We’ll take a sequential look at when is the right time to end breastfeeding and the best way to do it?
When is the best time to wean your baby?
Breastfeeding can take a long time, and the best way to end breastfeeding is naturally.
When it is best to wean and when not to wean, each mother decides for herself in consultation with the pediatrician overseeing the child.
When is it time to stop breastfeeding?
The time to stop breastfeeding is when you think it is necessary, or when the baby can do without breast milk.
According to WHO recommendations up to 6 months of age your baby needs to be exclusively breastfed. Until this age, the baby’s gastrointestinal tract is not able to digest and absorb any food other than breast milk or baby formula. Current tactics suggest giving nothing but mother’s milk and vitamin D (1000 IU or two drops) to your baby until 6 months of age. It is possible to stop maternal breastfeeding at 6 months, but it is advisable to avoid such early weaning. It is very good for the baby to continue to breastfeed after 6 months of age. Therefore, it is possible to wean your baby from breastfeeding
After 6 months and up to 2 years of age, according to the WHO recommendations, weaning should be preceded by a combination of breastfeeding and complementary feeding, because only mother’s milk is not enough. Start introducing complementary foods at 6 months of age in the gf — must. Sometimes it can be done earlier, on the advice of the paediatrician. Teething in a baby signals that the baby is ready to start taking other foods — apart from those created by nature for him/herself.
How should the first complementary food at 6 months of age be given?
You should start with the introduction of porridge, starting with 1-2 teaspoons — to give a taste of the new taste and consistency, then with each feeding increase the number of spoonfuls to the volume of 150 ml.
It is optimal to stop gv when food habits are formed, when all complementary foods are introduced, the child assimilates normal food well and he is familiar with the main food groups.
Many experts and parents consider it optimal to stop breastfeeding at one year: it is easier psychologically for a child to break away from the mother’s breast. The less often the child is attached to the breast over a year, the easier it is for him to develop speech, fall asleep independently and sleep soundly without the breast and contact with the mother.
Weaning at age 2 is more difficult. At this time, the baby considers the mother’s breast as his property. Tantrums occur more often when refusing to breastfeed.
Weaning at age 3. At this age, children better accept and assimilate the milk of domestic animals — goat and cow milk, which in composition are very different from mother’s milk. Children ask for the breast less often, feedings become shorter, and the child refuses to breastfeed.
Prolong weaning until the age of 3.5 and beyond should not be delayed.
How to wean your baby
Weaning your baby from breastfeeding should be done gradually. It is possible to stop breastfeeding quickly, but it is not recommended. Any sudden change in diet leads to disruption or disruption of digestion and stools.
Abrupt weaning can cause lactastasis and even mastitis in the nursing mother, because the milk cannot stop immediately.Emergency termination of lactation should be carried out under the control and supervision of a doctor.
Much better is a gentle weaning from breastfeeding.
Basic rules for weaning from breastfeeding:
- Reduce the number of feedings and replace them with complementary foods or formula. First remove daytime feedings, then switch to 2 breastfeedings — in the morning and before bedtime. The last step is weaning from night feedings;
- Strategy: «Do not offer, but do not refuse. This is important for the child — that the mother does not refuse, do not expose the breast in front of the child, so as not to cause him the desire to ask for it. The less often you offer the breast, the less milk is produced;
- Shift your baby’s attention to interesting activities;
- You should not use sweets as a substitute for breastfeeding. This will lead to the formation of a bad habit and dependence on sweets;
- Sometimes it is recommended to grease the nipple and areola with herbs or mustard, and then the child will refuse to accept the breast, and will not want to take the nipple in his mouth and will be less nervous. Whether it is worth it is up to you to decide…
- Squeezing at the end of breastfeeding is not recommended. Recall what breast emptying does. It all depends on what condition your breasts are in after weaning. If your breasts hurt or remain hard after weaning (women sometimes say stone breasts when weaning), you will have to empty your breasts, but not to the last drop, but to the state of relief.
What happens in the body at the end of lactation
Milk production is a process regulated by hormones produced by our brain. Weaning is a stressful and exciting process for both you and your baby. There is a hormonal and digestive restructuring of your baby’s system and emotional instability on both sides of the body when you are finished breastfeeding.
A baby who has stopped breastfeeding should definitely be seen by a pediatrician.
Unscheduled visits to the doctor are necessary if:
- The child goes to the toilet much less frequently;
- After weaning, the child does not sleep well.
A gradual ending of breastfeeding is less traumatic for the baby morally, and for the mother, a gradual ending of breastfeeding reduces the risk of lactostasis and will help avoid mastitis when you stop breastfeeding.
The natural end of breastfeeding is weaning after 6 months and up to 3 years.
There are not many situations where there is a real need for emergency weaning. In other cases, gradual and staged cessation of lactation is desirable.
A woman’s figure after cessation of breastfeeding will gradually return to normal, provided there is adequate exercise and correction of diet.
Weight gain after cessation of lactation is observed only in those women who do not monitor their diet.
The decision to stop breastfeeding should be based solely on your personal circumstances, your wishes, and the needs and condition of your baby.
When you cannot wean your baby from breastfeeding:
- The baby is less than 6 months old;
- The first teeth have not yet emerged or are teething intensely;
- The baby is sick;
- The mother has severe mastopathy and has been advised by doctors to breastfeed for a long period of time to prevent cancer;
- In extreme heat;
- During epidemics of infectious, particularly viral diseases (mother’s milk can protect the baby, because it contains antibodies and immune cells);
- There are important or complicated events in your life: moves, repairs, changes of residence or work.
Bottom line: You can’t stop breastfeeding during any stressful event.
Breastfeeding cessation is in itself a discomforting event, a strong stress for the mother and for the baby.
The opinion that you should not stop breastfeeding in the summer is wrong. The season of the year is not decisive, weaning in the summer is possible. The most important thing is to do a gentle, gradual weaning and breastfeeding, and to follow the recommendations of your doctor or breastfeeding specialist.
Can I continue breastfeeding if I want to get pregnant again?
Pregnancy is not a contraindication to lactation, but you should consult your doctor. If a woman has had a premature birth or miscarriage in the past, it may be necessary to stop breastfeeding, so that the hormone oxytocin secreted during lactation does not cause an increase in uterine tone.
Elena Demchenko graduated from Donetsk Medical Institute named after M. Gorky with a degree in pediatrics.
Work experience in medicine: district pediatrician, neonatologist of the department of nursing extremely premature babies, joint stay of mother and child, resuscitation and intensive care of newborns.
Tanks of decanted frozen milk form a Breast Milk Bank for your baby. Given that most of the components and proteins of mother’s milk retain…
What is lactostasis? Lactostasis is stagnant milk during breastfeeding in the mammary glands. Why does it appear? After the birth of the child there is…
What to do if my breast is hurting while breastfeeding? If you have breast pain while breastfeeding, you continue to breastfeed your baby. In addition…