The developmental stages in a child’s life surely are interesting. Moms spend so much time and energy researching proper nutrition for their little ones, and if they decide to breastfeed, they spend about twice the time trying to figure out techniques, ways to do it in public, ways to ease any discomfort, and how to make sure their little ones are getting enough. Then, all of a sudden, that little bundle of joy that has brought mom so much worry, and joy, no longer “needs” to breastfeed. Great. Now what?
The common answer is food... food as mom and dad know it. Others say toddler formula, baby food, etc.- the options are plentiful, yet, how the baby will be affected by weaning and the end of his or her breastfeeding journey is rarely even talked about. We all know what sorts of things can happen to mom when she kicks breastfeeding to the curb, as well as what sorts of things happen during her breastfeeding journey. But what about the little one? Surely he or she will be okay, not to fret mom. Now... for a closer look at what things mom can anticipate from their little one when the tap runs dry, take a look at these 20 changes that can happen to the baby after he or she stops breastfeeding.
20 Dependency On External Nutrition
After the breastfeeding journey ends, your baby will develop a real dependency on external nutrition. Whether it be formula or food, moms will no longer be the primary or majority food source for their little ones. This can mean spending more on food and monitoring what your little one is eating to make sure he or she does not contract allergies or develop an upset stomach to any new food. The dependency on new food is just a part of growing up, but it is one of those inevitable changes that happen when mom stops her milk supply. Different road bumps could happen as a result of the external nutritional demand, but we'll talk about that later on in the article.
19 Changes In Vision
According to Huggies.com, babies who stop breastfeeding are at a greater risk of having decreased vision if Moms don't do a few little things to help continuously aid their baby's visual development before and after the first year. The website suggests that moms alternate the arm they use to hold the baby during bottle feeds if they switch to bottles after breastfeeding ends. Since Moms do this naturally when they breastfeed, but more often then not they tend to hold the bottle with their dominant hand for each and every feed, children can develop issues with their vision since switching sides helps with brain growth and vision development.
18 Baby Mood Swings
And you thought sleep regression was bad. Mothers have reported their little ones having some serious mood swings after they stop breastfeeding. One can crack it up to them simply not getting their way, or maybe they no longer feel that same bond between them and mom. But in cases like Cara's, a mom from Wisconsin, she noticed a change in her little one like day and night. "When he nursed he was calm and would fuss only briefly to indicate he was hungry, but during weaning and after we stopped breastfeeding he would throw full-fledged temper tantrums to show that he was hungry. It was horrible. The crying the screaming. I wanted to give in."
17 Spring A Gas Leak
We mentioned earlier that your little one's bathroom visits are bound to take a turn into some rather unfamiliar territory, but along with that may come some gassiness and more frequent wet diapers. Many moms note that their little ones get a lot gassier. This is usually due to the change in food. If it gets really out of hand one can consider asking their little one's pediatrician for advice on what to do to decrease gassiness. Or even consider changing up the types of food or formula. Gassiness is very normal though, and with the increase in fluids your little one will be drinking, so are the wet diapers.
16 Reach For The Chest
Those little ones that you see reaching for their mother's shirts or pulling at their mother's blouses have surely gotten used to breastfeeding or have recently ended their breastfeeding journey. Reaching, tugging and fussing for the breast is just one other change that happens to most children once their mother puts an end to breastfeeding. The best solution is for mothers to try distracting their little one and redirect their hands to other places and wear tops that do not fall open easily. We know this can take some getting used to, but with a little effort toward consistency, your little one will eventually stop.
15 Need More Water
Moms rarely calculate the amount of water and liquids their little one actually needs once the liquids they provide aren't involved in their little one's nourishment anymore. But your little one actually needs a lot of water and potentially toddler formula when breastmilk is no longer on the menu. Take care to calculate how much water intake your little one gets. From personal experience, I fill a sippy cup and take it with us wherever we go. In the car, at the market, before after, even during meals I offer up enough water just to make sure he stays hydrated.
14 Growth Spurt
You may notice that once you stop breastfeeding your little one he or she may transform overnight. By transform we mean have a growth spurt. Depending on what age you decide to stop breastfeeding, especially if your little one is self-weaned parents may notice an advancement in his or her growth and size. This can mean going up a size in clothes, requiring more nourishment, or getting more sleep. You may even notice a new development stage like walking or crawling coming soon. Whatever the case, this is a very common change that babies have once breastfeeding is over, the American Academy of Pediatrics states.
13 Loose-Fitting Pants
On the other side of the coin, you may notice that once your breastfeeding journey ends, your little one may take a while to gain more or maintain the mass that he or she had when you were still breastfeeding. La Lech League states that this is contingent on how long before you stopped breastfeeding your little one was introduced to either solids or formula as it may take a little while after they're introduced for your little one to begin metabolizing what he or she eats. Not to worry, though mom, if you notice your little one having any real issues be sure to contact his or her doctor and request more information.
12 Skin Changes
One rather unexpected change that can happen when mom stops breastfeeding is that both she and her little one can have some changes in their skin. Changes in an infant and toddlers skin can be caused by numerous variables but most often it is due to what they eat. If you start your little one off on formula, they could break out in hives or develop red bumps on their cheeks if they have a milk allergy, and the same goes for unfamiliar food. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that when introducing children to new foods, parents try to separate new items 4 days at a time to make sure that their child has enough time to react to it to rule out any allergies.
