Thinking about how to stop breastfeeding? Well, there are no fixed rules or the right time to stop breastfeeding. Because all the babies and mothers are different in their own ways.
It all depends on you and your baby when it comes to stopping breastfeeding. If you want to stop breastfeeding, then don’t stop breastfeeding suddenly. Because it will make your breasts feel uncomfortable and milk production won’t be stopped.
Stopping breastfeeding suddenly may lead you to complications such as mastitis and blocked ducts. Stopping breastfeeding is also known as weaning.
According to the World Health Organisations, all babies should be breastfed for six months. After the six months gradually introduce your baby to the appropriate homemade baby food, while continuing the breastfeed for the 1 year or beyond.
Some babies also reduce consumption of breastfeeding milk after a while, because they begin to digest solid foods. The solid foods are rarely tasty and it is not easily digestible for small babies.
But don’t worry, I know your problem so I am covering today how to stop breastfeeding without any pain. Keep reading this blog till the end.
When And How To Stop Breastfeeding?
Well, there is no right or the perfect time to stop breastfeeding. It all depends on you and your baby. But make sure about your baby health first before stopping breastfeeding as this is the only rule of thumb.
Before deciding to stop breastfeeding you need to know how long breast milk is beneficial for your toddler or baby. The WHO and MOH are recommending breastfeeding for at least six months of a baby’s healthy life.
After the 6 months, introduce them to solid foods while feeding them breastfeeding. Because before the 6 months only breast milk can actually serve all the vital nutrients required for baby’s growth.
Some studies recommended to continue breastfeeding until the baby age of 2 years. This process is known as extended breastfeeding. As long as you breastfeed your baby then it will continue to enjoy the health benefits that your breast milk serves.
Your breastmilk gives protection to your baby from the disease and infections. Some researchers have proved that breastfeed while solid eating can help your baby to digest her first solid foods.
If you decide to stop breastfeeding then keep making the changes gradually. Because this will help your body to adjust and help you to produce less milk. It also helps your baby to get used to of snippers or formula milk.
Giving your baby breastfeeding is an emotional experience and you can have a mixed feeling about it. You may feel sad because that it’s over, you may also feel that happy because you get your body back.
Overall the good news is that stopping breastfeeding doesn’t end the close bond between you and your baby which have been built during the breastfeeding. In fact, breastfeeding is just the beginning of a special relationship with your baby.
How To Stop Breastfeeding After 2 Weeks
If you want to stop breastfeeding when your baby is under 6 months, then gradually reduce the number of breastfeeding times each day. Phase-out the breastfeeding every 2 to 3 days in the first few weeks.
Then begin with the feeds during the day. Give your baby formula feed from a bottle and avoid to give the breastfeeding.
When your baby becomes used to this daily routine then you can reduce another time as well, just make like once per day until your milk production stops itself.
How To Stop Breastfeeding At 6 Months
The baby will start to have solid foods at around six months, and you will also find that your baby will naturally reduce the breastfeeds overtime.
Within a year your baby probably would down to a couple of feeds a day, with having other solid food
If you want to stop breastfeeding your baby then gradually drop one breastfeed time instead of stopping at once. Also, offer your baby formula milk instead if your baby is less than 12 months.
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How To Stop Breastfeeding A Toddler
It’s helpful to stop breastfeeding gradually for your toddler and babies. Well, toddlers are very keen on breastfeeding and sometimes the toddlers increase their need for it.
Stopping breastfeeding will need a little effort. For this, you need to offer distractions and substitute for your toddlers such as solid food. Change your daily routine and not sit in your usual nursing chair.
Introduce your toddler bedtime routine which includes a sleep cue. This could be a story or song that will continue when breastfeeding would be stopped.
Tips On How To Stop Breastfeeding Gradually
The best way to stop breastfeeding without any pain is to stop it gradually with time. According to the Radcliffe, gradually weaning every few days is a good way to start.
But do weaning from the breastfeeding in a measured and steady way so that it can help you to avoid engorged breasts. It also reduces the risk of mastitis or clogged cuts, an infection of the milk ducts in your breast.
Making a skip session a little easier for the baby to handle, start the process of weaning by cutting your child’s least favorite time of feeding.
You also need to keep that in your mind that first feeding in a morning and the one before bedtime will probably be the last feeding.
Feed your baby something else during the usual nursing time so your child snuggles somewhere other than his usual.
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How To Stop Breastfeeding At Night
If you try to stop breastfeeding instantly then it will become challenging during the night. Because in most cases a woman is capable to produce more milk during the night and early in the morning.
