Whether you want to stop breast-feeding after doing it for awhile or want to stop soon after your child is born, drying up your milk production may be uncomfortable and take a bit of time. Talk to your doctor about whether an over-the-counter pain reliever is OK to take and if there are any special considerations for your situation.
Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra. A sports bra can be helpful. Your breasts will likely be full and sore for a bit, so you want a bra that will offer good support and minimize rubbing and bouncing. However, do not bind your breasts with cloth bandages, as an old wives' tale dictates. A supportive bra should do the trick.
Apply ice packs to your breasts to help stop milk production. Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics suggest using ice packs on breasts for 5 to 15 minutes at a time several times a day after nursing or expressing milk.
Nurse your baby just enough to relieve engorgement and discomfort, advises Breastfeeding Basics. It may keep your milk production going a little longer than stopping cold turkey, but it will be less painful for you. So instead of giving your baby a full feeding of breast milk, nurse for several minutes and then stop and give your child a bottle. If your baby will no longer take the breast, express a small amount of milk to relieve the discomfort, either by hand or with a breast pump.
Insert cold cabbage leaves into your bra. Wash fresh leaves and remove the hard stem in the center, then refrigerate. Put the leaves in your bra against your breast, leaving your nipple uncovered by the leaf. Change the leaves whenever they wilt, usually in approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours. Keep doing this until the engorgement dissipates.
- When trying to dry up your milk supply, try to avoid breast stimulation as much as possible. For instance, warm water in the shower can cause your milk to start, as can sexual stimulation from your partner.
- Keep an eye out for breast problems while waiting for your milk production to cease -- for instance, breast lumps, sore spots or signs of infection, like redness, fever or chills.
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