Do you find yourself facing issues with your baby weaning experience?
Are you afraid the problems you’ve been encountering are never going to get any better?
Are you struggling to find ways to overcome these issues and still provide your baby with a safe, healthy, and happy weaning experience?
If you’re having trouble with weaning, you’ve come to the right place. We understand that weaning can be a challenging time for everyone involved and that there are a lot of potential problems that can arise during the process.
However, rest assured that with the right information and a solid game plan in mind, you’ll be able to successfully wean your child and help him or her to become an eating pro in no time.
It’s important to know which kinds of problems you can anticipate dealing with as well as some of the most common methods of solving those issues as soon as you get started on the weaning process. Some babies will never face any of these struggles with weaning, but unfortunately, others will, and that’s when it pays for you to know what you’re doing before you ever begin.
You undoubtedly understand the importance of weaning a baby well, but you may still be concerned about doing so successfully. In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of 6 of the most common issues with baby weaning and solutions that can help you take care of these problems if they happen to you.
So let’s get started learning!
6 Baby Weaning Problems
Below, we’ve put together a list of 6 of the most common issues you may encounter when you’re trying to wean your little one. These issues encompass all types of weaning, whether you’re trying to wean your baby from breastfeeding to a bottle or sippy cup or you’re trying to introduce solids to your little one. No matter which stage of the weaning process you’ve reached, if you’re having difficulties, we hope to address your problems below. Make sure to take a look at our possible solutions to help you out if you’re looking for some assistance right away!
1. Baby Not Interested in Weaning
Sometimes, your baby simply isn’t going to be interested in weaning at all. Despite all of your best efforts and following every suggestion or tip you’ve seen perfectly, you may end up with a baby who just doesn’t want to give up on whichever method of drinking his or her milk that you’ve been following up until this point. This is a problem that most commonly occurs when your baby is moving to solid foods, but you may see it in babies who are transitioning to bottle-feeding or sippy cups, too.
Why does it happen?
- This problem occurs for a variety of different reasons, but most of the causes are associated with your baby’s comfort levels. If your child doesn’t feel comfortable letting go of breastfeeding or whichever other method of eating he or she has gotten used to, then there is going to be some resistance.
- Your baby may also not be willing to make such a drastic change because he or she is sick. Even something as mild as a cold or some allergy problems may cause your child to be resistant to trying new things and stepping outside of his or her comfort zone.
- Your baby may also be picking up on emotional distress from you. For example, if you’ve got a big move coming up or something is going on with your job, you may be unknowingly causing stress to your baby, which may, in turn, be causing your child to be resistant to weaning. You may even be stressing your child about the weaning process itself!
Why is it concerning?
- Many pediatricians will recommend that your child needs supplemental nutrition aside from just breast milk or formula as early as six months of age. By one year, it’s crucial that your child is eating solid foods to supplement his or her nutrients and vitamins every day.
- You may be concerned that you’re going to run out of milk if you’re nursing your baby with no sign of weaning in sight. If this is the case, be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician about options.
- You may start to stress more about the weaning process the longer it takes your child to get started. You may even worry that your child is developmentally delayed, but try not to fear! Chances are that your baby is just taking his or her time getting ready to wean, and a little patience will go a long way.
- Relax, stay patient, and keep trying! If your baby is completely uninterested in a bottle, sippy cup, or solid food when you offer the first time, wait a few days and try again. While your child is still hesitant, offer only a couple of times a week until you notice more interest from your little one.
- Be sure to invite your child to sit in his or her high chair at the dinner table with everyone else at mealtime. This is a great way to encourage the weaning process to begin as your baby observes the rest of the family eating in a way that he or she hasn’t experienced yet.
- Make sure your child has reached the developmental stages of weaning readiness before you start offering solid foods.
2. Trouble Weaning Baby from Breast
Breastfeeding specifically comes with its own issues and struggles that nursing moms have to face. Sometimes, you may feel as though you’re the only one dealing with this problem because your partner and other members of your family aren’t involved in the nursing process. However, rest assured that other moms just like you have been through struggles with encouraging their children to give up breastfeeding, and you’re not alone. Your baby may be very attached to breastfeeding more than to any other part of your bond with him or her, and that’s understandable! However, eventually you will want weaning to begin, so it’s a good idea to understand more about this potential issue.
Why does it happen?
- Once again, the process of breastfeeding may be very comforting to your child. He or she has probably already started associating this with you, with security and safety, and even with the routine of getting ready for bed or preparing to start the day. Your baby has gotten used to this process and will want to continue it because it’s familiar.
- Your baby may also be afraid of trying something new. No matter how much you encourage your child to try a bottle or sippy cup, you may find that he or she simply isn’t prepared to give it a try just yet.
