Most good things come to an end and breastfeeding certainly is one of those things. The thing, however, is that our bodies do not just stop producing milk when we have decided to stop breastfeeding. Our children on the other hand will not just stop breastfeeding on demand as well. It is a gradual process that has to be traded with care. If done right, the end of the breastfeeding journey for you and your baby does not have to be painful either physically or emotionally. In this article, there will be tips on when and how to stop breastfeeding in the best possible way.
There is no official duration as to how long you should breastfeed. For some people, it is for as long as the child needs to until he or she stops on their own. For some people, they believe that at two years, then the breastfeeding journey between them and their kids should come to an end. For some people, it is a year while some even go ahead and tandem-feed.
In reality, there are some mothers that cannot breastfeed for longer than 6 months or a year because of medical reasons. Some mothers have inverted nipples and getting the baby to latch correctly is a struggle. For some of them, recurring nipple cracking makes breastfeeding excruciatingly painful while for some mothers, they just do not have enough breast milk to nourish the baby with.
If you are needed to stop breastfeeding before the baby is a year old, it is advisable to supplement with formular milk until the child is a year old then you can switch to cow milk.
How To Stop Breastfeeding Gradually
The best way to stop breastfeeding is by doing it slowly. Do it gradually by phasing out and reducing the feeding frequencies. You can also reduce the feeding times by a few minutes in each session. Weaning from breastfeeding in a measured and steady way is a great way to avoid engorged breasts which then leads to clogged ducts or mastitis. To make the gradual weaning easier, let go of the baby’s least favourite feeding session while keeping in mind that the first and the last feed before bedtime will be the last to go.
How To Stop Breastfeeding Immediately
It is not advisable to stop breastfeeding abruptly as it will cause more discomfort to both the mother and the baby. Complications may also arise from clogged ducts as a result of engorgement of the breasts.
Well, I know that in our culture, some women choose to send their children upcountry for a few days and by the time they are back, they do not ask to be breastfed. Some women have also applied chillies or aloe vera on their breasts or even duct taped their nipples then told their children that they were sick and that they could not feed on it any more. This often works but it does not help with the engorgement.
The pain after abrupt weaning can be unbearable in some cases and to help alleviate this pain, one can express just enough to be comfortable but be careful not to empty the boob as it would stimulate your breast to produce more milk.
You can also use cold cabbage or ice packs to help relieve pain in your engorged breasts. It is also advisable to use painkillers such as Ibuprofen for the pain.
You should also keep in mind that breastfeeding was bonding time between you and your baby and once they are not breastfeeding anymore, you can look into adding more snuggle time to compensate.
Once you have successfully stopped breastfeeding, the milk may take anywhere between 7 and 10 days to dry up.
What techniques have you used to stop breastfeeding? What worked and what did not?
As we continue to celebrate #WorldBreastfeedingWeek, what are your thoughts on when and how to stop breastfeeding?