Breastfeeding a baby is a miraculous process that lets a mom and a child’s bond grow even stronger. Feeding that little tummy and satisfying it’s huger is a blessing indeed. But children need to grow and so are their requirements. So, it becomes important for the mother to wean the baby and let it accept the world of solid foods. When to stop breastfeeding is the decision of a mother who knows what is best for her child. Believe it or not moms, but, you have an instinct that lets you make the best decisions for your baby. This process, however, is draining both for the mother and the baby. So, here we are with the best tips on how to stop a baby from breastfeeding (obviously, if you are ready for it) from the expert moms that are surely going to make this process comfortable both for you and your baby. Read on to know more about tips to stop breastfeeding and how to stop breastfeeding quickly.
What is the Right Age to Stop Breastfeeding?
This decision is entirely up to you and as per your baby’s demands. You have to decide when you are ready to stop breastfeeding. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for up to 6 months. Later, you should gradually introduce the baby to family foods and can continue breastfeeding for two years or even beyond.
Ideally, mothers suggest that breastfeeding a child for up to 6 months is the best, for up to 1 year is good and you should stop it as your child gets close to 2 years of age. Then, your child should be introduced to the millions of food options to provide a balanced diet. The requirement of a child also grows, and so should the diet.
How to stop a baby from breastfeeding? – The Things to Keep in Mind and the Solutions
There are certain guidelines that you should know and be prepared for before initiating this process with your child. You should be ready for these changes that are going to happen and have solutions to get through them easily. These are:
1. The Approach
Always keep in mind that there is no standard approach to stop breastfeeding. Each child is different and it is the mother who can decide the best for her child. It will be your instinct that will help you decide when the right time comes to take up this decision.
2. The Emotional Breakdown
The process of stopping to breastfeed brings with it a lot of physical and mental changes for both the mother and the baby. Many children show discomfort while they are stopped and mothers continue with this just to comfort their child. Some mothers even feel sad and disconnected from the baby. However, you should remember that you are doing this for the best of your child to support his growing age. So, make sure that you as a mother are determined to take this up and do not stop until you complete the process.
3. Family Support
You should inform your family members what you are going to do and the members should be supportive. The process makes the child throw a lot of tantrums, feel emotionally imbalanced, and cry like anything. If the family is well informed, it will be beneficial both for you and the baby. Else, you may be pressurized to feed the baby again or judged upon your responsibilities. So, make sure that your family understands this process beforehand and why it is important.
4. The Right Time
You can take up this decision solely as per your judgment. However, avoid undergoing this change while your child is hitting some major life milestones. For instance, the baby may already be cranky during the teething process, or you are moving to a new house, toilet training the child, offering daycare, etc. Trying to stop during this time may affect the child to a great extent. So, decide accordingly as per your and your baby’s convenience.
5. Be prepared for the Breast Engorgement
Even when you stop breastfeeding, your breast continues to produce milk. When there is a time for your child’s feed and you are skipping that, you may suffer from leaking milk issues. You may also experience breast pain accompanied by fever or your breasts are tightened and hard to feel. Be prepared for these problems as it takes normally 7-10 days for the breast milk to dry up completely. You can use breast pads to solve the leaking breasts and try and skip one feed at a time so you can be at comfort.
6. Consider Alternate Meal
Before you stop your feed, decide on what alternate meals you would offer your child. This helps you to be well prepared in advance. You can supplement the feed with the normal milk using a feeding bottle, a sipper cup, or whatever is a convenient option or a solid/semi-solid meal depending on your child’s age.
It is better that you are well prepared with these solution before you take up this challenge for your baby.
15 Tips to Stop Breastfeeding with Ease
Weaning the baby is not as simple as it sounds. Both the mother and the baby have to go through a lot of tantrums and frustrating nights to make it happen. We, at NewMumLife, asked different moms for their experiences and the tricks they used to wean their babies with ease. If you are looking for ways on how to stop a baby from breastfeeding, here are some tips from expert moms that will help you. You can select the one that suits you and your child’s needs.
