Q: Hi Doc, what’s the safest and fastest way to stop breastfeeding without the baby crying. I’m in need of your help
A: Breastfeeding is really an intimate activity for mum and baby and it is not strange to find both of them feeling some sense of loss as this ‘bonding’ activity comes to an end…even when it’s mummy suggesting the change 😀 So, it is important that mum finds time to still bond with baby like frequent cuddles, keeping baby close to you, frequent eye contact etc. Generally re-assure your baby that the fact that this activity is coming to an end does not mean you love him or her any less. Be sure not to introduce this when your baby is going through any major changes like moving house etc That might convince baby you’ve moved on to other stuff 😀
Then get to it! 😀 How? You can stop gradually over a period of time. Replace some feeds during the day with other foods or even milk (just not from you). Usually the first and last feeds of the day are the most difficult to replace or give up as they are your baby’s sorta emotional anchors 😀 But keep at it over a period of weeks and the breast milk production will gradually ‘dry up’.
The other option is to just stop putting baby to the breast. If your baby feels it’s also a good idea to stop, then you’re good. If not, you may have to be very creative with means and ways of distracting him/her.
In both situations, you may find your breasts engorged. If you’re stopping gradually, you may want to express some milk (don’t express until until the breast feels empty) and store in the fridge. You could put that in a sippy cup and feed baby later.
If you’re stopping immediately, get the right support for your breasts.
In the good old days, mothers would tell their daughters to tie a wrapper tightly across their breasts. This helps. In fact, I believe that this is still being done by lots of people 😀
If you’re more jet age, though wear a tight supportive bra. For
the pain, take analgesics and also apply cold packs to your breasts.
Try not to stimulate the nipples during this period. This encourages milk production. Hubby should kindly take note too.
All the best as you move to a new phase of parenting!