Let me tell you what it feels when a mother decided to stop breastfeeding her baby ... . : hurt. Yes, it does hurt. It hurts the baby because she thinks her mother refuses her by not giving her beloved stuff. And it also hurts the mother because seeing her baby cry and begging for the thing that the mother can actually give to stop the sadness, but she doesn't, is a torture. It hurts the mother's breasts as well, as the milk continues forming in the breasts but stays there, making the breasts harder and giving pain to the mother.
But it must be done, for the sake of both the mother and the baby. The hurt feeling is part of the process. And like it is said 'No gain, No pain'.
Farisha is already 22 months old, and I decided to stop breastfeeding her. And following my success, I will tell the steps to stop breastfeeding baby, based on my 3 times experiences :
1. Pick a date
Decide when you want to do it. In my case, I made 22 months as the limit and apply it to all my daughters to be fair. You can reasonize your own limit based on your milk production or the baby's health or anything you are experiencing. But, don't think to delay it until you think the baby will giving it up herself, because it won't happen, or at least I never know anyone who do. Chances are, they will keep sucking until they enter school age, and believe me I know some people who did.
2. Offer substition
I introduce formula in the bottle to my baby a month before the due date. I chose the bottle with nipple-like top. And by giving it, I start decreasing my baby breastfed step by step.
3. Prepare your heart
Because you will feel the sadness, plus you must be strong enough to refuse and saying 'no' when she asks you to open your bra. The first time I did this, I wonder if my baby still need me when she doesn't suck my milk anymore. But eventually, my worry didn't happen. Off course she needs me. Hey, I'm her mother.
4. Have her occupied all day
She will be in the mellow mood, so have her doing things that she might like. These are what my Farisha does :
Following dance on tv
Write whatever she pleases
Playing with cardboard
5. Have some snacks ready
Your baby used to have your milk to fill her stomach, by eliminating it means she will need food more than her usual intake. Always have something to make her feel full, and by making her tired and full, it is easier for her to fall asleep (because it is quiet hard to have her sleeping especially if breastfeeding is her lullaby).
6. Plan B
You are very straight in saying 'no' to your baby, but she keeps crying and taking up your clothes up. Your plan B is to scare your baby with the appearance of your nipple. I apply on red lipstick on my nipples and put some salt on it, and I say that my breasts are in pain. Some brave baby can't be scared so if she still wants to suck it, then the salt will have its function.
Off course, we have very clever baby who can wipe off the salt before sucking it. For this case, some of my friends use a bitter Indonesian spice called sambiloto that cannot be wiped once, and it has very bitter taste. So if you have this kind of baby, there might be some herb in your country that can be used, just make sure that it won't harm the baby.
When everything's done, you will get the result. You will have a mellow baby for about 3 days and after that, things will be normal again. The hardest part in my experiences are "coping with my own mellow feeling" and "the part to make the baby sleep". But when things are done, there will be good feeling about it.