Breastfeeding Advice: Baby-Led Weaning

Breastfeeding Advice: Baby-Led Weaning My baby is self-weaning at 7 months.  How can I get back on track to continue breastfeeding?

Your baby is at a common age when many moms ask me this question. There are a number of factors that could influence disinterest in breastfeeding. Ask yourself—has my baby been taking solids? Has my baby been sick recently? Or has my baby started teething? If you said yes to any of these questions, then your answer may explain your baby’s recent disinterest in breastfeeding.

There are other explanations for self-weaning, too. Babies also become very social at this age. With your baby’s social development, it is possible that your baby is more distracted than before. Shorter breastfeeding sessions (5-10 minutes) are not uncommon.  If your baby is refusing to nurse, here are a few suggestions you could try to make breastfeeding last longer and more successful:

Try to nurse when your baby is sleepy

If you time your breastfeeding sessions just before nap time, there is a better chance your baby will be less distracted and able to nurse more easily. Perhaps use pumped breast milk when you notice your baby is very alert and hungry until you both get into a smoother breastfeeding rhythm again.

Breastfeed your baby before offering solids instead of afterwards

If you have introduced solids into your baby’s diet, try nursing before feeding you baby solids. If your baby is hungrier when you latch, there is a better chance he or she will nurse more. Also, at your baby’s age, your infant should still be getting most of his or her calories from breast milk.

Nurse in a room with little distractions

Make this a time for the two of you! If your baby is side-tracked by sounds and movement, you might not breastfeed for as long as you’d like.

Remember, beginning around 7 months, babies are easily distracted.  If your infant continues to refuse the breast, remember to continue to pump so that your milk supply doesn’t dwindle.  With persistence and patience your infant should return to breastfeeding.