No matter how long you have been breastfeeding, there comes a time when you’re thinking about weaning and closing the chapter.
But how do you know when is the best time to stop breastfeeding? How do you stop breastfeeding without getting mastitis? In most cases, your body and your baby will let you know how to start weaning from breastfeeding. For more insight, read on!
When is the Best Time to Start Weaning?
The length of your breastfeeding journey and transition to weaning is a very personal decision. However, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it’s ideal for babies to receive breastmilk at least the first six months.
Many women breastfeed for longer or shorter periods of time, and your body will continue to produce milk as long as you are breastfeeding frequently. So when you’re ready to wean (and I mean *really* ready), here are a few of the signs that it’s time to start weaning.
Signs it’s Time for a Transition
You will start to feel it could be time to start weaning under these circumstances:
Returning to Work
Many women need to return to work after having a baby, preventing them from breastfeeding throughout the day. If you are returning to work, it can create stress if you don’t have a plan for how to continue to breastfeed while working. Many women pump throughout the day to continue to keep their supply up. As time goes on, expressing less often will trigger your body to produce less and will support you to stop breastfeeding.
Having a Busy Schedule
When you are working and maintaining a household, it can be a lot to juggle and it can be difficult to breastfeed on a regular schedule. Weaning if your schedule feels overwhelming can help to lighten some of the day-to-day stress and can allow you to focus on spending time doing other bonding activities with your baby.
Your Milk Supply Is Running Low
Some mothers' milk supply begins to run low over time, and it can be concerning that the baby may not get enough nutrition. You may turn to supplementation to replace breast milk. There are high-quality natural alternatives that can support you as you shift from breast to bottle.
The Baby Starts To Self-Wean
An obvious sign that it is time to stop breastfeeding is when your baby loses interest and begins to self-wean. This progression begins when your little one becomes more interested in eating table food or would choose to play and engage with you rather than breastfeed.
How to End Your Breastfeeding Journey
Ending your breastfeeding journey is a natural process that takes time. It can be uncomfortable in the beginning stages of weaning.
Stopping cold turkey can inevitable lead to problems, so we always suggestion that you take a more gradual approach. If you not, there is a risk of engorgement, blocked ducts, or mastitis.
Once your baby starts eating solid food, usually around the six months mark, it becomes easier to wean as they are getting nutrients from sources other than you. Some babies will even self-wean, making the process more simple for you!
It may help to use a breast pump to express little amounts of milk when you are feeling engorged to ease the discomfort in the process of drying your milk supply up. Offering a bottle more frequently than the breast will teach your body that your baby requires less milk, so your breasts will produce less milk. Our bodies are incredibly intelligent, and your milk supply will increase or decrease based on how often and how long you are breastfeeding.
To help alleviate discomfort during the process, apply a CaboCréme product to provide relief from engorgement and help prevent mastitis. It is gentle and effective, making weaning as soothing as possible. Consider connecting with other mothers and support groups when you begin to wean from breastfeeding, it can provide comfort and community, reminding you that you are not alone.