Why is it concerning?
- For the most part, this unwillingness to try to break the habit of breastfeeding is really only a problem after your baby reaches one year of age. Up until this point, it’s fine if your baby continues to nurse at least sometimes throughout the day. Some parents and pediatricians both will argue that it’s okay to continue nursing long after this stage, too.
- If you’re worried about your milk supply dwindling over time, the best way to encourage it to remain steady is to just keep breastfeeding as normally as possible or pumping when you won’t be nursing. However, you can speak to your child’s pediatrician if this concern is getting to be a problem for you.
- Be patient and take your time. Start offering nursing sessions for only a couple of minutes per breast and then offering breast milk or formula in a sippy cup or bottle instead. This will encourage your child’s appetite as well as his or her willingness to try this new method of eating.
- Consider baby led weaning instead of parent led weaning. With baby led weaning, you’ll wait until your child is ready to begin the weaning process and then let your little one guide you throughout every step of the experience. This method doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s generally very successful, especially for babies who aren’t willing to give up breastfeeding at a set time.
- Try replacing one nursing session per day with a bottle or sippy cup and be willing to wait it out if your baby is fussy or cries often during this time. Sometimes, you just have to let your child cry it out while working through transitions such as this one.
3. Weaning Baby Not Drinking Milk
Many times, a baby who is in the process of weaning is pretty content to try cow’s milk by one year of age. However, there are some circumstances in which your child simply won’t drink it, either because of the taste, the texture or some other reason altogether. It can be difficult to reason with a one-year-old, so unfortunately, this problem sometimes becomes even bigger as parents scramble to find ways to introduce cow’s milk into their children’s diets. If you find your baby is unwilling to drink cow’s milk, you may need to find some creative but healthy ways to get around this issue.
Why does it happen?
- Most of the time, if your baby is resistant to drinking cow’s milk, it’s probably because he or she has gotten used to the texture of breast milk or formula instead. Your baby may not like the idea of something he or she isn’t used to at mealtime, and the different feeling in his or her mouth may be off-putting.
- The same is true of flavor. Cow’s milk just doesn’t taste like formula or breast milk, so your baby may need to take some time to adjust to the new taste. Until then, though, you may be faced with a predicament!
- Your child might not like the temperature of cow’s milk. Breast milk and formula are served warm, but cow’s milk is often offered cold, so your child may not know what to do with this different temperature of liquid he or she is being served.
Why is it concerning?
- By the age of 12 months, your child is going to need more calcium in his or her diet than breast milk or formula provides. Your baby needs this calcium for his or her bone development, but if there’s a lack of the calcium supply in his or her daily diet, then there’s a problem.
- The same is true of vitamin D. Your baby needs more vitamin D after the age of one year than he or she did before, which is why cow’s milk is an important addition to your child’s diet from this point onward.
- Cow’s milk is probably going to be an important part of your baby’s diet for several years of his or her toddler life and childhood both. The sooner he or she gets used to drinking it, the easier it will be to ensure that your baby has a healthy diet as he or she grows and gets older.
- Changing the temperature of the cow’s milk is one of the best ways to overcome this problem. If your baby has gotten used to warm breast milk or formula, try warming up the bottle first (to a baby-safe temperature) before you give it to him or her.
- On the other hand, if your baby prefers a cold drink or is hesitant with warmed cow’s milk, try cooling it down or offering it at room temperature instead. Just take care not to let it sit out at room temperature for longer than is necessary to warm it up a little bit.
- Try goat’s milk if your baby prefers something with more of a creamy texture or soy milk if your child prefers something a little more watery.
- Try mixing breast milk or formula into your child’s cow’s milk to encourage your baby to give it a try. You can reduce the amount of breast milk or formula in your baby’s milk a little bit every day from this point onward until he or she is drinking cow’s milk only.
- If all else fails, give your baby whole milk yogurt and cheese to supplement calcium and vitamin D until he or she is more willing to try the milk again.
4. Weaning Baby Spitting Out Food
When you’re trying to encourage your little one to try solid food for the first time, you may notice that your child is spitting it out time and time again. Whether you’re trying baby led weaning with baby-safe “adult” foods or you’re offering your child baby food from a jar, you may notice that he or she simply isn’t willing to swallow it no matter which type of food you try. This is more than just a dislike of certain flavors because it pertains to every type of food you might be trying. Therefore, it’s important to distinguish between these two occurrences and learn how to tell if your child just doesn’t like the flavor of sweet potatoes, for example, or if there’s something else going on you need to consider.
Why does it happen?
- Your baby may be putting up a fight against solid foods because he or she has gotten too comfortable with the current method of eating. Once again, this is a comfort zone problem that should be addressed in order for your child to successfully make it through the weaning process.
