Weaning is a topic that is almost never mentioned because it brings with it feelings of guilt, selfishness and sadness. This is because stopping breastfeeding represents a loss which leads us to grieve and we are regularly afraid to face all that.
On the one hand, there is the weaning that occurs when the baby loses interest in the mother’s breast and decides unilaterally not to take more milk directly from the breast. It should be noted that before the first year of life, babies naturally do not weanWhat do occur are lactation strikes and growth spurts that mothers often confuse with a false weaning due to ignorance.
Now, when it is the mother who decides to go to the next stage and end breastfeeding is another story because it is here where all the feelings that I mentioned earlier come together. However, it is necessary to stop in this situation and do an introspection that allows you identify if you genuinely want to wean or if there is some external factor that is leading you to make that decision.
In a very personal way, I understand that breastfeeding forms a very beautiful and unbreakable bond between mom and baby, and they are the only ones who have the right to decide how long they want to do it.
It is not fair that due to family pressures and wrong parameters of society a mother should be forced to stop breastfeeding her child regardless of his age. (Studies claim that natural weaning occurs between 4-7 years)
As it is also essential to respect the decision of that mother who already feels that she achieved what she wanted, who feels tired and wants to end her breastfeeding.
The important thing here is to ensure that both baby and mother can make the gradual transition to another way of loving and strengthening the bond that they created as a result of breastfeeding.
When you’re ready, sit down and explain to your baby what is going to happen in an empathetic way and that understands you (no matter how old you are); as this will allow the process to unfold respectfully and will help both of you to be clear and feel valued.
Breastfeeding begins with love and thus must come to an end.
The author is Jenny Mateo Victoria, Certified Lactation Counselor