Are you having a hard time saying no to your baby? Feeling guilty about stopping breastfeeding?
We all feel guilty about stopping breastfeeding, whether your baby is six months or even a year old.
So, do not stress about it. Society should not help you define the kind of a mother that you are. Only you can answer that.
Furthermore, no one makes this decision out of the blue. It is influenced by various valid reasons such as low milk supply or going back to work.
And as for baby formula, it provides all the nutrients that your baby will need during this period. Therefore, go for it!
Want to Stop Breastfeeding but Feel Guilty
Is it wrong to stop breastfeeding?
For some mothers, it may be difficult to pump or express breast milk by hand.
If not because of the hassle of waking up at odd hours, it could be the quality of the pumps.
Some are not very effective and can even bruise you if not handled well.
And as we all know, the feeling is different when your baby does not stimulate you. Here are a few reasons why stopping breastfeeding should not keep you awake at night:
You are not a bad mother
Forget about society’s definition of the perfect mother.
No one is perfect, and sometimes we also have to consider ourselves.
It is not that we do not love those adorable little beings but because we must. If not due to the low milk supply, it could be an underlying health condition.
You are accumulating stress
The postpartum period is among the most problematic stages of being a mother, and to be able to pull through, you will need to be resilient.
Feeling guilty about stopping breastfeeding will only pile up the stress, which will, in turn, lower your performance on the other aspects of motherhood.
Therefore, it is best if you made peace with yourself.
Focus on the good side
Almost everything has both sides: the good and the bad. The same thing applies to breastfeeding find out how breastfeeding affects your body.
And in this case, your baby will not lose anything unless for your presence. If your milk supply was low, your baby can now feed well to his fill and rest better.
It is opposed to when he is always hungry.
Therefore, ensure that you replace the guilt feeling with the joy of bonding with your happy baby. And a happy baby equals a happy mother!
Reasons for stopping breastfeeding
As mentioned earlier, you cannot wake up one morning and decide to stop breastfeeding; it has to be prompted by something.
The following are some of the reasons that may push mothers to this decision:
Low milk supply
Mothers may find it hard to notice that their babies are not feeding properly.
But here is how to increase breast milk naturally at home fast, at times this might not work for all.
So, how can you affirm that you have a low milk supply?
It is through the behavioral changes in your infant.
These may include crying and constantly feeding. The nature of their stool might also be another clue.
If you think you have this problem, ensure that you weigh your baby regularly.
The toddler weight will stop increasing or even reduce. The best way to quantify your milk supply is by hand expressing or pumping.
Returning to work
Most employers have a 12-week maternal leave provision which is usually not enough to sustain a six-month breastfeeding period.
Due to this case, you will have to stop breastfeeding your toddler.
However, you can choose to pump milk as a substitute for stopping breastfeeding.
If your baby has difficulties with how to breastfeed with flat nipples, you are likely to get bruised and end up with painful nipples.
And figuring out how long for cracked nipples to heal is not something you would want to go through.
It might occur even on subsequent breastfeeding.
You may sometimes feel some discomforting pain and cramping when the milk ducts contract to release milk during the first few minutes.
The discomfort may elicit you to stop breastfeeding and start weaning. But before this first figure out when is baby ready for finger foods.
Hormonal birth control can reduce milk production
Most oral contraceptives reduce milk production in breastfeeding mothers.
Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before using any form of birth control method.
It will enable you to learn about the possible side effects of the different techniques.
The kinds of birth control methods that do not affect milk production can only be used six weeks postpartum.
What happens when you stop breastfeeding?
The side effects of ending breastfeeding are usually dependent on how abruptly you stop.
If you go cold turkey on breastfeeding, it would be somehow uncomfortable as the unexpected change did not prepare your body.
To ease the pain that comes with the sudden stop in breastfeeding, you should hand express or pump a small amount of milk to relieve the engorgement.
Alternatively, you can use cabbage leaves or a cold compress to get rid of the breast engorgement.
You can also use Sudafed or herbs to reduce milk production.
As for the drugs, you should use them after a consultation with your doctor.
At the same time, you can opt to wear a comfortable bra that does not exert pressure on your breasts or cut into them.
But as time goes by, there is minor discomfort. You can also start by dropping one feed a day and replacing it with a bottle of formula.
How to deal with mastitis
What is mastitis?
It is an inflammation caused by an infection that usually results from milk build-up in the breast tissue.
The inflammation comes with a great deal of pain which anyone would want to get rid of.
That is possible by maintaining good hygiene on the breast tissue to avoid the entrance of bacteria that can cause an infection.
Secondly, use pumps that fit correctly to discontinue the production of more milk.
The gradual decrease in pumping sessions gives the tissue time to lower milk production.
Lastly, if red bumps appear during the weaning period, this indicates the severity increasing.
You would need to get a prescription of antibiotics or any other medical treatment.
Dealing with emotional distress
In response to stimulating milk production, women experience massive hormonal changes such production of progesterone and estrogen.
The hormones are also responsible for causing mental health issues that lead to emotional distress.
Nonetheless, with sufficient rest and good nutrition, you are good to go as they will regulate the production of hormones.
Ideally, you can sign up for a support group that resonates with what you are going through.
It would also be great to exercise or focus on your hobby to release endorphins, chemicals responsible for relieving stress.
Helping the baby through the process
You are not the only one finding it hard to stop breastfeeding; your infant is also enraged with starting the weaning process.
You will need to substitute breastfeeding with a pacifier to distract them from the drastic change.
Since breastfeeding was considered an excellent bonding time, you need to create a new bond time.
If the baby associates bedtimes or any other activity with breastfeeding, it may be time for your partner to help out.
Most of all, focus on the activities that make your baby happy!