- If you’ve ever laughed about your baby spitting up food and he or she is a little bit older, there’s a chance your child is doing this because it got a reaction out of you. This isn’t too common, but it does happen, so make sure you keep a straight face if your baby spits out food (but try not to appear angry about it, either!).
- Your child may be too full from nursing sessions throughout the day. If you’re still nursing or offering bottles, you may be overfeeding your child at other meal and snack times, and he or she may just not be hungry when you offer solid foods.
- Your child may not have developed physically enough to be able to eat solids yet. If your baby is spitting up rather than spitting out, this may mean your child hasn’t lost his or her active gag reflex yet. This is perfectly normal, but it will mean you have to wait a little while before you can begin weaning.
Why is it concerning?
- Eventually, you’ll have to worry about whether or not your little one is getting enough nutrition from the foods he or she is eating. If your child is over 12 months of age, you will need to find ways to supplement his or her diet other than simply formula, breast milk, or even cow’s milk.
- If your baby goes a very long time without losing his or her gag reflex, you may want to speak to your child’s pediatrician about this. It’s not common, but it’s a good idea to take note of how long your child continues to spit up food.
- Wait it out. This may be something your baby is going to grow out of in a couple of weeks, and most of the time, that’s exactly what happens. If you have the time to be patient, this can be the best solution to this problem by far.
- Try different textures as long as they’re age appropriate. Your baby may be unhappy with the texture of jarred baby food but may gobble up a mashed whole banana with no trouble. If changing the flavor of the food offered hasn’t helped, try mixing up the texture a little bit instead. Just remember that a baby who hasn’t started the weaning process yet will still need to be given something with only a few lumps, so choose something that can be well mashed.
- Create a mild distraction. Your baby may be spitting out food as entertainment for himself or herself or because it gets a reaction out of you. If this is the case, try coming up with a mild distraction for mealtime. Read a book to your child or turn on a favorite educational TV show while you’re offering solid foods.
- Cut back on nursing throughout the day. If your baby is too full when you offer solid foods, there’s no way he or she is going to eat. Try not to offer more breast milk or formula than is absolutely necessary when you’re going to be trying to wean your child onto solids.
5. Weaning Baby Not Interested in Food
In some instances, your child is simply not going to be interested in solid foods and may not even show signs of interest in what the rest of the family is doing at mealtimes, either. There are some ways you can encourage your little one to get more excited about food, but even babies who have successfully weaned onto bottles and sippy cups in the past may just not seem to care at all about solid foods. Just remember that eventually, your little one is going to be willing to eat solids, but you just may need to remain patient until that time comes.
Why does it happen?
- Your child may have gotten into the habit of expecting nourishment from a bottle, breast, or sippy cup. Old habits are hard to break, and your baby has probably been eating this way for several months, if not for his or her whole life up until this point. Changing that up suddenly with solid foods may just not be something your child is interested in trying at all.
- You may not have offered your baby something he or she likes the taste of. Babies are individuals, and some of them are going to be more willing to try a variety of foods than others. You may have a picky baby or you might just not have found the right texture or flavor for your little one just yet.
- Your child may want to try feeding himself or herself instead of being fed. If you’re trying to feed your baby from a spoon, he or she may be apprehensive about this new utensil and may not know what to do with it or what’s expected of it. This confusion can stress your baby and make it much more difficult for your child to be willing to try something new.
Why is it concerning?
- As with many of the concerns with weaning problems, you may end up worrying that your baby isn’t getting enough nutrition if he or she continues to put off trying solid foods. Your baby cannot thrive on breast milk, formula, or cow’s milk alone once he or she reaches the toddler stage, so you may feel a sense of urgency when it comes to encouraging your child to eat solid foods.
- You may be worried that your baby is developmentally delayed if he or she isn’t interested in what the rest of the family is doing at the dinner table. Try not to worry about this too much, however. It’s much more likely that your child just isn’t ready for weaning yet, so it pays to be patient as with just about any other potential weaning-related problem, too.
- Your baby may be waking up more frequently during the night from hunger because he or she isn’t getting enough calories throughout the day. This can be frustrating for you, your baby, your partner, and anyone else in your household too, and it can also be concerning for you in terms of your child’s nutrition.
- Make sure your baby is showing signs of weaning readiness. If your little one still isn’t sitting up without assistance, doesn’t seem hungry often throughout the day, or isn’t able to pick up items with a pincer grip, then he or she simply may not be quite ready to begin weaning. And if this is the case, then your baby isn’t going to show interest in food just yet, either.
- If all the other signs of weaning readiness are there but your baby is still uninterested in food, be sure to make a big production out of eating in front of him or her. If mealtime is a quick affair in your household or the whole family doesn’t sit down together for a meal, take your time and eat with some exaggerated motions in front of your baby. Be sure you let your child see how much you’re enjoying your food and the process of eating, too!
