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How And When To Stop Breastfeeding?

weaning your baby off breast milk

Breastfeeding also known as nursing is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman's breast. Weaning is the process of replacing breast milk with other foods, the infant is fully weaned after the replacement is complete. Weaning takes time, particularly when a baby has been breastfed for an extended period.

Table Of Contents

When To Stop Breastfeeding

How To Wean A Baby

How To Quit Breastfeeding Gradually

Conclusion

When To Stop Breastfeeding

weaning your baby off breast milk

As said earlier there is no right or wrong time to stop breastfeeding. It's up to you to decide what's best for you and your baby. You may have practical reasons for deciding to stop, such as going back to work or becoming pregnant again. Or you may be experiencing problems while feeding your baby, such as sore nipples or thrush, which can make it painful to breastfeed. 

It's best to give your baby nothing but breastmilk for the first six months of the baby's life. After that, you can start to give the baby solid food alongside the usual breastfeeds. Once you've decided to make any changes gradually. This gives your body time to adjust to making less milk and helps your baby get used to having bottles or beakers of formula milk. Giving up breastfeeding can be an emotional experience and you may have mixed feelings about it. It's best to gradually reduce the number of times you breastfeed rather than stopping abruptly. 

If you stop suddenly, it can be upsetting for your baby and uncomfortable for you. Some infants wean easily while others protest. Planning for a difficult transition can help make the weaning process easier. Going slowly can also help prevent stress for the mother and the baby. If possible, it is helpful to spend some extra time with the baby, as they are sometimes anxious or clingy during weaning.

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How To Wean A Baby

Weaning your baby from breastfeeding can be initiated in a number of ways. Here are some weaning options:

Child-led weaning 

You might choose to let your child decide when to he or she no longer has a nutritional or emotional need to breastfeed. Child-led weaning is when the child gradually reduces and stops breastfeeding without being prompted to do so. Many children appear to give up breastfeeding on their own accord at a younger age but in reality, they are influenced to do so, intentionally or unintentionally, when their mother's employ gradual weaning strategies.

Mother led weaning 

Mother led weaning is when the mother decides to end the breastfeeding relationship. The child might be willing or unwilling participant. Currently, only around one-third of all women in western societies achieve their breastfeeding goals. The majority of mothers stop breastfeeding sooner than they planned to do. Most do so reluctantly. Difficult circumstances surrounding the care of their baby can cause women to believe they have no other option when this is not necessarily the case. If you are reluctant to wean your child please explore possible options with a qualified lactation consultant before giving up on your breastfeeding dreams.

Partial weaning 

Partial weaning means a baby receives infant formula in addition to breastfeeds. You might chose this option if you're unable to express your milk at times of separation from your baby. For example when you are at your work.

how to wean your baby off breast milk

Gradual weaning

Gradually weaning a baby might involve stopping one breastfeed at a time and replacing this with a bottle or cup of expressed breast milk or solids or formula. Allow your baby and your breasts time to adjust before continuing this process until all breastfeeds are ceased. The slower weaning occurs the more time this provides for your child to get used to change. There is a reduced risk of breast complications when weaning occurs gradually compared to sudden weaning.

Sudden weaning 

A sudden wean means an abrupt end to breastfeeding. While a sudden weaning can be upsetting for the child and carries a risk of breast complications such as engorgement, blocked ducts and mastitis there are situations where it may be the only option.

Night weaning 

It can present its own challenges for moms who stop breastfeeding since many women tend to make the highest volume of milk in the middle of the night or early morning hours. To help baby adjust as you are weaning off night feedings, offer lots of nutrient dense foods during the day to make up the calories that night feeding can offer.

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How To Quit Breastfeeding Gradually

how to wean your baby off breast milk

The best way to stop breastfeeding without pain is to do it slowly. Gradual weaning by phasing out one feeding or pump session every few days, is usually a good way to start. Besides cutting back on a feeding every three days or so you can also shave a few minutes off of each feeding. To make the skipped sessions a little easier for baby to handle, start the weaning process by cutting the child's least favourite feeding and keep in mind that the first feeding of the day and the last one before bedtime will probably be the last to go. When weaning, it also helps your child to distract your child during his or her typical feeding time. Feed the child something else during the nursing time so that he or she is satiated.

Conclusion

Breastfeeding is essential for the growth of a baby but at the same time it's essential to stop it at a particular time otherwise it would cause greater problems ahead. Hence it is advisable to stop breastfeeding whenever the mother and baby are comfortable. Before making the decision it's essential to know how to wean the baby and it's related things. Hence mothers are advised to take this decision whenever they feel comfortable to do so.

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