Change can be challenging. It's not for the faint of heart. But, then again, it's something that each and every one of us has to endure. For children, change is a daily occurrence. Every day offers an assortment of new experiences that they have to adapt to. Of course, there are major shifts that parents and guardians must help children move through. Some of them are pretty obvious. After all, we wouldn't want an entire society going in their diapers whenever they felt their stomachs turn. But other changes aren't as obvious. More importantly, they aren't easy. This is why "weaning" is the appropriate term; change takes practice, effort, and time.
This article will go into detail about really helpful tips that parents can use to help wean their child off of five different things that they will eventually need to get off of. All of the research comes from fantastic sources which one can find at the bottom of this article. Further research is always encouraged. Additionally, each of the five categories of weaning includes a product that may be helpful to some parents when trying to wean. Without further ado, here are 5 Types Of Weaning: 20 Ways To Get It Right, And 5 Products That Will Help.
BREASTFEEDING TO BOTTLE
25 Ways To Get It Right: Switch Back And Forth
Here's a helpful tip when dealing with the challenging transition from breastfeeding to bottle: use both. Yeah, seriously, switch back and forth between them. Going cold-turkey can be quite ineffective when it comes to change with kids. Weaning them from breastfeeding is the better bet. Then again, if you've been breastfeeding your child for more than 9 months, than you may just want to transition to a sippy cup instead of the bottle. Either way, switching back and forth can get them used to both until you finally decide to take away breastfeeding altogether.
24 Use Distractions
Distractions come in many different forms. Regardless of the way you distract a baby, it can be very helpful when introducing a bottle to them. For example, taking them to a new location can be really helpful for introducing or getting them to take a bottle. Same thing with food. If you distract them with a yummy banana or strawberry, they can be far more open to taking the bottle. In some way, distracting them can also be a bit of a bribe. But that's okay. Whatever works!
23 Let Someone Else Feed Them First
Chances are, if you attempt to get your baby to take their first bottle, they may wonder why they're not getting your chest instead. But they may be a lot less confused if someone else is giving them their bottle first. Enter your partner, friend, or parent. These people can be extraordinarily helpful when it comes to weaning your baby off of breastfeeding. Especially if the person who is giving your baby their first few feedings from a bottle is a male, who your baby won't confuse you with.
22 Feed With Relaxation
Change is hard to accept in times of tension. This is true for adults, but also for kids. If your child is being weaned off of breastfeeding while in some sort of chaos, the chance is that they will have a far harder time accepting the bottle. But if they feel supported and emotionally comforted, it'll probably be far easier to help them make the switch. So, make weaning a relaxing activity. Make it a time to connect and cuddle. Do it while reading them a book, or singing a lullaby. Essentially, make it calming.
21 Product To Help: Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle
Here's an interesting product for you. Chances are, it'll help with the transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding due to the fact that the bottle resembles the very thing that you don't want them to feed off of anymore. The Comotomo baby bottle has an ultra-wide neck design which also allows easy cleaning by hand. It's also microwave-safe and does well in dishwashers and with boiling water. Essentially, it's super convenient for both weaning and cleaning.
LIQUIDS TO SOLID FOODS
20 Way To Get It Right: Wait For Three Signs Before Introducing Solids
When weaning babies from liquids to solid foods, it's best to wait for an assortment of signs. It's kind of rare for these signs to occur together before your baby is six-months-old. So, you may want to wait until then. First of all, you will want to know if they can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady. They also need to coordinate their eyes, hands, and mouth so they can look at the food and put it in their mouth by themselves. Finally, they also need to be able to swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue.
19 Don't Overload On New Foods
There are so many options for soft-solid foods. Many articles tend to show you all of the options and list all of the reasons why they are beneficial for your new baby to eat. But the truth is, you should really be picking a couple of foods to be introducing at a time. This isn't for health reasons, just purely logistical ones. It's very easy for a baby to be turned off of all of their choices if they have too many. Wait to introduce new foods after four or five days of them eating ones they seem to like.
