Mothers who have been planning on how to wean or reduce the frequency they breastfeed their babies may be looking for an easy way to stop breastfeeding. Weaning a baby can take time and also be challenging for both mother and baby, especially if the baby has been breastfed for a long period of time.
It is important to have a strategy in order to wean properly. Below are some tips on how to stop breastfeeding quickly and help both the mother and baby adjust to the new feeding system.
When to stop breastfeeding
It is very important for a mother to know when she wants to stop breastfeeding her baby. Mothers do not need to stop breastfeeding if they know they are not ready to stop; however, a simple guideline will help nursing mothers make the decision of whether to stop breastfeeding or not.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies should be on exclusive for the first six months after giving birth, this means that mothers should only feed them with breast milk, then solid food can be introduced to them after the sixth month.
Breastfeeding can continue on for up to a year or so depending on both the mother and baby. Sometimes, mothers may stop breastfeeding due to pressure from people, pain, the nature of work, or because the breasts are not producing enough milk.
Night weaning is one of the ways to stop a baby from breastfeeding. Once a baby is between six months and one year, their feeding rate at night reduces. This method helps mothers to rest well at night.
When trying night weaning, it is advisable to have something to give the baby in place of breast milk, once the baby is awake for feeding. Instead of breastfeeding, you can give the baby either juice, water, or milk, depending on their age and what the baby likes. Night weaning allows the mother to rest well and leaves her more capable of taking care of her child during the day.
Providing adequate nutrition replacement
Mothers who are trying to wean babies should make provision for adequate nutrition. For babies who are less than a year old, formula or donor breast milk should be provided, while babies who can take solid food already should be given nutritious solid food contain adequate amounts of protein and iron.
Worried parents can see a nutritionist to guide them on the right amount of nutrients and appropriate daily calories that should be provided to the child. If babies do not get enough vitamin D and iron, then they will need a multivitamin or some other supplement.
Gradual reduction of breastfeeding frequency
Stopping breastfeeding suddenly can cause nipple pain, enforcement, or physiological distress to both the mother and baby. For this reason, it is better to stop breastfeeding slowly and steadily. It is better to reduce feeding time to the times when the baby eats less.
This means identifying the times when the baby doesn’t eat much, or when it is not important to feed them. After the baby has adjusted to this, you can move on to stop the next feeding session. Keep doing this to stop the next feeding session until it gets to the last one.
The most difficult session to stop is the last one, which is either the morning or the evening session. Mothers should do this gradually to allow their baby adequate time to adjust.
Using breast pumps can relieve women of discomfort during weaning. When a baby feeds, or a breast is pumped, the body keeps producing milk. The supply of breast milk in a woman’s body tends to diminish as the rate at which the baby feeds reduces. However, this occurs differently in some women’s bodies, and they encounter engorgement and discomfort.
So, one of the best ways to reduce the pain is by pumping the breast for about two minutes. The breasts should not be pumped too frequently or for too long, because it will increase the milk supply. Breasts should be pumped for two minutes or until the mother feels the sensation of pain or discomfort is gone.
Dealing with swelling
There are other ways to deal with discomfort if pumping fails to help. Pumping and breastfeeding can increase the milk supply and also increase the time of the discomfort and delay the weaning process. If breast pumping or breastfeeding are not working, then try compressing with something warm before feeding or taking a warm bath. You can try compressing with something cold like ice after feeding. Contraceptive pills can also be used to reduce the production of milk, which will alleviate the discomfort of weaning.
Allowing others to feed your baby
During this time, you have to reduce the rate at which you feed your baby. Allow friends and family to feed the baby for you in order for the baby to get used to other people feeding him or her with a bottle. At this period, the baby might tend to get clingy and cry when you leave them or when others try to carry them. But you have to let your baby learn to feel free with others as this also helps you both through the weaning stage.
Applying cabbage leaves
According to some women, the application of cabbage leaves to the breasts helps with the pain and swelling at the same time. You can put the cabbage leaves in your bra, and the leaves will help absorb some of the fluid from the glands. This helps to reduce the fullness of the breast.
Comforting the baby
Breastfeeding is not only for feeding and nutrition, but it also serves to comfort the baby when he or she is stressed or scared. Most times, babies fall asleep while breastfeeding. While weaning the baby, it is best to also comfort the baby by offering a pacifier, rocking the baby, holding the baby close to your body, singing or playing or going for a walk with the baby, or by having another family member or friend comfort and feed the baby and help reduce the stress of the mother.
The weaning stage is a quite difficult stage for both mother and child, but it has to come, which is why it is a phase you have to prepare for ahead of time, that is, know when you intend to wean your child before or after the child is born.
One more tip on how to stop breastfeeding quickly is for you to be determined. I’ve seen mothers who can’t bear to see their babies cry and end up popping the breast right into the baby’s mouth just to pacify. Well, at some point, you will have to decide when you are ready to go through the process, but don’t start if you are not really ready.
For most babies, they adapt quickly to the change, and in a month or two, they are enjoying the new feeding style, but it takes longer for other babies. Don’t force it, but be consistent with the process, and it will work out at the right time.