Karabo Mokoena
Content producer
3 minute read
19 Feb 2020
10:00 am

How to wean your child off breastmilk once and for all

Karabo Mokoena

What works best when attempting to wean your child off breastmilk?


Are you tired of breastfeeding?


Well, one day you will be and you would need to know where to start if you want to stop.

Breastfeeding, once figured out, can be a magical experience between a mother and child. It offers a bonding experience like no other as the child latches on to his mom’s breast and receives nutrition looking right into her eyes.

Then they become old enough and start demanding it and calling it by name. They grab your breasts in public and remove them from your top without any consent.

And at that point, it stops being cute and magical and you become desperate to wean your toddler off breastmilk.

Some mothers decide to stop breastfeeding due to the signs that the toddler is ready for other sources of nourishment. The child might be:

-feeding less,
-more niggly when they feed or
-playing with the breast when feeding.

Where do you start?

Let it be a gradual process

The biggest mistake parents make is to try and completely stop breastfeeding at the first attempt of weaning off. Yes. First attempt. You might need a few attempts before you get it right. According to Mayo Clinic, parents should start “slowly tapering off how long and how often you breast-feed each day — over weeks or months’.

This way, you trick your body into believing that you don’t need the milk anymore. Your body can start producing less milk, eventually completely drying up.

You should drop one feed at a time, either day or night feedings. Dropping both at the same time means that you decline your child’s request to feed. This makes them demand the breast more.

Use useful distraction tactics

Rather than saying “no” when your child asks for a feed, rather give it to them, but distract them with something that they like e.g a toy, game or a TV show. The more distracted they get, the less they feed and the less you produce milk. This process can take weeks and even months.

Can you stop breastfeeding in a few days?

Trying to suddenly stop feeding becomes a very painful process for you. Your body wil continue producing the milk, and your breasts will get very full. Moms know the excruciating pain of engorged breasts. You can also experience clogged ducts and mastitis.

You also cant pump it out because it then defeats the purpose. If you pump it out, the body continues to produce the milk.

If you are not afraid of pain and are on a time crunch to stop breastfeeding, then you can completely wean your child off and have engorged breasts for 3 days.

Some moms might be starting a cycle of medication that does not allow them to breastfeed anymore.

In that case, just make sure you do not feed or pump in a few days until your child is completely off it. This suggestion works better if the child is not with you in the house at the time. So, they should visit their grandparents for a few days. Hopefully, they come back and have forgotten about it, or get into a feeding strike. Either way, no more breastfeeding.

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