- Do not put your child at the dinner table if you and your partner are arguing—or, better yet, do not argue over meals at all. This may cause your baby to associate stressful feelings and raised voices with mealtime, which may, in turn, put your child off from wanting to eat solid foods.
- Let your baby try self-feeding. You may have a child who isn’t interested in being fed but is happy to self-feed at his or her own pace. Many children have a lot of success with baby led weaning, so don’t be afraid to give it a try if you suspect this might be true of your baby.
- Weigh your baby often. If he or she is still putting on weight, you don’t have anything to worry about.
6. Need to Wean Baby Quickly
Weaning quickly can be one of the most emotionally difficult aspects of the early stages of parenting. If you’re a nursing mom, you may not be ready to give up the weaning experience, but there may be some emergency situation that’s causing you to have to make this transition much more suddenly than you’d like to. Your baby isn’t going to take too well to this either, most likely, and this may be one of the toughest challenges you might face when it comes to the weaning experience. Unfortunately, there are several reasons that can cause this to happen, and most of them are not anything you might have prepared for.
Why does it happen?
- Your milk production may have stopped or may be about to stop. This is actually fairly common for nursing moms, and if it happens to you, don’t worry—it’s okay! There are plenty of options left to you still when you find that your body just isn’t willing to keep nursing as long as you’d like.
- Although it’s not common, in some instances, you may receive a difficult medical diagnosis that means you’ll have to stop nursing immediately. If you are diagnosed with cancer, for example, you will need to start on treatments that will make it unsafe for you to nurse. Even something less serious than cancer may need to be treated with medications that will make nursing unsafe for your baby.
- If you are addicted to drugs, medications, or alcohol, you may be advised to stop nursing right away. Chances are that, if this is the case, you were advised to never begin weaning in the first place, but sometimes the timing doesn’t work out this way and you may find yourself faced with the need to wean suddenly.
Why is it concerning?
- If you need to wean in an emergency situation due to medication, medical treatment, or addictive substances in your body, all of these pose a threat to the health and wellbeing of your baby. You don’t want to do anything to harm your child, but he or she may not be ready for weaning yet, and this may cause you even more stress and unhappiness as you try to figure out what to do.
- If you’ve run out of milk, you may be afraid you have no options left in terms of providing nutrition to a baby who hasn’t weaned successfully at this stage.
- No matter what has led to this need, be sure you speak to your doctor as well as your child’s pediatrician for information and strategies that may work well for you.
- Remain calm and determined throughout the process. Give yourself time to deal with the emotional strain you’ll be under during this process while you also handle the physical changes.
- Try herbal supplements to encourage your milk supply to stop. Peppermint and sage are both common herbs used for this, and peppermint can be mixed into a strong tea that will make it palatable as well as convenient. Do not nurse anymore after you start using herbal supplements.
- Let your breasts become engorged. This may sound like a terrible idea to you, especially if you’ve already dealt with the pain of engorged breasts before, but this can signal your body that milk is no longer necessary. If you find this too painful, try draining just enough milk from your breasts to relieve the discomfort.
- Put something on your nipples that will taste bad to your baby but won’t cause any harm. The idea is to “trick” your baby into thinking that nursing isn’t something he or she wants to do anymore. Some moms have used pickle juice for this! Speak to your child’s pediatrician for suggestions.
By now, you should have a more solid understanding of what to expect from the weaning process. Unfortunately, this experience isn’t always without troubles, but if you know what to expect and prepare for you should be already well ahead of the game when issues do arise. Of course, we understand that there are more potential problems you may encounter, but these remain some of the most frequent ones that parents around the world have to face when they’re working on weaning their little ones.
Don’t let these potential problems scare you, though! Weaning can be challenging, but it’s never impossible. Eventually, all children will be weaned from breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and sippy cups, and all children will start drinking cow’s milk (or soy milk) and eating solid foods. Just because your baby may be a little bit behind some of his or her peers doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, and just because you haven’t kept up with a schedule you might have found online or read in a book doesn’t mean anything bad is going on, either.
When it comes to weaning, it’s always important to remember that your child is going to go at his or her own pace unless you do something to intervene. Although there are some situations when you will need to wean your baby quickly, for the most part, it’s always best to let your child at least give you the signal that he or she is ready to get started on the process. However, although this may be the best and easiest way to handle weaning, it’s not always possible and that’s okay, too.
When it comes down to it, whatever works for your baby is what’s best for your baby. There’s no need to force anything you or your child are not comfortable with in terms of weaning. Speak to your child’s pediatrician about any concerns you may have and to get some more information about any problems that might be going on.