If your partner was following the American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations, she probably breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of your kid’s life. Anything after that was pure gravy. By the way, wouldn’t it be amazing if your partner’s breasts actually produced gravy? You’d probably eat mashed potatoes all the time. Gravy boobs. Anyway …
The gravy train has to stop for your kid at some point. Unless you want them to be one of those 4-year-olds who can have a full conversation with you while talking around a nipple. Hey, everyone is different. But when weaning does happen, you can pitch in. Just like you did throughout the breastfeeding process. Here’s how.
When To Say Wean
One huge caveat: none of this is your decision. While, hopefully, you’ll be part of the conversation, it’s really between your partner and your kid. That said, many moms decide to wean around toddlerhood. That’s because your kid has started to “eat” solid foods (if that’s what you want to call putting bananas in their hair).
A new diverse diet might even prompt a kid to hop on the weaning train themselves. But some kids will be more reluctant to give up the breast. Just as you were when you had to give them up to your kid. In these cases, the weaning process might be a bit more difficult. Although it will probably be difficult for your partner regardless. That’s where you come in.
How To Help
Your helpfulness will depend on how your partner has decided to go about weaning. She might start dropping feedings during the day first, or she might start with the night feedings. You can have a role in either method.
Here is where you become a superhero. The problem with night weaning is that if your kid wakes up and your partner does not unleash her bosom when she tries to soothe them back to sleep, all hell will break lose. And that means that you’re on the clock. Because your kid understands you’re incapable of the boob magic.
- Become a bigger part of the nighttime routine and keep your kid physically close to provide some of the comfort they might be losing from your partner.
- Take the night shift for a while, and remember that while you’re soothing you want to be as boring as possible.
- If you’re offering a nighttime bottle, make sure to read up on some night feeding methods.
- Man up and don’t complain. If you’re tired at work, there is help for the long days. Remember this too shall pass.
Dropping feedings during the day might be harder for you to help out with depending on your schedule. But when you are around, you are going to use the secret weapon of dads everywhere: distraction.
- When a normal breastfeeding time is coming around, get in the game. Time to play and distract with new, interesting or favorite foods.
- Let your partner disappear during feeding times. If she’s around, your kid will be focused on her breasts. You know the feeling, right?
- Understand what and how your kid is eating to encourage non-boob related nourishment.
- Like night feeding, keep your kid physically close. They’re not only losing a meal, they’re getting a bit less parental closeness. If you ever wanted to wear a baby, now is the time.
The Rest Of The Time
Remember that this isn’t just hard on your kid. Your partner is going to go through her own stress. After all, it’s not only the kid losing the quiet bonding time, it’s your partner too. So be an ear to listen and offer affection. Not groping, but nice intimacy. And try not to let the thought of gravy boobs distract you.