breast milk supply

How to wean off breast feeding or pumping? 5 steps to stop breastfeeding / breast pumping

There are a lot of reasons why a mom would want to stop (wean off) breastfeeding or pumping, and all reasons are legit. However, do you know that during the weaning off process you’re also at high risk of getting mastitis? It’s important to pay attention and be careful during this process. It will take some time to stop the supplies, but just so you know, with proper planning, sometimes your breast will stay in the size!

Below are the steps I took weaning off my own supplies and some tips I found along the way, and I wish you a good luck + smooth sailing:

  1. If you’re pumping every 3-4 hours, try to increase the hours in between each pumping sessions to every 5-6 hours. (This means  you’ll be pumping from 6-7 times per day to 4-5 times per day.) Once you increase the hours in between to every 5-6 hours, the milk supply will first increase. (Because essentially your body is creating the same volume every day, but now the # of times you pump it out is fewer.) Now let it be this way for about 2-3 weeks before you move to step 2 below.
  2. Once you feel your body and brain have picked up from step 1 above, try to increase another 2 hours in between each pumping sessions. This is from the every 5-6 hours to once every 7-8 hours. Let your body adjust and your brain to pick up the pace by keeping it this way for another 2 to 3 weeks, then move on to #3.
  3. Now you’re probably getting where I am going… add another two hours in between, so you will be at pumping once every 9-10 hours…etc. The goal is to slowly increase hours in between each session, meaning you’ll slowly decrease the number of times you pump per day. Keep doing this until you’re at pumping 2 times per day, which is once every 12 hours (a.k.a pumping only 2 times per day).
  4. Second last step is to jump from 2 times per day to once per day (every 12 hours to every 24 hours). This is a huge jump, so pay special attention during these days to how your breast feels. Don’t let it go un-pumped or unattended if it feels full. Use hand expression to press some milk out until it doesn’t feel full. Stop and wait to pump it fully until you hit the 24 hours mark. This last time step took me a few days to do as I did feel full from time to time without pumping in between the 24 hours.
  5. Now you’re at pumping once per day. The last step is to STOP PUMPING! Again, follow what you did at step 4 about hand expressing it or make short pumping session WHEN you feel full. Pay special attention to eating well, sleep well, and how you feel those days. For me, I went from once per day to once per week, once per two weeks, to eventually I don’t feel full anymore. My brain picked up the sign of weaning off and adjusted itself. Whatever milk left in the breast will be absorbed back into your body.

So the above mentioned 5 steps took me a while to get to a full stop. By weaning off breastfeeding /pumping slowly it prevents my breast go from an engorged balloon to a shrunk wrinkly flatten sheet all the sudden. During the whole weaning-off process, I also applied Clarin’s ultra-fiming gel so the skin is still smooth without wrinkles.

Moreover, there are food and drink that you can eat and take to help speed up the process. Below is an organized list:

  1. Costco Pesto Pasta Sauce (for the pasta lovers, go for it, eat it every day!) – Basil
  2. Coffee, coffee, coffee
  3. Banana
  4. Kiwi
  5. Garlic
  6. Drink A LOT less water
  7. Basically, don’t eat/drink whatever I listed in my other blog post: how to increase breast milk supply volume . DO THE REVERSE!

I hope this article is helpful for you. Keep me posted on your progress!

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