Shopping cart

There are currently no items in your shopping cart.

    Home ›› How to stop breastfeeding: 5 steps for weaning from breastfeeding

    Home ›› How to stop breastfeeding: 5 steps for weaning from breastfeeding

    How to stop breastfeeding: 5 steps for weaning from breastfeeding


    Reading time: 5 mins.


    Like all good things, breastfeeding eventually comes to an end. So, the question is: when should you stop breastfeeding? Weaning from breastfeeding is a significant moment for both you and your newborn and is a decision that is completely up to you both.


    When you are ready to begin weaning off breastfeeding, there are a few tips and methods that can help make this a positive transition. In our simple guide we’ll offer some words of advice to help you learn how to stop breastfeeding including:


    • When to stop breastfeeding
    • Signs your baby is ready to start weaning breastfeeding
    • How to wean breastfeeding
    • How to stop milk production


    So, let’s get started and explore everything you need to know about when and how to stop breastfeeding.


    Although we are here to offer tips to ensure your weaning journey is a positive one, this article should not replace professional medical advice. If you have concerns about stopping breastfeeding, or you wish to stop before your baby is 6 months of age, contact your midwife, health visitor or doctor.

    When should you stop breastfeeding?


    There is no set time for weaning breastfeeding. Every mother and baby are different, and weaning is an entirely personal decision made when both are comfortable. That being said, here are a few guidelines that can help you decide when to stop breastfeeding:


    • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusively breastfeeding babies up to six months of age.1
    • After six months, a combination of both solid foods and breast milk is recommended until the child is one year of age.
    • If a baby is weaning off breastfeeding before he or she is one year of age, they can take child formula instead of breast milk.
    • If the baby is stopping breastfeeding at one year of age or older, they can just skip the formula and start drinking cow’s milk right away.2


    While this is the recommendation, there are many mothers who stop nursing before the 12-month period, and there are others who continue breastfeeding their baby for up to two years. This is known as extended breastfeeding and is a perfectly healthy option for mothers and babies who wish to continue their breastfeeding journey.

    Signs that a baby is ready to start weaning breastfeeding


    If you’re wondering how to stop breastfeeding, you’re not alone. Many mothers have questions about stopping breastfeeding, because it is quite rare for a baby to just stop breastfeeding of their own accord. However, here are a few signs your little one is ready to start weaning breastfeeding:3


    • A disinterest or fussiness while nursing.
    • Shorter breastfeeding sessions than previously.
    • Easily distracted while nursing.
    • ‘Playing’ at the breast, such as pulling or biting.
    • Sucking but not extracting milk.


    Weaning breastfeeding is usually a gradual process for both mother and baby. You can find more information in our article ‘Weaning your little one’.

    What you need

    How to wean breastfeeding


    Once you have determined when to stop breastfeeding, there are a few things to keep in mind to help make it a smooth transition. When the time finally arrives, you can use the following advice on how to start weaning and how to stop milk production:4

    1. Wean gradually.


    The key thing to remember when it comes to weaning is to do it gradually. This is so that both you and your baby can properly adjust to the physical and emotional changes. Additionally, stopping breastfeeding slowly can help you avoid breastfeeding issues such as engorgement and overall breast discomfort.

    2. Express milk.


    To help prevent engorgement while weaning, mothers may need to express some milk, especially if their baby is less than one year of age. One trick when learning how to stop breast milk production is to remove less milk than normal so that the breasts know to start producing less.


    Tip: Since pumping stimulates milk flow, always pump for less time than the duration of a feeding session. Eventually, milk production will slow down to a stop. Check out these breast pumps that gently stimulate milk flow in less time with a soft massage cushion.

    3. Drop one feeding session a week.


    To wean gradually we recommend dropping one session each week, starting with a midday feed or whichever tends to be your baby’s least favourite. The last ones to go are usually the sessions before going to sleep and first waking up.


    While a baby is weaning, your breasts will still be producing milk until you completely stop breastfeeding. In the meantime, you may find these honeycombed breast pads useful to help keep your clothes dry and milk-stain-free morning, noon and night.

    4. Extra cuddles may be in order.


    In addition to the physical changes that stopping breastfeeding brings about, you and your baby will also go through emotional changes. Be sure to give extra cuddles and love during this time, to help maintain that feeling of closeness and connectedness that comes from breastfeeding.

    5. Introduce other foods during normal feeding sessions.


    Another way to help your baby adjust to these new changes is by substituting normal feeding times with other foods. Babies who are one year of age or older can substitute the usual feeding sessions with cow’s milk or snacks if they have moved onto solid foods.


    Tip: Consider a natural baby bottle with an ultra-soft nipple that closely resembles the breast and can help support an easy transition from breast to bottle.

    Making the transition


    While weaning off breastfeeding is a natural part of the breastfeeding journey, it is a very important change that you and your baby will make. Along with newfound feelings of pride for your baby’s growth and development, feelings of sadness are also quite normal.


    Breastfeeding creates a special bond between mothers and their infants. Therefore,  difficulty saying goodbye to nursing is not unusual among breastfeeding women.


    Our simple guide can help walk you through every step of the process of stopping breastfeeding. Now, don’t be afraid to take time to celebrate the journey and get ready for new adventures to come.


    Don’t forget: For any remaining concerns about how to start weaning or how to stop breast milk production, never hesitate to reach out for a second professional opinion.

    Meet the Baby+ App

    Meet the Baby+ App

    Get the app that supports you in tracking your baby’s development and allows you to save those special moments forever.

    Download now:

    You are about to visit a Philips global content page


    Our site can best be viewed with the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox.