For reasons only a psychologist could explain, breastfeeding in front of others – whether at home in the presence of extended family members or in public spaces – is a controversial act in the Western world.
And aside from this intolerance, there's the trouble of getting the whole thing started, with new moms finding this supposedly "most natural in the world" to be intensely challenging.
- Also see: Overcoming common breastfeeding problems
Then there's also the question of when is best to stop, and more importantly, how?
This woman clearly felt the time was right, placing a plaster over her boob to not so subtly inform her little one that the breast would be off limits.
But was she ready for the look of death from her unsuspecting toddler?
If for whatever reason you have decided it's time to start weaning your baby off the breast, you might find it just as hard as when you first started breastfeeding.
We know. Can moms just catch a break already?
- Also see: My story of gentle weaning
Going cold turkey might be too much of a shock to you, your breasts, and your little one, so you may want to give a few of these methods a try.
1. Skip the bottle
Some moms find that going from the breast to a sippy cup is easier since it doesn't resemble the nipple in any way, and cuts out yet another thing to wean baby off of.
Have your baby drink expressed breastmilk from the sippy cup at first, and then later a honey-sweetened tea makes for a smooth transition.
2. Slowly reducing breastfeeding sessions
Removing one breastfeeding session every 3 to 7 days is recommended, substituting breastfeeding with feeding from a sippy cup or a suitable snack.
You may find a shorter or even longer period works best for you.
This slow and steady reduction ensures that the change is gradual and allows your body to adjust as well.
Expressing just enough breastmilk so that any discomfort is eliminated will help keep engorgement at bay, while also ensuring that milk production slows down.
Also see: The wonderful world of solids
3. Changing the night-time routine
One of the hardest feedings to cut out, most moms say it's best to completely change your baby's bedtime routine.
Here's where dad comes in handy: one mom said she had her husband take over bedtime, feeding baby either hot tea or expressed milk with a sippy cup.
Avoid snacks close to bedtime as digestive issues might lead to increased waking at night.
4. Out of sight, out of mind
It seems really simple, but keeping your breast visibility to a minimum by covering up can help to keep baby's mind off breastfeeding.
5. Increase the cuddles
Introducing change isn't easy – even for adults – and most moms say they increased cuddles and affection while weaning so that baby associates warmth and comfort with the new approach to feeding.
- Also see: PRINT IT: Baby-led weaning meal planner
6. Garlic boobs
One mom suggests using an unpleasant smell in order to put baby off the breast.
Her method included making garlic oil by combining a finely chopped garlic clove with a tablespoon of olive oil and letting the mixture sit for a few hours in a bowl. Then remove the garlic bits by straining and rub the smelly oil on your nipples, using a cotton pad to avoid the oil getting onto your bra.
In this mom's experience, her toddler decided to opt out of breastfeeding every time she got a whiff of the potent smell. She continued for a few days and successfully transitioned to bottle milk with minimal to no tears.
You could also try aloe vera juice as an alternative – the juice makes breastmilk taste bitter and can also put baby off. But there are those moms who feel it's too cruel.
Have you started weaning? What has been the biggest help during the process? Tell us by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.