When I decided to breastfeed my son, I thought I could stop and give him whole milk after six months. Boy, I was sadly mistaken. I quickly learned that babies must breastfeed or be given formula until they are 12 months. I continued to breastfeed my son until he was 21 months. At that point, I was over it. I had made a habit of nursing my son to sleep and then easing my nipple out of his mouth. This created the cycle of nursing him back to sleep whenever he woke at night. Not only did this disrupt my sleep, but it also created cavities within my son’s front teeth. And that’s when I knew it was time to stop nursing.
Here’s how I stopped breastfeeding my son in just three days:
- Make a plan: In the past, I attempted to stop nursing, but I was unsuccessful because I didn’t have a plan. These were days when I was tired and dreaded my son waking me up at 3 am as he fished for my nipple through the night. Have a plan for how you will comfort your child at night when they cry because there will be tears. You will need to be patient and try to wean your little one during the weekend or a time when you are free in case you’re up all night.
- Pink Stork: No Flow Tea. This tea is a lifesaver! I drank this tea one to two times a day to help reduce milk supply and the discomfort of being engorged. This tea is made with hibiscus, mint, and sage. It’s also caffeine-free without gluten, soy, or dairy. Other items used to help with discomfort were ice packs and cabbage. Chill the cabbage in the fridge, rinse the leaves before applying, and cup the leaves (layering) on your breast. The coolness will help with the engorgement, and the leaves can absorb some of the fluid from the glands.
- Be prepared for tears and a meltdown: The older the child, the harder the weaning process. This is their comfortable place, and, in their eyes, you’re taking their little piece of Heaven. Understand that patience is needed. The first day will probably be the worst day with lots of tears and meltdowns and possibly little to no sleep for you. If you nursed your little one to sleep like I did, they might wake up in the middle of the night looking for milk. Remind them that you’re there, and they’re okay. Rub their back or rock them to sleep those first few nights. It’s been almost a year since I weaned my son, and he still puts his hands in my shirt around bedtime. Allow them to transition in a way that’s comfortable for both of you.
By day three, your little one should understand that nursing and milk from mommy have come to an end. Falling asleep should happen much quicker than day one. They may want to be close to your chest or even sneak their hand in your shirt now and then, but the ultimate goal is to wean from breastfeeding successfully. Stay strong, don’t give in, and remember to have patience and be prepared for tears; some may even be your own. Bringing your little one a step closer to independence is so bittersweet.
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