Possible reasons to stop breastfeeding
Less milk supply
For your breasts to make more milk, you need to breastfeed more. This can be difficult, especially if the baby isn’t able to latch well to the breast. Because of this, your milk supply suffers.
Baby’s nutrition demands change
As babies start growing older, their nutritional needs evolve. A growth spurt is the main reason for this. This also means that the baby starts becoming unsatisfied with breast milk and consumes less.
Baby loses interest in breast milk
If you introduce formula milk while breastfeeding, chances are the baby will eventually start losing interest in your milk. Formula milk satiates an infant’s stomach for a longer period of time.
This can be either the mother’s or the baby’s. Sometimes the mother has other health problems that do not allow her to actively breastfeed her child.
Getting back to original routine
Most mothers get back to work after 9-12 months and need to shift their babies to formula milk along with solids.
It is possible for the mother-baby connection to be weak if breastfeeding hasn’t been established as a routine. This can eventually result in less milk supply and the baby being more dependent on formula milk.
Ways to stop breastfeeding – slowly and suddenly
- Reduce feeding sessions, one at a time. The first step towards eliminating breastfeeding is setting up a plan to do it. While it may feel like you can stop breastfeeding in a matter of three to four days, it will take time before your baby becomes completely used to solids and formula milk.
You can begin with weaning during the baby’s least favorite meal time. This can be afternoon, early morning, or late night feeds. Gradually shift the baby to solids or formula milk during this time. Or feed the baby solids a little before feed time so that he or she is too full to ask for breast milk.
- Wean at night. Once the baby turns six months to one year old, their night feedings lessen. This is the best time to wean.
- Replace with bottle feeding. The more the baby starts getting used to bottle feeding, the better it will be. This will also enable the baby to become used to not having his or her mother around during meal time.
- Introduce solids. After four to six months, it is fine to start giving the baby solids. Though not much in quantity, this will still satisfy the baby.
- Pacifier. All babies resist weaning period, and this can mean loud cries and slow sobs. Once the baby initiates a cry to call you for breastfeeding, give them a pacifier. This should be followed by formula milk or pureed food.
Disclaimer: Weaning immediately is not the best option and should be considered thoroughly. This has repercussions for both the mother and the child.
If you wish to stop breastfeeding right away, it may result in breast engorgement or blocked milk ducts. Because of this, you might feel tightness and pain in your nipples or experience dry or sore nipples. You can take pain relievers to ease the breast aches. Other than this, you can also opt for using ice packs around your breasts. This will help eliminate swelling caused due to overload of milk supply. Please remember to use a cloth as direct contact with ice can damage nerves.
Another step to include can be to express a little milk to ease off the pressure from your breasts. Do not completely drain the milk as that will only signal your body to make more milk.
One major drawback of sudden weaning can be the baby becomes irritable and uncontrollable. This is because babies are used to comfort while breastfeeding time, and this abrupt halt might cause them to throw tantrums.