If you want to stop breastfeeding, it’s best to use a gradual process.
To do this, over time you reduce the amount of milk that is removed from the breast.
- You can gradually reduce the number of times your baby feeds from the breast in a 24-hour period, and
- You can gradually reduce the time they spend sucking at the breast.
Gradual weaning can take weeks or months.
It may include periods when your baby increases their breast-milk intake, but then settles back into weaning. (This means there will be some variation in the amount of breast milk you have.)
Most women gradually reduce breastfeeds from when their baby starts to eat some solids at about six months of age. Babies play a part in this too, as they may start to go for longer stretches without initiating a breastfeed and may start to show a stronger interest in solids.
If you need to stop abruptly
It’s difficult to stop breastfeeding abruptly. If you have to do this, get advice from your lead maternity carer, health practitioner or a lactation consultant.
- You may need to express some breast milk to relieve discomfort and avoid blocked ducts or mastitis.
- Taking medication such as ibuprofen can assist with painful engorgement and applying ice to the breasts may help.
- Your health practitioner may prescribe medication such as Dostinex to help reduce the amount of milk you’re producing.
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