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When to Stop Breastfeeding

by T Akery | November 27th, 2013 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

mom baby windowThere are many benefits to breastfeeding. But as children grow older, they start taking in the nutrients that breastfeeding provides on their own. Since every child is different, there is no right answer to the question of when to stop. However, there are some signs that signal the time to break away from the breast is nearing an end.

The formation of teeth is a milestone in a baby’s life. There may have been lots of fussing and a few sleepless nights before they get to this point. But the development of teeth has a significant impact on breastfeeding. Babies with teeth will bite. Biting causes painful issues with the breast. While one or two bites are more of a surprise than anything, you may want to discontinue if the biting is a reccurring problem because it will cause damage to the nipples. It is time to move onto more solid foods that allow the child to bite.

Moms do get sick. So if your doctor is talking about a medication that your baby shouldn’t be getting, it is time to think about other options, even if it is a temporary situation. Many medications are passed on through the breast milk and subsequently passed on to the baby. Some of these medications are hazardous to a baby’s development even if the overall dosage is very low.

Sometimes, the body signals that it is done with breastfeeding. If your milk dries up, it is time to break the habit. While there are drugs that can force the issue, you really don’t want to push your body to that artificial point. If your baby still needs the nutrients they get from breast milk, talk to your doctor about alternatives. Unfortunately, there are times when nature says you’re done.

Expanding your work calendar is another sign that you may want to break the habit. If you are a planning on full-time daycare or adding on a few more hours of work, it may become impractical to continually pump milk for your baby. Pumping during a hectic workday can cause additional stress that can shut the whole system down. Before this happens, take a step back and evaluate your and your baby’s needs. If you can balance the breast feeding with everything else, that’s great. But if you can’t, don’t feel guilty about it. As long as your baby is getting adequate nutrition, it is perfectly fine to pull back from breastfeeding. It depends on your situation.

These are a few situations in which you might want to consider breaking away from breastfeeding. It is perfectly acceptable to stop breastfeeding if you need to. But only you can make that decision for you and your baby.

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