While many of these answers are founded in science and work, for most women, the only true source of information on how to stop breastfeeding is from other mother who've stopped breastfeeding. Here are 20 tips from former breastfeeding mothers.
- Make sure baby is ready to stop breastfeeding before you attempt to dry up milk supplies. By ready, I mean taking a bottle or cup.
- Feed baby expressed pumped milk to relieve pressure on breasts. Some believe breastmilk changes as breasts dry up preparing baby for life without the breast.
- Restrict movement and friction against the nipple. Friction stimulates the nipple promoting milk letdown and production.
- If baby co-beds and breastfeeds throughout the night, move baby out of your bed. She will nuzzle your breast and try to feed in the night.
- Plan to stop before you actually plan to stop. Skip a pumping once a day for a few weeks and then skip two. Eventually you’ll be down to one pump a day and you’ll have your breasts back.
- Let it happen naturally. As baby consumes more solid food and other liquids, they will turn to the breast less often and your milk supply will naturally dry up without the pain.
- Wash and dry cabbage leaves and place them between your nipple and bra. May sound gross, but the cabbage relieves the pain.
- Take the first two days off work if you are going to stop breastfeeding cold turkey. Your breasts will be rock hard and it’ll hurt to move your arms.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medication to reduce pain.
- Don’t rush it. The slower you take the process, the less pain you’ll feel.
Women stop breastfeeding for a myriad of reasons. Maybe baby is old enough to stop breastfeeding or an infection caused pain and inflammation that was just too much for mom. Whatever the reason for wanting to learn how to stop breastfeeding, you can result assured knowing other women out there have been through the same thing. La Leche League and breastfeeding support groups have forums where women can talk about breastfeeding challenges and give each other pointers on how to stop breastfeeding. Just remember, the pain only lasts about two days…after that it just takes time.