How to Gently Wean a Clingy Baby from Breastfeeding

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Every nursing mother has a different breastfeeding journey. Some are brief; some extended. Some are mostly blissful, others are highly stressful—and most fall somewhere in between.

No matter how different breastfeeding journeys can be, they all have one thing in common: at some point, all breastfeeding journeys must come to an end.

Weaning a child from breastfeeding can be an emotional time for both mom and baby. If you’re trying to wean a clingy baby from breastfeeding? Things can get even more stressful.

If this sounds like you, fear not! These tips will walk you through how to gently wean a clingy baby from breastfeeding step-by-step.

How to Gently Wean a Clingy Baby from Breastfeeding

1. Set a Tentative Timeframe

Unless you need to wean immediately, a gradual wean will be easier on both you and your little one.

Aiming for a month long wean is ideal, as it will give your body and your baby plenty of time to adjust to the change in routine. Of course, you can always shorten or lengthen the timeframe, depending on your family’s situation.

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2. Purchase Bottles that are Designed to Mimic the Breast

This step is perhaps the most important in the weaning process, and is typically what makes or breaks a smooth transition from breast to bottle.

The big key here: you need to find bottles that your baby will actually drink from. In our family, our daughter didn’t take the bottles that we originally purchased for her, which is actually pretty common. About 65% of moms have to switch bottles after their baby is born because the first bottle didn’t work, so if you’re in this group of mamas like I am—you’re not alone!

If you have to go repurchase bottles, go for something that has a high success rate and is recommended by actual moms.

NUK Simply Natural Bottles are perfect for this transition. Not only do the bottles feature a super soft silicon nipple that is the same shape as your nursing nipple, the bottle’s nipple also includes multiple nipple holes for milk to come out of—just like a real nursing breast. Brilliant, right?! This will help the feel of the bottle seem incredibly familiar to your baby, thus making her or him more likely to latch on and take the bottle.

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These bottles were accepted by 93% of babies*, which means there’s a darn good chance that they’ll work for your little love.

I picked up a few of these bottles from my local Walmart in the infant feeding section. Follow and interact with NUK social channels for potential offers and giveaways, especially for Simply Natural September!

3. Gradually Replace Feedings With a Bottle of Expressed Breastmilk

Now that you’ve found the bottles that your little one will actually take, you can start replacing nursing sessions with bottles of expressed breastmilk, one at a time.

Starting with expressed breastmilk will help keep the feel of the feeding very familiar, especially when combined with the use of NUK Simply Natural Bottles that mimic the feel and flow of the breast.

You can either use milk from a freezer stash if you have one (this will allow your body start weaning quicker), or pump and give your little one the milk immediately.

As your little one becomes more comfortable with taking the bottle, you can decrease the number of nursing sessions and increase the bottle feedings until you are doing all bottle feedings.

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4. Switch from Expressed Breastmilk to Other Milk of Choice

Once you’ve transitioned your little one off of the breast and onto a NUK Simply Natural Bottle, you’re ready to wean your body from breastfeeding.

Talk to your child’s pediatrician to find the milk option that will work best for your little one after the breastmilk is gone.

Once you find an option that you are comfortable with, start introducing the milk to your child in your bottles. Your child will still get the comforting and familiar feeling of mom from the bottles, while gradually getting used to the different flavor of milk that is not from the breast.

Because you will be physically weaning (which can be emotional and physically painful), make sure you have the right weaning supplies on hand to make the process as easy on your body as possible. Happy mom; happy baby!

*93% of babies accept the nipple on NUK Simply Natural Bottles, based on independent market research amongst 272 mothers in 2015/2016.




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September 28, 2017
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  • Reply Cristi Comes

    I love these tips and wish I had had them with my daughter. She breastfed for 3 1/2 years and was really difficult to wean. {client}

    September 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm
    • Reply Kaity

      Oh my goodness, 3 1/2 years?! That’s so amazing!

      September 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm
  • Reply Echo

    What great tips. I have a 3-month-old so we aren’t ready to wean, but these are going to be very helpful tips when we are.

    September 28, 2017 at 5:16 pm
    • Reply Kaity

      Congrats on your sweet little one, mama! 🙂 Definitely keep the tips on hand for further down the road.

      September 28, 2017 at 5:55 pm
  • Reply Leah

    Oh my goodness I needed this a few months ago! Pinning this for future reference!

    September 28, 2017 at 6:59 pm
    • Reply Kaity

      Thanks, Leah! Hope it comes in handy down the road. 😉

      September 28, 2017 at 10:54 pm
  • Reply Sophie Piper

    I love your gentle approach. For some reason, it just wasn’t hard for me to wean? But I know it can be nightmarish. I think that was just one thing I strangely lucked out on. I know people will find this crazy helpful. Thank you!

    September 28, 2017 at 8:34 pm
    • Reply Kaity

      Thanks, Sophie! 🙂 It’s so crazy how different it can be from baby to baby, right?! My oldest was just like “Nah, I’m good” and weaned herself right off (lol), but my youngest is the exact opposite. *Sigh* Adventures in parenting. 🙂

      September 28, 2017 at 10:53 pm
  • Reply Kyra Faulkner

    Each journey is so different, huh? My second child was so over me at 14 months! But dang did having a pumping system and a bottle she would take come in handy for being able to go to the gym or make a meeting. I’ll keep my eye out for these bottles with my third. xx

    September 28, 2017 at 9:14 pm
    • Reply Kaity

      SO very different. My first was exactly like your second child—just over it by about 14/15 months. Definitely try these bottles out for your little one. My girl loves them and the transition has been fairly smooth! 🙂

      September 28, 2017 at 10:50 pm
  • Reply Kassi

    These are really great tips! I love the idea of setting a set time frame that works for both you and your babe. We are still working on a weaning plan that is going to work for us!

    October 1, 2017 at 4:40 am
  • Reply Mary Abbott

    These are some great tips, thank you!

    October 1, 2017 at 4:51 pm
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