How to get rid of baby breast feeding habit
Quickly, Without Pain, Naturally, More
You’ve decided the time has come to stop breastfeeding or chestfeeding. There isn’t an exact way to know how long it will take for your milk supply to dry up. You can start by slowly decreasing the number of times you nurse your baby.
The time has come. You’ve made the decision to stop breastfeeding, and now you’re experiencing all the feels.
Maybe you’re beyond ready to get rid of your nipple shields, breast pump, and breast pads. Perhaps you’re not personally ready to stop breastfeeding, but it’s become evident that you shouldn’t continue. Maybe you never breastfed, but need to dry up your milk supply after being pregnant.
Whatever your reason and however you’re feeling about this decision, know that it’s OK.
Whether your baby is 3 days old or 3 years old, we know that you’ve probably put a lot of thought into this decision — and we’ve got your back. (Or should we say front?) We’ve got the information you need to efficiently stop breastfeeding as comfortably as possible.
Although there isn’t a precise formula for determining how long it will take to dry up your milk supply, we hope following some of the suggestions below can make it an easier process.
Ideally, you stop breastfeeding over a period of weeks or even months. This allows your milk supply to gradually decrease as milk is removed less often.
Depending on the age of your child, this extra time also gives you the opportunity to introduce other solids and liquids besides breastmilk. Giving yourself time to slowly wean off breastfeeding will be more comfortable and less stressful. (Slow and steady wins the race!)
But sometimes it may not be possible to stretch out the weaning process. If you need to stop breastfeeding quickly (or even cold turkey), here are some suggestions to help the process:
- Begin by dropping the breastfeeding session that your child seems least interested in. Many people maintain the early morning or bedtime breastfeeding sessions for last. Unless you’re going cold turkey there’s no need to give up those sleepy snuggles right away!
- Wear a supportive bra that doesn’t put pressure on your breasts or cut into them. (Yes, we just offered you an excuse to go shopping!)
- If you really need to dry up your milk supply quickly, talk to your doctor about the possibility of using Sudafed, birth control, or herbsto try to reduce milk production.
- Consider also talking to your doctor about offering your child formula or another age-appropriate food item before offering the breast at feeding session times to decrease interest in breastfeeding.
- Offer your child only one breast per feed and try to stick to a fixed feeding routine to minimize breastfeeding “snacking.”
- If your breasts become engorged and painful, try to hand express or use a hand pump just until you feel more comfortable. Try not to empty your breasts. You don’t want to trigger an increase in the supply!
You may have experienced physical changes — and emotional ups and downs — as your milk supply increased. Now, as your body stops producing milk, many of those same side effects may appear again (or for the first time if you didn’t experience them when your milk came in.)
For example, you may find yourself with engorged breasts from milk not being drained out regularly. Clogged ducts or mastitis may come along with this. You may also find that your breasts leak some of the excess milk and that you feel a great amount of sadness, anxiety, anger — or even happiness.
Wondering how you can minimize some of the unpleasantness or deep emotions? The answer, though perhaps not what you want to hear, probably comes as no surprise: You may have fewer (or less severe) side effects to deal with if you prolong the weaning process.
By giving your body more time to adjust and decrease milk production, engorgement may be less — which generally means less breast swelling and less boob pain.
If you do experience side effects, consider treating your symptoms with some of our tips below sooner rather than later.
If you’re ready to stop breastfeeding and dry up your milk supply, a good rule of thumb is to plan to drop one feeding session every 3 to 5 days. This sounds simple and straightforward enough, but let’s talk about minimizing some of the common issues that come with this tried-and-true method.
No matter how long your milk supply is lasting, one method not to use to reduce milk production is breast binding. This may cause clogged ducts and mastitis.
Mastitis — basically, inflammation usually caused by infection — can come with a great deal of pain. In addition to not binding your breasts, consider the following tips to help avoid mastitis as you stop breastfeeding.
- We can’t say this enough: Give yourself time to slowly discontinue your feeding and pumping sessions. One of the major causes of mastitis is milk buildup in the breast tissue. Slowly tapering off feeding sessions gives the body more time to gradually decrease the milk supply so the milk buildup won’t be as great.
- Make sure to continue taking good care of your breast tissue. Bacteria can enter through any sores or cuts leading to an infection and mastitis.
- Only use pumps that fit properly!
Should any signs of mastitis — such as fever and hard red bumps — develop during weaning, immediately notify your doctor as you may need antibiotics or other medical treatment.
Dealing with the emotional ups and downs
Even with slow and steady weaning, your hormones are changing. And we’re not going to sugarcoat it — even if you haven’t been a fan of breastfeeding (which is totally OK, by the way), it can be emotionally tough to stop and may even feel like you’re losing some closeness with your sweet baby. (Don’t worry, though — the bond you have with your child will only deepen as the years go by.)
