Wyoming WIC

Weaning From Breastfeeding

Weaning is the process of slowly giving your baby other foods while you continue to breastfeed.
It is a natural stage in your baby’s growth.

When To Wean Your Baby

Breastfeeding is good for a mother and child at any age. Some mothers and babies continue to nurse into the toddler years and beyond. The decision to wean your baby is up to you and your baby. There is no “perfect” time.

It’s easiest and most comfortable to wean when your baby starts the process. For most babies, this happens when they are getting more of their nutrition from solid foods. Babies who are ready to wean usually do so gradually. Over several weeks, baby will drop one breastfeeding session at a time. Eventually, baby will only nurse once a day or less.

If you wean your baby from breast milk before baby is 12 months old, then you will need to supplement their diet with infant formula. Keep in mind that babies should not drink cow’s milk before their first birthday.

Your baby’s age, the typical number of times you breastfeed each day and whether your baby is ready to wean can affect how long the weaning process takes.

Weaning may pause or slow down if:

  1. Your baby is sick or teething. Baby may need the extra comfort and antibodies from breastfeeding.
  2. A major change has occurred at home. Try not to start weaning when you first return to work or school.
  3. Your baby is struggling to wean. If your baby is resisting, they might not be ready. Try again in another month or two.

When you and your baby are ready to wean:

  1. Try a “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach for one nursing session at a time. This means, at the usual feeding time, don’t automatically offer your breast. But if your child asks to nurse, don’t refuse. Typically, the last breastfeeding sessions babies drop are the ones before they fall asleep or after they wake up.
  2. Serve solid foods at the table in a highchair. This assists with weaning and helps your baby start a new routine.
  3. When you would normally breastfeed, distract your baby with an activity. Reading a book, going on a walk, playing together, or snuggling without having breast available are special ways to bond in place of breastfeeding.
  4. Give your baby lots of extra love and attention. Weaning can be emotional for both of you.

Tips for Weaning Safely and Comfortably

Monitor your breasts while you are weaning. If you are feeling uncomfortable or your breasts feel very full, you can pump or hand express enough milk to help relieve the pressure. Cool compresses applied to your breasts can also provide relief if you experience pain or swelling.

Install this web app on your iPhone: tap ios-share and then Add to Home Screen.


Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Laid-Back Hold

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: