So you nursed your baby and now you are done. Great job!!! You are an awesome mom!!! Even if you only nursed for a few days, you gave your baby a precious gift! So now that you’ve nursed you feel it may be time to stop. Reasons to wean include wanting to, baby is on full solid foods and no longer has an interest to nurse, pregnancy, or cancer. When you become pregnant and are still nursing your milk changes taste, so your baby may no longer like to nurse, generally your supply goes down, and you start all over with colostrum when your new baby is born so most babies with a pregnant mom naturally want to wean.
You can wean in 2 ways- short, fast and painful, or long, slow and comfortable. The short version is for emergencies- I do not recommend it. You basically go cold turkey, and let me tell you- it hurts! Your breasts will become severely engorged because ht milk is not being relieved. You can take sudafed and use ice packs, cold cabbage, and ibuprofen for the pain and swelling. Sudafed has milk reducing side affects. Be careful because your ducts are more likely to clog, causing more pain and possibly infection. Sometimes mom are put in this situation, and need help and support to get through it.
The longer version can take about 2 weeks. You slowly go down one nursing session at a time. Instead of nursing your 7 month 7 times a day, you skip one nursing and offer more solid foods. The best nursing sessions to take out are the mid day times. Your baby may still want to nurse before bed as a comfort measure- take away that session last. Offer your baby juice, fruits and veggies in place of nursing. You can take sudafed as well, and definitely put cabbage leaves in your bra to help reduce swelling. It sounds crazy but the cabbage leaves really make a big difference. You may also take ibuprofen and use ice packs but you should be in little to no pain. If you take a few weeks to wean you will have no pain, it will be easy and your body will respond very well. After cutting one nursing session and waiting a few days, cut another and go a few days, then another and so on until you are no longer nursing.
It is important you find other ways to bond with your baby and comfort them before bed. Skin to Skin will help, or you can give night-time baths, night-time snuggling in the rocking chair, and involve the other members in your family as well. As you slowly wean you may miss nursing, so if you are only taking out one session at a time, your milk supply will not be gone right away so you can go back to nursing as often as you were. If you go cold turkey, you do not have that option. Sometimes mothers find that cutting a few feedings but leaving night-time sessions is easier, and helps mom and baby relax before bed. What ever you decide, make sure you have loving support from your family and friend. If things are not going well, call your doctor or find a lactation consultant near you.
And remember- you are an amazing mom!! Great job!!