Breastfeeding is one of the best things that you can do for your child. In addition to saving money on formula, breastfeeding helps to provide your child with passive immunity to diseases that you have already encountered during your life. It is an amazing bonding experience, and it also happens to be perfectly designed mix of nutrients for your child. While you are breastfeeding, you will need to be careful about what you eat and drink since your child will ultimately consume all of those nutrients.
Depending on your own situation and the needs of your child, you may end up just breastfeeding for a few months or a few years. When it is time for you to stop breastfeeding your child, you will have to start weaning your child and drying up breast milk. Ideally, you will wean your child over a loner period of time so that they gradually get used to drinking less milk. In addition, this will help your milk to slowly start to dry up. If your milk does not dry up on its own, you can use these tips to help treat continued lactation.
1. Do It Gradually
Your goal is to make this adjustment as slowly as possible. Your body knows what it is supposed to do, and it will gradually figure out that you need to provide less milk. If you stop all of a sudden, it will cause your breasts to become engorged and painful with unexpressed milk. This could cause a fever, an infection or mastitis, so you want to avoid stopping all of a sudden.
Ideally, you will provide less and less milk every day to your child. Eating cabbage leaves will help to ease some of the pain as your body makes the switch. In addition, you will want to track your mental and physical health to make sure that you are truly ready for this switch.
2. Try Sage Tea
One of the home remedies for drying up breast milk has been used for centuries. Sage tea is a natural source of estrogen, so it can stimulate your body to stop producing breast milk. You can buy the tea packets at most grocery stores and health stores or make your own. If you choose to make your own, you just need to mix a teaspoon of sage into a hot cup of water and leave it for 15 minutes. Since sage is extremely bitter, you may want to sweeten the tea with some honey. Ideally, you will drink one cup every six hours until your breast milk dries up. To make your body feel more comfortable, you can also use cabbage leaves.
3. Cabbage Leaves
Cabbage leaves are a great way to resolve some of the pain from engorged breasts. As your breast milk begins to dry up, you should place refrigerated cabbage leaves on the inside of your bra. You will want to remove the bottom, harder portion of the cabbage to make this more comfortable. After arranging the leaves, leave them for a few hours until they start to wilt.
4. Stop Pumping
When you are breastfeeding or pumping, your body releases a hormone called prolactin. If you continue to pump, your body will continue to create breast milk. As long as you are pumping, your body will not stop producing milk and your milk will not dry up. Pumping is signaling your body to create milk. If you stop pumping, your body will produce the prolactin inhibiting factor to signal that you need to stop making milk. Due to this, it is extremely important to gradually stop pumping or breastfeeding if your goal is to comfortably dry up your breast milk.
5. Drink More Water
One of the most ridiculous myths about drying up breast milk is that you need to stop drinking water. This is not effective because it will not reduce your supply of breast milk. If you stop drinking water, it will actually make you dehydrated. In addition, not having enough water can cause you to develop a breast infection or a urinary tract infection.
6. Use a Cold Compress
Using a cold compress will not help your milk to dry up, but it will help you to feel more comfortable while you are trying to dry up your breast milk. You will want to use an ice pack or a frozen bag of peas to help numb your breasts and reduce the pain. In addition, you can also use an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or Tylenol to reduce the pain. This will not stop your milk production, but it will make the pain more bearable as your body naturally reduces the amount of milk that it produces. Additionally, you will want to avoid any warm showers or baths because the warm touch will stimulate your breasts to produce milk. For now, you just need to focus on keeping yourself cool.
7. Wear the Right Clothes
Normally, your breasts produce milk when they are stimulated by the mouth of your infant. When you stop breastfeeding, any stimulation can cause your breasts to continue to produce milk. If you wear tight fitting clothes, it can signal your body to continue to produce milk. Instead, you should wear a supportive, comfortable bra or sports bra. You will also want to make sure that you are wearing comfortable, loose clothing over your bra.
8. Try an Alcohol Tincture
Unfortunately, the alcohol is not designed for you to drink it. Instead, this tincture is absorbed by your mucous membranes, and it works to reduce your breast milk. It is easily absorbed by your body, so you only need to use three to four milliliters every six hours or so.
9. Use Nursing Pads
While you are lowering your supply of breast milk, you will still have some milk leaking out. Nursing pads will help to absorb any of the released milk and are comfortable to wear. Unlike some home remedies suggest, you do not want to bind your breasts. The tightness can cause your ducts to become plugged or infected and can lead to mastitis.