Like most aspects of child-rearing, breastfeeding can be a very complicated and personal journey from start to finish. Latching doesn't always come easily, and the same can be said for weaning, so patience is a necessity — patience with yourself, your baby, and the process you're trying to figure out together.
Although it's frustrating, the best thing you can do is basically trust the process, says Jennifer Thomas, MD, IBCLC, a pediatrician and member of the executive board on breastfeeding for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "The whole system is set up to shut down," Dr. Thomas says. So, even though it feels like you're going to be pumping in perpetuity, eventually it will come to a close.
You're also not alone in this, and you have a loving partner: your baby. "Breastfeeding is a learned process, so you have to be a dynamic duo — mom and baby," says Courtney Juliano, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai Health System. And just because it's not going as smoothly as you thought it would doesn't mean it's not going well, Dr. Juliano says. Breastfeeding isn't necessarily an innate ability that humans have, so sometimes you need some help. The same can be said for knowing when it's time to stop, and somehow making that happen. Ahead are some tips from doctors to keep in mind when you're ready to wean.