According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding is recommended for the first two years of life and beyond. For some women, it can be challenging to balance breastfeeding with the demands of life, while others may want to stop breastfeeding before that time period has elapsed. For either group, knowing when it’s time to stop breastfeeding is critical to physical and emotional well-being, as well as to the welfare of your baby. The following are some guidelines on how to know when it’s time to stop breastfeeding.
What are some common Breastfeeding Problems?
In the early days, it’s common for new mothers to experience issues like cracked nipples, engorgement, and low milk supply. However, these problems can usually be remedied with the help of a lactation consultant or by simply changing your breastfeeding position. Other common problems include mastitis, thrush, and oversupply.
When should you Stop Breastfeeding your Baby?
- Generally, it is recommended that babies be breastfed for at least the first six months of life.
- However, there are many factors that can influence how long you breastfeed for, and ultimately it is up to you and your baby to decide when the time is right.
- Some signs that your baby may be ready to stop breastfeeding include decreased interest in nursing, sleeping through the night, and eating solid foods well.
Tips for Helping your Child wean off Breast Milk
- Talk to your child about why they are drinking breast milk and what other options are available. If they are old enough, involve them in the decision-making process.
- Gradually reduce the amount of breast milk you give them each day. You can do this by pumping less milk or cutting back on nursing sessions.
- Offer your child other foods and drinks that will help them get the nutrients they need.
What Happens when you Stop Breastfeeding?
According to Dr. Sears, when you stop breastfeeding, your body will gradually adjust and stop producing milk. This process can take a few days or a few weeks. You may experience some engorgement or discomfort during this time, but it should subside eventually. Dr. Sears also recommends gently pumping or expressing milk for a few days after you stop breastfeeding to help your body adjust more quickly.