Sevrage naturel, milk blues et transition sein-biberon - Élhée

Natural weaning, milk blues and breast-bottle transition

Weaning your baby is a normal stage of the mother-child relationship. However, and because each breastfeeding is different, this breast-bottle transition towards diversification is not always experienced well. If kindness and gentleness are on the program for natural weaning guided by the child, it nevertheless sometimes leads to a milk blues that is just as natural, but more abrupt, which it is good to recognize in order to learn how to thwart it.


Natural weaning, gentleness itself

Natural weaning is a process by which the child stops taking milk from his mother in a gradual and self-directed manner , without pressure or constraint. It's quite simply him who decides to breastfeed less, then to no longer breastfeed. A change that can extend over several months and even several years , and which takes place at a unique pace for each mother-child duo .

Between 6 and 12 months, the baby begins to be interested in solid foods, fruits, vegetables and small meals prepared by his mother. At the same time, he still drinks milk and can continue to breastfeed for a long time. We generally only talk about natural weaning from the age of two . Weaning led by the child which can also take place much later, up to three or five years. A practice that is still quite rare in France, but particularly beneficial for the autonomy and confidence of children.

💡 Natural weaning often occurs alongside other learning

Babies who move towards more spaced feedings generally enter a developmental phase noticed by parents. DME , food autonomy, language, cleanliness or movement, no wonder one or the other occurs at the same time.

Unmistakable signs when your baby is going to stop breastfeeding

Of course, you are on the lookout for the slightest change in your child. And in fact, have you noticed a different behavior in relation to food? If the natural weaning period is near or has begun , your baby could:

  • ask for the breast less often ,
  • skip a feeding , space them out , resume, then go a few days without feeding,
  • fill fewer diapers , but with more solid stools,
  • take an interest in the contents of your plate during meals,
  • wanting to hold their own bottle , training cup or spoon.

So many clues that show that little by little, your baby is losing interest in the breast. However, rest assured, each child has their own rhythm. It is therefore entirely possible that the evolution is not linear and that it will take a certain amount of time for the baby to stop breastfeeding permanently.

The breast-bottle transition, a whole new adventure

Baby doesn't really want to breastfeed anymore, but he still needs milk. At one year old, it is estimated that half a liter of milk (500 ml) is a good amount each day. So here comes the transition period between breast and bottle .

👉 Also read: What infant formula for my baby?

As a replacement for breastfeeding, a bottle, training cup or cup allows your child to drink breast milk, infant milk or cow's milk. But you still need to find the most suitable container, the one that your little one will prefer to use.

  • At Élhée, we recommend the training cup from 6 months , designed for water, but nothing prevents you from putting milk in it. 🥛

  • As for the glass or cup , it's up to you to see if your child is ready. On the technical side, we recommend that you choose a model that is not too large , not too deep and non-slip , to avoid accidents.

  • But the best solution is undoubtedly the breastfeeding bottle . Sensory , close to breastfeeding , soft , made of healthy and unbreakable medical silicone , odorless and round, the BibROND Élhée has everything to please baby.

🍼 3 tips to try to help your child switch to a bottle:

  • Start by giving bottles of breast milk using the breast pump.
  • Delegate the meal temporarily to make a real change.
  • Gently warm the milk (breast or infant) before giving it.

Recognizing breast engorgement

Stopping breastfeeding your baby or allowing natural weaning to take place implies the gradual disappearance of feedings. And who says less feedings means milk which accumulates at the risk of creating engorgement.

This common complication of breastfeeding is not serious , but can be painful and even lead to infection. Also, learning to recognize congestion allows you to anticipate it, relieve yourself and avoid worrying.

  • The breasts are swollen, hot, sometimes painful, they redden and give you a significant tingling sensation. You may feel the same thing when your milk comes in or if your baby hasn't breastfed for a long time.

Please note: if the breast remains red or turns purple, if a hard shell or if a fistula forms, if the skin appears cardboard or if a flu syndrome develops, accompanied or not by fever, there is a risk of mastitis. In this case, if it recurs or if the pain persists beyond 48 hours, consult your doctor or midwife for advice.

How to relieve congestion at the start of weaning?

