Created on: February 23, 2013 Last Updated: February 25, 2013
While breastfeeding can be an enjoyable experience, it is one that will eventually come to an end. Some women plan to stop at a particular time for specific reasons, while others come to a natural end in their breastfeeding journey. Others stop suddenly and unexpectedly. There are many reasons why women stop breastfeeding and this is a personal decision for each individual. Here is a look at the various reasons why women may decide to
Return to work
One of the foremost reasons why a mother will decide to stop breastfeeding is that she is returning to work. For many mothers, a return to work is unavoidable and necessary, while for others it is a more personal need. Regardless of the reason for the return to work, in most cases it will make breastfeeding difficult if not impossible. Some mothers may continue to breastfeed in the evening and mornings while they are not at work. Others may use a breast pump or hand-express milk so that their baby continues to receive the benefits of breastfeeding. However, a large number of women feel that the simplest option when returning to work is to switch to formula milk.
Cut off time
Many women set a cut-off time for breastfeeding. That is, they decide that they will continue to breastfeed for a specific amount of time and then switch to bottle feeding. The amount of time that is chosen is a personal choice and will vary greatly from one mother to the next. For example, some women may decide that they will follow current guidelines with regards to breastfeeding and breastfeed for at least six months. Others may decide that they will stop once their child has teeth or when they get to a specific age, say a year old.
There are many occasions when the choice of whether to continue to breastfeed or not is removed from the woman. One such example is when health reasons prevent you from continuing to do so. This may be because the woman isn't well enough to continue to feed the child herself or because any medication that it is necessary for her to take may be passed on to the baby and could be harmful. There are many medications that can be taken safely while breastfeeding, but some conditions can only be treated with medication that is harmful to a baby when passed through breast milk.
Lack of support
Some new mothers stop breastfeeding due to a lack of support. A lack of professional support may mean that they have difficulty in latching on, establishing a routine and are experiencing pain. The support may be there for her, but she may be unaware of this or feel unsure about asking for help and support. Other support that may be lacking is that of the partner or other family members. If they have disagreed with the woman's decision to breastfeed and are putting pressure on her to stop doing so, she may decide that it is better to end her breastfeeding experience and give in to the pressure she has been put under.
Pain and discomfort
Some mothers stop breastfeeding simply because they find it uncomfortable or even painful. Although there is support available to mothers to help them to solve any breastfeeding issues, they may feel that they would simply prefer to discontinue breastfeeding their baby.
At some point, every mother who has breastfed her baby will decide to stop. This is a decision that is personal to each woman. Although a return to work is one of the most common reasons to end breastfeeding, there are many other factors that can influence this decision.
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A look at the reasons why women choose to stop breastfeeding