In order to facilitate your baby transition from breast milk to the other food options offer your child a high-calorie diet during the daytime so the baby will feel full towards his sleep time.
Also, to stop breastfeeding at night, concentrate more on offering your baby breastfeed in the afternoon and early evening only.
How Long Does It Take To Stop Breastfeeding?
Every mom and child are different. So the process of weaning is different for everyone. It all depends on you and your child how quickly you can get adjusted.
Take this thing with a steady pace and prepare to be flexible, that’s why slow the things down if you need to.
Completely stopping breastfeeding could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
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How To Stop Milk Production After Breastfeeding
The process of drying up the milk production after the breastfeeding will take a day to weeks because it will depend on you. It also depends on how long your body will keep producing milk.
Well, generally it depends on how long you do breastfeeding, the longer you do the longer it will take to dry up your milk. In some cases, mothers have noticed to eclipse small amounts of breast milk long after their child will stop nursing.
In the early phase of pregnancy, women produce a small amount of milk while they are pregnant. The production of milk increases after the baby will be born.
After the baby’s birth, the breast milk dries up when the milk won’t be consumed anymore. So the less you stimulate the nipples or the breasts faster the breast milk dry up.
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How To Stop Breastfeeding Fast With Medication
There’s are some medications that are recommended to avoid by breastfeeding mothers because these medications are known to decrease the breast milk supply.
So if you want to stop breastfeeding and decrease the milk supply then take these medications.
1. Birth Control Pill
The first and the best type of medication is a combination of birth control pills. The contraceptive pills that contain the hormone estrogens, it also works well for suppressing lactation.
The effects of this medication are notable after milk supply is well- established. But not all the women are experiencing these suppressive effects, but many women have seen the effects of these medications in milk supply.
But it is always recommended to consult with your doctor about these pills to learn more the timing for starting pills.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administrations do not suggest taking birth control pills for this purpose. But it may be prescribed in certain situations as off-label drug use.
The second medication category is decongestants. This medication will be typically used when someone has a cold. Pseudoephedrine is also known to decrease secretion such as breast milk.
According to the study, 69 mg of Pseudoephedrine decrease the milk supply by 24 percent.
Because of the off label and sometimes illegal use of pseudoephedrine in most states, pseudoephedrine purchases are limited but this medication is available over the counters.
Using this drug sometimes can have serious side effects, so before taking it consult with your doctor.
3. Vitamin B
If you are not breastfeeding your infant anymore, then high doses of vitamins B-1, B-6, and B-12 may work well to suppress the lactation.
One study showed that the B-6 method had no unpleasant side effects for 96 percent of the participants.
According to 2017 reviews, the participants who received a B-6 dosage of the 450 to 600 mg over five to seven days, have seen tremendous results in suppression of milk supplies
You should talk with a healthcare provider or lactation consultant before starting the supplement for drying the milk supplies.
Cabergoline is also used for milk suppression, this medication will work by stopping the body’s production of prolactin. This drug is not approved by the FDA, but it may be prescribed off-label.
So consult with your doctor or health care provider, he will explain to you the risks and benefits. Some women saw their milk got dried up after just one dose of these medications, but other women may need additional doses of this medication.
There is not that much study available about the safety of cabergoline who took the breastfeeding mother. So consult with your doctor or the health care provider before taking this medication for stopping breast milk production.
Many women have also used a high dose of estrogen to stop milk production. But this process has stopped due to the blood clotting risks.
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How To Slowly Stop Breastfeeding
When you begin the weaning process in a gradual and slow manner. Any abrupt cessation of the breastfeeding will confuse the body and cause the pain from the engorgement.
When you abruptly stop breastfeeding, then your body is less likely to handle the transition smoothly, and you may notice the experience of pain in your breast.
Because the body will prepare itself to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. It will also be based often on baby-nursing. Your body may not be ready for stopping milk production at a quick rate.
Your body needs time to realize that the milk is no longer needed. You can also face the plugged ducts, mastitis, and engorgement when you stop breastfeeding without using a gradually stopping process.
If you stop breastfeeding suddenly, then it will take the time of milk drying up. It also depend on you how much milk you will produce during this time.
If your body keeps producing a lot of milk, then the body could take several weeks or months.
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How To Stop A Baby From Breastfeeding
If you want to stop breastfeeding then you need to follow some of these methods.
1. Pick Up The Right Time
It’s not best to stop breastfeeding until the toddler is not in a good place. Avoid the weaning process until your baby is not feeling well or in a transition.
If your baby starts new daycare, then the family is in the process of a move. Or you will go back to work and your baby will deeply miss you. These too many changes at once are hard for your little one to handle.
The American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended that babies be exclusively breast-fed for the first 6 months of the age. Introduce your baby to solid food after 6 months.
After that also continue the breastfeeding for 1 year, or as long as the mother and baby like to continue.
Because over the 1-year baby is primarily use breast milk as supplement food, support if the immune system, and they use them as a source of comfort.
Some time is considered to stop breastfeeding due to the pain, breast engorgement, social pressures.
They also think that there is not getting enough milk, so if you want to continue the breastfeeding then consult with you for the breastfeeding specialist about this issue.
2. Get Formula Milk To The Rescue
If you want to stop the breastfeeding then you need to look out for an alternative method for baby feeding so your baby will not feel hungry.
The second best option of this choice is formula milk which is closest to breast milk. Make the gradual transition by replacing the one feed and then gradually replace the subsequent feeds.
Fuller milk is also heavier as compared to breast milk, thus it will help to keep your baby fuller for a longer time. Also, introduce your baby solid if your baby is over six months.
3. Distract Your Baby With Activity
Sometimes babies do not suckle the breast because of hunger, the baby will need just a closeness or comfort from the mother. So when the mom will try to wean, it refrains from offering the breast for comfort.
So try to distract your baby with some activities and which may enjoy your baby. Distraction can accomplish easily and it occurs in many different ways.
Doing anything that averts your baby’s attention from your breast milk is the best distraction tactic.
Play with your baby and involve a fun game or outing, during a time when you usually nurse, it will help them to forget about the milk. Avoid sitting in which you usually nurse.
Switch up the daily routine, so that you and your baby are not doing the things in the same order as when you usually breastfeed.
Also, rearrange the furniture in the rooms where you usually breastfeed your baby.
Also, involve your partner in the games and other activities to keep your baby distracted during feeding time. Such as your partner taking your baby on an outing without you.
4. Drop Minutes From Nursing Times
Gently and gradually roop a few minutes off her usual feeding time of your baby. This is the best way to stop the breastfeeding session and also satisfy your baby.
So your baby is not asking for the milk and your baby is willing to stop nursing altogether. Slowly remove the number of feeding and the length of the feeding day by day.
It will help you and your baby from stopping breastfeeding. It also reduces the milk supply in your body.
5. Don’t Volunteer Nursing
Another easy way to stop breastfeeding your toddler is to stop offering to breastfeed your child gradually several times throughout the day.
Only feed your baby when your baby will ask for the milk. When you voluntarily open your top then frequently.
This will immediately cut down the amount of sipping to your toddler and it will make it easier for you to stop nursing.
6. Reduce The Session Of Breastfeeding
All women want to be tempted to quit the breast-feeding in one go, But this can cause nipple pain, engorgement, and psychological distress to the mother and infant.
One of the best and easier ways to reduce the breastfeeding session slowly over several weeks. Start with the session that seems least important for the baby or the one in which the baby while at the least important.
Also, give your baby a few days to adjust before stopping the next breastfeeding session. Repeat this process to eliminate each feeding session to your baby until your baby will stop the feeding. ‘
The last remaining feeding session of your baby will be usually an early morning and evening feed because it is the most difficult to give up suddenly.
You should allow the time for the baby and yourself to adjust with this daily routine. Some women are choosing to keep this final feeding session going for several additional months.
7. Comfort The Infant
Breast milk is a source of nutrition for babies. Breast-feeding also offers your baby comfort when your baby gets stressed or afraid.
Breastfeeding will help to fall asleep while feeding. The strategies for the comforting your baby during the weaning are:
- Hold your baby in skin to skin contact.
- Offer your baby pacifier
- Distract your baby when your baby wants to nurse by playing, going for a walk, and singing the songs.
- Rocking the baby
- If your teething, then give your baby teeth ring chile in the freezer
- Establish a new bedtime ritual for the baby that will help to sleep your baby.
- Having another parent and caregiver will give comfort to your baby.
8. Introduce Your Baby To Solid Foods
If your baby is six months of age then your baby is ready for the solid foods. This readiness becomes prominent as the baby grows.
Therefore when your baby hunger pang strikes, then try to feed your baby some solid food.
Start feeding your baby with the soft, gooey, and smooth textured food. Give your baby milk-based food, because it will make the transition process easier and faster.
