Deciding when to stop breastfeeding is weaning. Though it is totally up to you and our baby to decide when to stop, some moms are ready to do it once their baby turns a year old. According to AAP recommendations, mothers should exclusively continue to breastfeed their babies until they reach the mandatory six-month mark and breastfeed with the combination of solid foods until one year. Let us discuss some of the benefits of breastfeeding, when is the right time to stop breastfeeding and how to stop it.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
In the first few days after the baby’s birth, the mother’s breast starts producing colostrums. This rich substance contains vital ingredients like immunoglobulin, the cells help in building the baby’s immune system. According to the experts, the babies who are breastfed for the first six months do not suffer from common childhood illness such as gastroenteritis, middle ear infections, and other respiratory illness. Moreover, breastfeeding not only gives your child a sense of reassurance and comfort but also a feeling of closeness and bonding.
When is the Right Time to Stop Breastfeeding?
It is always advisable to give your baby nothing but only breast milk for the first six months. Once your baby crosses the six-month mark, you can introduce different foods along with the breast milk. However, experts recommend allowing your baby to decide when he/she wants to stop breastfeeding. This is also known as baby-led weaning. But, being a mother, it is totally up to you to decide the right time to stop breastfeeding.
After turning a year old, you baby starts getting all the richness she requires from the foods that you provide. Therefore, this can be the best time to wean a baby off breastfeeding. If you feel like phasing out breastfeeding before your baby turns a year old, you can combine breast milk and formula. This will ease out your baby through the transition phase.
How to Stop Breastfeeding?
You can take these steps once you provide your baby with a wide range of foods to eat.
- Let your baby done with a full breastfeed. Offer her a small portion of food. Encourage her to try different textures and flavors.
- Notice the changes in her poo once your baby is well adjusted with different foods. Gradually, try to offer food before breastfeeding.
- Instead of breastfeeding, you can offer your baby to drink water in a soft-spouted beaker.
How Long will it Take to Stop Breastfeeding?
If your baby is getting bored with the concept of breastfeeding, then you are lucky. It may take only a few weeks to stop breastfeeding. However, it time varies depending on how a child adjusts. It may take more time if your baby is not ready to let go. The best way is to move at your child’s speed. It is always advisable to take a gradual approach.
In some cases, both the mother and the baby enjoys breastfeeding for prolong period. Family and friends may feel a bit uncomfortable about the fact, but usually, do not pressurize the mom to quit. Therefore, it is not weird if you find a mother continuing to breastfeed her four-year-old child.
What if the Baby Does not Want to Stop Breastfeeding?
You need to be extremely patient if your baby does not show any willingness to stop breastfeeding. Always keep in mind that your baby likes being at your breast because it soothes her. However, you can try these following things to wean your baby off breastfeeding.
- Find ways to comfort her. Replace breastfeeding with other different ways to keep her engrossed. Mostly mothers breastfed their babies to comfort them. You can try looking at a picture together, play a game or sing a song.
- If you have a child who is a bit older, you can postpone the feeds with a good reason. Try to distract your baby with other fun activities. For example, if your toddler asks you to breastfeed in the evening, you can explain your baby to wait until bedtime.
- Weaning from breastfeeding can be a bit difficult if your baby has been ill for quite some time. Babies who do not often feel well will certainly want their mothers to breastfeed more frequently. These babies give more preference to breast milk over other foods.
Similarly, if you are moving into a new home or going back to the office after the maternity leave, this may be a good time. With you moving to a new house, your child too will start with adjusting to the change. This may be a good time to stop breastfeeding and introduce another change.