To relieve engorgement, you need to empty the breast and drain it to allow the flow of stored milk. To achieve this, you can:

  • hydrate yourself by drinking as much mineral water as possible,
  • massage your breast by applying a warm compress to the nipple, which will help dilate the milk ducts,
  • use a breast pump without forcing , if the milk does not come out, try again later. To support you in the breast-bottle transition, Élhée has developed adapter rings which allow the BibROND to be used with a manual breast pump. Try them!

If baby is still breastfeeding and accepts it, breastfeed more often for a few days, vary breastfeeding positions and take inspiration from biological nurtering or instinctive breastfeeding).

Experience natural weaning well as a mother

Emotionally intense , the weaning period, when it is led by the child, is also often the origin of a new mother-baby bond. To remain positive throughout a sometimes very long process, find out how it is going and feel free to live it as you wish, with your child.

And then rest assured, your intuition coupled with increased observation of the signals sent by baby (fewer feedings, longer nights, an interest in diversification, etc.) will guide you through this new rhythm.

However, if seeing your child stop breastfeeding makes you sad or worries you, if you find this situation difficult to live with, talk about it with those around you . Open up to your partner, talk about it with your mother or your friends who have already been there and don't hesitate to turn to your doctor if necessary. La Leche League or a lactation consultant can be of great help here.

Finally, be flexible with yourself as you are with your child . Take care of yourself, eat healthily, get enough sleep if possible and give yourself all the self-love you may have lacked in the last few months since baby's arrival.

Deal with the milk blues if they arise

Despite the kindness of those around you, a natural weaning desired by your little one and your positive attitude, it happens that the milk blues take over, taking (momentarily) with it, courage, happiness and good resolutions.

But what are milk blues?

Fatigue , melancholy , sadness , regrets or depression , the milk blues affect many women and manifest themselves in different ways in the days or weeks following the end of breastfeeding – whether this is a choice or not.

Mothers who have experienced milk blues talk about their tears , strong nostalgia , a feeling of forced separation from their baby (stopping breastfeeding out of obligation), a feeling of no longer knowing how to position themselves in relation to their motherhood , to their role as a mother. mom, a form of abandonment , a little “mourning” to do with a (almost) bygone period. They ask themselves a lot of questions: what are they for now? How will they maintain the bond with their child?

👉 Also read: How to overcome post-breastfeeding depression?

Milk blues, like baby blues or postpartum depression, are partly linked to the drop in breastfeeding hormones. It is especially the drop in oxytocin levels (hormone of attachment, love, well-being and the mother-child bond) that makes weaning difficult to cope with, especially if it is unexpected (in the case of a breastfeeding strike) or if it is not chosen (because the breastfeeding mother has to return to work for example).

Post-weaning depression, a taboo subject and still poorly understood

If baby blues, which affects 50 to 80% of women in France after the birth of their child, is today well documented and understood, milk blues remains a taboo and rather unexplored subject . Intimate and little mentioned, it often passes for a period of great fatigue, exaggeration or even, is taken for a delayed baby blues.

If, for all mothers, the end of each period spent with their child is a little heartbreaking, the cessation of breastfeeding, often difficult to accept, is a more complicated period sometimes even compared to a depressive episode.

  • The end of the mother-child bubble that is breastfeeding is often felt like an emotional rupture.

  • The societal injunction that most mothers must stop breastfeeding to return to work is often resented and rightly so. The right time should be a time chosen in harmony.

Fortunately, the milk blues can be reduced by anticipating it through a gradual cessation of breastfeeding if you have no choice, or by offering you both natural weaning spread over time.

Weaning baby gently, the best defense against the milk blues

Time will allow you to better experience the end of your breastfeeding period. But taking a step back will help you too. Tell yourself that the end of one stage always marks the beginning of another . That your baby is growing up is true, but that many adventures still await you.

And treat yourself as soon as possible, by cuddling your baby and those around you, to extra doses of oxytocin to compensate. Do yourself good too by taking care of yourself , going out, seeing a friend, taking a bath, eating chocolate... And rest assured, the milk blues are temporary , like all changes and transitions, he ends up passing.


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