Nursing For Comfort
We want to eliminate nursing-to-soothe because your child is hurt or upset. It sets a bad precedent, especially when this cannot be consistent, eg, you are out of the house, you are somewhere where you may not feel comfortable nursing, or someone else is caring for your child. It’s better to teach them how to cope with incidents rather than to go to the breast. Offer a lovey, paci, or most importantly talk the problem out. You are, in this way, teaching your child how to have the words for what they need comfort for instead of simply going to the breast. Younger babies will absolutely not understand everything that you are saying but they definitely understand your gestures and most importantly your tone so don't feel silly talking it out.
Moms often do not want to give up nursing to sleep in the middle of the night (or during the day) because of the connection that it provides or because they know it's a sure-fire way to put the baby back to sleep. But at the end of the day, it is being used as a crutch that is best to eliminate and try to only preserve the nutritional aspect of it. Especially because it will stop working at some point. It’s definitely OK to continue to nurse but not to soothe-to-sleep or soothe-for-behavior. For supplemental nutrition, it's perfectly fine. Ultimately you want your child to figure out how to soothe themselves and put themselves to sleep, mainly because they need those skills throughout life as well as those times when Mom is not with them. When you are eventually ready to eliminate nursing, you can do it gradually by offering the breast only after breakfast and after dinner and then gradually only after dinner and then finally stopping. You can do it as gradually or quickly as you feel comfortable. When you wean the breast milk, make sure to increase cow milk (if your child is older than 12 months when you wean) or offer breast milk or formula in a bottle (or sippy cup).