Gentle Weaning is Always Best.
In the United States, most mothers tend to stop breastfeeding around 3 months. This is extremely low compared to the worldwide average of 2 or more years. Regardless of the average, there are a ton of benefits to be had for allowing breastfeeding to go on as long as you’re finding it mutually beneficial for mom and baby. Just one example (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics) in baby’s that were exclusively breastfed for the first 4 months of life were significantly less likely to be hospitalized for a lower respiratory tract infection. Mom’s antibodies are shared through breastmilk and are a huge source of protection against everything from ear infections to certain kinds of spinal meningitis.
However, there comes a time where you will want to slowly wean your baby, and there are a few handy ways to make this a natural and simple process.
Do it gradually. Drop 1 feeding every 5 - 7 days and replace that with something comforting and nourishing to your baby.
Milk replacements. Nut & Goat's milk can also be easy to digest options if baby is older than one year. Prior to that, baby’s immature kidneys have trouble with the high concentrations of protein and minerals. Nothing is better suited for your baby than breastmilk, however there's pretty good plant based formulas. I happen to have a great recipe for coconut formula that is easy for babies to digest.
Drop the feeding just before bedtime last, as this feeding has a lot to do with comfort and nutrition.
If you’re finding it uncomfortable because of breast fullness, you can hand express or pump for 1 - 3 minutes just enough to relieve any discomfort. The idea is not to fully drain the breast, just make things more comfortable.
If your baby is older, try transitioning to a sippie cup instead of the bottles. To prevent having to waen from the bottle as well.