Weaning gradually and with love

I'm not in a hurry to wean my 10 month old, but, I am wondering how to make the process gradual. During the day, she will go up to six hours without asking to nurse. However, she still nurses to go to sleep at night and for her naps. Should I be encouraging her to space out her feeds or give up nap and nighttime feeds? Can I offer cow's milk instead of an occasional nursing?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

If you are still happily nursing and are comfortable with continuing to follow your daughter's cues, you can keep nursing her in this manner. Her feedings have already begun to space out. Many moms find that using the "don't offer, don't refuse" rule works well as they begin the weaning process. As you have noticed, the nursings associated with naptimes and bedtime are often the last ones to go. Many moms and babies enjoy the closeness they share during these feeds.

I would recommend waiting until your daughter is a year old before offering her cow's milk. This is a highly allergic food, accounting for 20 percent of food allergies. If there is a family history of allergy, you might want to further delay the introduction of dairy products. Substituting other foods and drinks for a nursing session is appropriate. Remember that duringthe second half of the first year, mother's milk should still provide 75 percent of your baby's nutritional needs, so when beginning solids think quality, not quantity.

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