Some tips for dealing with this roller coaster if it happens:
- Make sure that you’re getting sufficient rest and nutrition. This will help regulate your hormones and make you feel your best!
- Find a support group or friend who understands what you’re going through.
- Spend time doing your favorite activities and hobbies.
- Get those endorphins flowing with some exercise!
Using home remedies for painful boobs
Here are some effective ways of treating sore breasts and engorgement at home:
- Use cold packs and over-the-counter pain medications to help with pain and inflammation.
- Hand express as needed to take a little breast milk out of the breasts tissue and relieve that pressure. (But be careful not to empty the breast completely and trigger more milk production!)
- Some women report that using some cold cabbage leaves inside a well supporting, but not tight, bra helps with engorgement.
Helping your baby through the process
Let’s be honest: Weaning can be hard on both mom and baby. If you find yourself with an enraged child, take a deep breath and try the following:
- Offer a pacifier for your child to suck on in place of your breast.
- Offer your child plenty of liquids and solid foods if age appropriate. Make sure to check with your child’s doctor to ensure that all of their nutritional needs are being met.
- Continue to spend plenty of time cuddling with your child and bonding!
- If your baby associates bedtime (or other activities) with breastfeeding, consider having your partner take over these duties during weaning.
Whatever your reasons for moving on from breastfeeding, you deserve to be as pain-free as possible — physically and emotionally. It’s important to be kind to yourself and your body. Remember this is not the end, but rather the beginning of a new stage with your child.
If you have to stop breastfeeding quickly, talk to your doctor about methods that can help — and keep a watchful eye on your symptoms. Otherwise, try dropping a feeding every 3 to 5 days and remember that no matter the emotional ups and downs of the process, you’re doing a wonderful job.
How to stop breast-feeding: Tips and milk suppression
Mothers who are ready to wean their babies or to decrease the frequency of breast-feeding may wonder how to make the process easier.
Weaning takes time, particularly when a baby has been breast-fed for an extended period.
The following strategies can help both a mother and her baby adjust to a new feeding routine and manage any stress or discomfort that this transition may cause.Share on PinterestWeaning can be a long and challenging process, for both mother and child. It is important to have a strategy in place in order to wean properly.
Women do not need to stop breast-feeding if they are not ready, and do not need to continue breastfeeding if they have had enough.
Nevertheless, a few simple guidelines can help mothers determine whether they want to continue breast-feeding their baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that infants be exclusively breast-fed for the first 6 months of their life. Solid foods may be introduced around 6 months. After that, breast-feeding can continue for 1 year, or as long as the mother and baby wish to continue.
Infants over a year old primarily use breast milk as a supplemental food, a source of comfort, and to support the immune system.
Women sometimes consider stopping breast-feeding because of pain, breast engorgement, social pressure, or fear that the baby is not getting enough milk. Women who want to continue breastfeeding, but who are concerned about these issues, should speak with their doctor or a breast-feeding specialist.
Women weaning infants less than 1 year old must replace breast milk with infant formula or donor breast milk.
Babies older than 6 months still need formula or donor breast milk, but can also transition to age-appropriate solid foods. Children less than 1 year old should never be given cow’s milk, soya milk, or other similar products.
Infants who eat solid foods need adequate protein, iron, and other nutrients. If worried, parents can consult a pediatrician about the right balance of nutrients and ideal daily caloric intake.
Some babies may need a multivitamin or other supplement, particularly if they do not get enough iron or vitamin D.
Share on PinterestIf a woman is unsure, a medical professional can offer advice on when it is appropriate to start weaning.
Some infants wean easily, while others protest. Planning for a difficult transition can help make the weaning process easier. Going slowly can also help prevent stress for the mother and the baby.
A woman can try to choose a time when there are no other significant stressors, such as a deadline at work or a pending vacation.
If possible, it is helpful to spend extra time with the baby, as they are sometimes anxious or clingy during weaning.
Parents should plan on the weaning process taking a few weeks. If the baby needs to be weaned by a particular date, it is a good idea to start the process early.
When they are between 6 months and 1 year old, most babies feed less often during the night. This process, known as night weaning, can help mothers get some much-needed rest.
It may also mean that women can sustain breast-feeding for longer, as fewer nighttime feedings can help mothers nurse comfortably during the day.
It may be tempting to quit breast-feeding in one go, but doing so can cause engorgement, nipple pain, and psychological distress to both the mother and infant.
An easier strategy is to reduce breast-feeding sessions slowly over several weeks.
Start with the session that seems least important to the baby or the one in which the baby eats the least. Give the baby a few days to adjust before stopping the next feeding session. Repeat the process to eliminate each feeding session, up to the last.
