You've mastered how to breastfeed, but how do you stop?
If your milk hasn't dried up on you, and you get to choose to stop nursing, consider that a major blessing.
Everyone's timeline is different; whether it be work, age, teeth, walk and/or talk. Every mother's personal reason for why they stop varies.
But how do you stop breastfeeding?
I am currently doing this for my second time. The first time I stopped was because it had been a year, my baby was walking and had a mouthful of teeth. I was also only producing on one side. I went cold turkey (ouch).
This time I am going a painless, gradual way.
I am stopping at just shy of 11 months; it is due to work this time. I have a conference and I feel it is "time."
Nature takes its time to cease the breast milk production process. You'll need to do a few things to help trigger your body to know it's time to stop the process.
Restrict movement/friction on the breasts.
Do not bind them, but do wear a tight yet comfortable bra or sports bra consistently day and night.
When showering, do not face the warm water... movement, warmth and friction from clothes or loose bras can stimulate the production process.
When you start getting uncomfortably lumpy, use a cold compress for 20 minutes on each side. (Frozen peas, ice packs, chilled lettuce or cabbage leaves work great.)
When rocking your baby to sleep, face your baby away from your chest. I start by sitting with baby on my lap; we read stories and I rock her in my rocking chair singing. Feed your baby a bottle or sippy cup of either whole milk or formula depending on baby's age. Baby will root for you, arching and turning toward the nursing position; gently reposition baby. During the day I let baby cry to sleep while I rock her. (We both cry.) This is the first time you deny nursing. A sense of guilt comes over you. It is so sad; you feel selfish and you realize that your baby is growing up. However, if you feel that now is the time to stop breastfeeding, take assurance that it's okay to start a new and exciting stage of life with you and your baby.
Make sure baby stays hydrated with lots of bottles or sippy cups.
At night it's okay for you to nurse. Enjoy every moment; these are your last nursing moments and soon it will be over.
Repeat for a week.
After seven days of nighttime nursing only, take the plunge and call it quits. Baby will resist at first, but this is it. After you have trained baby not to nurse at night it's all over. No mastitis, hardly any pain; mommy and baby are happy and have now created a new normal and new routine.
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