When to stop breastfeeding?

An interesting question and one I am pondering a fair bit at the moment. I guess in many ways I am lucky to have the choice. Breastfeeding is going well and I’m not really facing the supply issues I had with Bub, my first baby. Twenty week old Baby wakes less at night too so I can’t even claim I want to share the night feedings. However I am still thinking about the possibility of stopping in the next few weeks. I’m not sure if I will or not. At the moment I’m just contemplating it.

One of my main reasons for stopping is Baby’s sleep. Or rather his feed-to-sleep habit. It just comes so naturally to him. We’ve stopped the habit twice now only for it to gradually creep back. I fear it has crept back again now. It sometimes feels like the only proper shift away from this will come when he is bottle fed. But then I feel mean as he clearly loves it so. But then I wonder if it’s meaner to continue to breastfeed, let habits set in and then have days of tears as we try to move away from them. (And before you ask I’m not happy having him habitually feed-to-sleep as he wakes up constantly seeking the sleep-inducing-boob all day and night which is no good for anyone.)

Last time around I fed Bub till he was eight months plus. I stopped because my supply had diminished massively and I was returning to work a couple of months later. By that stage I was thoroughly sick of lengthy night feeds which were each taking over an hour due to poor supply. I didn’t feel guilty about stopping at all. I think this time around I probably would. I can’t help but compare the two boys and it feels like Baby is getting short changed. However I do need to split my time between the two boys and so long and lingering breast feeds aren’t so lovely second time around.

I think the fact it’s the hottest summer in years isn’t helping either. Often Baby and I are dripping with sweat which isn’t pleasant. Side-lying feeding helps here but isn’t that practical when you are out and about!!

So when to stop? I really don’t know. At the moment I feel bottle feeding might solve a few immediate issues and be rather convenient. But that’s not exactly a great reason to stop something so obviously beneficial and enjoyable for Baby. And of course breastfeeding can be incredibly helpful during tough times like illness or teething. I’d hate to stop only to regret it!

For now I’m going to continue and we’ll just see how we go. He currently has formula at bedtime and breast milk at all other feeds. That seems to be working out so we’ll stick with it for now and just take it one day at a time.

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One Response to “When to stop breastfeeding?”

  1. Supporting Breastfeeding Says:

    Congratulations for breastfeeding your baby!
    We’re having a ‘heat wave’ here as well and many Mums find that placing a light cloth (diaper or blanket) between their tummy and the baby helps to soak up the sweat during nursing.
    Mothers are the best judge of their own baby-led weaning ! I’m sure whatever you decide, will be the right decision for you….. but if you need more information or mother-to-mother support, contact La Leche League (http://llli.org ) to find the nearest group/Leader.

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