By all means, breastfeeding’s virtue is in abundance. From nourishing your baby to shaping this beautiful bond between you & your baby, it initiates and sums up your whole motherhood voyage. Fairly, the sail from breastfeeding to ‘stop breastfeeding’ is equally wonderful, too. Yes, indeed, when to stop breastfeeding is an equally important question that arises. We are soon going to cover up why.
Weaning begins when your breast milk isn’t enough for your baby. There are many other key factors and reasons that may alter early or later weaning. Some of them being:
- Insufficiency of milk production
- Medical issues
- The mother’s Individual choice to not choose to breastfeed.
- Work Complications
Either it’s the condition that doesn’t allow you to breastfeed or it’s a self-made decision. Let no other person tell you otherwise. If you can, do reach the threshold of 6-months of exclusive breastfeeding.
Contrarily to that, some mothers wish to breastfeed beyond the 6-months threshold. In India, mothers usually feed their babies for straight 2 years, some even more than that. Again, this decision solely depends on the mother. Believe your instincts and DO NOT worry!
This post doesn’t address to weaning before the threshold of 6-months. I’m going to address the concern of weaning before the due date of 6-months in my next article. Also if you have further queries regarding breastfeeding, do let me know in the comment section down below!
Related: HOW TO PREVENT BREASTS SAGGING!
When To Stop Breastfeeding?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends to exclusively breastfeed for six months and then continue to breastfeed till the year with solid food alongside. Refer to this study to reference in — ‘More About breastfeeding & when to stop breastfeeding.’
The studies also suggest breastfeeding for as long as 2 years have no underlying side effects whatsoever. Also to conclude, babies are fragile in the initial months of their growth. Reaching the threshold and beyond will help your baby with a stronger immune system. With that said, breast milk is also easy to digest and is a whole package of necessary nutrients.
But not to overlook the need for iron, zinc & some other vitamins that babies need and cannot access from breast milk, usually the elevated need for iron, zinc starts once they are year old.
1. Baby Is A Year Old.
I have focused on an exclusive 6-months breastfeeding target. With that in consideration, you CANNOT start to wean right after the threshold. Instead, as I said before, Go slow. Intermix solid food with breastfeeding while you are at it.
Remember to keep breast milk as the main nutritious component for the baby and the solid food being the supplement. This gradual mixing of solid food can be continued for max a year(from the day born).
You can slowly and very slowly cut down your breastfeeding sessions in the due course of time. After a year, it’s your call to completely let go of breastfeeding or to keep both(breastfeeding+solid food) or to exclusive breastfeeding.
2. Your Baby Takes Initiative In Solid Food.
Soon after the threshold or later, offering solid food for trial is a common habit that must be followed in order to the baby a taste of weaning.
As their first responses, babies will usually deny the solid food. It could take weeks, months or it can also be just a matter of days for babies to like solid food and actually show whatsoever interest. Refer to the link to know ‘How To Feed Your Toddler Solid Food?’
The moment you see your baby initiating the process of liking solid food. Bam! That’s your key to one of the first signs of weaning, a.k.a, stopping to breastfeed.
Once your baby is onto solid food, do not abruptly throw solid food at them. Go slow & fuse it with Breastfeeding in the start, slowly and slowly, let go of breastfeeding completely and that’s how you roll into weaning.
3. Insufficient Milk Supply
Insufficient Milk supply or low milk supply could also be a result of a wrong latch and many other underlying feeding problems. Before you start to wean your baby, remember to get yourself checked, if it’s truly your body that isn’t able to produce enough milk or is it the latch.
You can try out some natural ways to get your breast milk flowing, refer to these ‘8 Pro-Breastfeeding tips For New Mothers‘. If the condition still stays, do not beat yourself down. There is always formula milk specially designed for your baby.
Note that the insufficiency of breastmilk shouldn’t be covered by solid food. You should always opt for Formula when replacing breast milk. Solid food is not a replacement for breast milk.
Hence, before or after the threshold, use formula as the main supplement for your baby when breast milk isn’t available.
4. Health Issues
Though very rare, if mothers do need to stop breastfeeding due to the medication, consult your doctors first and foremost. Note if it is of utmost necessity to stop breastfeeding. I would again like to remind the importance of formula when replacing Breast milk.
Solid food won’t have the nutrients of breast milk. Baby formula is a close composition of what there is in the breast milk. Also, health issues like extreme soreness in the breasts, harsh lesions, and cracks can be very unruly to the point almost unbearable.
If such is the case with you, you can log out of breastfeeding. But not to forget the key points up above. But if you do wish to supply your baby with breast milk, you can always ask around. Mothers would be more than eager to help you.
5. You Want To Quit Breastfeeding
If your instincts tell you, it’s time to let go of breastfeeding, then you must not suffer. Choosing not to breastfeed is your choice and don’t let others pressurize you into doing something you don’t want to.
You don’t have to justify your doing to others. The main thing to be awakened about is your baby’s health. Until they are well & healthy, nothing else matters.
Breastfeeding is beautiful, it brings you great joy, brings you closer to your baby, and what not but when the time comes, we must all let go. On that healthy note, if you feel the time is correct, we mothers support you in all your decisions!
There is never an easy way to stop breastfeeding but with a few tips in hand, you can get a jest of it in no time,
These references above are a rough round figure of when to stop breastfeeding & start weaning. A mother would always know more than anybody. So, choose for yourself & the baby with interests to your health & well-being. Some reasons are conditions that we cannot avoid, others are our very own choices.
Either way, do not beat yourself up. You are doing just fine. Do not skip your sessions with the doctors and keep your baby’s health in check just to have the peace of mind. Wrapping it up with assuring you that we are always here to support you in all your decisions.
If you feel like something’s missing, do let us know in the comment section down below. Until then,