Weaning a child from breastfeeding can be a tricky, confusing, and emotional time for parents and children. There are questions about when to do it and how to do it. There are intense emotions from both parent and child, and of course there's the physical and logistical changes and challenges to contend with. In a new guide book called A Loving Weaning: How to Move Forward Together, author Winema Wilson Lanoue helps parents navigate the current information, personal decisions, and process involved with weaning. Lanoue helps parents come up with a weaning plan that's right for their family and child, and execute it so that it strengthens the parent-child bond.
Having experienced weaning three times with my children, I certainly wish I had a book like this to help me along! What I found most helpful in the book, both as a parent and childbirth educator, are the following sections:
What the experts say - Lanoue shares the major health organizations' guidelines on weaning, and the reasons behind them.
Considerations of your unique situation - No matter the current trends, professional guidelines, or advice from your mother-in-law, it's important to consider your current situation. A Loving Weaning presents the many different scenarios and variables to consider for weaning.
Frequently asked questions - The author addresses common questions like how to handle criticism from family and friends, and conflicting advice from your doctor.
The nitty-gritty of how-tos - Of course, the bulk of the book is on how to wean -- this includes making observations, coming up with a flexible plan, and creating a unique plan depending on your child's age.
Child-led weaning - Lanoue also covers child-led weaning, which is when parents allow weaning to take place as directed by the child. Even though there is no "plan" in place with this kind of weaning, she talks about the fact that there still is a process and an ending that must be experienced and handled.
Lanoue's book is helpful for any parent who is at any spectrum of the breastfeeding journey. The reality is that, for a multitude of reasons, weaning can happen at any time. The more you can be prepared in advance, the more you can approach weaning with love, which Lanoue describes as:
"A loving weaning is one in which a child's self and needs are respected, as are those of parents. A loving weaning considers all emotions okay, and allows expression of them. A loving weaning is a shared experience that belongs to both you and your child equally. It isn't something either of you can do alone; it is a true partnership in which you move forward together."