The last remaining feeding session, usually an early morning or evening feed, is often the most difficult to give up. Women should allow time for the baby and themselves to adjust. Some women choose to keep this final feeding session going for several additional months.
Share on PinterestUsing a breast pump can help to alleviate discomfort while weaning. It is best to pump only a small amount, to avoid more milk being produced.
Breast-feeding operates according to supply and demand. When a baby drinks more milk, or a woman pumps regularly, her body will keep producing milk.
A women’s supply of breast milk tends to taper off as the baby eats less. However, many women experience engorgement and generalized discomfort during this time.
One way to alleviate discomfort is by pumping a small quantity of breast milk. Avoid pumping lots of milk, as that can increase supply. Instead, try pumping for 2-3 minutes, or until any pain has gone.
Women who are weaning their baby can give this pumped milk to the infant at a later feeding session. This pumped milk means that a woman will not have to breast-feed the baby at the later session, which will help the woman’s milk supply shrink faster.
If pumping for a few minutes does not help, breast-feeding women can find other ways to manage discomfort.
Both pumping and breast-feeding can increase the supply of breast milk, which may prolong discomfort and slow the weaning process.
Some strategies that may reduce discomfort include:
- Applying cabbage leaves to the breast. Chilling the leaves may help with swelling.
- Taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain.
- Applying warm compresses to the breasts before feeding, or taking a hot bath.
- Applying cold compresses (such as bags of frozen peas) after feeding.
- Discussing birth control pills with a doctor. Some women find that taking birth control reduces breast milk supply, which reduces the discomfort of weaning.
- Massaging the breasts to reduce the risk of plugged ducts.
- Wearing a supportive bra, as the breasts may feel heavier. Tight clothing and binding can make pain worse and may even cause a breast infection.
Weaning can be stressful but is rarely dangerous. The two primary risks of weaning are a breast infection and malnourishment in the baby.
Some mothers develop depression or anxiety, and some infants struggle to soothe themselves without breast-feeding.
Contact a doctor if:
- the mother develops a fever
- the breasts are swollen, red, or hot
- there is green or foul-smelling discharge from the breasts
- the mother has symptoms of depression or anxiety
- the mother no longer feels bonded to the baby
- the baby has less frequent wet or soiled diapers
- the baby experiences a significant change in sleep patterns that last longer than a week or two
Breast milk is more than a source of nutrition. Breast-feeding also offers babies comfort when they are stressed or afraid. Many babies fall asleep while feeding.
Strategies for comforting an infant during weaning include:
- holding baby in skin-to-skin contact
- offering a pacifier
- distracting a baby who wants to nurse by playing, singing songs, or going for a walk
- rocking the baby
- giving the baby a teething ring chilled in the freezer if they are teething
- establishing a new bedtime ritual that helps the baby fall asleep
Having another parent or caregiver comfort the baby can also help. Infants in the process of weaning may aggressively try to feed. Allowing someone else to comfort or feed the baby can significantly reduce stress for the mother and baby.
Once your infant has been weaned off breast milk, you will want to stimulate the body to stop producing it, or “drying it up.”
Firmly supporting the breasts and reducing the amount of milk expressed from them can help to gradually reduce milk secretion.
This can be a painful process, and milk can back up and cause swelling and aching.
Breast pads can be used in a bra to soak up any leaking milk. Painkilling medication and cold or gel packs inserted into the bra can help to resolve discomfort or pain. Cold cabbage leaves also have a soothing effect on the breasts, but be sure to store them in a refrigerator and change them when they become limp.
If you experience pain in the breasts while lying down, sleep with a pillow supporting the breast area. Those who sleep on their front can use a pillow under the stomach and hips to support the breasts.
Mothers should be patient with infants who do not want to wean. The baby may temporarily regress to an earlier stage of development, be anxious or clingy, or cry more frequently than usual. After several weeks, these issues will improve.
Termination of breastfeeding | Stopping breastfeeding
When is it time to stop breastfeeding and what is the best way to do it? Read our article for useful practical tips on weaning.
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How long should breastfeeding continue? Three months? Six? Year? Or maybe a few years?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other authorities recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months and then continue to be breastfed along with other foods (complementary foods) for at least two years. 1
The fact is that breast milk is not just food. It is a natural sedative if the child is anxious or tired. In addition, milk contains immune-boosting components, the amount of which increases dramatically when the baby gets sick. 2
According to anthropologists, the natural age of a person to stop breastfeeding is even more than two years. Given factors such as tooth development, body weight, comparison with other primates, and historical evidence, some scientists believe that breastfeeding may last up to two to four years. A number of researchers even believe that our ancestors breastfed children up to six or seven years of age. 3
Today, more than 60% of mothers in developed countries start giving their babies formula or complementary foods before six months of age, 4 although WHO does not recommend this.
