The Difficulty of Deciding When To Stop Breastfeeding!
Breastfeeding, or mother’s milk is like a magic potion for the babies. It supplies all the nutrients necessary for the babies’ growth and development. It also provides with a strong shield for protecting them from all the possible diseases, allergies etc. to which the babies are exposed in that age. As per experts, you should exclusively breastfeed your baby till 6 months of his age, which means even water is not required for the baby. But when to stop breastfeeding is what I will cover here in this blog.
As a matter of fact, your (mother’s) body is able to produce enough breast milk to provide the baby and there is no need for formula food. The supply increases with the increase in baby’s demand due to growing age and appetite. And the best part about breastfeeding your baby is that the baby can easily digest the breast milk. But if you still wish to supplement with formula milk for any reason, there is no harm in it.
Benefits of Breastfeeding your Baby
- Breast milk provides all the healthy nutrients to the baby.
- It reduces the risks of various diseases, allergies and infections in the baby.
- It promotes healthier brain development in the babies.
- Breastfed babies always have healthy weight and are never obese or overweight.
And it is due to these reasons that mother’s milk is also called ‘liquid gold’.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother
Just like the baby, you also experience various health benefits by breastfeeding your baby.
- It helps you reduce your weight gained during pregnancy.
- The longer you breastfeed your baby, the lesser are the chances of breast cancer, high blood pressure and Type-2 diabetes.
When Should You Stop Breastfeeding?
However, after all this discussion, the main question remains – till when should you breastfeed the baby? There is always a debate going on in society on this topic. After exclusively breastfeeding the baby for 6 months, solid foods are gradually introduced in the baby’s diet from the 7th month. With the introduction of solids, the demand or the frequency of having breast milk reduces.
It is advisable to continue breastfeeding your baby up to 1 year of age, even if in small quantity. Although, there is no set rule for continuing breastfeeding, it completely depends on you and the baby to decide when to stop. Some mothers can stop breastfeeding in a matter of just few months after the baby is born. Also read, Probiotics For Babies – When To Introduce & Its Safety & Benefits.
Reasons Why Some Mothers Stop Breastfeeding Early Can be;
- Feeding a teething baby can be painful for a mother.
- Mother thinks she does not produce enough milk.
- Working mother doesn’t find time to nurse (breastfeed).
- Mother may feel uncomfortable in breastfeeding in presence of family members.
- Mother just does not want to continue breastfeeding.
Whereas some mothers breastfeed till the baby turns 3, 4 or even 5 years.
Breastfeeding your baby creates an emotional bond between you and your baby. Hence, it becomes difficult for many mothers to wean off (stop breastfeeding) the babies. Some mothers say that although they plan to wean off their toddlers, but the toddlers sometimes are not ready to wean. As a result they cry frantically for breast milk. An emotional mother cannot see her child crying and hence gives in to the demand to continue breastfeeding.
On the other hand, there are some babies who stop breastfeeding on their own after a particular time. That is also absolutely fine.
Although, as per some experts, after 2 years of age, the child does not get much nutrition from breastfeeding, but it does not even cause any harm. So, just to nurture the mother-child bond, you may want to breastfeed your baby for a longer time.
It’s Upto You to Stop Breastfeeding
So, if you want to breastfeed your baby for a longer time, understand the following things –
- It is absolutely normal to continue breastfeeding your baby for as long as you want or the baby wants.
- You don’t have to think about what others will think or say. Just ignore.
- Take your family members into confidence regarding your decision or the baby’s demand to be breastfed. When the family is supportive, you become relaxed and can easily continue your breastfeeding journey.
So remember, whether you want to breastfeed your baby for a longer time or for any of the reasons you cannot continue to breastfeed your baby, it is absolutely alright. You don’t have to worry about your decision. A happy mother will nurture a happy baby. If the mother is anxious, the baby cannot be happy. Hence, to nurture your baby in a happy and healthy atmosphere it is important for the mother to be happy.
Some Tips on How To Wean Your Toddler off Breastfeeding
If you have decided to stop breastfeeding but are unable to do it for any reason; here are some tips.
Postpone Nursing Sessions
Whenever your toddler asks for feed, tell them, ”wait until we do (whatever you can do to make him busy for sometime) this.” It will help them build patience as well as you can distract them from the feeding sessions for sometime.
Reduce the Length of Nursing Sessions
Reduce your child’s nursing sessions by one minute per day until they feed for three minutes or less. And gradually you will notice the change.
Commit to the Process to Stop Breastfeeding
If you start the process and then stop, the next time you try to wean, things will be more difficult. So, once you decide to stop, never step back and go ahead. Check out this article on How Long After Breastfeeding Will I Continue Leaking Milk?
Cancel Nursing Sessions
Begin by reducing your daytime breastfeeding sessions by one per week to give your body and kid time to adjust. If you breastfeed your toddler 5 times a day, do it for 4 times for one week and gradually decreases it.
Put an End to On-Demand Nursing
Change up your toddler’s routine or stay away from places where they like to nurse. It definitely helps as I have heard from a mother that whenever she sits on the bed, her toddler asks for breastfeeding, so she started resting on the Sofa in a day’s time and it helped. It’s simple.
Lastly, Ask for Help
Take help from your partner or your parents for the bedtime routine. Many kids even forget breastfeeding if they don’t see their mother’s around. One more tip here; you can do some running activities with kids before bedtime, so they gets tired and sleep soon and that too without breastfeeding.
We are surrounded by innumerable myths regarding breastfeeding. Do not believe in them blindly. Be well informed. And the most important thing about breastfeeding your baby is that there is no maths regarding the time till when you should breastfeed your baby. It is up to you and your baby. Be comfortable, be happy.