I would like to stop breastfeeding at night and eventually stop feeding when she is around one year old. How can I go about this? I would like her to be able to have a bottle of milk so that Dad can put her to bed then too. I am not ready just yet to completely stop though as she is my last and I love the feeding snuggles!
In order to start weaning off the breast (ideally), both mum and child must be mentally and emotionally ready.
It is better to start reducing the day feeds and leave the evening/night feeds for the end.
You can follow the 'I do not offer, I do not refuse' method. This means that you can predict the baby's hunger and make sure to satisfy it earlier with a meal or snack! Or if you see signs of desire to breastfeed then try to occupy/distract her with something else, e.g. play or a walk!
When in the process of natural weaning, it's a good ideas to do it gradually in order for the process to not be psychologically painful for anyone. We can reduce a feed every four to seven days.
Because in the first days your body will think it still needs to produce milk, you may experience breast discomfort. You might feel engorgement or it may hurt and cause discomfort. If you try to express a little at least by hand, this will help. If not possible, then you can use a breast pump so that you can feel relief.
According to the rule of supply and demand, we gradually reduce the breastfeeding sessions, the demand decreases and so the supply gradually decreases, that is, our production.
Even if you stop breastfeeding completely, there may still be some milk in your breasts and in some cases mothers see drops for weeks after, but this is normal and should not raise concern.
The milk does not stay inside us forever! Gradually what is left in the breast is absorbed by the body without causing any problems. If we still see something unusual, pain, redness, hard spot, etc. it is good to contact a breast specialist as many other things can happen which is not necessarily due to our abstinence.
General speaking the weaning process could take up to one or two months! Every baby and mum are different. No need for stress, support, patience is all that you need and the rest will come on their own when it's time!