How to Wean and What To Do If You Don’t Want to Breastfeed

How to cut back on breastfeeding.  WHat to do if you do not choose to breastfeed. 

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Episode Transcript

Hello, and welcome back to First Breaths to First Steps. This is Bev Garrison, your host. I am joined today with Jodi Heiser, a BSN nurse in pediatrics for over 20 years. And a 12 year veteran lactation consultant. She is officially trained in IB CLC as well as CLC and is actively a lactation consultant in the Denver area.

So today, Jodi, and I thought it would be interesting to talk about what do you do if you don’t want to breastfeed? We’re always talking about, Oh, you’re going to breastfeed. We just assume you are because it’s natural. It’s good. Whatever. But moms, this is your choice. And if for whatever reason you decide, “Hey, I don’t want to breastfeed. I’m not comfortable. I have health problems that maybe precludes me breastfeeding, or maybe you want to wean” We’re going to talk with Jodi today about what are the best ways to go about doing those things. And how to be successful in this realm . So, thanks for joining me today, Jodi.

Let’s maybe first talk about what do I do if I have too much milk as a mom? So that’s a really big question because sometimes when the baby is born, often moms have too much milk or too little milk. And it’s really because of the fact, this is a supply and demand situation. And also genetically some moms just have the ability to produce a lot of milk and that can be a problem, even though it’s a blessing at the same time. So for moms that feel that they have too much milk, what this would look like is that your breast would be engorged, which is hard. And I always kind of say that would be like the consistency of a basketball. So because it’s a supply and demand situation. We want to make sure that if you have too much milk, you were only pumping off for comfort. Often I have moms that will pump off an entire breast when they’re engorged. And all that does is tell your body let’s produce more milk. So we definitely want to stay away from right. If we really do all the things we can to kind of balance that supply out, and you’re still a super producer.

One of the things that we can try is to do some peppermint. Peppermint is one of those things that naturally does reduce your milk. So I recommend taking an Altoid at each feed of the day and see how that works. You can increase that as you see, it works. Other things that help naturally are Sage, Jasmine and cool compresses. If we are still not having that get under control, it is okay to do a decongestant, such as Benadryl or Sudafed. If the mom can tolerate that, knowing that Benadryl can make you sleepy so we start with just doing one tablet at night, which makes sense because Benadryl, being used for allergies and when you’re congested, one of its purposes is to dry nasal secretions and it makes sense that it would dry milk secretions. Secretion. So you know, again, I guess you just have to worry about being too sleepy because you’re already sleepy with a newborn, but I do really love the natural options: the peppermint this Sage, the Jasmine. As far as those other things, the Sage, the Jasmine, is it something that you are pulling from your spice cabinet and trying to put it into food. Is there a tea concoction, or how would you get those things in your diet? Well, the tricky thing is that with all of those things, you need a considerable amount. So, you know, basically making a tea out of it and kind of drinking it throughout the day. You can do that with the sage with the peppermint or the Jasmine.

Sage is just a little bit more difficult. Some moms will use it out of the spice cabinet, putting it into a capsule and taking it that way. You use it as you see your body react to it. And I would like to also say that sometimes it does take two days from when we try something to see the true effects of how it really works. So give yourself some time.

I know that you and I have worked with families together. Before I even heard you ever talk about using some of these things, the only thing, I had in my bag of tricks, as far as addressing moms that didn’t want to nurse or we’re trying to wean was to wear very constrictive or double sports bras. What are your thoughts on that? I think that a sports bra isn’t a bad idea. But just one? Yeah, just one and recognize that your body, your breasts are generally larger right now. So you may not be able to use the sport bra that you have currently. We want it to be snug, but not to the point where it just causing so much constriction that we end up getting some clogged milk ducts. Where that milk can’t even get out. So really you may need to go buy a cheap one off the clearance rack, a size up from what you normally wear. Okay.

So if we have moms that right after delivery are just not going to breastfeed. And we respect that moms. That is definitely your choice with you and your birth partner or a dad. What should they do immediately? They should probably take a sports bra with them to the hospital, would you recommend that Jodi? Absolutely. Yeah. We want to get started on that right away, because it’s a natural process for your body to start producing that milk. I would definitely say using that, just to take care of that also cool compresses are really important. Ibuprofen, which is the same as Motrin or Advil, because you are going to have some inflammation and that kind of takes that out and also causes some comfort factor as well. So I guess if you knew that ahead of time in your.

Mom toiletry bag for the hospital. You could put in some, Benadryl, decongestant of course ask your OB GYN or whoever’s following you in the hospital about that first, before you take it. Maybe throw in some Altoids or some sort of peppermint product as well. That’s somewhat natural. Yes. So you could get started with that right away. Absolutely. Which would be good, even if you’re going to wean.

It is super important to continue to drink lots of water. I know, usually we talk about water, in light of being hydrated for breastfeeding, but you also need water in light of just healing from delivery. Whether you’ve had a natural birth or a C-section, you need that water to get over that procedure. It’s a pretty major life event and so we want to make sure that we’re healing your body as well.

Let’s talk about weaning. So weaning to me means, okay, maybe you’ve been nursing for a while and you need to stop either you’re going back to work or maybe mom has started some medication that is not safe to breastfeed with, or maybe baby’s just not interested. Can you talk to me a little bit about weaning mom led versus baby led. Baby led is kind of letting the baby decide that. I would like to say that typically at four months and at nine months, babies go on what we call a nursing strike. It’s a developmental stage for them and they have a tendency to kind of want to pay attention to everything else except for breastfeeding. During that time, I just want to point out that that’s actually not a baby led weaning time, it’s more of a work through it and the baby will continue if you choose to continue breastfeeding. Baby led weaning is at that point where the baby just really is kind of done and the baby may be really doing a great job with solid foods and sippy cups. And so it’s time to wean. You want to go slow. That is the biggest issue. WIth mom led weaning, as Bev said, that’s when you maybe need to wean or choose to wean and that one the big thing with both of those actually is that you want to just taper off those feeds. So, what we do with that is take a feed out probably once a week and then slowly decrease those. And you leave the ones the morning feed and the feed before they go to bed as the last ones to change. You want to go ahead and substitute other things in for those feeding times, like cuddling looking at books, things like that. Again, only want to pump to alleviate breast pressure. And for that night nurse or you want to hold that feed off, if you can, and have dad get up with the baby. Yeah, I think that brings that just some really good points. We’ve said over and over, but it is mom and birth partners choice and Whatever particular stage you’re in with your new baby, you choose that you need to stop feeding. it’s nice to know that there is kind of a method. I don’t think a lot of people talk about this because everyone is just so expecting that we’re going to breastfeed forever. For these babies, but there’s a lot of people who are just like, Nope, not comfortable not doing it and that’s completely fine.

So Jodi and I today, our purpose was really to address with you. What do you do if you have too much milk, how do you address that? How to wean either mom led or baby led, and then also discussing the actual, doing t he stopping. Breastfeeding because I have only in my education been told stronger bras, tighter constriction, and really, that’s not the only option. There’s a lot of also natural options that can help you with that so it’s good to keep in mind.

Hopefully you’ve found our information today in our podcast helpful. If you did, you can click the link in the description and get a PDF of our notes. As well as you can click on that same link. And contact me if you’d like to work with me, one-on-one on bringing your newborn from first breaths to first steps. Until next time be well

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