For the last 12 to 18 months, you’ve spent copious amounts of time snuggling close to your baby. First thing in the morning it is her face you see. Throughout the day she turns to you for comfort, warmth and sustenance. At night, right before her eyes drift closed, she is breastfeeding and that’s exactly how you like it, but there comes a time when you have to wean baby from the breast. You may not know how important breastfeeding is to you until you stop breastfeeding. When emotions run wild, here are a few ways to keep things under control:

Remind Yourself That You’ve Done a Great Job

You’ve managed to stick with breastfeeding for a longer time than many mothers. Even if you only breastfed for a few weeks, you’ve given baby a fantastic jump start on nutrition, immunity and good health.

Breastfeeding is Not Natural For All Mothers

Not all mothers take to breastfeeding quickly. Some feel extremely caged by the thought of being the only person able to feed baby. If you are feeling stress and anxiety when you stop breastfeeding because you just don’t like it, try pumping breastmilk instead of stopping all together. Baby is fed with a bottle but receives the same nutrition as breastfed babies.

Slowly Stop Breastfeeding Instead of Stopping Cold Turkey

There is no reason to stop breastfeeding immediately. Going from four to five feedings a day to none is not only going to cause physical pain, it may increase emotional detachment and anxiety. No matter how old baby is, breastfeeding is okay. Start by eliminating the feedings in the middle of the day and eventually work toward eliminating the morning and evening feedings. Sometimes baby will wean off the breast without your help and that makes the process much easier on your emotions.

Seek Help from a Lactation Consultantor Other Moms

Suffice it to say that most children are weaned from the breast by the time they start school. That means there are plenty of mothers out there who’ve gone through the same emotional struggles you’re going through. Talk to friends and family members who breastfed about your feelings; you may be surprised to find out they felt the same way. If is natural to stop breastfeeding, but it’s also natural to feel like an emotional wreck when you’ve been your baby’s sole source of nutrition for her entire life. Take it easy and revel in the fact that you raised a healthy baby.