9. Give Pacifier
All babies are born with an innate sucking instinct. so, it may take them a bit of effort to let go of the instinct.
Therefore, babies are instinct not because of hunger, but just to satiate these babies may sometimes opt for the sucking.
If you want to stop breastfeeding then you can use a pacifier instead.
How To Stop Breastfeeding Without Pain
Weaning gradually is recommended, but it is not always feasible for everyone. Because the abrupt weaning may be uncomfortable which may lead you to medical issues or infections.
So, speak with your doctor before trying any of the given methods. Here are the some easy and homemade ways to stop breast feeding without pain
1. Cold Turkey
Milk supply can slow down on its own if you don’t breastfeed or stimulate the breasts.
It also depends on how long you’re breastfeeding, so it takes time. Here are some simple steps that you need to keep in mind when you are trying this method.
- Wear a supportive bra that will hold the breasts in place.
- Also, use ice packs and over the counter pain medication to help get rid of the pain and inflammation.
- Hand express milk to ease engorgement, so this sparingly so your body doesn’t continue to stimulate the milk production.
According to the 2014 study, sage may help to wean or reduce the oversupply issues. Buts there is no study available that examines the sage’s specific effect on excess milk production.
There is no that much evidence about the defeat of using sage. If the baby is consuming breast milk after you consume the sage. So start with a small amount of sage and also see how your body reacts.
In the markets several sages are containing herbal teas are available. These could easily dilute until you will find an amount that works best for you.
According to the study, some other herbs that have the potential to dry up breast milk include.
Little is also known for the effect of these herbs on the babies. But some herbs are dangerous for some babies.
Because herbal substances cause some negative side effects on you and your baby. So consult with your doctor or a health care provider before using these methods.
Cabbage leaves may support the lactation when you use them, for long periods of time but more studies are needed to prove that.
Its leaves have been used for centuries to help hasten the drying up the process of the breast milk. To create a place for cabbage compresses to remain stationary, wear a well-fitting bra even during the sleep.
Because too small or too large a bra can make you uncomfortable. Cabbage leaves release the enzymes which encourage the drying up the process.
So crush the leave by folding or rolling them with a rolling pin before applying the leaves on your breasts.
Place as one large and cool cabbage leaf in your every cup of the bra and keep replacing them, when these leaves are wilted from 24 to 48 hours. Don’t use bras that contain underwire.
The leaves of cabbage may reduce the swelling as the milk supply diminishes. It also reduces the symptoms of engorgement in early breastfeeding.
If the cabbage leaves do not work after a few days, then stop using them and find another method for reducing pain and drying up milk supply.
4. Massage The Breasts
Start massage your breast immediately when you feel lumps in your breast. If this will occur, then it probably signifies that a plugged milk duct is present in it.
Apply more attention to the area and increase massage time to it. The point to break up the plug with a massage.
How To Stop Breastfeeding And Switch To Formula
If you want to try to wean before your baby is 12 months old or you want to replace the breastmilk with the formula. Substituting the breast milk with the formula by feeding one at a time for the several weeks each will eventually wean both you and your baby.
- Experiment by switching out the breast to the bottle. If you usually offer the breast each time the baby and also want to feed. Then try to offer the bottle first and also see what will happen.
- When you nurse your baby at night and your baby just starts to fall asleep, then gently slip the breast out to their mouth and then slip in the bottle’s nipple. This will make your baby used to the taste and the bottle nipple without even realizing it.
- If the baby is not taking a bottle, then try different things, like having someone else try. Also, offer the bottle when your baby gets tired or use as sippy cups.
- Also substitute breastmilk with the whole cow’s milk, if your baby is over 12 months.
How To Stop Breastfeeding And Pumping
If you want to stop breastfeeding and you’re exclusively pumping. Then you need to wean off of pumping and take the time doing so.
Breastfeeding will operate according to demand and supply. When your baby will drink more milk or you pump the regular. Then your body will keep producing the milk in your breast.
The milk supply in the breast will tend off because the baby eats less. Most of the women are experience generalized and engorgement discomforts during this time.
One way to alleviate the discomfort by pumping the small quantity of breast milk. To avoid pumping lots of milk, because it will increase the milk supply in the breast.
Instead, try to pump for 2-3 minutes or until the pain is gone. If you are trying to wean then you can give your baby this pumped milk to the infant at a later feeding session.
This pumped milk means that a woman will not have to breast-feed the baby at the last session, this will help to shrink the milk supply faster.