18 Prepare For A Mess
For clean-freaks, weaning a baby from liquids to solids can be really stressful. This is because they want to have an environment that's clean and mess-free in order to feel relaxed and at peace. But the truth is, worrying about cleanliness while weaning a baby is a mistake. This is because it's completely unavoidable. babies make messes, especially when it comes to food. And you want to give them the opportunity to make that mess because it will further connect them to the food that they're eating.
17 Be Aware Of Food Allergies
After a bit of time, it'll be important to introduce some variety to the solid foods that your baby is eating. But it's pretty important to be aware that some of these foods may cause your baby to have bad reactions. In fact, they could even be allergic to them. This is why it's important to introduce cows' milk, eggs, wheat, gluten, nuts, peanuts, peanut products, seeds, fish and shellfish one at a time and not before six months. This way you can see if your baby is allergic to any of these things and you can stop feeding them it and get them tested.
16 Product: Clevamama Baby Fruit Feeder Clevafeed
The Clevamama Baby Fruit Feeder Celvafeed is the perfect way to introduce your baby to fresh solid foods. This is because it's a safe way of teaching them to eat fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats while allowing them to have a bit of fun with it. Because the tastes will be concealed within the plastic, and only bits at a time will come out, they can get used to the flavors, as well as play around with it in their mouths more than they could a full liquid. It also reduced the chance that the food will get stuck.
DIAPERS TO POTTIES
15 Way To Get It Right: Get Sibling Or Friend Inspo
There's a ton of research that suggests that siblings can be really helpful when it comes to potty training. This is because everyone wants to be like their cool older sibling at one stage or another. If a toddler sees that their older sibling (or even friend) uses the big-kid potty, they may be more likely to try it for themselves. Think of it as peer pressure. It's super effective, which is pretty helpful since weaning off of a potty can be really hard.
14 Stick To A Routine
Routines can be ideal for weaning a baby off diaper-use and getting them to use the potty. In fact, children thrive on routines in general. It's one of the best ways they learn. Sure, it can be difficult for kids to stop what they're doing to go potty, but it will become easier as time goes by. After all, we all do it. Just remind them that their food, toys, or friends will be there when they return from the potty. Eventually, going to the potty will become part of their day.
13 Reward Them
Rewarding children for activities that they should be doing, like not using a diaper forever, can be a bit unhealthy. But it can also be very useful when used properly. By rewarding children for using the potty instead of their diaper, they can be enticed to use it. But this doesn't mean you need to buy them a new toy or throw them a party every time they do it. A small but exciting incentive can be equally effective, as well as a big hug, a kiss, and a "Mazel Tov!" when they've done the deed.
12 Try Porcelain And Plastic
Here's the truth, every bum likes a different texture. If a child prefers a porcelain or plastic throne is something that they may need to experiment with. And if you can afford it, you should definitely try it. Options can be helpful for this type of weaning, and there are really only a couple options for them to be picking from. Therefore, they aren't going to be crowded with them. Just don't forget about this tip, because it can be usefully if you are really in a bind to get your kid to stop using diapers.
11 Product To Help: Summer 3 Stage Potty Trainer
There aren't many products around that are suitable for making the switch from diapers to the potty. But there are a few that can be somewhat helpful when you are thinking ahead to making the switch from the potty to proper toilets. The Summer 3 Stage potty trainer can be a fun tool for kids to use when they are getting out of their diapers. But it's also great preparation for when they need to make the switch from the potty to toilets. It's got a convenient toilet paper dispenser and space to tuck moist wipes. Plus, the trainer converts into a step stool to use when it's time to reach the big potty. It's available at Target.
NO MORE BINKY
10 Way To Get It Right: Make It Gross
Weaning a kid off of a binky (aka the dreaded pacifier) can be a really daunting task. Kids tend to get really attached to them. But it's important for them to give them up at one stage. A great trick for this is to make the pacifier really unappealing. Essentially you want to make it taste really bad. One way of doing this is to consistently put lemon or lime juice on it so babies believe that it tastes really sour and icky. Eventually, they won't be asking for it anymore.
