After a few months of breastfeeding, you have decided to wean your baby. Even though this is a normal part of life, you are worried. You’re not sure how to go about it and you’re wondering how long it will take for your milk to disappear. Don’t worry. We’ll explain it all to you.
A gradual weaning
If you want to stop breastfeeding, it is important not to do it at the last minute. It will take at least 2 weeks for your milk production to dry up. If it’s possible for you, allow a month to wean yourself off breastfeeding with peace of mind. Don’t wait until the day before you go back to work to wean your child!
At first, you will have to eliminate one feeding and replace it with a bottle, a solid meal or simply a cuddle (depending on the situation or the age of the child). At first, you will feel some discomfort due to engorgement. This is normal. This will disappear after a few days. Then you can stop feeding again.
Gradually, you will eliminate all feeds and your baby will be completely weaned. You may feel uncomfortable for a few days. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor if this persists over time or becomes unbearable. In most cases, the milk production disappears in 15 days.
Note that it is possible that a few drops of milk continue to flow occasionally in the following weeks.
Breast engorgement and mastitis
During this weaning period, you will experience breast engorgement that can sometimes be very painful. It is characterized by red, warm and swollen breasts. This engorgement is due to the accumulation of milk in the mammary glands.
To relieve yourself, you can use a breast pump to get some milk out. Be careful not to overdo it, however, as this will stimulate your milk production when you want the opposite. In your case, the ideal is rather to express milk manually. In the shower, you can run a jet of warm water over your chest and press lightly on your breast to get some milk out. You will feel relief, but without stimulating lactation. You can also apply ice or cold compresses to relieve the pain.
If your breasts are very red and sore, and you have a slight fever, it’s probably mastitis. Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands caused by stagnant milk. In this case, it is important to consult a doctor who will prescribe the appropriate treatment.
For a long time, some mothers were prescribed medication to prevent their milk from coming in. Today, they are no longer recommended because they have too many side effects. The use of natural methods is therefore to be preferred.
To stop the production of milk, it is possible to prepare infusions of parsley, sage or mint, to drink several times a day. These infusions will help your breasts produce less milk.
To relieve the pain, don’t hesitate to wear a bra with good support (like a sports bra). You can place cabbage leaves in it. When applied as a poultice to the breast, the cabbage will help stop the production of milk and soothe the pain.
I want to breastfeed again
You weaned your baby and saw your milk production dry up after a few weeks. Finally, you regret your choice and would like to try breastfeeding again with your baby. Did you know that it is possible to restart lactation after the milk has disappeared?
To do this, you will have to be patient because relactation generally takes 2 to 3 times longer than the end of milk production. At first, you will have to stimulate your mammary glands again either with a breast pump or by putting your child to the breast. If you choose to breastfeed, it may be difficult at first, as your baby will probably not want your breast or will be frustrated with the few drops of milk that come out. It will take time and patience. But little by little, the lactation mechanism will start working again and your milk production will increase day by day.