When is it time to stop breastfeeding?
Weaning means that you gradually stop breastfeeding your baby. Ideally, the first step in this process is the gradual introduction of complementary foods, starting at about six months of age. In this case, breastfeeding continues. The weaning process continues until the mother's milk has been completely replaced by other foods and drinks.
“After six months, the baby needs higher doses of some nutrients, such as iron, zinc, vitamins B and D, that he cannot get from breast milk or from his own reserves,” says Sarah Beeson, health visitor from Great Britain.
“But solid food should at first only supplement the main diet with breast milk and gradually replace it. Mother's milk remains the main source of nutrition for the baby for many months to come. ”
On average, a seven-month-old baby gets 93% of its calories from breast milk. And even between the 11th and 16th months, milk provides him with about half of the daily calorie intake. 5
“Sometimes moms think that breastmilk isn't that important once a baby has started solid foods, but the truth is, no matter how many months old a baby is, there's nothing better than your milk,” continues Sarah.
In fact, the process of finishing breastfeeding can take as long as mother and baby want. “When to stop breastfeeding is up to you,” says Sarah. The only thing that matters is what you think is right for you and your child.”
How to wean
Whenever you decide to start weaning your baby, it's best to do it gradually. An abrupt cessation of breastfeeding can lead to lactostasis, blockage of the milk ducts and mastitis, and in a child such a sudden change can adversely affect the state of the digestive and immune systems. In addition, it will be difficult for both of you psychologically.
When should I stop breastfeeding?
Sometimes mothers mistakenly believe that it is time to stop breastfeeding, when in fact there is no reason to. If you're returning to work, breastfeeding can be a great way to stay close to your baby during this difficult time for both of you. You can express milk at work, and morning and evening feeding sessions will give you the opportunity to spend time alone with your baby. If you need to leave without your baby, you can also express milk and bring or send it home.
If you get sick, this is not always a reason to stop breastfeeding. Read our advice in the article on breastfeeding when sick and consult with your healthcare professional.
Weaning up to six months
If you cannot continue breastfeeding until six months and want to try weaning your baby, start by replacing one feeding a day with a bottle of formula.
“It's best to start with midday feedings. Babies are very alert and able to smell breast milk nearby, so ask your partner or relative to give your baby a bottle when you're in the other room,” Sarah advises.
“Be hygienic when preparing food. Be prepared for the fact that the baby will take fewer servings of expressed milk per day than if he was fed directly from the breast. Don't make him eat more milk than he wants."
You will probably feel that your breasts are fuller and more tender. This is due to the fact that your body is rebuilding to produce less milk. If this creates discomfort, try expressing some milk—just enough to relieve the discomfort without stimulating extra production.
When your body adjusts to the new volume - usually within a few days - replace with formula for one more meal a day. Continue this until you have changed all feedings and your baby is completely weaned.
“I had complications after my first birth, as a result I lost a lot of weight very quickly, and besides, I developed mastitis. Lactation was very weak, and at three months I was forced to stop breastfeeding,” recalls Jennifer, a mother of two from the UK, “I gradually replaced one feeding, so physically it was easy, but mentally it was hard for me. ”
If you want to maintain closeness with your baby and all the health benefits of breastfeeding, but still need to cut down on breastfeeding, try partial weaning, replacing only a few feeds a day with formula.
Weaning after six months
Once your baby starts eating solid foods (about six months old), you will notice that breastfeeding naturally occurs less and less. For a year, it can be reduced to just a couple of times a day, and feedings will be replaced by full meals and healthy snacks.
Anyway, if you intend to continue to reduce breastfeeding, do it gradually, replacing one feeding at a time. Use formula milk if your baby is under 12 months old. With cow's milk, you should wait at least up to a year.
“When I decided to wean my son, I breastfed him three times a day and gave him other foods three times plus light snacks. Gradually, I replaced all breastfeedings with formula. By 11 months, we only had one nighttime breastfeed left,” says Ruth, a UK mom.
There are various ways to distract a child from changes in his diet. Some mothers suggest that instead of breastfeeding something to drink and eat together to maintain a sense of closeness. You can also change your daily routine, play your favorite game, or replace feeding with caresses - from you or from your partner. Some children take longer to get used to a new food, but in the end everything falls into place. If you are having difficulty weaning, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
Ending breastfeeding naturally
Ending breastfeeding can be guided by the baby's wishes. This is called baby-initiated weaning, or the natural termination of breastfeeding. Such a process is likely to be long and gradual. Month after month, feeding sessions will become shorter and less frequent, until one day the child completely loses interest in the breast.
“My daughter stopped breastfeeding on her own when she was four years old,” says Sarah, a mother from the UK. And once, when we were on vacation, she seemed to just forget about her breasts. Now, six months later, she sometimes still asks for breasts, but she already knows that there is no milk there.
