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There’s no right time to wean but most moms will agree that saying goodbye to breastfeeding can be an emotional rollercoaster. You may be weaning as a transition to formula, or as a transition to solid foods. Here are 10 things to know about weaning.
1- Go slowly when weaning
It can take up to two weeks to fully wean a baby off of breast milk.
2- Morning milk is last
Drop your early morning breastfeed last as this is when you should have the most milk since more prolactin, the milk-making hormone, is produced overnight.
3- Try quick pumps when weaning
Avoid engorgement by pumping, but limit it to only 3 minutes to slowly reduce your supply.
4- Cabbage leaves help with weaning (really!)
Placing green cabbage leaves, which are high in sulfur, over your breasts can help absorb additional fluids from the breast to avoid a clogged duct and reduce milk supply.
5- Weaning can be emotional
The hormones Prolactin and Oxytocin will shift (yet again!) with a change in milk supply so be prepared to feel weepy, depressed and emotional about the change. Prolactin is what delivers a sense of calmness, well-being, and relaxation to breastfeeding moms. On the flip side, some women feel elated and relieved to be done with breastfeeding. Pro tip: document your last latch with your baby for the archives of another milestone reached.
6- Tea helps with weaning
Three cups of sage tea a day may help to dry up breast milk. No More Milk Tea by Earth Mama Angel Baby also contains a blend of herbs designed to reduce your supply. Always discuss the use of new teas with your healthcare provider.
7- Cuddles make weaning easier
Just because you’re not breastfeeding, doesn’t mean you can’t hold your baby close. Extra attention and lots of affection tend to make weaning a lot easier for both you and your baby.
8- Avoid weaning when baby’s not well
Try to avoid weaning when your baby isn’t feeling well as breast milk could support their healing process and provide comfort. If you get ill, it doesn’t always mean you need to stop breastfeeding either.
9- Keep routines while weaning
If possible try to keep everything else in your baby’s routine the same during the weaning process to make things easier. But try switching your daily schedule up if you’re weaning a toddler with more ingrained habits.
10- Weaning during pregnancy
If you’re breastfeeding when you become pregnant, you’ll likely notice a drop in your milk supply due to hormonal changes, particularly during the fourth and fifth months of pregnancy. The composition of your milk can also change and become more similar to ‘lighter’ weaning milk.