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Breastfeeding helps in developing a strong bond between you and your baby. It is the main source of nutrition- vitamins, proteins, fat, and everything that your baby needs for their growth. Since the time you’ve had your delivery, everyone must’ve shared with you how important breastmilk is for you and your baby. However, not many people talk about how or when to wean off your child or give you any tips to stop breastfeeding.
There is no doubt to the fact that breast milk is the best nutrition provider for your baby. After they cross the six months mark, you can start introducing solid food. But the question is when is the right time to stop breastfeeding completely and most importantly, how to stop breastfeeding to make this transition smoother for both you and your toddler.
What Is Weaning?
Weaning is a natural process when you stop breastfeeding your baby or toddler. Every child goes through this process. Weaning your baby from breastfeeding can happen at any point in time- shortly after birth or till your child is a toddler. Generally, most babies breastfeed till the age of 3.
The weaning process is different for every mother and baby. It can occur in three ways
- Mutual decision
- Mother-led weaning
- Baby-led weaning
When’s The Right Time To Start Weaning My Baby?
Well, the right answer to this question is that there is no right time. It depends on you, your body, and your baby.
Breast milk is the primary source of nutrition for your little one till the age of six months. Once your baby is introduced to solid food, they will nurse much less. This is because they will be full of food instead of your milk, and that’s when your body will start adjusting.
The time is coming soon when you have to cut off on breastmilk altogether. So you must be looking for some tips to stop breastfeeding and make this transition as smooth and easy as possible?
Tips To Stop Breastfeeding Smoothly?
Slow weaning is the best for you and your baby, both physically and emotionally.
How will slow weaning help you?
- The gradual decrease in breast milk
- Reduced risk of blocked ducts and mastitis
- Avoid sudden hormonal change
How will slow weaning help your little one?
- More secure and settled
- Ability to adapt to change
Here are some tips to stop breastfeeding:
- Formula milk is the closest thing to breast milk. Just because formula milk is heavier than breast milk, your toddler will be full for a longer period. It is to be kept in mind that the transition should be gradual. You may start by replacing one feed and gradually replace the subsequent feeds.
- A slow transition to solid food after crossing the six months mark can help them to wean off smoothly. You can start with gooey and soft textured food, which may be milk-based. This can help to make the process easier and faster.
- Choose solid foods as the first option when your baby is hungry. They might create a fuss initially, but after a couple of days, they will soon associate it with hunger, instead of breast milk.
Babies have the instinct of suckling. Sometimes, they might not suckle on your breast for hunger, but their instincts and comfort. Try to distract them with some activity that they enjoy or by giving them a pacifier.
What If I Need To Stop Breastfeeding Quickly?
It is advised not to stop breastfeeding quickly because it may lead to physical discomfort or problems. But sometimes it becomes necessary for health conditions or because you and your little one can’t be together. Some of the common reasons why you may opt for mother-led weaning are-
- Inadequate milk supply
- Produce milk but your baby remains unsatisfied
- Increase in your baby’s nutritional requirement
- Your health condition
- End of maternity leave
- Feeling overwhelmed or too much to handle
- Baby bites
Whatever your reason might be, here are some tips to stop breastfeeding your baby almost instantly:
- If you had been feeding till this point, you might have to express milk- to avoid your breast from becoming unnecessarily full. You can choose to either use a breast pump or use your hand. But keep in mind that you do not want to encourage your body to produce more milk.
- Your breasts might look swollen at first, but the feedback inhibitor of lactation (FIL) in your breast milk will tell your body to stop production. This can take about a couple of weeks.
- Consider taking painkillers, if your breasts hurt too much. Do this after consultation with your doctor.
How Long Can An Infant Take to Stop Breastfeeding?
On average, a baby can take weeks and even a couple of months to wean off fully, although the numbers differ from baby to baby. It also depends on how your toddler has been adjusting to this change and how effectively you may have been with your efforts.
What If My Baby Demands Breast Milk When I Want To Stop Breastfeeding?
Some babies are okay with the transition of breast milk to other food options, while others may still demand to be breastfed. If your toddler still wants to cling to mommy, here are a few things that might help.
- Change to a different formula if your baby is not particularly enjoying the current one.
- Try different time and feeding combinations, like if your child had solid food for lunch today, try offering it to him for tomorrow’s dinner next. See which approach suits your baby’s needs.
- Let your partner step to put your toddler to sleep at nap or bedtime until she’s fully weaned.
- A change in night routine can help train your little one to not fall asleep while feeding. This can include brushing, lullabies or storytelling before they fall asleep. The goal here is to simply remind them that they can sleep on their own without breast milk.
Can I Continue Breastfeeding If I Want To Get Pregnant Again?
There could be chances that you conceive while still nursing your baby. Your body adjusts accordingly to provide for the nutrition of two babies. In some cases, the older child weans off naturally. This might happen due to the change in the taste and composition of milk.
If you previously had a premature birth, a miscarriage, or are suffering any bleeding, you must take advice from your doctor, if you want to continue breastfeeding while you’re pregnant.
Last Words On Baby Weaning
Every mother and child relation is different and everyone has their own pace and their reasons. Don’t compare your toddler with other babies their age just because they’ve stopped breastfeeding. Similarly, don’t compare yourself with other moms. Just because they might have weaned and that went pretty smoothly doesn’t mean that you’ve to feel guilty or embarrassed about yourself. Just know that you’re doing your best.
1) How to stop breastfeeding fast?
2) How do you dry up your breast milk?
3) How can I get my child to stop breastfeeding?
4) What to apply on the breast to stop breastfeeding?
5) Why do mothers quit breastfeeding?
- 1. Inadequate milk supply
- 2. Produce milk but your baby remains unsatisfied
- 3. Increase in your baby's nutritional requirement
- 4. Your health condition
- 5. End of maternity leave
- 6. Feeling overwhelmed or too much to handle
- 7. Baby bites