The decision of how long you want to breastfeed your baby is a personal one. Each mother will have her feelings as to what is best for herself and her baby and the decision about when to stop. In this article today, we shall discuss when and how to stop breastfeeding babies.
When to stop breastfeeding is equally important as knowing how to stop breastfeeding. One should ideally feed the child until 6 months at least.
How to stop breastfeeding/Weaning?
Weaning is a process of introducing solids to the baby and allowing them to feed themselves while withdrawing the supply of mother’s milk. It is said that it’s best to take weaning gradually and gently. This gives both the baby and your body time to adjust.
If you wean within the first 6-12 months, you will have to substitute your reduction of breast milk with that of the formula. Breast milk or formula is the baby’s primary food for the first year of life, and solid foods shouldn’t be fully substituted with that of the formula milk or breast milk till the baby reaches 1.
Weaning before 6 months
If your baby is less than 6 months, you will be substituting breast milk with that of the formula. If your baby is not yet habitual of a bottle, this may be the right time to get him to use the bottle (A good tip on how to stop breastfeeding). To begin with, replace a single feeding with that of the bottle, continue the same for a few days and then add another schedule of feeding through a bottle. You can adjust the pace as per the adaptation of the bottle by your baby. By continuing this activity, over a month, you will be able to feed using only the bottle.
Weaning after 6 months
After 6 months, you will be able to substitute a few nursing sessions with that of the solid foods. However, babies don’t usually eat a large portion of solid foods, therefore their dependency on the formula milk or breast milk is still there. Many babies are habitual and are aware of the emotional attachments and mother’s touch as they get during breastfeeding, so you may offer the baby other comforts with more and more involvement.
[Read Benefits of Breastfeeding]
A gist on how to stop breastfeeding
Here are some tips on how to stop breastfeeding in a short span:
- You can begin by dropping the breastfeeding sessions that your child seems less interested in. Many people cut off the day breastfeeding sessions and continue early morning and bedtime breastfeeding sessions.
- Wear a soft and supportive bra that doesn’t put stress on your breasts.
- Induce the habit of formula milk to your child before decreasing the breast milk sessions. This will gradually lessen their interest in breastfeeding and is the answer to how to stop breastfeeding.
- Offer your child one breast per feed and stick to the fixed feeding routine to minimize breastfeeding.
- If there is pain on your breasts, try using pumps until you feel more comfortable. Do not fully empty your breasts as it will trigger an increase in the supply.
Helping your baby to stop breastfeeding
Weaning can be difficult for both the baby and the mother. Let’s teach the baby how to stop breastfeeding by following tips:
- Offer a pacifier to the baby to suck in.
- Offer your child plenty of liquids and solid foods as per the age requirements. Make sure if their nutritional needs are being met.
- Increase your bonding with the child by cuddling.
- If your baby is in habit of breastfeeding during bedtime, take the help of your partner to take over night time duties of the child.
Mastitis is an inflammation usually caused by infection when you stop breastfeeding. Consider the following tips to avoid mastitis –
- Slowly discontinue your feeding and pumping sessions. Do not hurry. The major reason for mastitis is milk built up in the breast tissue. Slowing down the feeding sessions, give your body the time to adjust and milk build won’t be as great.
- Make sure to take good care of breast tissue. Bacteria can come from any cut or sore leading to an infection.
- Use pumps whose fit is perfect.
Dealing with emotional imbalance
Along with the tips on how to stop breastfeeding, let us discuss some tips which will help you to deal with the emotional imbalance which happens post breastfeeding:
- Take sufficient rest and nutrition. It will help your hormones to regulate and make you feel your best,
- You need to find someone who understands what you are going through – it could be your friend or family member.
- Spend time doing your favorite things.
Home remedies for painful breasts
Here are some ways to treat sore breasts and engorgement:
- Usage of cold packs and medications as advised by the doctor will help you with pain & inflammation.
- Hand expresses or take out little milk from the breast tissue to relieve that pressure.
- Some cold cabbage leaves inside a well supported, not so tight bra, help with engorgement.
When to stop breastfeeding is completely a personal decision, one that the mothers should take on their own, as per their convenience without feeling pressure from outside sources. There is one best way that you can follow and that is to trust your instinct always.
We hope that our summed up methods on how to stop breastfeeding and when to stop breastfeeding will help you in life.
Remember, whether you feed your child for 3 months, 6 months or even more, be assured that each drop of milk you fed, makes you a wonderful mother.
Author: Kratika Ajmani | Banker by Profession | Writer by Passion | New Mommy on board