The time has come, and you’ve decided to wean your baby. This is a personal decision and will come about for a variety of reasons. At the end of the day, you will know the best time to wean and it is something that you and your baby will go through, together. To make the process easier for on you and your child, the CDC suggests weaning over several weeks or more. As you slowly stop breastfeeding, your body will start producing less breast milk and eventually your body will no longer make it at all.

By weaning gradually, you’ll be helping your child get used to the new taste of infant formula (for a child younger than 12 months old) or fortified cow’s milk (for a child 12 months or older), as well as adjust to drinking from a bottle or cup. Start weaning by replacing one breast milk feeding a day, and continue to replace more feedings over time. Slowly but surely, you and your baby will get there!

Emotionally, weaning your baby can feel like a freeing experience as well as a loss of closeness with your baby. It’s a strange combination, but know that you are allowed to have all of those feelings. Practice self-care during this time if you can. Go out and buy yourself a new bra! Reclaim your breasts and think about the added closeness that your partner will feel as they share more of the feeding responsibility. Snuggle with your precious little one and look up first baby food recipes. As each milestone occurs, think not of the loss but of the exciting things to come.