While breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beautiful things you can do for your child, there comes a time where you have to decide how to stop breastfeeding your baby. Whether you’re pregnant again, feel that your child is too old, or if you want to go back to work and not pump, there are many reasons a woman might choose to end breastfeeding. This is perfectly normal, and it is a personal decision for you and your family. Find out how to stop breastfeeding your child here.
One thing to keep in mind when you stop breastfeeding is stopping makes it easier to become pregnant again. Although some women become pregnant while breastfeeding, most women do not. Please talk to your doctor about any changes you want to make and how they will affect your body and family. You may need to start birth control again if you are not pregnant. Maybe you want to grow your family. Stopping breastfeeding is the first step toward that goal.
Why Do You Want to Stop Breastfeeding?
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There are lots of reasons for wanting to stop breastfeeding and only you can decide what your reasons are. Do you want to stop for any of the following reasons?
- Pain during feeding and/or sore/cracked nipples
- Feedings are taking too long
- You’re worried about your baby not getting enough milk or losing too much weight
- You’re going back to work
- Your partner or someone else in your family wants you to stop
- You need to take medicine which would make your breast milk unsafe for baby
- You are otherwise ill or need to have a medical procedure
Before you quit, evaluate if this reason can or cannot be avoided. If you require medication or a medical procedure that will not allow you to continue then that is something out of your control. You must do what is best for you and your child.
There are things you can do to help with the pain of first breastfeeding and it stops, eventually. Talk to your doctor or breastfeeding specialist if this is your reason for quitting as there are things that can be done to ease the pain or cracked nipples. There is topical beeswax to put on your nipples that make them less cracked and painful. Try different breastfeeding angels. Eventually when your “let down” happens more easily, the pain will stop. Don’t let this be the reason you stop unless you have tried everything your doctor recommended, and it is persisting.
Feeding Takes Too Long
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If you are the type of women that doesn’t enjoy sitting down for long periods of time, perhaps pumping would be best for you. Try feeding your baby with a bottle. Health insurance covers some high-end breast pumps. Pumps from the hospital can pump much more quickly than the baby can feed at. This may be an option for you as you can share the ability to feed your baby with your family and friends. As the baby grows and gets older, feeding times will shorten.
Not Enough Milk Worries
If you are worried about your baby losing weight or not getting enough nutrients from your milk, see your pediatrician or doctor right away. They can tell you if you are supplying your child with the nutrients and if your child is getting everything they need. They may put your child on a formula along with your supply of breast milk. If your child is older, doctors might instead add baby cereal to the diet.
Pressure to Stop Breastfeeding
No one has any right to tell you should stop breastfeeding. Many people have strong opinions about when it is right or wrong to stop and that may be fine for them. Ultimately, you will know when it is right for you. Just because your best friend stopped when her child turned one does not mean you need to do the same. Follow your child’s cues about what he or she needs and let their actions guide you if you want to let them guide the process.
How to Stop Breastfeeding | What Is the Best Way?
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When you want to stop breastfeeding, you will know. Whether you want to gain more independence, work again, or get pregnant again, or for any other reasons, you will know when this time is right for you. There isn’t a magical number of months for every child and every mother. There are thoughts about how to stop breastfeeding. You can either cut down on feedings slowly or stop right away. There is no wrong way to do this.
Stopping Breastfeeding Slowly
While it’s difficult to decide how to stop breastfeeding, one way you can approach how to stop breastfeeding is to take it slow. This has several benefits. It is less painful than stopping quickly and your child might have a less traumatic reaction. A child might react to the end of this soothing time with you. Perhaps you could skip one breastfeeding time per week or a month. Replace this time with regular feeding and another activity like reading to your child.
Choose the feeding time that your child seems least attached to. If your child’s routine is to have afternoon naptime while you are breastfeeding, remove that time. Give a massage to soothe the child into sleep instead of feeding. Eventually, this will become your child’s routine. From there, you can concentrate on another feeding schedule time to remove.
While removing these times from your breastfeeding schedule, feed your child with other age-appropriate food options. Talk to your family doctor or pediatrician about which foods are best for your child at this stage of growth. Will you be replacing breast milk with formula if the baby is still an infant? Talk to your doctor about the possibilities of adding other kinds of milks to their diet If the child is ready for solid foods.
While you slowly wean your child from breastfeeding, you notice that you are not producing as much milk. This is a much less painful way to stop breastfeeding than if you stop right away. Your breasts will eventually only produce a little milk. Eventually, milk production stops all together once your child stops feeding. Although this is an option for some women, other women must stop more abruptly.
Stopping Right Away
When you stop breastfeeding right away several things happen to your body. First, your breasts become engorged. You will need to either pump your breasts several times a day. Time spent on the pumping process will gradually decrease when your body knows you are no longer breastfeeding. Another option is dealing with the pain of engorgement for a few days. This will eventually subside on its own and your milk production will stop after a few weeks. If you decide to stop in this way, hot compresses can help the pain as can over-the-counter pain medication.
Depending on the age of your child you will need to replace the food they once received from you with formula or if they are older a safe form of milk. Talk to your family doctor or pediatrician about how to stop breastfeeding. Your child has also become accustomed to having this close time with you so replace it with special time for cuddling and being close so they do not become anxious about losing this activity with you.
When to Stop Breastfeeding?
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When is the best time to stop breastfeeding your child? Only you know the answer and there are so many possible answers to that question. There is no wrong time to stop. This is a personal decision. There is nothing wrong with stopping this either. Not everyone can breastfeed as long as others do, and that is okay. You should feel no guilt about making this decision. Also, each child is different. Just because you breastfed your first child for a certain time doesn’t mean that you have to match that time with your second child.
As for the why of that question, many people have many reasons for stopping. Reasons for stopping could be health related such as when you have to go on a medication that is not good for the baby to ingest through your milk. You might need to go back to work and pumping is just not an option for you. Other common reasons are the child is getting too old for you to breastfeed any longer or you want another baby. These are all valid reasons for making this decision.
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There is no one right or wrong time to stop breastfeeding and how to stop breastfeeding is entirely up to you. It is a personal decision that you should never feel pressured to make. As a mother, never feel guilty about making that decision. We as mothers do what we can to make the best choices for our families. Ultimately, the best choice will be your choice of how to stop breastfeeding. Make the choice that is right for you.