How To Stop Breastfeeding -
How To Do It, How Not To Do It
The pace you need to wean from breastfeeding depends on how fast or how slow your child takes to your methods. How to stop breastfeeding however, will completely come from you.
Before we go to how to do it, here’s how not to do it as these techniques may possibly affect you physically and your child emotionally (contrary to what other people may say):
Avoid medication. Some well-meaning friends may advise you to take “milk drying-up” medication to abruptly eliminate your milk production. These drugs may have possible adverse effects, inhibiting you from producing milk ever again. These may also lead to mastitis (inflammation of the breasts) as the milk ducts will be blocked, giving the remaining milk in the duct to calcify and may give you pain ranging from moderate to severe.
Weaning by separation. This has been recommended by our elders, saying that this will be good for the child and when mommy returns after a week, the child will completely forget about breastfeeding. This is definitely not good for the child as it will cause a negative emotional impact and may see that his/her mother has abandoned him/her. Plus, the child will not forget about breastfeeding; it will only complicate things. If the mom comes back, the child will possibly become clingy, believing that mommy may just up and go again.
“Sabotaging” breast milk. The most common way for this would be to put something on the nipple (either an herb, something bitter, something sour, or chili pepper). The notion is for the baby to dislike what he/she tastes, thereby making weaning much easier. Again, this would have an emotional effect on the baby. Not only that, it might cause the baby to suffer from serious abdominal harm (since we really shouldn’t be introducing strong substances to a baby just yet).
Do not bind the breasts. Binding the breasts was said to help stop milk production. But it also puts you at risk again, for mastitis and clogged milk ducts. When the trapped milk calcifies, it would most likely cause you pain.
What you should do is to gradually move baby from breast to bottle. Cut one feeding at a time. If you’re doing 5 feedings a day, cut it down to 4. If done slowly, your milk production slowly decreases as well, giving your body ample time to respond to the lessening milk need.
If the baby is having trouble accepting formula milk, try expressing your milk and combine it with the formula milk. Slowly but surely, your baby will begin to accept the milk as you also lessen the expressed milk over time.
If you experience engorged and painful breasts, try taking a hot shower. This will allow your breasts to leak out the excess milk, relieving the pressure. You can also try to express a little of the milk via pump or hand. Taking out just a little milk will cause milk production to decrease little by little, gradually signaling to your body to adjust.
If you’re still smarting from the pain, try putting cold compress on your breasts. Chilled cabbage leaves are said to bring comfort to the breasts at the same time, they also release an enzyme that helps in stopping lactation.
Stopping breastfeeding is not an overnight process. It takes time for you and your little one to get used to.