How to Stop Breastfeeding in 13 Simple Steps

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stop breastfeeding

It has been proven that breastfeeding has a lot of health benefits for the baby. But, in some cases, a woman cannot or does not want to continue breastfeeding. You can help your baby to transfer from breast to bottle or cup, depending on your baby’s age, by taking it slow and watching your child for cues that he or she is ready to make this step. Some women may suffer from physical discomfort when they stop nursing until their breasts adjust and stop producing milk.

Many mothers who are ready to wean their babies or to decrease the frequency of breastfeeding may wonder how to make the process easier. No matter if your baby is 3 days old or 3 years old, you have probably put a lot of thought into this decision. You need to accurately stop breastfeeding as easy as possible. There is not a precise formula for determining how long it will take to dry up your milk, but following some of the below-mentioned tips and home, remedies can make this process easier.

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Here are some home remedies which can help you to stop breastfeeding:

Put limits on nursing:

An infant will not understand why you are stopping to breastfeed, but an 18-month-old child will understand you to at least a limited extent. You should limit your nursing to a certain chair or a certain time of the day rather than having the milk bar open at all hours.

It is normal for an older child to express anger and sorrow over losing what has been a major source of comfort as well as nutrition for his entire life. At first, it may be easier for your baby to take a bottle from someone else instead of you, or if he is used to nursing before going to sleep he will want someone else to put him in bed.

Know when to stop:

If you are not ready, you do not need to stop breastfeeding. Also, do not continue with breastfeeding if your baby has had enough. But, a few simple guidelines can help you to determine whether you want to continue breastfeeding your baby. Pediatrics recommend that infants need to be exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months of life. You can introduce solid foods to your baby around 6 months. After that, breastfeeding can continue for one year or as long as the mother and baby want to continue.

Infants who are older than one year are using breast milk to support the immune system, as a source of comfort and as supplemental food. In some cases, mothers stop breastfeeding as of fear that the baby is not getting enough milk, as a result of social pressure, as breast engorgement, or pain. Women who want to continue with breastfeeding, but are concerned about these problems should talk with their doctors.

Wear a supportive bra:

This bra will not put pressure on your breasts or cut into them.

Change positions:

A baby who is breastfed will automatically begin to root and look for the breast when you hold him in the nursing position and he smells your milk. You should hold your baby in different positions for feeding when you switch to a bottle. You can hold him on your knees with his head facing you at first or hold him in a more upright position. You should not prop the bottle, because your baby still needs the closeness that he got during breastfeeding. You should give your baby a lot of cuddles after you fed him.

Ensure adequate nutrition:

Those women who wean infants that are less than 1 year old must replace breast milk with infant formula or donor breast milk. Babies who are older than six months still need formula or donor breast milk, but also they can transit to age-appropriate solid foods. Children who are less than 1 a year old should never be given soya milk, cow’s milk, or other similar products. Infants who eat solid foods need iron, protein, and other nutrients.

If you are worried, then you can consult a pediatrician about the right balance of nutrients and ideal daily caloric intake. Some babies may need a multivitamin or other supplement, especially if they do not get enough Vitamin D or iron.

Wean at night:

Most babies feed less often during the night when they are between 6 months and 1 year old. This process is known as night weaning and it can help mothers to get the much-needed rest. This can mean that a woman can sustain breastfeeding for longer because fewer nighttime feedings can help mothers to nurse comfortably during the day.

Try different nipples:

It is noticed that all bottle systems have slightly different nipples. If your baby takes a pacifier, then you know that not all nipples will do, because your baby has a preference. Some babies will do better with a nipple of a completely different shape while others will do better with a nipple that mimics the shape of the breast. You should buy just one or two different bottles rather than a whole set to start until you figure out which shape your baby prefers.

Eliminate stressors:

Some babies will wean easily, while others protest. When you plan a difficult transition, then this can help the weaning process to be easier. Also, going slowly can help to prevent stress for the mother and baby. Women can choose a time when there are no other significant stressors, such as a pending vacation or deadline at work. If it is possible, you should spend extra time with your baby.

This is helpful because babies are sometimes anxious or clingy during weaning. Parents should know that the weaning process takes a few weeks. If your baby needs to be weaned by a particular date, then it is a good idea to start the process early.

Drying up your milk:

It is not easy to turn off the faucet on short notice if you have already established a good milk supply. If you have time, then dropping one feeding per day can decrease your milk supply. Breastfeeding is the original supply and demand system. But, if you need to stop nursing quickly, then you need to be prepared for some discomfort. You should apply ice packs to your sore breasts and express only as much as you need to get relief from the discomfort.

You should not use binders, because this can cause blocked ducts. Instead, you can wear a good supportive bra. Also, cabbage leaves can help and apply them directly to your breasts.

Use a pump:

Breastfeeding is operating to supply and demand. When a woman pumps regularly or a baby drinks more milk, then her body will produce more milk. As the baby eats less, the woman’s supply of breast milk tends to taper off.

Introduce food:

You should begin slowly to get to the point where food is the main source of nutrition. The digestive system of your baby is still developing. Your baby will need either breastmilk or formula until he or she is about 12 months. When your baby is four months, you need to start with baby cereal and progress to the table food. If you have breastfed your baby all the time, then when you introduce the food to your baby, you should express some breastmilk and mix it into a single-grain baby cereal.

This will make the food more appetizing and easier for your baby to chew. You should introduce food to your baby at around six months. You can introduce meats, veggies, and pureed fruits when you are between four and eight months. When your baby is between 9 – 12 months, you can offer him or her non – pureed finger foods, such as ground meat, teething biscuits, and rice.

Comfort your baby:

You need to keep in your mind that your baby may be having some difficulty adjusting to the change. Baby loses his or her mother’s breasts, but also he or she will lose comfort time with his or her baby. You need to find alternative ways to comfort and reassure your baby which does not involve your breasts. You should spend more time one on one with your baby.

You need to avoid stimulants, like communications, phone apps and TV, reading, and anything which can divide your attention. You should add extra cuddling into your routine, so you will not forget to do it and in this way, you can have a specified time frame for ignoring your phone.

Remain patient with your baby:

Your baby can be fussy and irritable during the weaning process because he or she is reacting to change. But, you should remember that this time will pass and your baby will move on to another chapter in your life before you know it. It is very important to stay patient while both you and your baby make this important transition. You should play with your baby because this is his or her most important method of learning, experimenting, and communicating.

References:

  1. 10 Ways to Stop Breast Milk Production. https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/how-to-stop-breast-milk-best-tips/. Published March 22, 2018
  2. How to Stop Breastfeeding Without Pain. https://www.wikihow.mom/Stop-Breastfeeding-Without-Pain. Published September 7, 2020
  3. How To Wean Or Stop Breastfeeding For Baby. https://beautyhealthtips.in/best-ways-to-stop-breast-feeding-for-your-baby/. Published January 19, 2018
  4. How to Stop Breastfeeding. http://www.activehomeremedy.com/2016/04/how-to-stop-breastfeeding.html . Published April 16, 2016

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