How Do I Stop Breastfeeding or Pumping?
Once your milk is established, weaning causes some changes. Your breasts will continue to make milk for a while. If some milk isn’t removed, you may become engorged. You may also develop mastitis.
Here are Some Ideas to Stay Comfortable and Prevent Problems:
• Drink to thirst. Drinking less does not help.
• Wear a supportive (but not tight) bra.
• Choose clothes that don’t show wet spots if you leak.
• Wear nursing pads to absorb leaking milk.
• Cabbage leaf compresses are a home remedy used to help engorgement
and dry up milk.o Buy plain green cabbage.
o Cut out the core
o Rinse and dry the leaves
o Store unused leaves in the refrigerator.
o Gently roll each leaf with a rolling pin. This will soften them so they shape
to your breast.
o Wrap the leaf around your entire breast and areola. Avoid any irritated or
o Do not cover your nipple.
o If needed, cover the area under your arms.
o Change leaves every 30 minutes (sooner if they start to wilt).
o Throw away used leaves.
o If your skin becomes red or irritated, stop using the cabbage leaves.
• Express some milk for comfort.
o Express just enough to soften your breasts, but not enough to empty them
• Wait as long as you can before pumping (or hand expressing) and take out
only enough milk to soften your breasts.
• Gradually expressing less milk, less often, will help you decrease your supply
How long will it take my milk to dry up?
The amount of time it takes for your milk to dry up depends on how full your supply is. If you have very little milk when you wean, you may be able to stop quickly with little discomfort.
Most women need a more gradual approach. If you have a full supply when you wean, and you taper off slowly, you should be able to stop expressing within 2-3 weeks, often sooner. It is normal to be able to express a few drops of milk or have a little leaking for weeks or months after you stop nursing.
What can I do with any extra milk?
If you choose to donate frozen milk, your nurse can help you contact the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank. They provide milk for sick or premature infants whose mothers are unable to provide milk for them. Visit the website at: http://immilkbank.org/
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/02/2013
Copyright © 04/22/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7488
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