Hey there, Mama! No matter if you’re at the 3 month mark or the 3 year mark, choosing when and how to wean from breastfeeding is an important decision.
It’s not always an easy decision either.
Breastfeeding was a journey for me. I struggled early on with latch issues, over supply, and mastitis, which almost had me giving up by month 1. I told myself to take it day by day, and around the 2 month mark is when I finally felt like “I’ve got this!”
Little by little breastfeeding became more and more enjoyable and fulfilling. Similarly, even when I went back to work, and had to deal with the whole pump situation, I found purpose in what I was doing. However, by the 9 month mark, I started to become a bit burnt out by the entire process – hauling pump bags and supplies anywhere I went.
I began to feel like a slave to my milk supply.
Around the 10 month mark, I decided I needed to start the weaning process. Knowing my strong milk supply would make it a little slower more me, I started by shortening my pump sessions at work, which I was advised to do. A big mistake I made, is that I went back to regularly nursing on the weekends, thinking yahh I’m free from the pump and dishes! Consequently, the irregular schedule and confusion to my supply left me with mastitis, AGAIN.
After plenty of chats with my doctors, and lot of research, I devised a slow, painless plan for weaning.
The 10-Week To Wean From Breastfeeding Plan:
Week 1: Slowly decrease amount or time of afternoon pump/nurse. Furthermore, it’s important to reduce pump amount by ½-1 ounce each day, and drop the pump altogether after a few days of only pumping 1-2 ounces total at this time.
Week 2: Push back the morning pump/nurse by 15 minute increments each day during this week until you reach a mid-day pump time that works with your schedule, continue to decrease the amount/time of the afternoon pump (goal is to get them closer together in time)
Week 3: Drop the afternoon pump/nurse altogether and move to 1 pump/nurse mid-day
Week 4: Gradually decrease amount or time of mid-day pump/nurse
Week 5: Continue to gradually decrease amount or time of mid-day pump/nurse. Using the last few days to alternate days on and off if needed
Week 6: Decrease evening pump/nurse amount or time. Supplement baby with bottle after if needed
Week 7: Drop evening pump/nurse
Week 8: Decrease morning pump/nurse amount or time. Include bottle or Sippy cup with breakfast
Week 9: Drop morning pump/nurse
Week 10: Pump to relieve pressure if engorged or uncomfortable, only as needed
- Keep a consistent schedule, including weekdays and weekends. For example, if you pump during the week, do not try to wean and nurse baby on weekend.
- Go slowwwwly!! I know 10-weeks seems like a long time, but if you have a decent supply, you will want to gradually reduce in order to decrease your risk of clogged cuts or mastitis. Plus baby still gets plenty of nutrition from you!
- Use ice packs or cold cabbage leaves in bra as needed to relieve any pressure and pain.
- Even if you drop a pump session at work, bring your pump with you for a week or two in case you need it!
- Do not nurse baby at night if it is not part of your schedule. Reverting back may cause your body to ramp back up the milk supply.