The time has come to wean you from your breast pump. Now what? Remember, it took you a long time to get here, so you can’t expect to go cold turkey and stop overnight. Weaning from the breast pump is best done in slow, incremental steps, and for some mothers, it can take a couple of weeks. For others, it may take a month or longer to decrease the milk supply enough to stop pumping. Breast milk is a supply and demand product, and you may have worked tirelessly for months now to produce enough milk to nurture your infant, but the time has come to move on from breast feeding. Here are our tips to help you reduce your milk supply and successfully separate from your breast pump.
- Begin by shortening the length of time of the pumping session. Start by decreasing your session by a couple of minutes. For example, if you normally pump for 15 minutes, try 13 minute sessions.
- Next, lengthen the time between pumping sessions. For example, if you are used to pumping every 4 hours try to stretch a little longer, but listen to your body, and never get to the point of discomfort before pumping.
- Pump until you feel relief; do not completely empty the breast. Remember, by not completing emptying the breast, the body’s need to produce as much milk is decreased.
- If you feel areas of a breast that seem hard or sore as you begin to separate from your breast pump, work at those areas with a gentle massage or compression during your pumping session. This will help reduce the chance of blockage.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you do experience discomfort. A common home remedy is the use of cabbage leaf compression to reduce engorgement, swelling, and pain of the breast.
Remember that everybody is different, but by using a combination of these tips, you will be able to separate from your pump successfully.