9 Puncture It
This tip is similar to the previous one. Essentially, making a binky unappealing is a great way for kids to get off of it. But instead of putting lemon or lime juice on it, you should puncture it with a pin or a pair of scissors. They will see for themselves that nothing lasts forever and therefore they can longer use it. It will also feel bad in their mouths and therefore less appealing. Just be careful not to make it sharp when you puncture or slice it.
8 Only Have One
Parents tend to purchase multiple pacifiers for kids since they always want to give them one while the other is in the wash, or have them in multiple locations. But when you wean them off of pacifier use, you should literally get rid of them one by one. Eventually, there will be a temper-tantrum episode which will cause parents to find that extra one just to keep them quiet. But this is a mistake. If parents want to get their kids off of them, they need to make sure they don't have multiple options at hand.
7 Remove It From Sight
"Out of sight, out of mind." Trust us. It's very effective. Initially, a baby's mind will be against it. They'll be wondering. They'll be crying. But if you've already been weaning its use down, chances are it'll have less of an impact until eventually, they won't even care. A great way to help this process along is to remove it from them while they are distracted and then just keep doing it until they stop looking for it.
6 Product To Help: Lily Method Pacifier Weaning System
The Lily Method Weaning System is a great product that will help you wean your baby off of binky use. It meets all consumer safety regulations and even is recommended by The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The secret to the Lily Method Weaning System is a series of binky-ends that gradually get smaller. This decreases how good it feels for a child to have it in their mouths. Essentially, it's using some of the tips mentioned above to wean a baby off of its use.
CRIB TO BED
5 Way To Get It Right: Let Them Pick Their Bed
One of the things you will have to wean your toddler off of in the later part of their childhood is their crib. Eventually, this will become imperative. But that doesn't mean it's not challenging. A great way to avoid all the hassle it can cause is to let your kid pick out the bed that they sleep in. If they are involved in their own milestone, it can be fun for them. In fact, they can get downright excited about it all. This is will make it easier for them to hop into bed and fall asleep without craving their old crib.
4 Integrate Old Comforts In The New Bed
The previous tip will be very helpful for you while you try to get rid of your child's crib, but it may not be enough. This is why you may want to let them use some of the things that made their old crib comfortable (at least, at first). This can include their old stuffed animals, pillows, and even blankets. Essentially, anything that will make their new bed feel like home. Eventually, you will be able to get rid of these things one-by-one, if need be. But, to start, let them have some of their old comforts. It'll make the process far easier.
3 Don't Wean When Stressed
Once again, weaning when stressed is a big no-no. Not only will it cause a child further aggravation and even sadness, but it's just plain ineffective. Transitions are never easy, which is why they should be made as easy as they can possibly be. If a child is coping with a recent divorce, school issues, or whatever, it may not be the best time to move them from the comfort of their crib into a big new bed. Wait for a moment where they are more stable. This will make it easier for the new change to stick.
2 Don't Mix Up The Routine
Let's talk about routines once more... They are absolutely vital for children, especially ones who are being weaned off of using something. When it comes to weaning kids off of cribs and moving them to an adult bed, sticking to bedtime routines is vital and effective. Not only that but positioning a bed in the same location as the crib was is also suggested. Essentially, you want to make the new feel as much like the old as possible. This will help them fall asleep more easily and not make them feel all mixed up.
1 Product To Help: Delta Children Plastic Toddler Bed
Transitions are hard. But changing from a crib to an adult bed is made easier with the use of a product like the Plastic Toddler Bed by Delta Children. The product meets JPMA, CPSC, and ASTM safety standards as well as comes in an assortment of different styles, all of which featuring some of your child's favorite PAW Patrol and Disney characters. The sturdy plastic guard-rails make sure that the crib has the safety of a crib but the look and feel of a bed. It's the ideal in-between product.
Sources: Parents, nhsiform, Made For Mums, Bounty.com, MotherandBaby.co, BabyCenter, Bounty, Building Healthy Habits, What To Expect, Living And Loving, Parents, ABCKidsINC, Moms, Todays Parent, Parents/Potty, Parenting, MOMS, What To Expect/Crib, VeryWellFamily, Precious Little Sleep, Amazon.com.