Try These Easy Tips to Wean Your Baby and Stop Breastfeeding
Before we dive into the tips to stop breastfeeding, I want to ask you one question:
Why do you want to stop breastfeeding?
Please stop and consider that question before deciding to wean your baby.
- Do you have to return to work?
- Do you have a medical reason that won’t allow you to continue nursing?
- Do you feel pressure from family or friends?
- Do you think that you have to because someone told you it’s time?
- Are you just ready?
No one can answer those questions for you, only you. And no answer is wrong. 😉 My point is simply that I want you to be the one deciding when you’re done breastfeeding and no one else.
When I had my first baby I knew nothing about nursing and somehow I assumed that as soon as he turned a year old, I needed to stop breastfeeding.
It was due in large part to listening to other peoples’ opinions of what they thought was best for my baby (some were truly well intending people who didn’t mean any harm – they just didn’t know any better.)
Now that I know more, I have taken a baby led weaning approach. Neither is right or wrong, but you must know your reason for stopping.
Having said that, if you do decided it’s time to stop nursing, then I invite you to read my best tips to stop breastfeeding.
Prepare the Baby
No matter what age your baby is, you’ll need to prepare him.
If he’s still little and not eating solids, then he’ll need to be supplemented with formula. Make sure you give him formula and experiment with which brand is right for your baby before completely stopping nursing.
If your baby is older, then your preparation will be more emotional.
You can help him understand that you will be done nursing simply by explaining it in little person terms.
Depending on the age of your child, he may or may not understand, but by talking to him a little bit here and there, you will be preparing your baby.
Perhaps more difficult than preparing your baby, is preparing yourself.
Nursing forms an emotional and intimate attachment and bond between you and your baby and once you stop, you won’t be able to start back up again. (OK, technically, you could, but it would be very difficult.)
Again, I encourage you to make sure you know why you want to stop breastfeeding.
You’ll also have physical preparations to make. If nursing has caused you to not have your period, then make sure you’re ready for when it comes.
Because as soon as you stop breastfeeding it will be back.
You may also deal with engorgement, so you’ll definitely want to have a breast pump on hand. (This is the one I personally recommend and have used for six out of seven of my babies!)
Some extra nursing pads will be helpful as well since you might struggle a bit with leaking for a few days.
- Grab some FREE nursing pads here, but using my coupon code: ALLNATURALJOY50
Make Sure the Baby Has Another Form of Comfort and Food
Of course, if nursing is the baby’s sole form of food, then when you stop breastfeeding you need to make sure he has something else nutritious (and exciting) to eat.
Again, it will depend on his age. Obviously if he is still little, he’ll need to be supplemented with formula.
Otherwise, make sure to get him on a regular eating rotation. If he’s over a year old, you can easily transition him to milk and regular table food.
Start Giving Solid Foods
If you’re ready to stop breastfeeding, then one of the best ways is to start by giving solid foods.
Your baby will fill up on food and won’t want to nurse as much. It’s a bit more of a natural (and possibly slower) approach, but the progression will eventually lead to stopping breastfeeding.
Soothe and Cuddle Your Baby in Other Ways
Nursing can be one of the biggest forms of comfort, so if you follow these tips to stop breastfeeding, then you’ll need to find another way to calm, cuddle, and soothe your baby when he’s upset.
Rocking in a chair, reading a book, and snuggling, (to name a few) are always ways you can calm your baby instead of nursing him.
If you co-sleep with your baby, then it might be a little more difficult to stop breastfeeding.
It’s a good idea to establish your baby in his own crib or bedroom so he’s not comfort nursing through the night.
The transition can be hard, but that leads us to the next tip to stop breastfeeding:
Do it Gradually
Unless you have an absolute reason that you must wean quickly, don’t expect it all at once.
It will take time for you to stop breastfeeding your baby. You can’t expect the results to happen overnight. One of my best tips to stop breastfeeding is to drop feedings gradually.
Just nurse a little less everyday and you’ll find your baby and your body transition much more easily.
I prefer that approach over quitting cold turkey. It’s much gentler on everyone.
Enlist the Help of Others
Sometimes you need help. This is a great job for Grandma or your best friend!
If your baby really wants to nurse and you’re ready to stop breastfeeding, then sometimes you need another person to help you. It’s perfectly OK!
Ask your helper to find ways to encourage your baby not to nurse. Playing a game or reading a book or two are great ideas.
Also sometimes your baby will accept being held and soothed by someone else but not you. Simply because when he’s with you, he’s grown accustomed to nursing and expects that you will continue to breastfeed him.
Use Cold Compresses to Reduce Engorgement
Depending on how long you’ve been nursing, you will probably experience some engorgement at some point in the weaning process.
Try these cold compress nursing pads to help ease the discomfort remember it’s only temporary and eventually your body will adjust.
Massage your breasts with lavender oil to help prevent mastitis and to bring soothing relief.
Use Cabbage Leaf Compresses
It’s funny, I know, but using cabbage leaves on your breasts really helps to ease the pain and discomfort of the weaning process.
I have no idea why it works, but it does.
If you’re going to wean your baby then you definitely want to have a head of cabbage on hand! Just tuck them into your bra and try to be discrete! If you can keep yourself from laughing!
Watch for Plugged Ducts or Mastitis
While going through the process of quitting breastfeeding, make sure you keep a close watch on your health.
You can easily develop a plugged duct or mastitis and may end up needing treatment.
Know the signs:
If you develop:
- a fever
- body aches
- pain in your breast(s)
then let your healthcare provider know of any symptoms you have.
Be Aware of Mood Changes
It’s not uncommon for you to have ups and downs during the process of quitting nursing.
Just be aware that your body is going through a hormonal change and if you are struggling with your mood, eventually it should level out.
In the case that it doesn’t, it’s important to let you healthcare provider know.
Apart from that, weaning your baby can be a very emotional process. Expect to feel sad sometimes.
As long as your mood changes are not extreme, you shouldn’t need to worry. Give yourself time and grace and pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
Distract Your Baby
Help your baby find ways to be entertained and comforted other than nursing.
Purchase a new toy or find something special to do with him instead of nursing. Sing songs or play lap games with your baby and teach him to do things other than nurse in order to be close to you.
If your baby is used in nursing before laying down to sleep, try playing soft music to distract him instead.
Above all else, be patient.
Be patient with your baby and yourself.
As I said earlier it takes time and it isn’t something that will happen overnight. The more patient you can be with your baby the easier your transition will be.
You’ll feel so much better not forcing it and so will he.
Nothing Says You Have to Quit
Of course, unless you have an extenuating circumstance, you don’t have to stop breastfeeding.
Just make sure that you are very certain of your reason why you want to quit. If you’ve made up your mind, then these tips to stop breastfeeding will definitely help you along the way.
Sometimes mamas get scared when their babies start teething. Don’t worry! If you’re baby is getting teeth, you may just need to help him through the teething process and not necessarily quit nursing. Check out my post on natural remedies for teething babies. You might just find you can keep breastfeeding after all!
How About You?
Do you have any tips to stop breastfeeding that I didn’t include? Comment below and let me know and I may even add them to this post!
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Wondering How to Wean Your Baby? Easy Tips to Stop Breastfeeding