Regular breastfeeding establishes a pattern of breast milk production. When you stop breastfeeding immediately, your breasts will continue to produce milk for quite some time even if baby is no longer nursing. You may find holding baby and hearing baby cry causes breasts to tingle and leak milk, but these symptoms will fade as your milk supplies dry up and milk production stops.
Wear Comfortable Clothing – Not Restrictive Bras
One of the least effective means of lactation suppression is binding. In years past, women often bound breasts with bandages or restrictive bras in an attempt to limit milk production and speed up lactation suppression when they stopped breastfeeding. Recent research not longer supports breast binding. Binding causes pain and may increase the risk of infection and swelling. Wear a supportive bra, but don’t restrict breasts.
Dark clothing is less likely to show breast leaks than light clothing. Place a nursing or breast pad between your bra and nipple. Thin feminine pads can be used in place of nursing pads for the same effect. Breasts will leak for a while so don’t fret the little leaks.
Eat and Drink Right – Don’t Dehydrate
Dehydrating your body may suppress milk production, but it will also affect your health and well-being. Drink plenty of water and eat foods rich in vitamin B6. You can also take vitamin B6 supplements to help relieve engorgement for the first week after you stop breastfeeding.
Don’t Avoid Hot Showers
Hot showers cause breasts to leak breast milk. Many women believe leaking breast milk causes more breast milk to develop; this is not the case. Breastfeeding causes breast milk production, not hot showers. If your breasts are engorged with milk, that hot shower may relieve some of the pressure and pain.
Ease Out of Breastfeeding
Instead of quitting cold turkey, start pumping breastmilk a few weeks before you stop breastfeeding all together. If your regular feeding schedule called for feedings every three hours, add one hour each day. If you normally expressed 8 ounces of milk, cut that down to 6 and then 4 as the day’s progress. Gradually reducing breastmilk expectation will help relieve some of the common symptoms of lactation suppression.
Lactation suppression is the simplest way to stop breastfeeding while minimizing pain and discomfort. With a little time and patience, your milk will stop coming in and you will dry up painlessly.