As your baby grows, there comes a time when you have to stop breastfeeding it. That doesn’t mean that your breast will stop producing the milk immediately.
As days pass, since milk production depends primarily on demand and supply, your body will produce lesser milk and eventually stop.
After weaning, the color of your milk might start changing. Eventually, it will turn yellowish. You should not worry about it since it is an important part of the process. The yellowish milk is mainly thicker than normal milk.
Remember that when weaning, your body normally undergoes various changes.
You should never mistake yellowish milk with a yellowish discharge. Most women after weaning get yellowing milk.
If you realize that you are experiencing a yellowish discharge, you need to seek urgent medical help.
If you decide to wean your kid too early for whatever reasons, your breasts will still have a lot of milk.
That excessive milk will make you feel very uncomfortable — that’s why suppressing the milk is crucial once you stop breastfeeding.
Remember, if you want to suppress your milk, it’s essential to keep your breast firm and not regularly express for comfort. With time, the supply of your breast milk decreases.
Here are the hints:
- Whether it’s at night or during the day, ensure that the bra you are wearing if firm enough to support your breasts.
- Since your breasts will swell due to the milk, you can ease the pain by putting a gel pack inside your bra. After a shower, you can also use a cold compress.
- If your breasts are leaking, you can soak the milk up using breast pads. Once they become wet, change them.
- Did you know that a cabbage leaf can help in soothing your breast? You should wash it and dry it well. In case it has any large bumpy vein, cut it out. Since you need them to be cold, you can leave them in the fridge for some time. Put it inside the bra; you are wearing. If they become limp, change them and put other. You should not stay with one for more than two hours. You can stop using them when the milk in your breast reduces.
- A breast full of milk can be very uncomfortable. If you express all the milk, the body will keep on producing more. You can express a little until you feel comfortable.
- You can also visit the doctor to give you mild pain killer medication. It is the right way of relieving the pain.
- Remember that your breasts are delicate at this stage. Since you don’t want to bruise them, you should handle them gently.
- Some people cut down fluids completely to suppress breast milk. If you feel thirsty, you need to drink something.
- You don’t want to experience the nightmare of the full breast at night. They can make you very uncomfortable. To ease the pressure, take a pillow and use it to support your breast as you lie on your side. If you feel comfortable lying on your back, it’s totally okay. Do you like lying on the front? Then you put a pillow, the stomach and hips to reduce the pressure on your breast.
- Some drugs can help you to suppress the milk. Before deciding to use them, ask your doctor to explain to you about their side effects and their benefits. Depending on your case, he can recommend you use them or use the natural ways.
How to Wean Your Baby
There different reasons why a mother would like to wean their babies. Some have medical issues, while some feel that the baby is old enough.
Some mothers get pregnant earlier than planned, and others have to go to work. Whatever the reason, you should not stop breastfeeding your child abruptly.
Stopping your kid from breastfeeding could have a serious emotional effect on the baby. So what should you do?
1. Set a Goal
You must decide on when you want your kid to stop breastfeeding. Unless you get a clear goal, you are likely to change your mind when that time comes. You can start reducing the number of times you breastfeed and even the length.
So long as you are near the baby, he will want to suck. The best way to stop him is to distract him. You can give him water, fruit juice or even milk.
You can also give him his favorite toy to play with. If possible, leave him and go to another room.
3. Decide On the Time
One way of weaning is to reduce the number of times your baby sucks. You can decide to adopt three times a day: in the morning, lunchtime or in bedtime.
The other time in the day, you have to refuse to breastfeed him deliberately.
4. Negotiate and Reason
You wonder how? If the baby is big enough to understand, you can make him feel like he played a part in the decision making.
Explain to him that you will only breastfeed in the morning and in the evening. That will save a lot of stress of “hide and seek”.
5. Reduce Feeding Time Gradually
Weaning process may take weeks or even months. Instead of breastfeeding your kid in the morning, let him take breakfast instead.
If you have a habit of breastfeeding him at naptime, you can switch it and stop.
If the baby is angry and hysterical, you can carry him and go out for a walk. With time, he will get used to sleeping without breastfeeding.
With time withdraw, breastfeeding the child during bedtime, and you will have successful wean the child.
9. Decrease the Time
When weaning, don’t let the kid suck for a whole hour. You can tell him that he will only suck when you want to go to sleep.
That will minimize the time the kid spends sucking. As days pass, some children just stop sucking on their own.
10. Change your Routine
The child mostly knows your routine and where you normally sit for him to breastfeed.
