How to Stop Lactation
When weaning from breastfeeding, many mothers want to slow down their milk production or stop lactation. Continuous lactating can be painful as it can lead to engorged breasts. It is important for mothers to understand that lactation actually begins while still pregnant with your baby. The mamogenesis phase, which happens in the first trimester, is when milk ducts grow and prepare itself for milk production.
The second phase is called lactogenesis. Usually happening in the seventh month of pregnancy, colostrum is present in the breasts and is sometimes secreted. The breasts can become tender or engorged at this phase and you may feel like they are warm.
The final stage of lactation happens after delivery when the baby begins to feed and slowly empties the breasts. This final stage of galactokinesis is what also maintains lactation.
For as long as your baby is feeding and your breasts are being emptied of milk, lactation will occur. The frequent emptying of your breasts will signal your body to produce more milk or to produce the same amount. When wanting to stop lactating, your breasts should be emptied as little as possible. Let’s say your child has already stopped breastfeeding and has switched to solids, you can simply wait for your milk to “dry up.” If you feel any discomfort from engorgement, you can empty a little bit of milk through expression till no more discomfort is felt. This will signal your body to stop producing milk. You can also take a mild pain reliever if it helps.
Wear a support bra so your breasts are more comfortable. This will also help with the pain. Just be sure to pad it well in case any leaks occur. Apart from that, you can eat less salt while taking Vitamin B6. Salt retains fluids in your body, breast milk included. Less salt can help lessen the engorged feeling, and Vitamin B6 does the same.
Some natural remedies to lactation include using chilled green cabbage leaves, applying the same technique for engorgement or drinking sage tea, which is said to decrease milk supply. Drinking the tea three to four times a day can help decrease your milk supply, and it will also soothe your discomfort.
It should be mentioned that not all women lactate for long periods of time. Some women “dry up” naturally without any pain, sometimes as early as two months after delivery. While these women do try to increase their milk supply, there is a percentage of women in which increasing supply methods do not work. As a result, however, their babies are not breastfed for long.
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