You will have a huge amount of time for the body to adapt, so there should be no discomfort or swelling of the breast. However, you may find it difficult emotionally, so spend more time petting and bonding with your baby.
“Child-initiated termination of breastfeeding was right for me because I never gave my son formula or a bottle. I didn’t want to abruptly stop feeding and refuse him,” recalls Kelly, a mother from the UK, “He himself lost interest in breasts at the age of two and a half years. For us, it was the best scenario, although emotionally it was not very easy for me.”
What if you need to stop breastfeeding quickly?
It is best not to stop breastfeeding abruptly, but sometimes it is necessary for medical reasons or because you cannot be near the baby.
If you have been breastfeeding your baby up to this point, you will most likely have to express your milk to avoid breast swelling. Some mothers prefer to use a breast pump for this, others find it easier to express milk manually. You only need to pump a little, just to eliminate the discomfort, otherwise your body will take it as a signal to produce more milk.
At first, the breasts may swell and become tender, but this will pass. Breast milk contains a so-called feedback lactation inhibitor. When breastfeeding is stopped, this inhibitor tells your body to slow down milk production, but it can take days or even weeks for your breasts to rebuild.
Certain medications can relieve pain and should be discussed with your doctor. Always follow your pharmacist's instructions or directions, and consult your healthcare professional before taking any medication.
“I had to abruptly stop breastfeeding when my daughter was eight months old because she had to take strong painkillers,” says Peggy, a mother from Switzerland. “It was very difficult because the baby was constantly looking for a breast and crying. I held her tightly to me as I gave her a bottle. This calmed her, and after a month everything was all right.
Can I continue breastfeeding if I want to get pregnant again?
Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive. However, this method is not the most reliable, especially after six months or if you are not exclusively breastfeeding. This means that you can get pregnant even while you are breastfeeding.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers sometimes receive conflicting advice about whether to stop breastfeeding. Consistent feeding of two children of different ages is of course possible, and with the advent of the second baby, your body will produce the kind of milk that both of them need.
It is not uncommon for an older child to refuse to breastfeed or skip feedings if the mother is pregnant. This may be due to changes in the composition of milk that occur during pregnancy. Milk can change the taste and become less sweet. 6 If your baby is under one year of age when he starts to stop breastfeeding, make sure he continues to gain weight.
Talk to your doctor if you want to continue breastfeeding during pregnancy but have had a preterm birth or miscarriage, or have any bleeding in the past.
If you need medical help to conceive, some drugs and procedures may not be suitable while you are breastfeeding. Discuss all possible options before deciding to stop breastfeeding.
Whenever you decide to end breastfeeding, and whatever method you choose to do so, be kind to yourself and your baby. This is a huge change for both of you physically, hormonally, and emotionally, so proceed thoughtfully and carefully.
“Although my body responded normally to stopping breastfeeding, it was psychologically difficult for me. The thing that united us for so long is over, - Jane, a mother of two children from the USA, shares her impressions, - I worked long hours, five days a week, and breastfeeding made me feel that I occupy a special place in the lives of children. But when it stopped, we soon found other ways to be together.”
1 World Health Organization. [Internet] Health Topics: Breastfeeding: 2018 [Accessed: 02/08/2018]. Available from : http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en - World Health Organization. "Health Issues: Breastfeeding" [Internet]. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2018 [Visit 02/08/2018]. Article linked: http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/e
2 Hassiotou et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clin Transl Immunology. 2013;2(4): e 3. - Hassiot F. et al., "Infectious diseases of the mother and child stimulate a rapid leukocyte reaction in breast milk." Clean Transl Immunology. 2013;2(4):e3.
3 Dettwyler KA. When to wean: biological versus cultural perspectives. Clin Obstet Gynecol . 2004; 47(3)712-723. - Dettwiler KA, "Time to wean: weaning from a biological and cultural point of view". Klin Obstet Ginekol (Clinical obstetrics and gynecology). 2004; 47(3):712-723.
4 Victora CG Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet. 2016;387(10017):475-490. - Victor S.J. et al., "Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms and long-term effects". Lancet 2016;387(10017):475-490.
5 Dewey KG et al. Breast milk volume and composition during late lactation (7-20 months). J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr . 1984;3(5):713-720. — Dewey C.G. et al., "Amount and composition of breast milk in late lactation (7-20 months)". F Pediatrician Gastroenterol Nutr. 1984;3(5):713-720.
6 Prosser CG et al. Mammary gland function during gradual weaning and early gestation in women. Aust J Exp Biol Med 9021 9029 Sci. 1984;62( Pt 2):215-228. - Prosser S.G. et al., "Breast Function During Gradual Weaning and Early Gestation." Aust J Exp Biol Med Sai. 1984;62( Pt 2):215-228.
