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The Right Time to Stop Breastfeeding: Tips On Weaning

The right time to stop breastfeeding is completely up to you and your child.  There are many factors that contribute to weaning from breastfeeding such as: health concerns, work, and lifestyle changes.  Although it’s not fun to think about, weaning will eventually happen and there is not a wrong time.  I often wondered when we were going to stop breastfeeding.  When I was pregnant I had a goal of two years, by the time she was born I would have been happy with however long we did it because of how hard it was at first.  

I quickly changed my views on how easy I thought breastfeeding would be.  I decided to take it one day at a time and that drastically dropped the pressure to continue going.  My daughter’s latch was very shallow the first few weeks, so it was painful in the beginning but one day it stopped hurting and we breastfed for 1 year and 6 months.  We had to cut back on breastfeeding due to my new job. I knew within the last 3 months we would be weaning soon and I was sad it was ending but grateful for the experience.  

Here are a few tips on weaning from breastfeeding.

1. Wean Gradually– Unless extreme circumstances are at hand, gradually weaning from breastfeeding  makes weaning less stressful for you and baby.  Start with taking away one feeding away the same time for a week or 2 until all you have completed weaning.  This prevents engorgement (very painful) and trauma from the sudden change.  Set a plan and stick with it to help ease the transition.

2. Take Cues From Your Child– If they are more interested in your food or losing interest at breast are good cues they are ready to wean.  I started noticing my daughter was nursing more for comfort than food and I knew it was time.  You’ll feel if it’s right for them. Take it one day at a time, being patient and aware is important.

3. Be Confident In Your Choice– No one is perfect and can tell you when to stop breastfeeding your baby.  Just the act of becoming a mom often brings unwanted advice from people who “know it all”.  The same goes for breastfeeding.  You can always be polite and listen to what others tell you.  Always remember that it’s ultimately up to you.  

Weaning can seem like a sad ending when it is actually a new beginning to the next stage with your baby. The right time to end breastfeeding is when you decide it is. Whether it’s time to wean for a reason or if your baby is ready for it, these tips will help.  

Did you know when it was time to wean?  Do you have any tips or stories you’d like to share?  Please comment below and share for other moms thinking about weaning.

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