I have 2 kids. First kid breastfed for 6 days then switched to formula. Second kid breastfed for less than 24 hours, then switched to formula.
And while I got long lists of sermons of “breast is best” and while I appreciated it, I found that I felt like more myself and a better mother for putting my kids to formula. While I do believe that breast is indeed best considering the heaps of benefits, I do believe that whatever works best for mother and child is best and beautiful.
I stopped breastfeeding my first one because I had blood coming out instead of milk. And yes, I have tried pumping. The second one, well, my nipple blistered at first suck on both breasts and it was painful and horrible and anxiety provoking to the point I felt like throwing up and shaking when my baby cries and wants a feed.
So I decided to end my milk supply. I know lots of people will call me selfish and even suggest I should have powered through.
But breastfeeding for me is physically and emotionally taxing.
The sadder thing is you do not see articles about ceasing milk supply that much. The lactation consultant will see you for 5 minutes and give you some tips but less than often, they will not invest as much to you than to the next woman who is willing to do it. And fair enough, I only want my milk to cease.
Here are things I found helpful when ceasing milk supply. I am not a doctor or a midwife and consulting someone about this is best.
1. Cold cabbage leaves. For some reason, it alleviated the engorgement and the pain. They say it has enzymes to dry up the milk supply.
Separate leaves of cabbage and place in freezer. Cup the frozen leaves to breasts until wilted. Discard when wilted and keep doing so until you feel comfortable.
I did this for 3 days until I felt comfortable without it.
NOTE: DO NOT USE IF ALLERGIC TO CABBAGE!
2. Wear a tight fitting bra. A good sports bra supported my breasts well enough. When I ran out of sports bras (because they kept smelling like cabbage leaves), I used two bras (no underwire). Wear it all day and all night.
3. Drink sage tea. Sage tea is notorious apparently in drying up milk.
How: A handful of sage leaves into boiling water. Add honey and lemon to make it taste better. I didn’t like the taste of it while hot, so I cooled it in the fridge and added ice to make a lovely iced tea.
4. Can’t stomach sage tea? Try peppermint tea. And eat anything peppermint – from peppermint chocolates to peppermint candy canes. Even better, combine sage tea and peppermint tea!
5. Pseudoephedrine. I have read in some blog posts about pseudoephedrine decreasing milk supply of mothers. I tried it and it has probably worked for me. My husband has leftover Codral tablets from the last time he had a flu. I just followed chemist instructions on how to take it.
6. Ibuprofen for pain. Trust me, it’s painful so any pain relief helps.
7. Rest and relax. I let my husband look after the baby for 3 days since, with my pain, I can’t cuddle the little one.
8. They say to pump or express a little, just enough to relieve engorgement. This is also to prevent mastitis. I did not do this as I was too scared to stimulate more milk however, I kept feeling for hard lumps and tried to massage and break it down as much as I can. You can do this but it may take a little bit longer for your breast milk to cease.
9. Skip the hot/ warm shower. Heat stimulates milk flow. I turned my back to the shower.
I know I might get a lot of hate from this but I also hope I get some love from mothers who decided they can’t ‘power through’ breastfeeding. I did all of this and my milk supply ceased after 3 and 1/2 days and there is no longer engorgement.
I hope even one person finds this helpful.
Posted anonymously, 2nd February 2016