Bye-Bye Breastfeeding: A Mom’s Guide to Weaning with Confidence


To all the breastfeeding and pumping moms, let’s talk about the rollercoaster ride that you’ve been on. It’s like signing up for a wild adventure with ups and downs that happen daily, weekly and monthly! I hope you know, you’re not alone on this journey. Not only are there other moms who can relate and may be open to sharing their experiences and tricks, but we have some great health care teams who are also here to lend you a helping hand.

If you’re just getting started on your breastfeeding journey or planning to continue for a while, Green Bay offers an array of supportive resources. From fellow moms with helpful hacks to multiple community lactation resources, you’ll also find free virtual breastfeeding classes and a virtual and in-person breastfeeding support group in Green Bay. They’re both held monthly by phenomenal lactation specialists from HSHS St. Vincent Hospital. Check out the links if you’re interested in learning more.

If you’re near the end of your breastfeeding or pumping journey, let’s dive into the weaning process. How do you know when it’s time? Perhaps you’re getting signals from baby that they’re ready to move on. Maybe you’re planning an exciting vacation with your significant other. Or, it could be that you’re just ready to be done with the demanding task of breastfeeding and/or pumping. First and foremost, I understand if this is a big deal for you. Whether you’re dealing with breast engorgement with your newborn, milk supply issues with your 6-month-old or trying to figure out how to say bye-bye to breastfeeding with your 11-month-old, we want to help make this as easy as possible for you.

Let’s talk about mom guilt. Yep, it’s a real thing – and it hits hard, especially when it’s time to wean. You might think, “Yay, I’m getting my body back!” But then, bam! Guilt kicks in for not pumping as long or making enough milk as you thought. But here’s the good news: things change and phases pass. Breastfeeding and pumping look different for every family. Whenever you’re ready is the right time for your family and your baby will be just fine. Now is a great time to start thinking of new ways you can bond with your baby or do more of the alternate types of bonding that you have been doing. You’re doing great, mama!

Okay, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of weaning with breastfeeding and/or pumping. The key is to take it one step at a time. Start by adjusting one thing at a time, like reducing the amount of time you pump or nurse for one session. Then, gradually decrease pumping time for other sessions. Eventually you can start to space out your sessions. How much time you reduce and how quickly to move through each phase is totally up to you. A good rule of thumb is to reduce each session by 25%. Then 50%. Continue to wean/cut until you are down to the number of sessions you are comfortable with, or until your breasts feel okay not being emptied. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your comfort

Now, let’s talk about your little one. It may help to change your mind set about feeding. The focus should shift to introducing solid foods first and milk second. Instead of offering baby a bottle or nursing first, try feeding them solid food until they’re satisfied, then offer milk. Of course, always talk with your baby’s doctor first to ensure your kiddo is getting all the nutrients they need to grow big and strong.

Saying goodbye to breastfeeding and pumping doesn’t have to be overwhelming – it can be a rewarding and positive experience for you and your family to start the next stage. Our lactation support teams at Prevea and HSHS St. Vincent Hospital are here to answer any questions and provide the support you need along the way. We’re here for you and want you to know, “you’ve got this, mama!”

About the author:
Ashley Peterson, DPT, WCS, CSCS, is a physical therapist and board-certified clinical specialist in women’s health and a certified lactation counselor. Her passion for helping women and moms goes beyond the weaning process. Whether it be clogged milk ducts, pelvic or pubic pain, diastasis rectus abdominus or bladder or bowel control, she understands how much changes after childbirth and is here with the tools to help you feel comfortable and confident. Call (920) 272-3380 to schedule an appointment or learn more.

This post is sponsored by the experts at Prevea Health
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