Wonder how to stop breastfeeding in the least painful way and fully transition your baby to regular foods?
The most natural way of weaning is a baby-led one. If you decided to initiate the process read these 10 possible weaning reasons first. If after that you still think that weaning time has come, here is how to stop breastfeeding gradually:
Start with the least favorite feeding. Morning and bedtime feedings are usually the last to go.
Continue for a couple of days until your baby gets comfortable.
Let someone else give your baby the bottle. In your baby’s head you are connected with the breast. He/she may accept the bottle more willingly from someone else.
When there is “unused” milk in the breasts the body gets the signal to produce less and supply decreases. Here is more on how to reduce your milk supply.
Continue for 4-5 days or until your baby is comfortable.
Your baby may want to go back and forth with the feedings. Be flexible and ready for a step back. That is why the key to learning how to stop breastfeeding is to do it gradually.
Sickness, hurting himself/herself, discomfort may call for a nursing.
Make sure to be staying close to your baby. Substitute a nursing with your love, attention, touching, hugging and kissing your baby. Let your baby know that even if there is no breast this time, mommy still loves him/her.
At the times of day when there used to be a breastfeeding session avoid places, situations, chairs, nursing pillows and anything else related to breastfeeding.
Think of a fun activity for this time to make up for the breastfeeding time not spent together.
If your child is asking for a nursing, try distracting him/her.
Postponing a breastfeeding for even a little bit may shift your child’s attention to something else.
Make your breasts less accessible by the clothes you are wearing.
Start a routine before bed time to substitute for a nursing. Do something that your child loves.
Do not offer the breast. Your baby may get busy with something interesting and forget to even ask for it. But do not refuse if your child needs a nursing.
To help weaning from bedtime nursing, let your baby’s father put him/her to sleep. Make sure you have enough cuddles and hugs with your baby before that. And then escape leaving the very last moment to the dad. This method proved very effective.
If you are weaning a toddler you can plan a weaning party with him/her. It can simply be a play date devoted to your son’s/daughter's weaning. Your child will find it exciting to help you plan it and will feel that weaning is a cool thing to do.
This one may be tricky.
If you are planning a vacation try to remove the last feeding there. Children better accept changes within changes. Make sure you make up for it with cuddles and attention.
Be ready to be asked for the breast once you return to your usual “breastfeeding” environment. Regress is normal.
A variation of learning how to stop breastfeeding gradually is by reducing the duration of a feeding and the volume of breast milk consumed.
Give your baby solids (if older than six months) before the nursing. Then gradually increase the amount of solids and decrease the amount of milk. This approach ensures problem-free milk reduction, but it may take longer to completely wean.
Baby-led weaning is ideal. If you need to initiate the process, follow the gradual approach. If due to a medical problem weaning should be fast or immediate, here are some additional tips:
* Source: "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman
There are many ways to show your love and devotion to your kids and to win their trust. Breastfeeding is the most natural one.