You can start by avoiding those areas where you breastfeed him. Let your partner be more active in keeping the child busy. He can also help in some of those routines.
11. Give Reasons
One way of discouraging the kid from sucking is singing a song that is against sucking.
If he has older siblings, they can sing that song to the kid every time he wants to suck. With time, he will get discouraged and stop.
When weaning, don’t deny your kid the opportunity of touching, snuggling, and even kissing your breasts.
They will miss it when they stop sucking. Since that is away, the baby feels close to you; you have to find other ways you can connect with it.
13. Taking Care
Weaning can be stressful at times. The pressure of the full breast is very uncomfortable. Remember that it can cause mastitis.
If you feel the pressure is too much, express the milk until you feel comfortable. When the demand for milk reduces, your body will respond by reducing milk production.
Unless you have no option, you should wean the baby when it is ready. By so doing, you will have managed to meet the physical and emotional needs of your kid.
To ensure that the kid stays healthy, you should increase the level of fluid in his body. Unless your kid is over one year, you should not give him cow milk. If you have to wean him, it will be safer to introduce formula.
Stages of Weaning
There are three stages of weaning. For starters, weaning is introducing solid food to the baby while still breastfeeding him.
According to the World Health Organization, it’s essential to introduce solid food to the baby once you attain six months.
And knowing the type of food to feed your baby at each stage of their lives is critical to their overall well being and development.
At the age of six months, your kid requires more nutrients more than what your breast milk can provide.
There is no recommended time to stop breastfeeding your baby since children develop differently.
As earlier noted, it’s important to start weaning when your kid is ready. Do you know the three stages of weaning?
1. Stage 1 (6 Months)
For growth and development, your baby requires more than breast milk at the age of six. That’s why you should begin by feeding your baby smooth mash or even purees.
Don’t be discouraged if the baby pulls the tongue and drop some food off. For a start give the baby minimal amounts. You should avoid breastfeeding him first before giving him food.
You can begin with a single meal per day. Then later you can advance to two meals per day, finally, to three meals.
Don’t bore your baby with the same meal every time. Give the baby a different meal each time you are feeding it.
Some of the foods you can alternate are baby cereals, and you can have cooked vegetables and mash them until they become soft. You can also give the kid some cooked fruits.
Mashed fish, meat, or chicken can also be an excellent alternative. You can also give it well-cooked eggs, lentils, and pulses.
Some mashed rice, pasta, or noodles are also good, not to mention some full-fat daily products. To soften the food, you can add some breast milk or even formula.
2. Stage 2 (6-9 Months)
After six months, you can now introduce four food groups. Depending on your baby’s appetite, keep on adding the quantity.
At first, you may not know the food that interests your baby. As you continue giving it many times, it will learn the taste.
As you keep increasing the amount of food, you should reduce the amount of breast milk. You should encourage self-feeding and finger food.
Since you want the baby to learn, you should form a habit of eating together as a family.
3. Stage 3 (9-12 Months)
By the time your baby reaches one year, he can now bite and chew the food for the rest of the family members. You should stop breastfeeding in the morning.
If you have been feeding the baby with a bottle, you should start using open cups. You can also use free flow beakers.
By the time your kid reaches eleven to twelve months, you should your milk feed gradually and remain with two times.
Types of Weaning
1. Child-Led Weaning
It happens when the kid does not want to nurse anymore. It usually occurs when the kid is over one year.
He can drink using a cup and can get all the required nutrients from the food. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen to all kids.
If you were to allow some to make the decision, they would suck and wean at the age of four years.
2. Mother-Led Weaning
It takes place when the mother encourages the baby to wean, though the child is not ready.
The mother will lovingly lead the kid but will also remain flexible and respect the needs of the kid. You have to be gentle, patient, gradual as well as flexible.
3. Sudden Weaning
When you stop breastfeeding the kid abruptly, it can be very harmful to your kid and to you too. You can get a severe blood infection and also breast abscess.
You might have a drastic hormonal change that leads to a mood swing. Before you decide on sudden weaning, you should visit a lactation consultant.
If you go to the hospital and someone suggests you get as abrupt weaning, second opinion will be advisable.
Your kid can’t suck forever. You have to know what to do and expect when weaning. It’s okay to have yellowish milk when you are weaning.
Don’t mistake it for a yellowish discharge, considering you require medical attention. Exclusive breastfeeding is advisable for the first six months.
After six months, start weaning your baby. Knowing what to feed the baby when weaning is vital!