Weaning with Care: Natural Techniques and Tools

what to put on nipples to stop breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and essential part of the bonding experience between a mother and her child. However, there may come a time when you and your baby are ready to transition away from breastfeeding. Weaning should always be a gradual and gentle process, prioritizing both your baby's emotional well-being and your own comfort.

What Can I Put on My Nipples to Stop Breastfeeding?

You can attempt to make your nipples less appealing to your baby by applying a distasteful substance, such as lemon juice or a very diluted vinegar solution. You should consult a healthcare professional and try other natural weaning methods before resorting to this option.

Offer Distasteful or Unfamiliar Tastes

While weaning your baby, you might consider using a method that involves applying harmless substances to your nipples, creating a slightly unpleasant taste. This approach can create a subtle change in the taste of your breast milk to gently discourage breastfeeding. However, it's crucial to exercise caution and consult a healthcare provider before trying any such method to ensure it's safe for your baby.

Here are some suggestions for substances you can apply to your nipples to make breastfeeding less appealing to your baby.

  • Lemon Juice: Applying a small amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice to your nipples can create a slightly sour taste, which some babies find less appealing. Ensure that the juice is diluted with water to prevent irritation to your skin.

  • Vinegar Solution: A very diluted vinegar solution can be used to create a slightly bitter taste. Mix one part vinegar with ten parts water and apply it sparingly to your nipples. Make sure the solution is well-diluted to avoid any discomfort.

  • Bitter Herbs or Extracts: Some natural herbs or extracts, such as gentian violet, can be found at health food stores and may have a slightly bitter taste when applied to the nipples. Always consult with a healthcare provider before using any herbs or extracts.

  • Breast Milk with a Slight Saltiness: Express a small amount of breast milk into a clean container and add a tiny pinch of salt. Mix it well and apply this mixture to your nipples. This can create a different taste that your baby may find less appealing.

  • Olive Oil with a Hint of Garlic: Mix a small amount of olive oil with a minute quantity of garlic juice or minced garlic. Apply this mixture to your nipples. Some babies may not appreciate the savory or garlicky taste.

Natural Ways to Wean Your Breastfed Baby

Weaning your breastfed baby is a natural progression in every breastfeeding journey. It's essential to approach it with care and sensitivity. There are a variety of natural ways to gently guide your little one away from breastfeeding, that you can try before discouraging your baby by using substances on your nipples. These methods are designed to ensure a smooth and harmonious transition for both you and your baby.

Alter Your Breastfeeding Routine

Changing your breastfeeding routine is a fundamental step in the weaning process. It involves gradually modifying the timing, frequency, and duration of breastfeeding sessions to reduce your baby's dependence on breast milk.

  • Shorten Feeding Sessions: Instead of letting your baby nurse for an extended period, set a time limit for each feeding session. Start with a reasonable duration and gradually decrease it over time. This adjustment helps your baby get used to shorter feeds and signals that breastfeeding sessions are becoming less available.

  • Scheduled Feeds: Transition from on-demand breastfeeding to a more structured feeding schedule. Offer the breast at specific times of the day, allowing your baby to anticipate and adapt to a routine. Offering a pacifier or alternative comfort measures outside of these scheduled times can help manage their expectations.

  • Night Weaning: If your baby still wakes for nighttime feeds, consider gradually reducing these sessions. You can start by offering a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula during the night, gradually decreasing the amount over time. Ensure your baby is well-fed during the day to compensate for fewer nighttime feedings.

  • Gradual Reduction: Slowly eliminate one breastfeeding session at a time, starting with the one that your baby seems least attached to. Replace it with a bottle or cup of expressed breast milk or formula. Continue this process until you've phased out all but the most essential feeds.

