If your breasts feel full and uncomfortable when you don’t nurse at a specific time, then express just enough milk to relieve the fullness. You can do this by pumping for a couple of minutes or hand expressing. The less milk you remove, the quicker your body will realize it doesn’t need to produce. Sometimes just taking a hot shower will do the job – anything that relieves the fullness is fine. If you are comfortable without expressing at all, that’s okay too.
Do express or pump if you get uncomfortably full. It’s not good for your body to not have any way of relieving the fullness. Pumping or hand expressing just enough milk to relieve discomfort will not prevent your milk supply from decreasing. What causes milk production to stay the same or increase is adequate milk removal. If only a small amount of milk is removed from the breast, then milk production will decrease. In addition, expressing a little milk will relieve your discomfort and make it less likely that you’ll develop plugged ducts, a breast infection, or an abcess.
Do not bind your breasts to help your milk “dry up.” This is an outdated practice that can cause plugged ducts, breast infection, or breast abscess.
These things are commonly used to increase mom’s comfort during the weaning process:
- Ibuprofen or other pain relievers
- Cabbage leaf compresses
These things are occasionally used to reduce milk supply during the weaning process:
- Herbs and other natural treatments for reducing milk supply
- Birth control pills, especially those containing estrogen
- Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), a decongestant
Weaning (main menu) @
Cabbage for relieving engorgement @
Too much milk: Sage and other herbs for decreasing milk supply @
Weaning as a Natural Process by Brylin Highton, from Leaven, Vol. 36 No. 6, December 2000-January 2001, p. 112-114.