I have a friend who is weaning from breast right now and is experiencing a couple of difficulties. I thought I would share my responses to those.
While I do have pain and/or discomfort when my milk comes in, I have few problems when weaning. Not all women are so lucky, though.
- Your obvious methods for drying up milk. Cabbage, tight sports bra, etc. I wouldn't use cabbage in excess until you are ready for milk to be gone, though.
- Pump enough to alleviate pain.
- Take it more slowly. I mentioned this in my In Action: Weaning from Breast post, but here it is again. Something I did with Kaitlyn was I would feed her 4 ounces and then follow up with nursing for the session I was dropping. I did that the first day. You could do that for a few days and take it slower. You could then slowly add ounces and decrease nursing amount. That might help your body adjust more easily. So, say you were dropping the lunchtime nursing. I would prepare 4 ounces (or whatever amount you know will leave your child wanting more). Feed that to him, then follow up with nursing. Your child will nurse, but not long enough to create a full feeding. Do that for a couple of days, then increase the prepared ounces and decrease the length of the nursing. This way, your body can slowly adjust.
Some children have an affinity for nursing, especially right before bed. Brayden sucked for comfort before I started Babywise at 9 weeks. Kaitlyn has never been a comfort nurser.
- Prevention. Try to avoid nursing becoming a soothing ritual. Avoid nursing right before bed. While this is easy to do for your first three feedings, many "top off" right before bed. If this is you, change your routine. Nurse and then do PJs and story and whatever you do. With Kaitlyn, her final nursing of the day came 45 minutes before she actually went to bed.
- Drop the favored nursing session last. By that point, he might be ready for it to go. This was the case with Brayden.
- Hold him while he drinks his milk. I hold my kids for a few months past weaning to ensure we still get that quiet cuddle time together. This is already a time of day you are used to sitting down and holding your child. With Brayden, it was the only time he would hold still. Kaitlyn loves to be cuddled and held, so she enjoys me holding her and feeding her.
- Something you might try is doing a bottle at the favored feeding for now. I did that with Brayden. After he had been weaned completely for a couple of weeks, I started the weaning from the bottle. It was all very smooth and seamless.