If you have been breastfeeding your baby, you are probably in a routine, but you have to stop eventually. If your child is showing signs and you know you are ready to stop breastfeeding, you might find yourself in the same pain you had at the beginning of breastfeeding. Eliminate some of the pain to make this weaning process as easy on you as possible.
Your breasts may start hurting, much as they did when you got pregnant and first started breastfeeding. This occurs when milk starts collecting in your breasts and is not expelled on a regular basis. This is often called engorging.
Take It Slow
The best way to prevent engorgement at the end of breastfeeding is to wean one step at a time. Do not wake up one day and decide that you won’t be breastfeeding anymore. The pain that will occur as the milk fills your breasts will make you change your mind pretty quickly. Start by stopping one feeding at a time. Eliminating one a time will keep your pain to a minimum.
When deciding which feedings to stop, think about your child’s routine. If he will be drinking form a bottle instead of breastfeeding, choose a feeding during which another family member can feed him the bottle. If he has started solid foods, choose to stop the feeding nearest that big meal. For you and your child’s relationship, start with your least emotional breastfeeding times. Don’t knock out that special morning or evening time in the first round.
When you stop a breastfeeding session, your breast will fill with milk for that session. To relieve some of the pressure, you can expel some of the milk. Use a breast pump to expel some of the milk if the pain grows unbearable. Don’t expel it all, however. Let your body get used to the fact that you won’t be feeding at that time and it doesn’t need to make as much milk. Put a pad in your bra to absorb any milk. Let warm water run over the breast if the pain is great.
Talk with your doctor and your child’s pediatrician as you make the decision to wean. He can help you decide the best times for your child to stop. He can also give you tips to relieve the pain. Local breastfeeding agencies can also offer advice.