Breastfeeding creates an important bond between mother and baby, but if you decide to stop breastfeeding, how can the event be less traumatic for the child? Here are some tips on when and how to stop breastfeeding.
When To Stop Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is not the only way to strengthen the relationship between mother and baby. There are various legends and prejudices about breastfeeding and when to stop. In fact, there is no rule, and only the mother and baby know when it is right to stop!
If you want to stop breastfeeding, know that it is your right: do not feel pressured or conditioned by the opinions of others! The same applies if you want to continue breastfeeding. If you and your baby experience this moment in a natural way, keep doing it. There is no exact age at which it is right to stop or at which breastfeeding becomes a kind of “bad habit”.
1) Proceed Gradually
If you are convinced and determined to stop breastfeeding, there are helpful tips that can help you do it better and with less stress. First, reducing the frequency of breastfeeding your baby is essential instead of stopping it all at once. Doing so will reduce the “trauma” of breast loss and keep the baby from grieving. It also prevents the swelling of the breast that can lead to mastitis. In this case, expressing breast milk manually can be useful.
2) Explain to the Child What Is Happening
As the child gets older, explain why he/she should stop (in the most age-appropriate way, of course) and try to replace it with a bottle. Admittedly, this is not an easy step and can be stressful, but with the right gradualism and perseverance, you will succeed!
3) Eliminate The Main Feedings First
Because it is one thing for a baby to be hungry and another to be bored and crave the breast, in the second case, look for a different solution. You can try to play with him or distract him instead of breastfeeding! Evening and night feedings can undoubtedly be more difficult to eliminate. In this case, the father may be in charge of bedtime feeding instead of the mother; in any case, it will be essential to come up with another ritual for bedtime feeding.
4) Be Patient
Of course, this step does not take place in a few weeks, but it does take time: be patient and do not expect your baby to get used to being without breast overnight. You may cry or be nervous at first, but it will take time to get used to it, so don’t be in a hurry.
5) Listen to Your Child
Your relationship with your child is unique and irreplaceable. Listening to your child is crucial to help guide you through this critical transition. If you want to stop breastfeeding, avoid giving the breast when he or she is not asking for it. It is common for mothers to offer their breast to calm or distract the baby: if you want to stop breastfeeding, eliminate these situations first!
To know if your baby is ready to stop breastfeeding, it is also essential to listen to your baby. If they are not yet ready, they may not stop crying, wake up several times during the night, or have soiled diapers that need to be removed. If your children are still getting used to the transition, it may be a good idea to step back and postpone it for a while.
If you are sure about your decision to stop breastfeeding, don’t listen to the judgments of others and go your own way. Trust your feelings and what your baby tells you!