Weaning a baby from anything is a difficult process. It is hard for the baby – he cries, she gives all kinds of distress signals , but it is equally hard on the mom, if not more. That is why the process of weaning has to address both sides.
If Mom has decided to listen to some authority and stop nursing, stop using the bottle, move the child out of the family bed, stop using the pacifier or lose the blanky–if she is not sure at the very bottom of her instincts that it is the right thing to do, and that the baby is going to be OK, and that the baby IS OK despite the crying , it is going to be a complicated process. The reason: The baby can read Mom, and depends on her feeling secure in the process. If she is not secure–he or she will not be secure, and will not be OK.
This is the danger in listening to someone else without Mom having respect for her own feelings. She can decide her feelings are in the way. She can decide she would like to learn to act and feel differently about her baby, but she needs to deal with her inner feelings first, before she puts her baby on a difficult emotional journey.
Some parents feel they do not want to expose their baby to this precess, ever. This is very understandable position: To find a “non-violent way” of weaning. I am not sure such a way exists. A baby who has never faced a “no” will always be challenged by limits. And will always cry!
Some theorize that there is a magic age for weaning. What a mother needs to know is that any research or theory is true for some abstract average child, and her child most probably does not match that ideal. I recommend Mom ask herself what she feels about her child, and trust this as her guideline. If you think your baby is going to be OK–it is the right time for weaning.