When you’re ready to stop

Stopping breastfeeding often happens gradually as your child grows and eats more solid foods. This is called self-weaning.

It’s helpful to slowly reduce feeds to lower your risk of blocked ducts or mastitis. Stopping breastfeeding can also impact on you emotionally as it will cause changes in your hormones.

  • Change your feeding routine. If there’s a certain spot where you usually sit to nurse or you tend to feed at a certain time of day, change things around.
  • Give your baby lots of cuddles and attention so you continue to have that bonding time.
  • Going longer between feeds can be a good way to drop feeds. Distracting your baby between feeds can help you stretch out the time between them.
  • Offer extra drinks or snacks if age appropriate.
  • Ask for support from others when you need to calm or settle your baby in situations you would normally offer a feed.
  • Offer breastmilk first thing in the morning and last thing at night, for example, instead of throughout the day.
  • Covering your nipples to stop your baby latching is not recommended.

It can take time and patience to reduce breastfeeding gradually. If you need to stop breastfeeding suddenly for medical or other reasons, ask for support from your health visitor or your support group to help you do it safely.

Kim and Ivy, from Canterbury

"I never imagined breastfeeding a toddler. Breastfeeding is not always easy but the support from my husband and my workplace, has made this is all possible."

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