Offer Alternative Nourishment

During the weaning process, offering alternative sources of nourishment is pivotal for your baby's healthy transition away from breastfeeding. A significant step is introducing bottles or cups filled with breast milk or formula. Commence this transition by incorporating one or two bottle or cup feedings per day, gradually replacing breastfeeding sessions. This approach not only exposes your baby to familiar flavors but also helps them adapt to a different feeding mode.

Around the age of six months, as your baby reaches the appropriate developmental stage, it's time to introduce solids into their diet. Begin with single-ingredient, pureed, or mashed foods such as rice cereal, pureed fruits, and vegetables. Over time, diversify the menu to include various textures and flavors, ensuring your baby experiences a wide range of nutrients and tastes.

For a healthy weaning process, it's crucial to provide a balanced and nutritious diet. Select solid foods that align with your baby's age and developmental needs, incorporating items rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like iron, calcium, and healthy fats. Consult with a pediatrician or a registered dietitian to create a personalized weaning plan that caters to your baby's specific dietary requirements.

In addition to solid foods, hydration plays a vital role in your baby's diet. This becomes even more critical if they are no longer breastfeeding. To keep your baby adequately hydrated, introduce small sips of water from a cup during meals. However, exercise caution to avoid excessive water intake, as it can fill their tiny stomachs and potentially reduce their appetite for solid foods.

Distract Your Baby

Distracting your baby during breastfeeding sessions is a valuable technique for gently transitioning them away from nursing. Incorporate activities that capture your baby's interest and engage their senses.

The goal is not to replace breastfeeding with these distractions permanently but to gently reduce the frequency and duration of nursing sessions. Gradually, as your baby becomes more accustomed to alternative activities, they may naturally begin to lose interest in breastfeeding.

  • Toys and Rattles: Keep a selection of safe and age-appropriate toys nearby when breastfeeding. Offer these toys to your baby during the feed, encouraging them to explore different textures and colors. The novelty of the toys can divert their attention from nursing.

  • Interactive Books: Interactive books with flaps, textures, and colorful illustrations can be intriguing for your baby. While feeding, read these books together, allowing your baby to explore the pages, creating a positive association between reading and feeding.

  • Soothing Music: Soft background music or lullabies can create a soothing atmosphere during breastfeeding. The gentle melodies can help your baby relax and may even become a cue for comfort apart from nursing.

  • Babywearing: Consider using a baby carrier or sling to keep your baby close while you engage in daily activities. The physical closeness can provide comfort, and the stimulation from observing the world around them can help reduce the focus on breastfeeding.

  • Outdoor Exploration: Taking your baby for a short walk or sitting in a garden while nursing can introduce them to new sights, sounds, and smells. The outdoor environment can be distracting and captivating, making them less inclined to nurse for extended periods.

Change Feeding Positions

Altering the way you breastfeed can also help in the weaning process. Experiment with different nursing positions that may be less comfortable for your baby. This change may reduce their interest in breastfeeding.

Use Nipple Shields

Nipple shields are silicone covers that can make breastfeeding less appealing to some babies. They may find it more challenging to latch onto the breast with a nipple shield in place. However, it's important to note that nipple shields should be used under the guidance of a lactation consultant or healthcare professional to ensure they are used safely and effectively.

Seek Support and Guidance

Weaning can be an emotional and challenging process for both you and your baby. Seek support from a lactation consultant or a pediatrician who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation. They can help ensure that your baby is transitioning smoothly to other forms of nourishment and that your nipples remain healthy during the process.


Weaning is a personal decision and should always be done with love and consideration for both you and your baby. There are several gentle and natural methods you can try to make breastfeeding less appealing to your child, such as altering your routine, offering distractions, and introducing alternative nourishment. Patience and support are key during this transition.

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Author, Founder @ Latch Luxe

Stefanie Statler

Stefanie Statler is an author and the founder of Latch Luxe, with a loving husband and daughter. She is a dedicated advocate for breastfeeding mothers and understands the challenges and joys of motherhood firsthand. Email me at stef@latchluxe.com.

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