A few months ago when the idea of stopping breastfeeding came across my mind, I felt so sad. Why would I want to end this? I love these moments spent with my little one.

I’m not ready to give them up.

My first thought when it comes to weaning is, are we ready? I wonder, will it hurt? Is there ever ‘the right time’ to stop? Will I be judged for stopping? Will I be judged for continuing? I am sure I am not alone in thinking these things.

Did you think this way when it was time to wean?

 

To be truthfully honest, I do not know much about weaning. I wanted to write this article, not only educate myself, but to be able to help some of you ‘wondering mommas’ in the process as well. In this post I hope to cover the basics of weaning, when the right time to wean is and what the best way is to go about it.

Time to wean?

The basics:

When you start the process of weaning you may notice that your breasts are still engorged. It takes time for your body to adjust to this change and for your body to decrease your milk supply. In the meantime, you may feel some discomfort when your breasts are full. Cold compresses are a great way to decrease swelling and discomfort (I have read that cabbage leaves do a great job!) Also, ibuprofen can be used for the swelling and discomfort.

As per Kellymom.com, “Do express or pump if you get uncomfortably full. It’s not good for your body to not have any way of relieving the fullness. Pumping or hand expressing just enough milk to relieve discomfort will not prevent your milk supply from decreasing. What causes milk production to stay the same or increase is adequate milk removal. If only a small amount of milk is removed from the breast, then milk production will decrease. In addition, expressing a little milk will relieve your discomfort and make it less likely that you’ll develop plugged ducts, a breast infection, or an abcess.”

Timing:

Breastfeeding is a mutual relationship between baby and mother. Weaning should occur when you and your baby are both ready. But how do you know? If baby seems disinterested in the breast, this may be a good time to start. If baby is still giving you cues that they still want to nurse, this may be an indication that now is not the right time to wean. On the flip side- breastfeeding over one year has many advantages to baby and momma. If nursing is doing good for you both, continuing is a great option as well. Go with your gut.

How to wean:

The best way to go about weaning is to slowly taper down feedings. Are you used to 5 feedings a day? Step back to 4. A gradual decrease in baby’s feeding schedule will slowly decrease your supply. In the meantime, you will still want to supplement with formula or a breastmilk replacement (whole milk, almond milk, goats milk, almond milk etc – over 1 year), depending on what your pediatrician recommends. Also, shortening the time that your baby is spending at the breast during feedings, will help in the weaning process. If your baby usually nurses for 15 minutes, try cutting the time in half. Depending on baby’s age, follow the feeding with a healthy snack, such as unsweetened applesauce or a cup of milk or formula. This will help to keep baby feeling full and still satisfied, easing the weaning process.

I know for me, I noticed a decrease in my milk supply when I stopped pumping as frequently. I continue to breastfeed Landon every 4 hours or so, but it seems that he is taking less at each feeding now. At (almost) a year of age, he is doing great drinking from the bottle and is becoming more and more independent- so I think this may be our time to begin weaning- which to be honest, I think we have started naturally.

Have any advice to offer any moms who are starting the weaning process? Feel free to share you comments below. We welcome advice from other mommas who have been there!

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Jessica Speer
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Jessica Speer

RN, Mama and Blogger at As the Speerit Moves You - Blog
I am a first time momma to Landon and I am loving every sweet moment that passes by with him. I work full-time as a Registered Nurse, so I know how important and beneficial breastfeeding is for your baby. On my free time, I am a writer, avid photo taker and cook. As a contributor for Breastfeeding World, my goal is to encourage and inspire other new moms as they start on their own personal journeys through motherhood and breastfeeding. We are all in this together!
Jessica Speer
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