Breastfeeding on demand
You can often hear from a nursing mother: "I feed on demand, my baby requires a breast every 3.5 hours." Or: “I have always fed on demand. In a year, we already had 1 feeding in the evening, and my child calmly refused to breastfeed. Before talking about the demand of the child, it is necessary to find out what modern women mean when they say - "I breastfeed."
Modern mothers consider breastfeeding necessary for feeding their baby. Just for feeding. Breast milk is food, the mother supplies the baby with the nutrients necessary for growth and development. When a baby suckles at the breast, he eats. Breastfeeding makes sense only as a process of supplying proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and microelements.
During suckling, the baby receives the nutrients it needs with mother's milk. This is the absolute truth. There is another unconditional truth, which is not given any importance in modern society, it is not taken into account and is not considered. Breastfeeding for a child is communication with the mother. We need to figure out how the child understands feeding on demand? Can he understand anything at all? Is there any difference for him how he is fed, for 15-20 minutes after 3.5 hours or in some other way?
What is on-demand feeding
On-demand feeding of a newborn baby means putting it on the breast for every squeak or search. Squeak and search movements in newborns, even as early as the second or third day of life, begin to appear much more often than after 3.5 or 2.5 hours. The need for attachments increases rapidly, and by the 10-12th day of life, the need to attach to a child may occur 15-16 or more times a day. Applications vary in duration. The baby can fall asleep and sleep while sucking for, for example, 1.5-2 hours. Can release the breast after 1-2 minutes. And then ask her again. Why does a child need such frequent contact with his mother's breast?
That's why. Being in the mother's belly, in a calm, familiar environment, listening to the noises of the mother's body, being in a warm, cramped, confined space, the baby sucked his fist, fingers, loops of the umbilical cord, swallowed amniotic fluid. Learned to suck and swallow. After birth, experiencing discomfort for any, the most insignificant reason, the baby tries to get rid of it. You can get rid of discomfort by getting into the usual conditions of a comfortable stay. The only place where the baby after birth can feel the sensations familiar to him is in the arms of the mother. The only familiar action is sucking. The only familiar taste and smell is the taste and smell of milk and lube in the areola. Milk and lubricant have an odor and taste similar to the taste and smell of amniotic fluid. Therefore, experiencing discomfort, the baby squeaks, or begins to look for an object to suck with his mouth. Ideally, it is immediately applied to the chest. The baby becomes warm, cramped, he hears the beating of his mother's heart, breathing, grumbling in the intestines, he sucks and feels the familiar taste and smell. If such an action happens all the time, the baby gains confidence that no matter what happens, he will solve all his problems with his mother. The place of comfort is now under the breast, and you can suck on the breast.
This whole process is justified from a biological point of view. A newborn child does not feel hunger, this feeling is not formed in him. It will begin to form at about two months of age. How to feed a creature that does not experience hunger ?! How to encourage him to take some action to get food? This can be done only at the expense of some other incentives. This stimulus for the newborn is constant bodily discomfort, thanks to which he wants to suckle all the time! The most intense, frequent and prolonged sucking in infants is observed in the first two or three months of life. It is in these first months that the main weight gain of the baby occurs.
Feeding in the first month
Baby falls asleep with the breast in his mouth, sucking for a while. Falling asleep deeply, lets go of the chest. After sleeping for a while, he wakes up, and is applied on waking. After sleep, he can stay awake for some time, for example, an hour and a half. During wakefulness, he may feel discomfort 2-3 times, for example, from a completely natural desire to pee, and having called his mother for help, having kissed for a couple of minutes, he will do his deeds. Then he will want to sleep, feel discomfort and, kissing his chest, will again fall asleep sucking. After some time, he will wake up and attach again. Then again a little "walk". And after some time, he will fall asleep at the chest again.
The daytime naps of a one-month-old baby feeding on demand vary in duration and number. There can be 4-6 dreams during the day, and they can last from 5-15 minutes to 2-2. 5 sometimes 3 hours. "Around" each dream, the baby is applied to the chest, and applied between dreams several times. At night, the child falls asleep at the breast. Usually in the early morning hours, he begins to fuss and apply. In the morning, he almost never fully wakes up. The baby sleeps, from time to time, sucking on his mother's breast. Waking up in the morning, the baby is again applied to the chest. If you count all the attachments that have happened in a baby of one month of age, then approximately 16-20 attachments are obtained. This is how a newborn human cub behaves if it is given the opportunity to behave in accordance with physiological and psychological needs, which, by the way, are genetically determined. The child of the first months of life does not separate his personality from the personality of the mother and from her breast. Mom and her breasts, and everything connected with them, are the universe of the baby and himself.
