It’s Been About Six Months, And I’m Kind Of Over It
How long should you breastfeed for? Every mother has her situation, so there is no definite answer to the question how long to breastfeed for, as the decision is yours to make.
Other mothers and grandmothers have their opinions, and the experts have their recommendations. For some women, they do it for a few weeks and others for a couple of months.
Even if you choose to breastfeed for a few weeks or months, you should know that there is no right or wrong way because only you, your husband and your doctor can discuss and figure out what works for your family.
What The Experts Say About When Should You Stop Breastfeeding
You should breastfeed exclusively for six months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Then, you can continue it along with solid food for at least one year.
[You can introduce solid food to baby by the time he is six months. At this time, he can sit and grasp for items. He can also move food into his mouth. You can start offering him finger foods and let him progress at his pace.]
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The same recommendation comes from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. The experts advise exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then to keep it in addition to solid food during the first year of his life. They also recommend continuing for as long as you and your baby wish to.
You should also continue breastfeeding for at least two years, according to the World Health Organization. The organization also recommends it in addition to complementary foods for two years or longer.
How Long Should You Breastfeed For?
Many women keep breastfeeding well past six months, even those who return to work or school. They express and store milk so that the babysitter or nanny can give it to the baby during the day.
And during days off, moms continue breastfeeding their babies at home.
No matter how you choose to feed baby in this first months of life, feeding baby with breastmilk is important for his development. And for mothers, it is their way of nurturing and establishing a strong bond with their little one.
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But, How Long Will Be Too Long?
How long should you breastfeed for? And how long is too long? Know that there’s no definite baby age to stop it. You can do it for as long as you it applies to you and your baby’s needs and situation.
But to make the decision on when to stop it is an important one to make. For one, every day you’re breastfeeding makes your baby healthy because your milk is the most nutritious food he can have in the first six months of his life.
That also means exclusive breastfeeding – meaning feeding baby with your milk alone and with no other food or formula milk alongside it.
How To Stop Breastfeeding Tips
There are tips and tricks that mothers use on how to stop breastfeeding.
NOTE: It is not recommended to stop it at once or it might cause psychological stress to baby and you as well as nipple pain.
Check out the following for strategies proven effective by mothers worldwide.
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Reduce The Feeding Sessions Slowly
You can start with the breastfeeding session wherein baby eats the least. However, you should give baby some time to adjust before stopping the next session.
Then, you must repeat the process to stop each session until you reach the last.
An early morning or an evening feed is difficult to give up. It is the last remaining feeding session, so you have to give baby and yourself time to adjust. If you wish to, you can keep this last feeding session for a couple more months.
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Start Weaning At Night
Babies feed less often during the night when he reaches between six months and one year old. During this time, you can get some needed rest.
Fewer feeding sessions at night can also help you nurse during the day comfortably.
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Opt For A Breast Pump While Weaning
Using it will help alleviate the discomfort you’re feeling while weaning. You can prevent more milk from producing by pumping only a small amount of milk.
Otherwise, your body will produce more milk if you pump more and regularly. But as your baby eats less, your milk supply will taper off.
If you’re feeling discomfort or pain, you can pump for three minutes until it is gone and avoid pumping more milk.
Pumping less milk, your milk production will slowly go down.
How Do I Suppress Breast Milk?
When your baby weaned off your milk, you should be able to stop producing milk by stimulating your body to do it so that you can reduce milk secretion over time.
Remember that it is a painful process because it can cause swelling of the breast due to milk backing up. Here’s what to do:
- Soak up any leaking milk using breast pads.
- You can also insert gel packs into your bra or taking a painkiller to reduce pain and discomfort.
- Are you feeling pain in your breast when lying down? If you were, use a pillow to support the breasts area while sleeping. You can also do it by using a pillow under your stomach.
The bottom line on when and how to stop breastfeeding is your decision to make. You can continue, slow down or stop breastfeeding.
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If you need more help, you can consult a breastfeeding counselor for advice about stopping breastfeeding. On the other hand, you can also talk about it with family and friends. But then, the longer you breastfeed, the longer the good health effects will be for you and your child.
How long should you breastfeed for? Just know what feels right for baby and you. One thing to note though is that breastfeeding can keep your baby protected from infection and food intolerance, as he’s undergoing development.
Hope you picked up something from this guide on how long should you breastfeed for. If you liked this article, spread the word, help other mothers and share it on social media today!