18 answers

When and How to Stop Nursing

Hi Moms,

My son is turning one on Saturday and I would really like to start to wean him from nursing completely. He has been on both formula and nursing for a while now but I think that at one I would like to stop nursing him all together. (mainly cause his dad says at one....enough is enough). But I don't know where to begin to wean him. He really only nurses about once or maybe twice a day as is so I'm hoping this won't be a hard transition. I just don't know what to do if he absolutely wants to nurse to get his mind off of it. And what happens to my body? How do I stop producing milk without getting engorged etc. Is there something I can do to dry my milk up? This may sound silly but I just have no clue so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Featured Answers

Go to http://www.lalecheleague.org to find out all you need for breastfeeding and to stop breast feeding.

Good luck!!

More Answers

Hi, I nursed my daughter for a year, she is now 13 months, so I just went thru this, for a year all she got was breastmilk. This is how I did it, we were doing 3 feedings a day, so a week before she turned 1 I subsituted the middle feeding for cows milk to see if she would take it and if she'd like it, no problem she loved it, I subsituted one feeding for a week. The first day my breast got engorged so by 6pm I couldn't wait any longer and nursed her. The 2nd day was alot better my breast did not get engorged like the 1st day, they did not hurt at all or get as full. I did this for a week until my breast adjusted. Then the next week I tried to cut the morning feeding out, but she didn't like that, so I nursed her and that day tried to cut the night feeding out. Which she did fine, she took her sippy cup with cows milk like it was nothing. Again did this for a week until my breast adjusted. Then I substituded the last and final feeding we cut the morning off, and this time she did good she didn't fight or anything, she just took her sippy cup and NEVER cried for my breast or begged for it, didn't even look at it twice after that. After that my breast did not swell up or get engorged since we had cut back so much. I did get lumps on them and they were a little hard. It took about two weeks for my breast to go back to normal. They did go back to their normal size pre pregnancy. It was too easy for me and I never had any problems with her wanting my breast after that. Good luck and I hope this helped. The thing to remember is to do it slow not cold turkey, you have to let your breast adjust. If not, it will be painfull to do.

This sounds crazy. But to dry up your milk, you can wrap your breasts in cabbage leaves. That way, no engorgement. When my son weaned, I gave him the sippy cup.

I am in the same situation. I have a 15 month old and we have weaned down to twice a day, but he refuses to completely wean. Everything I have read says that the child will wean better on his own, but this has been going on for 3 months. I would like to stop nursing especially since he has a lot of teeth now.
If you learn something that really works, please let me know.

The best way to wean is to cut out one feeding a week. This is a good gradual transition for the baby, but also good for the mom because it slowly reduces the amount of milk she produces. So, if you're only nursing once or twice a day, the chance of you getting engorged is pretty low. I would simply give him a sippy of (cold) whole milk (assuming he has no dairy allergy) in place of that nursing session. I would not stop formula cold turkey at the same time, because switching from formula/breastmilk completely to whole milk could be quite a shock to his sytem. So, if you want to stop nursing now, replace that one nursing session per day with a sippy of whole milk. After a week, replace one bottle of formula with a sippy of whole milk. Continue replacing bottles with whole milk until he's completely on whole milk.

I would also advise talking to your ped about this.

My daughter was still nursing 5 times a day at a year, and I was actually surprised at how easy it was to wean her. A year is still typically young enough that babies don't start tugging at your shirt or literally asking to nurse.

Hey T.,
It is really a matter of how strong u r ..as the child is always the adaptable kind..if one feed from u is replaced by formula..each time ..gradually..the child gets used to it as it happens..
And ur body gets accustomed to it too..as u r no longer feeding him..it's an auto process..the milk prodn ceases to occur in the same rapid rate..Eventually , when u do stop nursing him completely..the chges ur body wud occur is only that u may be prone to put on weight as u might keep up with ur food intake ..so just exercise at least 3 times in a week and perhaps u shall be back in shape ...

These are not silly questions but ones I went through with my first child as well. I would stop cold turkey and have your hubby give him milk in a bottle at the times when he want to nurse.

Re: engorgement, it was not bad for me as my child was on some formula as well. It will engorge a little but subside within 5 days if that.

Good luck.

First of all, I am sorry that your husband is not more supportive of breastfeeding. Your baby benefits from breastfeeding beyond a year. Secondly, you are asking the wrong people for help. Go to www.llli.org (La Leche League International) and you will be able to find a La Leche League leader in your area who can give you some advice on weaning.

I let my son self wean. By 16 months he was more interested in food than nursing and just stopped wanting it. I never got engorged and it happened so slowly that it was very easy for us both emotionally.

Good luck.

I don't know if this will be much help, or even possible for you, but I nursed 3 and am currently nursing my fourth.

I found that the easiest (and for me the only possible way) to quit nursing was to leave town for a couple of days. I just couldn't distract them when they were hurt or something and wanted to nurse. That also helped with the milk production, then I didn't have them around triggering let down or anything.

Also, there is a supplement made from vegetables like broccoli that dried my milk production right up. It also has the added benefits of being cancer preventing, and helps with hormone balance (weight loss, libido, PMS). The supplement is Indole 3 Carbinole, also spelled Endole. I know it's available online (I'm new and don't know the local stores). I was told to take 100 mg twice a day and it worked within a week.

I hope this helps. Good Luck!


Go to http://www.lalecheleague.org to find out all you need for breastfeeding and to stop breast feeding.

Good luck!!

Sorry you are having to wean so soon. I beleive child led weaning is best. One year is pretty young to wean but if he is only nursing once or twice then hopefully it won't be so difficult.
I would recommend you google lalecheleague. Their website has ALOT of info on BF issues. Also, you can find a leader on the website and call them they will talk to you for free over the phone. They are the BF experts and can help you wean.

Good Luck,

when i stopped nursing my son i just gradually substituted a bottle feeding when i would typically nurse. i dropped the mid-day feedings first - one per week. then i stopped the night feeding and finally the morning feeding. i did not become engorged whatsoever because it was such a gradual transition for both my body and my son.
good luck!

I think youíll have an easy time of it since you are already down to once or twice a day. Around my son's first birthday I dropped his morning nursing session but continued to nurse him at night until he was about 16 months. After weeks of just one nursing session a day, I just stopped cold turkey. I missed it more than my son who didn't seem to miss it at all. I did have his dad put him to bed for a few nights and then it seemed to be no big deal for him. I felt like I still had milk for a while, but I had no discomfort. You've already started weaning him so I'd cut it down to one session a day for awhile until you're ready to stop completely. Best of luck and I hope it is as easy for you as it was for me.

If you are only nursing once or twice a day, you probrably don't need to worry about engorgement very much.
Weaning happens very gradually- you actually began the process the moment you gave your child something other than breastmilk, and your body adapts to it the whole time.
I would suggest dropping down to one nursing a day after one year. If you want to stop entirely after that, initiate a "don't offer, don't refuse" policy. At this point, your child is probrably nursing for comfort and bonding more than he is for food, so give him lots of extra hugs, kisses, cuddles, and positive attention so that he doesn't miss the closeness with you. If he asks to nurse, and won't be appeased with a sippy of milk, or a hug, or a story, go ahead and nurse him. He will start to ask less and less until he stops asking entirely.
How long the process takes depends on him, and how attached he is to nursing. He might be less into it than you think. At 1 year, I dropped down to once a day (The first thing in the morning nursing was easiest to keep for my family). I thought my daughter was really into it and it would be hard to quit entirely. Then, around 18 months, I started giving her a sippy of milk and half a bagel instead, and I was really suprised that she never looked back and never asked to nurse.
Don't let your husband preassure you into weaning if you can tell your son is just not ready. The AAP says there's nothing wrong with weaning past 1 year, and the World Health Orginization actually recomends breastfeeding until age 2!
Not a lot of moms make it to 1 year- you should be proud of yourself for what you've accomplished :) I hope the weaning process is easy for you and your son.

Hello T.!

With both of mine, I just stopped cold turkey! I could not believe it, but neither one of them even missed me! I thought that after a year, they would be so used to it, but I think the bottle is faster and they get more of a view than they do nursing, so it was a welcome transition.

As far as your body, if you have a pump, pump for about thirty seconds, when you feel like you can't take it anymore. Also, try to take a antihistimine as it usually dries you up.



You can try placing lettuce on each breast. There is some chemical that is supposed to help you dry up. Bags of frozen peas will also help reduce engorgement.
When I weaned, I started giving my daughter whole milk at normal nursing times and pumping some if I had to in order to relieve any pressure I felt.
Wearing a sports bra consistently may also help you dry up.
Delete one feeding at a time.
Good luck!

Can you let me know what you find out? It's a little early for me, but I am interested to hear what advice you get for the future. Thanks!!

If heís just nursing once or twice a day, heís not getting much milk anyway, so you shouldnít have to worry too much about engorgement. At this point, itís more of a comfort thing for him, not a nutrition thing (like a pacifier). If you want to do it gradually, you can always let him nurse for a few minutes at his regular time, then stop him and do something else with him. You should make sure itís something he likes to do, like going outside, reading a book, or something similar. He may get upset the first few times, but this really depends on his personality more than anything, and you will need to watch him for cues as to why heís upset---is he truly thirsty, or is he just craving some cuddle time with you? You can always give him a bottle or cup with formula while cuddling with him. The main thing is to be consistent, no matter how much he insists. And Iíd recommend getting it done within 3-5 days, depending on your own physical discomfort (take a few more days if you are feeling full and uncomfortable, definitely less if you're not having any problems and heís adjusting okay).

This will also cue your body that the milk isnít needed, and start the process of drying up. You may be a little uncomfortable, but it shouldnít be as bad as stopping suddenly. And some people may recommend herbs and stuff from the health food store to help dry up your milk, but you don't need it. Like I said, if you're nursing only once or twice a day, you're practically dried up anyway. Once your milk has dried up completely, you will notice that your breasts seem thinner and flatter.

You won't get engorged if you are only nursing once or twice a day. It will just dry up. You probably aren't producing that much mike any more. If the baby is already taking a bottle he probably won't even care. I nursed for 6 mo and now at 11 mo she looks at my breasts curiously like she doesn't even remember nursing. Babies like to move on and try new things.

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