Top 3 Methods to Stop Breastfeeding

Only you and your baby know when it’s time to stop breast feeding. Once you get over the guilt of stopping breastfeeding before someone else thinks you should, it’s time to get to the business of stopping the actual feedings. There are several ways to accomplish this, some better than others. Depending on your personal circumstances, choose what works for you.

Only you and your baby know when it’s time to stop breast feeding. Once you get over the guilt of stopping breastfeeding before someone else thinks you should, it’s time to get to the business of stopping the actual feedings. There are several ways to accomplish this, some better than others. Depending on your personal circumstances, choose what works for you.

Absence Makes the Breast Grow Drier

Especially if you are a working mother with a busy travel schedule, being away from your baby may be the right option to stop breastfeeding. If you are away from your baby you can’t hear him or her cry and that decreases milk supply. Meanwhile your baby is at home happily sucking on a bottle. Oh sure, it’ll be hard at first, but when the child gets hungry, she will eat.

The big problem with this method is that, depending on the age of the baby, she can suffer from separation anxiety being away from the mother. Critics of this strategy warn that emotional harm done when a mother and child are separated can be lifelong. Not to mention the mother risks becoming engorged if milk isn’t emptied from the breasts routinely.

Yuck, That Boob Tastes Nasty!

Some mothers hope to turn their baby off the breast by putting a bad tasting liquid on the nipple. This one seems to me a bit tricky on the mother’s part and potentially could cause more headaches than it’s worth, but to each her own. Just remember that you risk making your baby really mad by offering a yucky tasting booby instead of the good stuff.

Gradual Wean

Some women try to just stop breastfeeding all at once. This is a bad idea. You and your baby are both going to be extremely uncomfortable if you try this. The better method is to gradually cut down on breast feedings. Starting with one or two feedings a week, cut out feedings gradually over time. This gives both mother and baby a chance to get used to things slowly, with as little disruption to the usual routine as possible. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get out of the house and let someone else feed the baby!

The benefit of gradual cessation of breast feeding is that your milk production decreases slowly so that you don't become engorged and the baby had time to adjust to the flavor and experience of bottle feeding. You may want to consider building up a stock of breast milk to mix with formula if your baby seems averse to the flavor of formula.

Image Credit: Joe Shlabotnik, Flickr

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Comments 9 comments

saif113sb profile image

saif113sb 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing such a personal thing.


... 5 years ago

What i did was slowly started giving her bottles. i would reduce a feeding every week to a bottle till she was on a bottle.(maybe at the feeding your reducing try the lemon so she/he refuses the nipple) this would also help dry your milk.


Marie 5 years ago

My son is almost 2 years old, and I've decided I'd like to wean him, he eats at least 15 times a day, and still wakes up 6+ times a night...I've been using lemon on my nipple, and instead of me refusing to nurse him, he's refusing to nurse from me! I think it's working well, he sniffs me first, and if I smell like it he turns around and grabshis cup!


Darryl  6 years ago

my wife and i are in a rather interessting situation, you see we run a guesthouse and so we always have people around at night, we have a daughter age 2 who simply refuses to wean, we cant just stop as then she will scream and disturb our guests, she has been away for work reasons for a few days and we thought that might work, but as soon as she returned, our daughter climbed straight back on the nipple and continued. it is our understanding that she cant take the pills to dry up milk because, to make things more intereesting, she is pregnant.

is there anybody that has a good idea what we can do. i have considered using the bad tasting substances but don't know if it could be dangerous for the baby inside...we are not sleeping correctly and it is having effects on our personal lives.


kellerRN profile image

kellerRN 6 years ago from Texas

Another good option to help to stop breastfeeding is getting Dad more involved. My first baby was breastfed and I had to stop when I was pregnant again- well over a year. The only way we could get her to stop was that Dad had to give her a bottle at night, and only sippy cups during the day. She wouldn't take a bottle for me as she wanted the breast instead, which she couldn't have. Either way, having good support from Dad is very important, it makes our jobs as mothers easier and more satisfying.


Chin chin profile image

Chin chin 6 years ago from Philippines

I usually breastfeed for more than 1 year. I had to stop doing so because of being pregnant with the next baby. It is difficult because usually the baby doesn't like the taste of formula or the feel of the feeding bottle. I tried the second option together with the third. The baby is already eating some solids then I put lemon on my nipple when she wants milk. It eventually stopped the baby but oh how sorry I really felt for baby every time she cries.


terrrry 7 years ago

i use marmite.


Lela Davidson profile image

Lela Davidson 7 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas Author

Thanks, Patty. I take a lot of flack for these Hubs, but I'm by no means anti-breastfeeding. I think it's the absolute best thing we can do for as long as we can do it. I just want to help women who are ready to stop because I think that kind of support is lacking.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

This is good advice, since I know many moms that stop all at once, with bad results. The use of bad-tasting applications to the nipple are cruel and harsh imo, and likely also does not work.

Usually, I hear from mothers that want to breastfeed longer, not for less time, so this is helpful information.

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