Decresing your milk supply after weaning (baby-led or self-led)

***The following blog is for informational purposes only and should not be used as medical advice. If you have medical concerns or questions, please seek consultation with your primary health-care provider or a Certified Lactation Consultant in your area.***

Has your child decided that its time to wean? Did you decide it was time? Need some tips for decreasing your supply or helping to dry it up? Here you go 🙂

Mint – Add mint to a number of foods or use essential oil of peppermint.

Sage – You can consume sage, drink sage tea, or use sage oil mixed with baby oil or lotion to massage the breasts. Sage should not be used by mothers who have epilepsy. Sage can negatively affect your breastfeeding child, so talk with her pediatrician before using sage to dry up your milk.

Parsley –  Include parsley with a number of foods or drink parsley tea.

Tricks:
There is the cabbage in the bra trick. Buy a head of cabbage. Wash the cabbage thoroughly and place the clean leaves in plastic storage bags. Refrigerate the cabbage right away. As soon as it’s cold, you can start using it. Wear a bra slightly smaller than a nursing bra. You don’t want it to be too tight, which could lead to mastitis, but if it’s loose, the cabbage won’t be held securely in place and you might feel some discomfort. Get out two cold cabbage leaves. Place each one like a bra cup on top of your bare breasts and then secure the bra. The leaves should cover your entire breast, from the center of your chest to beneath your armpits. If any of this area is exposed, get another cabbage leaf and cover it up. Replace the cabbage leaves as soon as they become warm and wilted. The coldness of the cabbage is soothing during weaning, so you want to make sure the leaves are relatively fresh at all times. You’ll probably need to change the leaves every two hours to stay comfortable. You do this for a few days until your milk dries up.

Pump or hand-express just enough milk to keep you from feeling swollen and overfilled. Only remove a small amount at a time. Apply cold compresses. This helps reduce swelling and can contribute to diminishing the milk supply if used consistently. Try over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve some discomfort from the weaning. Check breasts frequently for blocked ducts and potential mastitis or breast abscess. If you have any breastfeeding questions or concerns, contact your doctor or a lactation consultant.

Make sure you avoid stimulating your nipples. This will just trigger your letdown.
Avoid binding or super tight bras as this may cause pain.
Avoid hot compress. Cool compress is all you need.

This process may take a few weeks before you can feel comfortable enough to stop pumping and cold compress. Be patient. If you have a small amount of milk left, it will eventually dry up. For some women, it doesn’t so this is not abnormal if its been a while since you last nursed and you are experiencing milk discharge from time to time.

References:

Breastfeeding.com: Herbs to Help Decrease Milk Supply

Baby Center: Breast Milk Interactions Chart
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