A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

8 Reasons to Wean, NOT!

If you are a breastfeeder you have most definitely heard at least one of these. I am not here to tell you when to wean, but I am certainly here to tell you when not to wean. Breastfeeding is hard and days can be difficult to get through. Weaning often crosses our minds because we think life will be easier without it. But many of us don’t want to wean. I made a list of terrible reasons to wean! They all come with links to whole episodes from The Badass Breastfeeding Podcast that I cohost with Dianne Cassidy, IBCLC. The podcast is dedicated to correcting the bad information floating around out there.

You can find almost 50 episodes of information that you need. Podcast for Apple / Podcast for Android

1. Your doctor said your milk is no longer enough. This is the world’s biggest piece of crap information. The truth is that medical doctors get little to no lactation information in medical school. Their advice is based on their personal opinion, not science. Breastmilk is always beneficial for your child. The World Health Organization says that babies should be breastfed exclusively for 6 months and for up to at least 2 years or as long as mother and baby see fit. You never need to introduce any other type of milk. Breastmilk is milk for humans. You are enough, your milk is enough. Make. The. Noise. Stop. Listen to the episode.

2. Your mother-in-law said formula would be easier and that it’s equivalent to breastmilk. I don’t take the anti-formula stance. I think breastfeeding is a choice, but I want you to make that choice with all of the information. Breastmilk is uniquely tailored by your body for your child and cannot ever be duplicated even by the greatest of scientists. And give me a break with the advice that formula is easier. No way! Breastfeeding is an all-in-one tool for feeding, comforting, getting to sleep, bonding, recovering from illness and a dozen other things. As hard as it is there is nothing that beats the convenience of breastfeeding. Your mother-in-law probably means well, but in this case she is spreading misinformation. Listen to the episode.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem nursing, nursing in public.

Photo by This is Life

3. Your partner says your child is getting too old. I love my husband. I value his opinion. About everything. Except my breastfeeding relationship with our children. My husband has always been supportive, but he also understands that the breastfeeding relationship is between the owner of the boobs and the one suckling from said boobs. Support means that someone helps you to reach your breastfeeding goals. It doesn’t mean that this person attempts to influence your breastfeeding relationship to suit their feelings. Breastmilk never loses it’s nutritional value. Ever. Breastfeeding is a very intimate thing. Partners often just want to know that they are still loved and desired. Open conversations and reassurance can be helpful here. Listen to the episode.

4. You have to go back to work. It’s true that maternity leave in the US is horrid and wreaks havoc on our lives, but it’s not true that you cannot continue to breastfeed while keeping your job if that’s what you want to do. It takes planning, pumping, reading, coordinating with your job and working with your care provider. You will need to plan ahead to start pumping before you return to work, but you do not need to fill your freezer with milk to make it work. A federal law states that your employer must provide you with time and space to pump if you choose to do so. You can do it. Listen to the episode.

5. Your child has teeth now. Biting is awful and is enough to have any breastfeeder hallucinating scenes from Jaws. This is one big reason so many people choose to stop breastfeeding. But there is no need to stop breastfeeding if you don’t want to. Your child is likely teething and looking to chomp. When your child bites you stop breastfeeding. Distract them for a while and come back to it later. If they are biting they are not Maybe they are in too pain to nurse right now. They are not going to go hungry. Try again later. Most people get so afraid that their baby is going to miss a feeding that they keep trying to pop that boob in the shark’s mouth. Try some teething toys and a frozen wash cloth instead. Listen to the episode.

6. You got knocked up. Contrary to popular belief you do not have to stop breastfeeding when you get pregnant. You can continue to nurse if you like and even tandem nurse if this appeals to you. I tandem nursed for 3.5 years! Breastfeeding while pregnant does not cause preterm labor and does not take nutrients from your unborn baby. Breastfeeding while pregnant and tandem nursing is not easy and it does involve a lot of being touched, but you do not have to wean unless you really want to. Listen to the episode.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding.

Photo by Normalize Breastfeeding Photography

7. You’re touched out and overwhelmed. I thought the only way to breastfeed was to breastfeed on demand. But when my son became a toddler and then I had another son, to be on demand was to be totally insane. Many people choose to wean due to nursing aversion, but I didn’t want to. When I discovered that I could actually manipulate boundaries into my breastfeeding relationship with my sons I felt so much more in control and ended regretting not working on this with my first son before his brother arrived. If you are breastfeeding a toddler and feel like you need to throw in the towel that’s ok, wean if you want to. If you’d like to continue you can give some boundaries a try. Read more about boundaries. Listen to the episode.

8. You’re not making enough milk. Most people that stop breastfeeding stop because they think they are not making enough milk. When it comes to milk supply it usually turns out that you are, in fact, making plenty of milk. There are many things that can lead someone to feel that their milk supply is low such as their baby is fussy at the breast, their breasts don’t feel full anymore or they can’t pump enough milk for daycare. The truth is that with a few tiny tweaks and some information your milk supply issue will disappear. Maybe you need to work on getting a better latch or need to breastfeed on demand rather than on a schedule. The only situation in which a breastfeeder cannot make enough milk for their child despite everything else working is when they have a rare condition called IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue). Note I said “rare condition.” Contact a lactation consultant and get those issues sorted out. Listen to the episode.

Do you see a theme here? You are the one who is the authority in this decision. No one can tell you when to wean. This is a personal decision that only you can make. Weaning can be an emotional process and this should only be done with you totally on board. It should never be pushed upon you by someone else. If you are struggling with breastfeeding and want to continue we hope that you can find support in one of our episodes of The Badass Breastfeeding Podcast.