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Way to go, Mama! Once you and your little one have mastered the art of breastfeeding, you should be feeling very proud and accomplished.
There are many benefits that come with breastfeeding beyond the first six months. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years and beyond, even after baby starts eating solids, which should be considered a supplement to breastmilk, rather than the main source of nutrition.
While there’s certainly a lot of research to support the benefits of breastfeeding your little one past six months, you shouldn't feel bad if continuing doesn’t seem right for you. It’s hard work and can be physically and mentally exhausting.
Whenever you decide is the best time for you to begin weaning your child from breastfeeding, here are a few tips recommended by our lactation consultants:
- Slowly decrease the amount of time you spend nursing.
- Try removing one feeding at a time, starting with the naptime feeding.
- Since breastfeeding is a form of comfort for most children, plan for extra snuggle time with your baby — maybe reading a book in your favorite rocking chair.
- Say “no” when you need to. Your child may have a hard time with that, but it’s ok to deny the breast during this process.
- Stock up on ice packs. You may feel discomfort as your milk supply slowly decreases. Ice packs and warm compresses can provide relief.
- Let yourself process your emotions. You may be relieved, sad, anxious — however you’re feeling, know that it’s ok.
AdventHealth for Women’s lactation specialists are by your side within the first couple of hours after delivery, and they can be there to provide advice for months, or even years, down the road. Check out this Q+A for even more breastfeeding help from Stacie Gehring, BSN, RN, IBCLC.