Reasons To Stop Breastfeeding
Generally, women start to wean their babies from breast milk at some point in their first year. Here are some common reasons for stopping breastfeeding.
- Women want to get back to their work to the school
- Baby doesn’t seem to satisfy by breast milk.
- Beginning a round of medication that can pass through the milk to the baby and affect them.
- Some women will feel breastfeeding uncomfortable or it will irritate their bodies.
- The amount of milk will not be produced enough for the baby so the supplement with the other foods can solve these problems.
- Babyface difficulty to latching on to the nipple so it will make hard for the baby from getting enough food from the nursing alone
- Sometimes babies can lose interest in breastfeeding, so it will lead the mother to stop breastfeeding and introduce their baby to other foods to the diet.
- Some women are following the cultural norms and practices of the society which will dictate them at what age to stop breastfeeding.
- If you are trying to get pregnant again, then breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive method.
What To Do If Baby Is Not Stopping Breastfeeding
Some babies happily shift from breast milk to the other food options, while some babies still cling and ask for the breastfeeding.
This will make the situation tricky for the moms and sometimes it may become the troubleshoot. SO check out these simple ways to stop breastfeeding, if your baby is willing to stop.
1. Comfort Your Baby In The Other Ways
Gradually replace breastfeeding with some other ways which give comfort and soothe to your title one.
Give lots of cuddles to your baby and also involves your partner to spend some special time with the baby. At night try to rub or gently pat your babies back.
2. Postponing Feeds
Putting off feed works well if your older child can cope with waiting. When your baby asks for breastfeeding
Then tell your baby you will feed them later. This will distract your baby and help you to stop breastfeeding.
3. Pick your moment
Pick the right time for breastfeeding. Well, babies who aren’t feeling well then they will breast milk more often.
So, gave them another drink and food.
Don’t Try These Methods For Drying The Milk Supply
These methods to stop breast milk you have heard about anecdotally, but These methods are unproven or potentially dangerous. Have a look at these unproven methods.
Binding means tightly wrapping the breasts to stop milk supply. Birding has been used throughout history which helps the women to stop breast milk production
According to the study, on non-breastfeeding, postpartum women are affected by binding as compared to those women who are wearing the support bras.
While the engorgement symptoms of both women didn’t differ significantly over the first 10 days.
But after that, the binding women are experiencing more pain and leakage as compared to the other woman. That’s why researchers don’t recommend binding.
2. Restricting Fluids
Breastfeeding mothers are recommended to stay hydrated for maintaining their milk supplies. But taking a restricting fluid has the opposite effects on you.
This method is also not well studied. Some researchers have discovered that increasing fluid intake does not actually increase the milk supply.
There is no clear evidence that drinking fluid increases milk or not, so it’s best to stay hydrated regardless.
If you become pregnant while breastfeeding, then the milk supply and the taste of breast milk will change.
Breastfeeding advocacy group La Leche League says that it’s common to see a drop in your milk supply between the 4 and 5 months of pregnancy.
But pregnancy is not the right method to stop drying up breast milk. Because many women breastfeed successfully throughout their pregnancy.
Possible Risks And Sign Of Trouble
Abruptly stopping breastfeeding comes with the risk of engorgement and the potential for the blocked milk ducts or the infections. You may also need to express some milk to relieve the feeling of engorgement.
Weaning is stressful but it is rarely dangerous. The two primary risks of stopping breastfeeding are infection and malnutrition in the mother’s body.
Here are some signs that women are facing during the weaning.
- You may Experience Mood Swings
- It can take a while fro drying up the milk supply
- Having Mastitis
- Problem in Menstrual
When To Consult A Doctor
Lactation suppression is uncomfortable at times, but when you feel pain and other worrisome symptoms in your body then consult with your doctor.
Sometimes, a plugged duct will lead you to the breast tenderness. When you feel these symptoms then gently massage the area while you expressing or breastfeeding.
If you are not able to unblock a milk duct within 12 hours or if you have a fever then consult with the doctor Because the fever is a symptom of a breast infection which is known as mastitis.
Some other symptoms of breast infection are:
- Warmth or redness
- General malaise
- Breast Swelling
- Green or a foul-smelling discharge from the breasts
- Depression and Anxiety
If the baby will experience a significant change in the sleep pattern, which lasts longer than a week or two.
The oral antibiotics are used to treat these conditions before they become more serious. If you want then you can also contact a certified consultant.
Because these professionals are trained in all things of breastfeeding, they also suggest the different methods or help in troubleshooting any issue that you are having.
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