While breastfeeding for many months can give both you and your baby the greatest mother-child bonding experience plus the best nutritional benefit for your young one, there inevitably comes a time when you need to stop. Perhaps you need to go back to work and your work schedule will not allow breastfeeding or milk pumping breaks. Or maybe you have an illness that may cause hazard to your baby if you continue nourishing him with your own milk. It is also possible that you cannot produce enough milk anymore and your child is not satisfied any longer and you have to switch him to milk formula.
The reasons vary from case to case. Now if you are truly bent on stopping to nurse your baby, you have to abate your supply of breast milk so you can resume your regular lifestyle. In this case you may want to consider the following tips on how to dry up breast milk supply.
- Slowly decrease the frequency of nursing your baby. Do this by withdrawing one feeding each day. For example, if you used to nurse him four times a day, make it three on the first seven days. The following week, make it two and so on until such time that your baby gets used to not getting nursed by you anymore and will take more liking for the bottled milk formula.
- Express your milk to relieve yourself while you are weaning your baby. In those cut down feeding times, you may feel very uncomfortable as your milk ducts are somewhat programmed to produce milk in those particular periods. To ease the tight sensation around your breasts pump just enough milk to lessen the pain. However do not express more than necessary because the more you do, the more milk you will produce afterwards. Place cold compress over your breasts if the discomfort becomes too much.
- Alternate bottle feeding for your baby during the weaning period. You can try nursing him only in the evening, as it is a more convenient way of feeding your baby at this time since you do not have to get up to get the bottle. If your baby gets used to getting milk from the bottle during daytime, he will switch to it in no time. Meanwhile your body will also adjust to the new method and eventually you will stop producing milk.
- Lessen your fluid intake. The more fluids you take the more milk you will produce.
- Avoid anything that can stimulate your nipple as this can cause lactation. When showering, do not touch your nipples when soaping and turn your back on the shower so your nipples will not directly get in contact with the flowing water.
- Cover your breasts with leafy vegetables (cabbage or lettuce). It might feel weird, but you should wear these leaves around until they dry up. This technique does not come from any old wives' tale. Many health experts around the world attest that this technique really works.
As you dry up your breast milk supply, make it a point to consult your doctor later when your breasts have considerably softened and stopped producing milk. There are cases in which women develop masses in their breasts following breastfeeding. So it is imperative that you have yourself examined to make sure you are on the safe side from possibly developing cancer related tumors or growths in your breasts.