In most cases, a modern woman, being afraid to “accustom a child to hands”, strives to limit his requests for sucking. A pacifier and a bottle of tea or water come to her aid in this matter. They, too, can be sucked ... The need for sucking seems to be satisfied. But only the need for communication with the mother during suckling is not satisfied, the peculiar chain of mutual assistance and cooperation between mother and baby is destroyed, the formation of maternal affection and concentration is disrupted. Is the difference in the two actions noticeable to the reader: the baby cried, the mother took him, put him to her chest and started rocking him, or gave him a pacifier and started rocking the stroller, even with the words “Why are you crying, my sun?”
The modern woman who gives a pacifier and pumps a stroller is not a bad person deliberately harming an infant. She is simply in captivity of prejudice regarding the relationship between mother and baby. She does not know how to behave correctly, does not know what to do in accordance with the natural needs of the child. If you tell her what the child really needs, she will exclaim in horror: “What is it, don’t let him off your hands ?!” Indeed, the child of the first months of life must not be let off the hook. For a woman who does not know how to comfortably carry a baby, and who does not know how to feed him in various positions (sitting, lying, standing and even moving), this can be very difficult. Especially if she is not sure of the correctness of her actions.
An action that should become automatic for the mother of a newborn: when the baby cries or shows other signs of anxiety, put the baby to the breast.
The baby is growing. A fairly stable rhythm of daytime sleep begins to form in him, and a 3-4-month-old baby behaves quite differently from a newborn. Feeding on demand at this age looks something like this...
- At three months, the baby has 10-12 feeds during the day and 2-4 at night. There are frequent applications for a short time, but their number is reduced. There may be a long night break in feedings, about 5 hours, but this is very rare. Much more often the night break is 2.5-3.5 hours. By this age, the baby's body is noticeably rounded.
- At four months, the baby begins to breastfeed noticeably less frequently. The main feedings are associated with sleep: the baby suckles before bedtime, during awakening and during sleep, both daytime and nighttime. In this regard, he has a fairly accurate feeding regimen. And many babies stop breastfeeding when they wake up after daytime sleep, sometimes as early as 2.5-3 months.
- At five months, the baby has 8-10 daytime feedings and 2-3 nighttime ones, attachments, as well as in the fourth month of life, are organized around dreams - the baby eats when going to bed and some babies suckle when they wake up.
- Feeding regimen changes at six months. The most active sucking is shifted to the last 2-3 hours before awakening from a night's sleep. The period of daytime wakefulness can be divided into two periods: in the morning, when the baby sucked during the night is rarely applied to the breast, and in the evening, when the attachments become very frequent. In total, there can be 7-10 day applications and 3-4 night applications. At this age, the baby begins a period of acquaintance with new food - pedagogical complementary foods. Sometimes there are attachments associated with the introduction of complementary foods, the baby “washes down” samples of new food with mother's milk. But many children do not want to drink complementary foods. When complementary foods are introduced to an on-demand baby, it is never intended to replace feedings with complementary foods. This is practically impossible, because the main feedings of the baby are associated with sleep, and mother's breakfasts, lunches and dinners, during which the baby gets acquainted with new food, are located between the baby's dreams, during his wakefulness.
- At seven months, the application frequency is about the same.
- At eight months, the feeding regimen changes. Since the baby shows high motor activity and is very busy exploring the surrounding space, in the daytime he forgets to breastfeed. In this regard, the number of daily feedings can be reduced to 6-8 times. The baby compensates for the reduction in daytime feedings by increasing the frequency and duration of nighttime feedings up to 6 times.
- In the second half of the year, babies who stopped breastfeeding when waking up after daytime naps again recall this habit. The daytime sleep of a baby in the second half of life, as well as in the region of a year and older, looks something like this: the baby falls asleep sucking, sleeps quietly for a while, for example 1-1.5 hours, then starts tossing and turning, fiddling, worrying, at this moment the mother lies down next to , gives him a breast and the baby can fill up 10-15-30 minutes sucking. Mom may well use this time for her own rest - lie down, read, while the baby sleeps while sucking. I know my mother, a lover of embroidery, who used this time specifically for embroidery ...
- Breastfeeding becomes more frequent at nine to ten months. In the daytime, this is 4-6 full feedings and about the same number of attachments for various reasons. The baby has new reasons for attachment. If, during active actions to master the world, the baby fills a bump or gets scared, he calms down with his mother's breast. There may be situations when you can comfort the baby by sitting next to him and hugging him. At night, 4-6 feedings remain, the baby begins to suckle more actively in the morning between 3 and 8 hours.
