thing is to do it like this:

You always start gradually

Gradual weaning is the most respectful method, because it allows the baby to slowly get used to the new routine. Reduce one breastfeeding session at a time, starting with the baby's least favorite, but you don't have to do it absolutely every day. That is, you can start by reducing feedings to only 2 or 3 days a week.

Maintain closeness and physical contact

Even if you don't breastfeed as such, the ideal, if possible, is to make sure you maintain physical and emotional contact with your baby. Hugs, cuddles, and quality time together can make up for the lack of breastfeeding while strengthening the bond.

Listen and watch your baby

Every baby is different. Pay attention to your baby's signals and respect his rhythm; if he shows resistance or distress, consider slowing down the process. You should do the same with yourself. If you feel that breastfeeding at the rate you are doing is not good for you, don't feel guilty about trying to reduce it and instead look for alternatives. What is really important is that both you and your baby are healthy and happy.

Be patient and consistent

Weaning almost always takes time and that is why it is important to be patient. Maintain consistency in the routine so your baby feels safe and confident during the transition. As you find what works for you and your baby, stick to it as much as possible, this way it will be easier for you and your baby will stay calm.

How long does respectful weaning last?

The weaning process is gradual and personalized that adapts to the rhythm of each baby and each mother, there is no specific duration. What will influence the duration of weaning? The following variables:

  • Age of the baby: If the baby begins weaning at an earlier age, the process is likely to be longer, since he still has a strong need to suck and closeness to the mother.
  • Baby Temperament: Babies with more demanding or clingy temperaments will need more time and patience during weaning.
  • Mother's availability: If the mother can spend a lot of time with the baby, it will be easier to wean him gradually.
  • Emotions of the baby and mother: The emotions of both the baby and the mother will directly influence how long it takes to complete weaning.

In general, respectful weaning can last from a few weeks to several months, or even more than a year. There is no need to rush or compare yourself with other mothers, the important thing is that the process is carried out gradually and positively.

How to do respectful weaning? Tips

Although there is no specific step by step or magic formula to carry out a respectful weaning, there are tips that are very useful for this situation:

  • Get informed: Before starting weaning, it is important that you inform yourself about the process and the different strategies that exist. If you're here you're already doing it, but you can also listen to podcasts, read books, attend workshops, etc.
  • Choose the right time: The best time to wean is when you and your baby are ready. Don't feel pressured to start the process if you don't feel safe or if the baby is having a difficult time.
  • Create a supportive environment: Surround yourself with people who are supportive and understanding during weaning. Don't listen to those who pressure or judge you.
  • Distract the baby: It is normal for your baby to continue asking for the breast, even at times when he or she has not been breastfeeding for months. Create a list of distractions to have on hand at times like this.
  • Eliminate daytime feedings before nighttime feedings: In general, it is easier to wean the baby from daytime feedings than from nighttime feedings. This is because the baby is more awake and active during the day, so it is easier to distract him and offer him alternatives.
  • Be patient: This does not mean that you should never feel frustrated, upset or that the situation is overwhelming you, but rather that you should not punish yourself for it, nor punish your baby.
  • Understand baby's emotions: Weaning is almost always an incredibly emotional process for baby. It is important that you are understanding of his feelings and that you give him a lot of love and support.
  • Trust your instinct: The most important thing is that you trust your instinct and your baby's signals. You know your child better than anyone and you will know when he or she is ready to wean.

What should you avoid during weaning?


As in any process, there are certain things that the ideal is not to do or do as little as possible. In the case of respectful weaning, what you should avoid doing is:

  • Action due to pressure or threats: Do not pressure or threaten the baby to stop breastfeeding, this will generate anxiety, stress and frustration in children, making the weaning process even more difficult.
  • Abrupt weaning: Do not stop breastfeeding suddenly, ideally this should all be a gradual process so that the baby and you adapt to the new feeding habits.
  • Use coercive methods: Do not use coercive methods to wean the baby, such as rubbing the breast with bitter substances or letting the baby cry until he falls a sleep regression in babies. These methods seem effective, but they are aggressive for your baby.
  • Compare yourself with other mothers: You, your baby and your situation are unique, do not compare yourself with other weaning experiences, you will only generate feelings of guilt and/or frustration.
  • Isolate yourself: Seek support from your partner, family, friends or breastfeeding support groups whenever you need it, you don't have to do everything alone.
  • Neglecting the baby's emotional needs: Weaning is an intense process for the baby, it is necessary and important that you give him a lot of love, attention and physical contact.
  • Wean during difficult times: Don't wean your baby during difficult times, such as an illness or a major change in his or her life. Doing this will only increase your little one's stress and anxiety.
  • Wean if you don't feel safe: Try not to wean the baby if you don't feel safe or ready. When we talk about respectful weaning, it is in reference to both the baby and you.

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In short, when it comes to seeking respectful weaning, the most important thing is that you always keep in mind both your baby's needs and yours. In the same way, you should consider your situation, it is okay to seek advice or references, but avoid comparing yourself, just because someone else has done it faster or with fewer setbacks does not mean that you are doing it wrong. Seek help whenever you need it, don't blame yourself and remember that the important thing is that you and your baby are happy and healthy.

Author: Kiddus Team

At Kiddus we take pride in creating high-quality accessories for kids that are both functional and fashionable. Our team is composed of professionals in the children's industry, including designers, engineers, and child development experts. We work together to create innovative and safe products that meet the needs of both children and parents. With years of experience and a passion for quality, we strive to exceed expectations and bring joy to families around the world.

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