It doesn’t matter how much you believe in breastfeeding. You will have to stop breastfeeding your baby eventually. Some women don’t find this hard to do as their breast milk ‘dries up’ by itself. However, it doesn’t come easy for most women. If you find yourself in this situation, how would you stop your breast milk production? There are many ways to do this, like medications to suppress your lactation. But these drugs have some contraindications and side effects. You don’t have to use these drugs if you know how to stop breast milk production naturally.
The process of trying to stop breast milk production is known as lactation suppression. You may want to stop breast milk production for many reasons. But regardless of what your reasons are, it is best to withdraw gradually. Gradual weaning is always less stressful for both mother and child. But there are a lot of factors that may affect how quickly your milk supply would stop. This process sometimes takes longer than usual. At other times, it may be that you need to stop breastfeeding earlier than usual. In any case, there are several proven natural methods to suppress your lactation.
How to Stop Breast Milk Production Naturally
There are many natural ways to suppress lactation. However, they all take time to finally stop milk production. They usually would gradually decrease your milk production until it finally stops. The time it takes for this to happen depends on how long you have been lactating.
The following are natural ways to stop breast milk production:
1. The Cold Turkey Method
You can stop the production of breast milk by using the cold turkey method. Well, this method has nothing to do with turkeys, but that’s the name it is called. Here’s how to use this method:
- Hold your breast in place with a supportive bra
- Make use of ice packs to suppress inflammation and pain.
- Express milk with your hand. But do this only once in a while. This would ease breast engorgement without stimulating production.
2. The Use of Herbs
Consuming certain herbs like sage may help to suppress lactation. However, no one can tell how safe it is to breastfeed your child after consuming sage. It affects different children differently.
In that case, it is wiser to start with just a small amount. Watch out for how your body and your child react to the herb before you take larger amounts.
Several herbal teas on the market contain sage. You can easily dilute these teas until you find a suitable concentration for you and your child.
There are a few other herbs with potential effects on lactation suppression. They are as follows:
3. The Use of Cabbage Leaves
It may surprise you that cabbage leaves can help to suppress lactation. However, you may have to use them for a long time before you get your desired result.
This is how to use cabbage leaves for lactation suppression:
- Get some green cabbage and wash a few leaves
- Put the leaves in your fridge so that they can get cold
- Place one cold cabbage leaf over each of your breasts and wear a bra over it.
- Change the leaves when they become floppy. This takes about two hours.
The leaves do not only suppress lactation, but they also reduce swelling.
Reasons Why You May Need To Stop Breastfeeding
There are many ideas about when a woman should stop breastfeeding. Health experts say it is better to give you child exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. How then would you know when it is best to discontinue totally.
The appropriate time to stop breastfeeding is when both you and your child are ready. However, there are many reasons why you may need to stop breast milk production. They are as follows:
- Your child is old enough to be weaned
- The loss of a baby during pregnancy or at birth
- The loss of a baby while still breastfeeding
- Your baby is finding it difficult to latch
- Your baby is no longer satisfied with just breast milk
- You need to take meds that may affect your baby if you keep on breastfeeding
- You find breastfeeding very painful and uncomfortable
- There is irritation on your nipple due to breastfeeding
- You need to resume at work or you are returning to school
- Your baby suddenly lost interest in breast milk and stopped sucking
If you lost your baby, you would be so devastated. You may need to surround yourself with people that can help you heal emotionally. However, if you have to suppress lactation for any other reason, you should be considerate of your baby too.
Remember that a baby sees breast milk as more than just a means of feeding. The breast is a source of comfort for the baby. That is why babies suck when they are afraid or stressed. A lot of babies will not sleep unless they are sucking.
It means you must find ways to comfort your baby if you want to discontinue breastfeeding. Here are a few tips:
- Holding your baby close to your body. They like skin-to-skin contact
- Offer a pacifier to the baby
- You can also distract the baby whenever he wants to suck. Paly with the child or sing songs
- Establish a new strategy to get your child to sleep
Your child may throw tantrums in the process of weaning. It is normal. But make sure you are gentle on the child and look for ways to offer comfort.
Methods You Should Not Try
In trying to suppress your lactation, the following are methods that you should not try:
- Breast Binding: Do not try to wrap your breast tightly so that milk supply will stop. You will experience more pain. You can use a supportive bra instead.
- Fluid Restriction: You may indeed produce more breast milk when you drink more water. But you should not restrict fluid intake because you want to suppress your lactation. Dehydration comes with a lot of health risks.
Now, you know how to stop milk production naturally. These methods are very safe and pose no risk to your health.