Deciding when to wean one’s child is a personal choice. Whether the child is three months or a year old, every mother eventually has to make the tough decision on when and how to stop breastfeeding her baby. It is no secret that some women choose to hold on much longer than others because they are not ready to deal with the sadness, guilt and physical pain of weaning.
Why The Weaning Process Take So Long
Before a mother decides to start weaning, all the milk produced is suckled from her breasts, offering a natural release for the milk being produced. Once she stops nursing, her milk ducts are unable to immediately stop producing milk and will only do so gradually. Her breasts will then become engorged, leading to tenderness and soreness. This pain occurs as a reaction to her body trying to cope with the change. As her body gets used to releasing milk less often, milk production will slow down and over time, breast soreness and tenderness will pass as her milk supply gradually dries up.
Top Weaning Tips You Must Follow
Many mothers fear that they will not be able to stick to their plan of quitting nursing. Worries such as breast pain and the inability to release the physical bond between mother and child are two very common reasons why. However, here are five essential tips that will help. By following these steps, you will be pleased to find that within a week, it is possible to stop breastfeeding.
1) Do the Proper Research
As boring as this may seem, nothing will prepare a mother more for when she wishes to discontinue nursing than doing the proper research. Although weaning is a normal process, it is always best to arm yourself with all the necessary knowledge and tools before deciding to take the plunge. You can start by trolling the internet for handy tips and advice. Be it through health and lifestyle sites or friendly motherhood forums, there can never be too much that you can absorb. Different women have different experiences and techniques, so it is best to take notes when you come across something interesting. Another good place to get information from books. Parenting and motherhood books are reliable sources that provide the A to Z on nursing. The third way to garner information is to speak to those who have ‘did that and done that’. Getting real-life tips from people who play a role in yours and your baby’s lives will be very helpful. From cousins to sisters to mothers to yoga buddies, speak to women who have gone through what you plan to do. Finally, speak to your doctor once you make up your mind. Doctors are great sources for getting tips from.
2) Do It Progressively
It is advisable to go through the weaning process in a slow and gradual manner. Your body will eventually get in sync with your intentions. Before that, it must come to terms that the milk it produces will no longer be naturally released as consistently as before. The slower you take things, the easier it is for your body to realize that you wish to stop nursing and hence decrease milk production. This is also a very important step when trying to sidestep the painful and tender breasts that come with weaning. Many women are unable to handle the guilt of breaking the physical bond between mother a child offered to them during breastfeeding. This is another reason why taking things slow is the best way to go. Not only do your breasts and body need to acclimatize to the fact that you no longer wish to breastfeed, but your baby has to as well. Before you stop, get your baby used to suckle from a bottle. This way, he or she will not have problems latching on to a foreign teat when you finally stop breastfeeding.
3) Pay Extra Attention To Your Breasts
It is important to pay extra attention to your breasts when you decide to quit breastfeeding. Massage them to minimize the possibility of going through plugged milk ducts. This can hurt rather considerably but can be avoided through gentle and consistent massaging of the breasts. When you feel a sore lump, it is probably a clogged milk duct so spend more time massaging that area. Head to a doctor if the massaging does not help after a day or two. To temporarily relief tender and sore breasts, you can also apply chilled packs to your breasts or get cozy in bed with a warm compress pressed against your chest. Do not forget to place nursing pads between the bra and nipples to avoid embarrassing situations when your breasts leak, which they will.
4) Make An Effort To Be Healthy
As when you were pregnant, it is important that you consume the proper nutrients and maintain a balanced diet. As busy and hectic as a new mom may be, do not forget to stay hydrated and to get sufficient rest. When weaning, your body is going through a major change and will appreciate some much-needed sleep to recuperate as well as the proper vitamins and minerals needed to cope with the change.
5) Remain Patient Throughout The Process
It is very important to remember that the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that you may have during the weaning process are absolutely normal and even better, are only temporary. The only way to push through with your goal is to patiently see it through from start to end. No one else can help you through this journey as effectively as yourself. Getting distracted and giving up midway through may cross your mind, but remember to stay strong. Before you know it, you will stop breastfeeding in as little as one week.
By taking all the effective advice on ways to reduce the physical pain and uncomfortable feelings into account, weaning can be turned into a remarkable learning and growing experience not just for you as a mother, but for your baby as well. All you have to do is be positive and realize that you need to turn the page in order to begin a new journey with your baby.