I think most women will agree that the early days of breastfeeding are hard.
When you don’t really know what you’re doing, and you’re exhausted and sore and wondering if you can do this.
Then you sort of find your groove with it. You start to trust that you can ride out any tricky stages and get through the non-stop feeding that comes with growth spurts.
The next big challenge comes when you start thinking about stopping.
Figuring out the best way to stop breastfeeding can be really tricky.
If you want, or need, to stop when your baby is little then you need to find a way to move over to formula and bottles instead. We were lucky with Rhys that we moved him to bottles really early on and he took to them straight away.
You might find that getting your partner or a family member to try giving a bottle works well, if your baby isn’t too happy about taking one from you.
If your baby is older and you have time to wean gently then there is an approach that worked well for me and Nerys.
Don’t offer, don’t refuse.
This approach to weaning is basically as it sounds.
You don’t offer your child a feed, but you also don’t refuse when they ask.
What I love about this approach is how gentle it is.
It lets you both adapt and adjust to breastfeeding less, with your child leading the way.
If you need to go back to work or need to stop breastfeeding quickly for another reason then this approach won’t really work for you, but if you’re in a position to take your time and wean gradually then this is a great way to do it.
At times of the day when you would normally breastfeed, try offering a cuddle instead or distracting your child with a book or game. If they do then ask to breastfeed then go for it, but don’t be the one to offer it.
If you breastfed your child, how did you go about stopping?
And if you’re still breastfeeding at the moment, have you thought about what you might do when you’re ready to wean?