How to stop breastfeeding when your child doesn't want to stop yet

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Answered by: Jolande, An Expert in the Breastfeeding Category
Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift that a mother can give to her child. It creates a beautiful bond and raises the child's chances at living a long and healthy life, as well as increasing their intelligence. Not just that, breastfeeding protects mothers from issues such as breast cancer, as well as helping her to return to her pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding is always good, whether it is done just once or for an extended period of time. There also are no rules on when you should stop. For some mothers, this is after just a few days or even hours, others continue for years. But there will come a time when it will stop, either because you want to, or because the child wants to. But what do you do when you want to stop, but your child completely disagrees?

How to Stop Breastfeeding - Ask Someone Else to Feed the Child

If your child is still truly a baby, they will be able to smell their mum coming into a room. Hence, if milk is offered to them, they are likely to refuse it if they are able to smell or sense the presence of their mother. Hence, if you want to stop breastfeeding, you will need to be out of the room and ask someone else, such as your partner, to feed your child until they are used to having a bottle. Unfortunately, this does mean that you will feel a certain sense of detachment from your child, which is why this is not recommended for women who have post natal depression.

How to Stop Breastfeeding - Reduce Gradually

Another option would be to slowly reduce how often you feed the child from the breast. Many new mothers miss their night time sleep and are tempted to give their babies a hungry baby formula overnight, so that they don't want up hungry in the middle of the night. In reality, however, it is better to feed breast milk during the night, and bottle feed during the day. This also makes more logical sense, as you are more likely to be away from your baby during the day due to work or other commitments. Additionally, it is at night that babies do most of their growing and developing, which is why it is so important to give them a good quality feed during this period. By slowly reducing how often you feed your child breast milk, they will become less dependent on it.

One Other Option - Keep it Up for a Little While Longer

If all else fails, you may want to simply continue to breastfeed for a while. Many mothers try to force the issue and end up with a frustrated child and a great deal of stress. If there is no absolute physical necessity for you to stop feeding, then perhaps you could consider continuing for a while longer. You may, however, want to consider expressing your milk and feeding it to your child using a bottle. That way, they will not start to see your breast as a comforter rather than a feeding mechanism. If they do use it as a comforter, it will be much more difficult to break the habit.

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