Interesting in stopping breastfeeding? Feel that you had enough and now it’s time to move on? It’s perfectly OK. It’s your body and your baby and it’s up to you to decide.
Some useful tips that will help make this transition as smoothly as possible
Stopping breastfeeding should be a gradual process. Your body produces breast milk upon demand. In order to suppress production, breastfeeding or pumping must be slowly reduced.
The best way is to skip breastfeeding or pumping at a specific time during the day. In the beginning you might suffer from breast engorgement. Don’t be afraid. There are ways to treat it, Besides, in most cases, after a short while, your body will adapt. Your milk production will rebalance and you will be able to skip another instance of breastfeeding or pumping during the day until you stop completely.
You may also try to gradually increase the time span between meals. In that way, you signal your body that less and less milk is required and it will react accordingly.
Stopping breastfeeding with pills is problematic. These pills (for example, Dostinex) are meant to reduce the level of prolactin, a protein responsible for milk production. However, they work best for women who take them in the first few days after birth, when the production of milk is hormonal. As soon as the body starts producing milk upon demand, the pills are much less effective.
In addition, they have side effects like stomach upset, constipation, dizziness, nausea and lightheadedness. If you still decide you want to go for the option of using medication, you ought to consult your doctor.
Other things you can do that will assist you in stopping breastfeeding
1) Drink mint and sage tea. Women have been using these herbs for drying up breast milk for centuries.
2) Wear a comfortable and supportive bra. A bra that is too tight increases the risk of infection caused by a clogged milk duct. A loose bra does not provide adequate support, which can damage the appearance of your breast after the milk dries up.
3) Hold and hug your baby as much as you can. Your affection will help her adapt to the new situation.
How to overcome your baby’s resistance
You have to remember that stopping breastfeeding affects your baby as well. She will most likely tend to demand that you keep nursing her as that is what she is used to. Here is what you can do to help her deal with the new reality:
1) Switch to a bottles with broad nipples as they are less likely to remind your baby of the breast nipple she has lost.
2) Breastfed babies are used to milk at body temperature. So make sure your baby doesn’t get her food cold.
3) Timing is everything – don’t offer your baby her new milk when she is not hungry or too hungry. 20 minutes before previous mealtime (when she fed on breast milk) is fine.
Don’t confuse your baby
If you decided to give up breastfeeding, stick to your decision even if your baby cries and it’s difficult for you to calm her down. The damage of going back to breast milk is much worse than the baby’s momentary frustration. Offer her bottle or an alternative meal, hug her or play with her but be firm.