1. Work Gradually
It’s the most important one in tips to stop breastfeeding. Experts recommend that you should initiate this process by stopping one feed at a time and that feed should be the least important one for your child. For that one feed, you can offer some alternate options like sippy cups or bottles. If you can continue this for at least 3-4 days, then you can try and skip another feed. You should carry on with this process until your child is completely weaned. This method will also be feasible and comfortable for you both physically and mentally. You will have less emotional breakdowns and may never experience breast engorgement.
2. Skip Day Time Feeds First
Try and skip the day time feeds first. The night is the time when the baby is the most difficult to keep away from a mother’s breast. So, first, wean the baby during the day time and then once completely done, start with the night time.
3. Engage the Baby in Other Activities
Distract the baby during the feed times and try and engage him/her in some activities. Take your child outside to play, involve your family members, or offer his/her favorite toys. The point is that you have to make your kid too busy to forget about momma’s milk.
4. Get Away From the Child
Be out of sight when it’s time to breastfeed. Your child remembers feeding only when you are around. If you are not, there may be a case that he/she never asks for the feed. After a few days, your baby will automatically forget about the feeding.
5. Set Limits
If the child is older and understands well, then you can set some limits. For instance, you can ask the child that you would feed only after lunchtime or only during the night after dinner. This way the child will get involved in some other routine work before asking for the next feed.
6. Get Help
Involve your partner or some other family member and ask them to take over if the child gets out of control. Children usually are messier with mothers around. So, if someone else can control that situation, it would be better both for you and your child.
7. Change Your Nipples’ Taste
If you are looking for a tip that can tell you how to stop breastfeeding quickly, consider this one. Apply some sharp flavors on your nipples such as lemon, garlic, or bitter gourd juice. When the baby tries and sucks, he/she will automatically be taken aback and you can control the situation with some stories about your “bad-tasting breasts”.
8. Break the Sleep and Feed Association
Some children are used to being fed to sleep. What you have to do is to break that association. You can ask your partner to make the child asleep, leave the child in the grandparent’s room, or offer bedtime storybooks. Breaking this association helps a lot with the bedtime feed process.
9. Offering Water Helps Weaning Night Feeding
When you start solids, a child is thirsty at the night and asks for a mother’s milk. Experts recommend offering water during that time. A child may feel satisfied and go to sleep back again.
10. Be Prepared Beforehand Even During the Night
A great tip if you are looking for a solution on how to stop breastfeeding quickly. Observe the time when the baby wakes during the night crying for a feed. Wake yourself up sometime before and be prepared with the alternate option. This can be a bottle of warm milk if the baby is older than 1 year. Feed the baby and try not to offer your breasts. This may be tedious to do but is going to work. In 5-6 days, your baby may start forgetting about the breast milk.
11. Reduce the Feeding Time and Offer Alternatives
Slowly reduce the feeding time with each session of breastfeeding. You can compensate for the amount with other healthier options like soya milk, almond milk, oats milk, or cow’s milk. Doing this will gradually reduce your breastfeeding sessions. This will also help in preventing dehydration.
12. Empty One Breast at a Time
Babies get hungry quickly because they don’t get the thick and nourishing hindmilk. Make sure you offer your child one breast at a time and let him/her drain it completely. If the baby switches the breast frequently, he is only able to get the foremilk making him/her wake up again for the feed.
13. Cuddle a Lot
Babies want physical touch. They are addicted to breast milk as they feel safe and secure through the mother’s touch. When you are trying to stop breastfeeding, make sure you cuddle up a lot with your baby. This will help with any insecurity-led feeding that babies tend to adapt to overtime.
14. Look for the baby’s hints
Weaning is either baby-led or mother-led. Look for the clues your baby is giving you. If the baby gets distracted quickly from the breasts, is more interested in other activities, or loses patience while feeding, it’s time for you to initiate this process as early as possible. If the baby does not show any of these signs, then you need to take the initiative to make it happen.
15. Do Not Volunteer
Feed only when the child asks. It is generally a tendency of offering breasts to the child for any reason. The child is tired, crying out, not sleeping, or in any such circumstances. Do not volunteer until your child asks for the feed. This might become a habit and eventually, may be difficult to stop.
All good things come to an end. And, so should breastfeeding. If done in the right way, weaning can be a positive experience both for you and your baby. We hope our tips to stop breastfeeding help you move through this transitioning process easily and comfortably.