- At eleven months, a baby can already have 2-3 complete complementary foods. Initiation to adult food in the mind of a child is not associated with breastfeeding: attachment to the mother's breast is something other than the desire to get enough of the product they like. As a rule, after the baby has eaten, he feels the need to attach himself to the breast. The number of daily feedings remains the same in the child, but the number of short-term attachments increases. There are active mid-morning feedings between 4 and 8 o'clock in the morning.
- At ten or twelve months, the baby, if he is already walking, can sometimes breastfeed every time he comes to his mother, i. e. roughly every 15-30 minutes. Attachments around dreams and night sucking persist. Therefore, if a mother says that a child suckles once or twice a day, this means that there is no feeding at the request of the child. There are restrictions imposed by the mother, with which the baby has come to terms. He treats breast sucking like food, sucks on a pacifier or a finger to fall asleep or soothe, or falls asleep just like that, without calming down.
- At twelve months, the baby is applied in about the same way.
- At the age of one and a half years, there may already be one daytime nap, so there are fewer attachments associated with sleep. Preserved for morning sucking. The baby is very free with his mother's breasts. Sometimes it happens that he comes up to suck just for pleasure. For example, like this: he comes up, climbs on his knees, looks into his mother’s face, smiles, starts to swarm in his shirt, gets breasts, smiles at his breasts, sucks for 30 seconds and leaves.
As for the number of feedings per day when feeding a child on demand, their number is almost never less than 12. A newborn has 12 or more feedings, mostly they are all associated with dreams. And a child, say 1.5-2 years old, can also have about 12 attachments, only 3-4 are associated with sleep, and the rest are short-term attachments for various reasons. I suggest to all mothers reading this text - do not count the application, do not notice their duration. Breastfeed your baby as often as he asks, when you feel the need to.
Mothers who do not think about breastfeeding without looking at the clock may get the impression that when feeding on demand, the mother can do nothing but feed the baby. This is not true. After the birth of a baby, a mother begins another life, she is called life with a baby. That's all. The child is with the mother, not the mother with the child! Feel the difference! You need to be able to organize your life in a different way, in the first months, of course, the help of loved ones is very necessary. In the tradition of many peoples, it was customary for the first 40 days after childbirth to remove a woman from any housework and household chores, she was engaged only in a child. In some nations, objects that the mother of a newborn touched were considered “unclean”, therefore, they preferred to protect the mother from the rest of the household, allocating her a separate “corner” of the house, where no one bothered her and she did not interfere with anyone. Among the Slavs, such a restrictive custom was called a six-week. By 1.5-2 months, the rhythm of daytime dreams begins to form, and the baby has a kind of “regime”, the mother becomes more free.
For a mother who can't imagine breastfeeding without looking at the clock, and who is sure that the “right” baby is the baby lying quietly in her crib all the time, feeding on demand will be a complete hassle. It will be much easier for such a mother if she stops looking at the clock and ties the baby to herself with a large scarf or uses a patchwork holder (sling). It will become easier for her if she stops running between the nursery and the kitchen, but takes the baby with her to the kitchen and carries him around the house with her, doing housework, in a box, a cradle, a special chair, if she tries not to put him off often, and pick up as soon as possible, postponing the baby only in case of emergency and not for long.
Breastfeeding is not the same as house arrest. In the conditions of modern society, it is possible to organize the exit of a nursing mother to work from about 6 months of age of the baby. If necessary, you can start working from the age of 4 months, but, of course, it is better not every day of the week and not full time. It is the responsibility of a breastfeeding consultant to help a mother organize her return to work.
Sometimes, when counseling mothers on breastfeeding, I suggest that they forget for a second that they are already living in the 21st century. I propose to return, for example, to the cave and ask what they will do if the child woke up at night, how to calm him down? If you are walking through the forest and trying not to attract the attention of predators, how to make the baby silent? If the child is thirsty, what will you give him? What is the baby used to, for thousands of years of its existence? To the fact that he sleeps on his mother while she wanders through the forest with a digging stick in search of roots, and wakes up when mother stops. Since mom stopped, then there is time to wake up and suck. Therefore, even now the child sleeps well, tied to the mother with a patchwork holder, wakes up when the mother, having done a few household chores, sits in a chair to take care of the baby.
Some mother, reading about the cave, will be offended, saying that she is a civilized creature. But please think. Man, mother's breast and mother's milk have been created by evolution over millions of years. They are made for each other. Baby food has created progress and more recently. The skills of motherhood and breastfeeding have also been lost by our society quite recently. A person is not physiologically adapted to artificial feeding and a pacifier. The mother's breast will not produce enough milk at 6-7 feedings per day. Nature did not know, when creating man as a mammal, that the time would come when the need for breastfeeding would be satisfied by some kind of pacifiers and nipples.
Changes that occur during the formation of the personality of a child who did not have full contact with the mother during prolonged breastfeeding are noted by modern research by psychologists and sociologists.