There are many reasons for choosing to dry up breast milk, whatever your reason is, you’re making the best decision for your situation.
Some women stop milk production because they are not able to produce enough milk for their child and so they tend to stop breastfeeding altogether
For many women, stopping milk production can be a very stressful process. It’s also usually a very emotional experience that can be eased if the process of getting through it is quicker. So, what can you do to make the weaning process easier? What can help you dry up your breast milk production faster? Before we answer these questions, let’s first talk about stopping cold turkey.
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Should you Stop Breastfeeding Cold Turkey?
Breastfeeding follows a “supply and demand” cycle. The more your baby feeds, the more milk you produce. However, if you abruptly stop breastfeeding, your body won’t instantaneously know that it has to stop producing milk.
This often leaves your breasts engorged, painful, and, even worse, causes a breast infection called mastitis. Occasionally, some situations will require you to stop breastfeeding instantly. This is referred to as discontinuing breastfeeding cold turkey.
What occurs when you stop breastfeeding cold turkey can vary from person to person.
Inarguably, if you abruptly stop breastfeeding, the process won’t be as smooth as you like. Therefore, if you’re able to wean slowly and steadily, you will less likely have engorged breasts.
Start Slow and be Realistic with your Expectations
The best way to stop milk production is by weaning gradually. This allows your body to naturally adjust to the lower demand for breast milk, and in turn, won’t produce as much. What’s more, your baby will ease into the reduced feeding schedule.
- The first thing you can do is to replace one breastfeeding session with other foods or iron-fortified formula.
- Start with one session at a time and increase after every 3 to 5 days.
- Avoid setting expectations that may leave you disappointed, such as, expecting your milk production to significantly reduce in the first week.
- Give the process time, and you’ll start to see that as you reduce your breastfeeding or pumping sessions, your milk production will also decrease.
- Don’t forget to cuddle your baby, as this will help you feel less guilty.
Stopping Cold Turkey? Here is How to Make the Process Easier:
Easing the discomfort of engorgement
There are a few things you can do to reduce and manage pain and engorgement when you stop breastfeeding.
I thought this idea was crazy until I tried it. I was in so much pain that I was willing to try anything. Surprisingly, placing refrigerated cabbage leaves in my bra eased the pain caused by engorgement.
- Simply separate the cabbage leaves.
- wash and dry. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
- Place the leaves inside your bra for about an hour, and ensure that the crushed veins are placed against the skin.
- Repeat with fresh leaves every 8 hours, until the pain and engorgement have decreased.
Contrary to the popular belief of avoiding hot showers when your breasts are engorged, a hot shower can give some well-needed relief. Yes, the warm water will make milk leak out of your breasts. But, if you don’t take long showers, this method will only give you some relief and not get in the way of your efforts to stop milk production.
Cold or ice packs give the same kind of relief as cabbage leaves. They actually work faster than pain medication and can be used while waiting for the pain-relieving medication to kick in. Some packs you can use include frozen pea, frozen corn, or ice packs.
You can also create a pack by pouring water on the diaper and freezing it. It is, however, important to note that they will not help stop milk production. All they will do is offer comfort while your body naturally dries up your breastmilk.
Try using ice packs with pain medications such as ibuprofen, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Quickly stop milk production
Start taking birth control pills
Progestin-only birth control pills are often given to breastfeeding mothers. Therefore, consider changing them to estrogen-based birth control pills which are associated with low milk supply in breastfeeding mothers.
Taking sage or peppermint is a great holistic approach. Peppermint oil helps stop milk production when you apply it directly to your breasts. Sage accelerates the process of drying up breast milk because it’s loaded with a natural form of estrogen.
The easiest way to use sage is by making tea. Simply steep a teaspoon of dried sage in a hot cup of water for approximately 15 minutes.
For good results, try to drink one cup of sage tea every 6 hours. I must warn you; the tea can be extremely bitter. Therefore, to make it more palatable, add some sweetener.
Get a Prescription
Some medications such as anti-prolactin drugs can help dry up breastmilk shortly after delivery. So, speak to your doctor before using them.
Decongestants like pseudoephedrine can also stop breastmilk production, but you have to stop breastfeeding right away because they go into breastmilk.
If you’re going through an emotional time during this process of drying up your milk, you may find it helpful talking to other mothers going through the same journey as you and it might also be helpful to talk to your doctor.
We shouldn’t take for granted being able to breastfeed our babies. Some women are unable to breastfeed for reasons beyond their control. Breast milk is an essential component of a baby’s diet, and it contains many properties that are important for the overall development of a baby.
Occasionally, a woman must stop producing milk for medical reasons or for other reasons. In order to stop milk production safely, it’s important to know how to do it.
I hope this how to stop milk production if not breastfeeding guide will be helpful to you.