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Stop Breast Feeding Your Baby: How to Begin Weaning your Nursing Baby off Breast Milk to Dry Up Lactation & Avoid Engorgement

How to Stop Lactation Avoiding EngorgementIf you want to stop breastfeeding and are wondering how to dry up your milk supply, take heart. There's nothing special you have to do for drying up your milk; just stop using it. For many women, the unused milk is reabsorbed by the body and dries up in around a week, although some find that leaks continue for several weeks more. Nursing pads can protect your clothing while your body adjusts to the change.

The most comfortable way for (mother and child) to stop lactation is to wean your child slowly and gradually, dropping a breast feeding or two each week until eventually you have replaced all feedings with the bottle. When you skip a feeding, your child will be surprised by the appearance of the bottle, and your body will also be surprised by the sudden lack of demand. Your breasts may be heavy and sore, filled with milk. If the engorgement bothers you, you can pump them and store the breast milk for a bottle feeding. Don't pump them completely dry, though, or you'll be signalling your body for a refill. Only express enough milk to relieve the pressure, and you'll be telling your body that you don't need as much milk to be produced. Over time, lactation will stop naturally.

Breast Feeding without the Breast

Giving up breast feeding doesn't necessarily mean not feeding your baby with breast milk. If you want to stop breast-feeding your newborn, either because of work responsibilities or problems with nursing, try using a breast pump to get your infant the breast milk that's so important to a child's early development. Weaning your baby from breast to bottle should be done slowly and patiently, and giving your baby an occasional bottle feeding early on will help set the stage for later weaning.

Lactation Support Before You Give Up Breast Feeding Your Infant

If you're thinking of stopping breast feeding because of problems feeding your child, ask for assistance before throwing in the towel. "Mothers should feel comfortable asking either their doctors, doctors' staff or a lactation consultant about being observed so that they know if they are doing it right," says Dr. Sudha Prasad, a pediatrician from Garden City, New York. I watch my patients' mothers breastfeed and give them tips on how to be more physically comfortable." Dr. Prasad points out that an expert, observing how the baby latches on, sucks and swallows, can help mothers make simple changes that simplify the process of nursing. Feeding your baby with your feet raised, and raising the child to your breast instead of hunching over to meet his or her mouth can prevent strain on the lower back and make the process more comfortable and enjoyable.

Dr. Prasad also stressed the importance of breastfeeding during the first year of life to maximize IgA (a secretory antibody) protection that protects babies from the otherwise too-common Otitis Media (middle ear infections) and upper respiratory infection.

If you stop breast feeding, for a week or more, it may be difficult to resume again, but some women have been able to start nursing after as long as a month. In some cases, newly adopted babies or infants who have lost their mothers can greatly benefit from breast feeding by a surrogate. In these cases, it's vitally important that the substitute is not on medication that can cross to the infant in the milk, or that the surrogate doesn't have a disease transmittable through breast milk such as HIV.

Continue reading more information about Breast vs. Bottle Feeding

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