When To Stop Breastfeeding And How To Do It Safely

Sorry, Out of Milk - When to stop Breastfeeding and how to do it safely - Titty City Design

Ah. Breastfeeding.

The magical and miraculous act of feeding, comforting, and sustaining your precious bundle. 

Breastmilk contains all the nourishment your babe needs in their first six months of life and remains the most important food in their first year. It’s also a wonderful way to create closeness and connection with your little one, forming a beautiful bond.

But, there will come a time when something in you makes the decision to stop breastfeeding. And for a lot of mamas, this is not an easy decision to make. So, how do you know when to stop breastfeeding? And, how can you do it safely?

We know this is a hard question to ask mama, and we’re here to help as much as we can.

How do you know when to stop breastfeeding?

It might not come like a lightning bolt, but there may be something inside you that makes you feel like you’ve reached the time to end your breastfeeding journey.

Just know that however long you choose to breastfeed, it’s yours and your baby’s decision to make. It’s your body, your baby, and your choice.

Whatever your breastfeeding milestone is, whether it’s 24 hours or 5 years or beyond, you’ve done amazing mama, and we’re so proud of you. Any amount of breastmilk is good for your baby, and the benefits are greater the longer you feed.

But, if you feel like that time to wean has come, then we’re here to support you. But first, you might be wondering how you’ll know when it’s time to stop breastfeeding. Well, there are a few signs.

  • You want to get pregnant or you are pregnant (although this doesn’t mean you have to stop nursing)
  • You’ve gone back to work and are finding it too hard to continue nursing
  • Your supply has decreased
  • Your little one has decided to self-wean
  • You’re experiencing breastfeeding struggles such as cluster feeding and it’s making you feel down
  • There’s a medical reason why you need to stop breastfeeding
  • You feel like your baby has reached an age where breastfeeding is no longer necessary
  • You just feel like it!

And always remember Breast Friend, there is no “how old is too old to breastfeed.” There’s no upper limit to breastfeeding. You might get “advice” and opinions from “helpful” people, BUT all major health organizations agree that there isn’t a breastfeeding age that’s harmful or damaging to children. 

How to stop breastfeeding

We know that it is recommended to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life, and The World Health Organization recommends continuing for the first two years. 

There’s no right way or wrong way to stop breastfeeding Breastie. For a lot of amazing Boobing mamas, it happens gradually  baby starts eating more food and so asks for milk less often. But, remember, breastfeeding also provides comfort, as well as food. For both of you. And because of this, it might make it harder to wean your little one from your glorious Boobies. 

But if you’ve made the decision to stop breastfeeding, then here are our top tips:

    #1 Do it slowly

    Now you’ve made the decision to stop breastfeeding, you need to do it gradually. We recommend doing it over a few weeks or months to allow your supply to slowly decrease, and avoid issues such as mastitis. Sudden weaning can also wreak havoc on your emotions  and your baby’s  so keep like the tortoise and finish the race slowly. 

    #2 Cut out the feed they're least interested in

    Is there a particular feed that your little one just isn’t that bothered with? If so, drop that one first, as it’ll be the one they’ll least likely miss. Think of this mantra “don’t offer, don’t refuse.”

    #3 Offer just one Boobie

    Instead of offering your milk monster both Boobs during a feed, try just one side, then switch sides at the next feed. And  if you can  avoid “snacking.” Breastfeeding snacking that is. Not your snacking. Never stop that! Pass the Cheetos.

    #4 Offer a sippy cup or snack

    If your little one is under a year, then they’ll still need milk as the main part of their diet. Before you wean, trial formula (if appropriate) or other milk in a bottle or sippy cup to get them used to the new vessel and taste. For toddlers or older children, try offering a snack in replacement of a feed. 

    #5 Night weaning

    Nighttime is when a lot of babies crave extra milk and the closeness from you mama. Try offering lots of nutrient-dense foods during the day, to make up for the calories that your milk offers at night. You could also try giving an extra feed in the evening or before bed to try and make up for those nighttime feeds. 

    #6 Change your routine

    This is to stop your little one from being reminded of breastfeeding. Avoid sitting in your usual nursing spot (like a nursing chair) and introduce a new gentle routine for bedtime, such as a story or song, that acts as a cue for sleeping.

    #7 Give all the cuddles

    As your babe weans, he might crave extra closeness with you. Give your little one extra cuddles and snuggles to help him feel more secure. This will also send the message that you’re not going anywhere and your comfort will always be there for him.

    #8 Breastfeed to natural term

    This is essentially letting your baby or child decide when they’re ready to stop nursing. Also known as self-weaning. If this happens, you’ll notice your little one’s feeding become shorter and less frequent, until they’ve stopped completely. 

    There isn’t an exact answer for how long it takes for your milk to dry up, but stopping slowly and gradually, should help the process. Most experts believe it can take up to 10 days for your supply to dry up, but you might notice you still produce a few drops for weeks or even months after you’ve stopped.

    And remember Breastie, only stop breastfeeding when the time feels right for you. 

    Stopping breastfeeding side effects

    Okay. Let’s be real for a sec Breast Friend.

    When you choose to stop breastfeeding, there are going to be some changes. And we’re not just talking physical changes here. Each mother has their own response to decreasing feeds.

    Stopping breastfeeding is a major shift for your body. And, like with any major shift, there are bound to be some side effects. To make sure you’re prepared for what to expect, here are some of the more common stopping breastfeeding side effects.

    • As your Boobs adjust to decreasing milk production, they might feel a little sore and tender. Make sure you wear comfy bras that avoid cutting into your skin to make them as happy as possible.
    • You might experience engorgement as your Boobies adjust. If your Boobs feel painful or become engorged, then try hand expressing or pumping a little milk out until they feel more comfortable. But don’t empty your breasts, as they’ll then get the signal to start producing more!
    • Ah. Hormones. When you choose to stop breastfeeding, you may feel extra emotional. You can thank your fluctuating hormones for this — as well as the natural sadness you might feel about the change. Show yourself extra kindness during this time. Take care of yourself, eat well, get plenty of rest, and talk about your feelings. And make sure you get as many extra cuddles as possible with your little one, so you both continue to feel the closeness. 

      When to stop breastfeeding is a personal choice mama

      And it’s only a choice that YOU can make.

      There are so many factors that will ultimately help you make the decision of when to stop breastfeeding, but the most important factor of all is you. When you feel ready. Not your Breastie, not your partner, not that judgey Karen giving you disapproving stares in the cafe. You.

      You’re simply the Breast, and whatever you decide, we’ll be here for you, every step of the way. 

       

      At Titty City Design, we believe that every boobie is beautiful, and that should be celebrated. We are a female owned and operated, small business here to spread self love and body positivity with our line of products for the home. A portion of our proceeds go to help support postpartum women and breast cancer patients.

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