You will, inevitably, have to stop breastfeeding at some point. Usually, this process is not easy both for baby and mommy. This is because breastfeeding sessions can many times serve as an opportunity to bond. Some babies get emotionally attached to breastfeeding; thus, stopping it may prove difficult.
Health experts recommend breastfeeding for at least 12 months, although some mothers breastfeed until their babies become toddlers. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the older your baby gets, the trickier stopping becomes. Below you can find some great information on how to stop breastfeeding:
The Weaning Process
When a baby reaches six months old, it is mandatory for mothers to start introducing other foods into their baby’s diet, beginning the shift toward solid foods. This in turn leads to a decrease in the need for breastfeeding. One common mistake to avoid is stopping abruptly. Doing this can affect your baby emotionally, and do not be surprised if he starts throwing tantrums! Instead, make it a slow and gradual process. For instance, if the child is usually breastfed four times during the day, reduce it to three times per day for a whole week, then twice for the next week and so on. In place of breastfeeding, feed him baby formula mixed with breastmilk through a bottle, and gradually change to full formula milk.
Moreover, note that breastfeeding at night should remain constant until the end – as you make these changes, breastfeeding at night should not be disrupted. Doctors recommend that this practice should persist for a while, and it ought to be stopped as the last stage of weaning.
Let Him Know What You’re Doing
This is a very important step, and it should be done in the appropriate way. Since most toddlers are able to talk and even understand what is communicated to them, gently explain to them what you intend to do. As you begin, explain that breastfeeding will only be done before bed, or before they take a nap during the day. Later, gently inform him that he will need to stop breastfeeding because he is now a big boy, and you are proud of him for growing up so fast. If this is done, then the likelihood of him suffering emotionally is lessened. So, start communication early and be gentle all the way through.
Taking Care of Your Breasts
Stopping can cause pain to the breasts, but there are simple ways to deal with this. Breasts do not stop producing milk as quickly as you are able to stop feedings. As a result, your breasts may engorge and feel sore.
When this happens, you may pump some milk and store it for the baby to drink. However, pump your breasts only until they feel lighter and less painful. Too much pumping is counterproductive and may lead to an increase in the production of milk. This means that your breasts will feel heavier and more painful than before. If the breasts are moderately pumped, your body will get the message and the milk production process will entirely stop after a while.
For some mothers, the heaviness and pain may continue even after the milk is pumped. When this happens, the application of cold-cabbage compresses or cold packs may be effective. Alternatively, massages or cold baths may also ease the pain brought about by engorgement. Although there are particular drugs known to stop the production of milk in the breasts, it is highly advised to steer clear of them as they can produce harmful side effects.
Still having trouble? You may try this Healthwise article on how to stop breastfeeding when your baby is not ready.
Breastfeeding is a great way to form the bond between mother and child. When you decide to stop breastfeeding, substitute it with other forms of physical comfort such as cuddling and hugging. On top of that, breastmilk is highly nutritious and can protect babies from disease and infection. Therefore, breastfeeding is encouraged for the first 6 to 12 months of life and beyond.
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Information contained on this website is general in nature, and is not a substitute for consulting a physician. Always consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. We are not doctors; we are mothers.