Breast milk is the best source of food for your baby from day one. It is the baby’s first food and will be the main source of nourishment for almost a year.
But the question remains how to stop breastfeeding?
This article will help you to know the right time and the right way to stop breastfeeding.
There is no such thing as the perfect time to quit breastfeeding. It is better to wait until your baby is at least 12 months old before you stop breastfeeding.
After six months, solid food cannot entirely replace breast milk. Baby will still need to breastfeed to better digest the solids you may then wean your baby after they complete one year. Stopping breastfeed depends on how compelling the reasons for stopping breastfeed are?
What Are the Reasons For A Mother To Stop Breastfeeding?
The following are the most common reasons:
- Getting back to work and personal life.
- Mother is ill and on medication.
- Baby starts to bite.
- Breastfeeding becomes tiring and painful
- Baby’s dissatisfaction with milk.
- Insufficient milk
- Breast milk alone is not enough for baby’s growth.
- Baby lost interest and weaned.
If the baby is too young to be off breast milk you can seek medical advice to continue breastfeeding. Sometimes ceasing breastfeeding is the only way to go for this you should follow a gradual process to reduce the baby’s dependency on breast milk.
How to Stop Breastfeeding?
1. Replace breast milk with formula
- Your baby is more likely to accept formula than solid foods as a replacement for breast milk. Formula tastes closest to breast milk, so your baby is likely to accept this.
- A formula is also an ideal replacement for feeding in the middle of the night.
2. The baby’s interest in solid food
- Babies develop a keen interest in solid food after six months. The interest almost peaks at 12 months, when a baby can have different varieties of foods, including cow’s milk.
- Use baby-led weaning to your advantage. When the baby is hungry, give them solid food instead of breast milk.
3. Replace comforter feeds with activity
- Sometimes, breastfeeding is more of a comfort than a solution to hunger. Cut down on such breastfeeding and check if the baby notices.
Stopping Baby from Biting during breastfeeding?
1. A pacifier will help.
- Does your baby suckle? If yes, it could probably be the baby’s sucking reflex and not hunger. In such a case, you can consider using a pacifier.
2. Let formula or solids be the first choice of food.
- The next time your baby is hungry give them formula or solid food to breastfeeding.
- Use baby food to deal with the baby’s hunger. The key is to balance the baby’s diet with solids and formula and discontinue breastfeeding gradually.
How Long Does A Baby Take to Stop Breastfeeding?
An infant may take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to stop breastfeeding.
What If the Baby Still Demands Breastmilk?
Normally babies turn away from breastfeeding and show interest in solids by 12 months. If your toddler wants to be breastfed long after that, here are some things you can do:
1. Rework your approach:
Try changing the feeding session that you replaced with solid food. You may have to try several permutations to finally arrive at a solution.
2. Set a routine:
If your baby likes a specific type of food, serve it precisely the same every day. When your baby knows what to expect, they will be less restlessness and not necessarily demand breast milk when hungry.
3. Let someone else bottle feed:
Let a family member feed formula at a set time in a day. Then the baby will stop associating food with you and will learn not to demand breast milk when hungry.
4. Switch formulas and foods:
Try different formulas to see which one gets a faster rate of adoption. You can do the same with solids such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals.
When you stop breastfeeding, both you and your baby will be significantly affected. Read on to what exactly happens.
What Happens When You Stop Breastfeeding?
You could encounter the following situations when you stop breastfeeding your baby:
• Breast engorgement:
Engorged breasts, though, can be a problem for a while, since the human mammary glands continue to produce some amount of milk even weeks after cessation of breastfeeding.
• Depression and mood swings:
Due to hormonal imbalance, there are high chances of depression taking place.
- Weight gain: It is the most common side effect but can be easily controlled.
- Heavy periods: Some women may experience a heavy period after they stop breastfeeding, quite likely due to the larger uterine lining of the expanded uterus. Periods will return to normal after a couple of cycles.
When you stop breastfeeding there is a change in hormonal balance, prolactin and oxytocin return to the pre-pregnancy levels and ovaries resume normal functions.
Since prolactin and oxytocin return to pre-pregnancy levels soon, depression and periods will not be an issue a few months after you stop breastfeeding.
How to Relieve Engorged Breasts After Stopping Breastfeeding?
You can get relief from engorged breasts through the following measures:
- Use cold pack every 15 minutes.
- Have acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Wear a supportive bra.
Do not pump the milk out of engorged breasts after you have stopped breastfeeding. It can re-stimulate the production of the prolactin and oxytocin, which can take back your milk production to the lactation levels.
Engorgement of breasts:
The only way to prevent engorged breasts is to stop breastfeeding gradually. Stopping breastfeeding overnight is good neither for you nor the baby.
Placing Cabbage On Engorged Breasts For Relief.
Yes, refrigerated cabbage leaf can be a useful home remedy for breast engorgement. Wash a leaf of cabbage, refrigerate until it is cold, and place the leaf on your breast and secure it with a bra. Keep it there till the leaf becomes warm. Replace with a fresh cabbage leaf if required.
This theory is not specific as it is not scientifically proven but it is proved to be beneficial.
Resuming Breastfeeding After Weaning.
When you resume breastfeeding after a gap, it is called re-lactation. Re-lactation only works when you resume breastfeeding not long after you’ve stopped it. It works best when the baby is six months old or less.
Re-lactating a baby older than 12 months would require considerable effort. At least ten breastfeeding sessions of 20 minutes each in a day are required to stimulate milk supply, albeit gradually. Even then, your breast milk supply may not be the same as earlier. A weaned infant will also have more interest in solid food or formula and may display resistance to breastfeed.
Consider stopping breastfeeding only when you both are ready and have no intention of returning to lactation.
Drying up of Breast Milk after your Stop:
Your breast may continue producing milk for as long as two years after you stopped nursing. Nevertheless, there is a gradual drop in it a few weeks after you stop breastfeeding. It is normal for the breasts to secrete milk once in a while, despite stopping nursing. But if it is frequent and accompanied by pain or a burning sensation, consult your gynecologist.
Breast milk is essential to keep your baby nourished and healthy. But as your little one grows older but the growing little one will need nourishment, hence it is better to start with solid food item so that they can have their complete balance of nutrition as breast milk will not be able to provide all of it.