11 May Prefer Others To Mom
This may be one of the hardest parts that some moms to experience after breastfeeding. And let's be honest the end of breastfeeding marks a very emotional time for moms and their babies. So everyone is bound to be just a bit on edge. But every once in a while, moms report that little ones prefer to be around others, instead of mom, once they understand that they can no longer breastfeed. It is just a part of growing up and surely will not last forever. Just imagine what it will be like once they become teenagers. In the meantime be patient and remember that eventually, your little one will come to you with open arms.
10 Less Emotionally Attached
Moms always love how close their breastfeeding journey has brought them closer to their little ones. When breastfeeding ends, one of the noticeable changes many moms make in their little ones is the lack of emotional attachment their little ones seem to have when they wean, especially if they self wean. Often times breastfed children will look to their mother for solutions to hunger, fear or discomfort, but when they stop breastfeeding coping can be with their favorite snuggie or another family member. If you have stopped breastfeeding your little one, one change you may notice could be less of an emotional attachment.
9 Or Extra Clingy
On the other side of the coin, your little one could be very very clingy at the end of your breastfeeding journey. Some babies miss that emotional attachment they have to their mothers that breastfeeding brings. Having less touch with mom can make a baby anxious and clingy, according to La Leche League. Signs your little one is clingy can be he or she not wanting to be put down, constantly reaching for mom, having difficulty sleeping without mom around, or constantly reaching for the breast or looking for cuddles and over exaggerating his or her need for mom after taking a tumble or getting even the most minor of boo-boos.
8 Refuse The Cup
One hurdle parents who have decided to stop breastfeeding may encounter is the unfortunate cup refusal. If your little one refuses a cup or bottle, the best advice AlphaMom blogger, Amy Corbett Storch, has to offer is to just try and try again to offer up the cup or bottle. Persistence and consistency are key when teaching children anything. And they will try you, so be aware that they are hoping you'll cave and offer the breast again eventually. "Don't cave!" she says. If your little one refuses the cup, think about making drinking from the cup a fun exercise to see who can hold on to it longer. Games and competitions are a great way to keep kids engaged.
7 Please, Go To Sleep
One major change many parents who stop breastfeeding notice in their little ones is that the time it takes their little ones to go to sleep gets longer and longer. Breastfeeding is often a comfort that makes many children feel safe. Without it, parents will have to find new ways for their little ones to get comfortable to sleep and stay asleep. One mother said that her weaning journey was not easy, and the nighttime routine was the hardest to break her little one of. "When I decided I no longer wished to breastfeed I held my little one at night and he cried and cried, I felt awful that I had the power to make him so sad," she said of her experience.
6 Dad, Where's Mom?
If you have a supportive partner who is available to take on the responsibility of putting your little one down for bed you may notice that your little one will be more on the lookout for you than usual. Having dad around for extra help can be a huge relief though, Dad does not smell like food, for one, and he can provide a warm familiar comfort and distraction for baby when he or she needs to drift off to sleep. Leaving mom free to admire her family from the other room. Encourage dad to keep the sleep routine as similar to what mom does as possible so there are not too many changes at once.
5 Difficulty Drinking
Along with cup refusal, you may notice that your little one also has some pretty intense difficulty actually drinking from straws or cups. You see the suckle that your little one develops, that's pretty natural and actually is instinctual at birth, is not really the same motion your little one needs to drink from a straw or cup. So drinking from something that is not provided by mom, is a learning curve all over again. In order to best teach little ones how to drink from cups and straws be patient and show them how you would do it, then repeat. Encourage drinking from a "big boy" or "big girl" glass, it's all part of the fun.
4 Different Bathroom Visits
No matter if you decide to wean your baby before his first year or afterward, or if you intend to incorporate formula or just regular food one this is for sure, your baby’s bowel motions will change. In the past, you may notice that your breastfed babe had yellow, soft motions, now that you are changing things up, you may notice that the consistency of his or her stools will be firmer, smellier, be a different color. At the beginning, after introducing food, mom may notice some food that makes its way through undigested, this is very normal too. Try not to be alarmed, mom.
3 Changes In Eating
Obviously what your little one eats is bound to change, but did you know that how often your little one eats will often change as well? If you are breastfeeding you know your little one will eat with they wake, before they sleep and several times in the middle of the day in addition to those mornings and nights. Now when it comes to adding formula to the mix or just adding solid food your baby can go longer periods without eating, and may replace a few of those feedings with solids instead of milk. It all depends on the baby, so there's no exact science.
2 Crying? Again?
Unfortunately for some babies, crying just sort of comes along with their personality. For others, it comes along with the end of breastfeeding. You may notice that your baby cries more often or more readily or is simply just more irritable than before once you stop breastfeeding. This can be particularly frustrating for mom, and even a little frustrating for babe. Not to worry, eventually, your little one will overcome this fussy period and you will eventually be happily on the other side of things, in the meantime, huggies.com suggest practicing soothing techniques to help ease babe whenever he or she is throwing a temper tantrum or seems difficult to put to sleep.
1 Changes In Routine
Just like when he or she changes what she eats your little one will also change up his or her routine. As we mentioned before, a change in what we're eating can mean a change in how often we're eating, this can ultimately throw baby's routine a bit off schedule. If you are used to waking up, eating, and then having play time, play time may now have to come first as baby may not be as hungry, or at least not hungry enough to have a solid food breakfast first thing in the morning. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent and to try your best to maintain order with just a bit of flexibility.
References: Huggies, La Leche League, American Academy of Pediatrics,