When is it time to stop breastfeeding?

Weaning your baby because of teething is one of the most common reasons to stop.  Little teeth hurt, and little babies seem to bite harder and more often when they get a reaction out of mommy after inflicting a bite. You can wean your infant  to a bottle and still furnish her breast milk by expressing it.  This is an effective way of providing the nourishment she needs without any harm to you.

Some babies will let you know that they are becoming disinterested in the by playing with it, looking around the room and simply not latching on or paying much attention to what you are offering.  They will display an interest when they see other babies or children using a bottle, sippy cup or eating food.

And few will reach a point where the milk does not sustain them anymore, whether the reason being that you are not supplying enough milk or their bodies just need more substance, they will let you know that they need more.

In any of the cases, all indications are that it’s time to begin weaning.  Each baby is unique, so each experience is different, though some suggestions for weaning your baby to a bottle or sippy cup are to begin reducing the number of feedings from the breast.  Decrease the feedings by one per day and replace that feeding with the new method until the weaning process is complete.  Some mothers find that mixing their breast milk with the formula or milk helps the baby make this transition because it is a taste that they recognize. Once they realize the flow of the bottle they tend to prefer as well, making the process that much easier.

Avoid confusion with your baby by sitting in a different place and holding her in a different position than you normally did when you breastfed, each time you introduce the new bottle.  This will help her to separate the breastfeeding versus the bottle feedings.  

The next step is to wean yourself.  For lack of better words, your body has become a milk factory,  a diner of sorts, since you started breastfeeding.  It’s time to stop producing milk.  While you are weaning your baby your breasts will feel heavy, swollen and engorged.  It’s likely that you will have to express milk to relieve some of this – doing so in the shower is the most comfortable place.  Allow the warm water to run down onto you and message your breasts, working out any knots that you might feel.  Be careful not to completely empty your breasts, as that is a signal to ‘refill’.  You only want to express enough milk to make yourself comfortable.  The excess milk will be absorbed back into your body.

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