Stop pumping and dry up your milk
It’s finally that time!
As some of you have already read in my breastfeeding experience post I was able to make a lot more milk than my baby ever needed. To say that I have been looking forward to the time I could stop pumping would be an understatement. I wanted the process to be as painless as possible so I did a little research. I was fully prepared to use some of the methods I read for pain relief and drying milk faster. Turns out I didn’t need any of them!
Preparation started almost 2 months ahead
Once he turned about 7 months I had completely run out of room to store my milk. Our small deep freezer was full. The freezer above the basement fridge was full. Half my kitchen fridge freezer was full as well. It was time to stop storing milk. The goal was to hold out on letting my milk dry up until we were back from vacation, which was 1 month away.
I was pumping every 4 hours during the day at this point. I decided to start giving my baby fresh milk I pumped for two reason; to save on storage bags and to see how much more I was pumping than my baby was eating. After a week I realized I was freezing 1-2 pumping sessions a day. It was time to start cutting down. I was pumping 5 times a day. I stretched it out another hour, pumping every 5 hours and 4 times a day. After a couple of weeks I was still freezing a few times a week so I cut down to 3 sessions a day. I felt like this was a good point to be at for vacation and was nervous that if I dropped it down any more I would not have enough to feed him.
We brought the 5 bottles with us that were in the fridge already, but no frozen milk. We left saturday night after the baby was asleep and by my second pumping session on monday there were 10 bottles in my sister-in-law’s fridge. I had to cut down some more. Skipping my last session that day, I picked back up in the morning. I only pumped twice a day the rest of the vacation; once in the morning and once at night. This was plenty to get us through the week(plus I got to enjoy vacation a lot more!).
Okay, so to recap…
- Monday at 3pm
- Tuesday 9am (18 hour gap)
- Wednesday 7am (22 hour gap)
- Thursday 12pm (29 hour gap)
- Saturday 9pm (33 hour gap)
- Monday 9pm (48 hour gap)
And that’s all there was too it!
Tapering my pumping sessions like I did prevented me for being in major pain for days while trying to let my milk dry up. I was fully prepared to need cabbage leaves, cold compress, sage tea or maybe even vitamin B6. Turned out that I didn’t need any of it! It took about a week and a half for my milk to completely dry up. My boobs did get a little sore in the last few day but not engorged. When my milk was gone my boobs were right back to their pre-pregnancy size practically overnight.
Drying up my milk was definitely an easier process than I was expecting and a lot less painful. I hope my experience can help you with yours or at least give you an idea of what you may be in for!