How to wean off pumping

How To Wean Off Pumping: Here Are A Few Tips And Tricks

There are many women who choose to pump exclusively to feed their babies, while some choose to breastfeed their babies. But there must be a time when you might feel like it is time to stop now. That is when you should try some of the steps that I will be mentioning below to make the transition smooth.

It takes a lot of time and effort to express the milk, you might be doing it for your baby, or you might be a milk doner. Whatever the scenario, if it is time to stop, then help yourselves.

How Much Time Does It Take To Wean Off Pumping?

To make things clear, there is no particular set of rules that you have to follow for weaning from pumping. Every human body is different and works differently. So, the time it requires to stop pumping is different for everyone.

Initially, if you were pumping exclusively and now want to shift to breastfeeding, it might take a while for you to cut down your production. It often takes a month or so. If possible, you can also talk to a lactation consultant and discuss a strategy that would work best for you.

While it might take others to wean off pumping in one to two weeks, start with baby steps. Reduce your pumping session by a minute or two every time you pump.

How To Wean Off Pumping?

The aim is to decrease the number of pumping sessions you take in a day gradually. You should start by reducing the duration by a few minutes every time.

For instance, let’s consider that you pump four to five times a day. You might take the first session before leaving for work in the morning. You might take the other two in between work, one when you come back home. And the last one before going to bed or during the middle of the night. Try dropping one session every week until you get through the whole day without getting fully engorged.

Along with that, reduce the time you take pumping during every session and take a long gap between two pumping sessions. For instance, if you pump for twenty minutes every session and take a session after every three hours, then pump for ten to fifteen minutes every four to five hours. Try reducing the amount of time with every passing week. If you continue this method, you will find yourself pumping for just five minutes by the end of it.

Gradually, with time weaning will not allow your breast to become full of milk. Your body will let you know; listen to it. If you take things slow, your baby will also get accustomed to it and adjust well to the new feeding system.

How Can You Prevent Mastitis And Prevent The Ducts From Clogging While Weaning From Pumping?

Your body will you know,  and you will feel it in your body when you cannot pump. Your breasts will swell up and feel very heavy. It will be painful and feel like two bowling balls are attached to the chest. If you wait long enough, the engorgement or the pain puts you at risk of clogging the milk ducts and can even cause mastitis.

You can prevent clogging the ducts or even treat it by massaging the area, which does not empty quickly when you pump. Mastitis mostly occurs when some kind of bacteria enters the breast through sore or cracked nipples. You can stop the cracking or soreness if you do the following things:

  • Apply a drop or two of pure vegetable oil. You can apply canola, olive, or corn oil to the nipple before you start pumping.
  • Apply ointment or modified lanolin cream like Tender Care Lanolin or Lansinoh after you are done pumping. Do this after every session.

If you notice that a particular area in your breast has become red and it is paining or swollen, and you are having flu-like symptoms and have a fever, immediately consult a doctor. You will require antibiotics to get mastitis treated.

Here Are A Few Tips And Tricks To Make Weaning From Pumping Easier

You will be required to make a strategy for your baby as well when you are looking for “how to weaning off pumping” to keep them fed and hydrated. The age will not matter they will require time to adjust when to plan to make the switch.

If You Are Weaning Off Pumping Before 12 Months

According to AAP, you should switch to formula or frozen milk if you are weaning off pumping. Breast milk can be used within 6 months of pumping. You have to store it in a freezer so that it stays good. According to the CDC or the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, it is acceptable if you store breast milk for 12 months.

If your baby refuses to drink the thawed breast milk, it is best to consult a lactation consultant or a doctor and discuss how you can decrease the smell and neutralize the lipase enzymes.

If You Are Weaning Off Pumping Around The 12-Month

During this phase, you should also try to transition your baby to a cup. Using a bottle for a line can impact their teeth and cause cavities. There has been some research that shows it is sometimes linked to other health problems like ear infections. So, it is better to make the transition before their first birthday.

If You Are Weaning Off Pumping After The 12-Month Mark

If you are still continuing to nurse the little one 3-4 times in one day, get them some water with every meal. But if you have stopped nursing, switch to cow milk as meals now they have crossed their first birthday. Your baby should drink at least two to three cups of milk per day.

Wrapping Up!

If you are looking for “how to wan off pumping,” then you should know that any form of breast stimulation, whether it could be via nursing your baby, breast pumping, or the shower stream hitting your breast, could encourage the breast to create milk. 

Taking a hot shower during this time is okay, but make sure you do not hand-express your milk while you are taking the shower. You might notice a drop of milk or two, which might tempt you to squeeze out. This is nothing out of the ordinary, but if you are concerned, consult your doctor.

I believe now you know How to wean off pumping. It does not matter what strategy you are choosing, be assured that the supply is going to be reduced and then dry up completely. But if you wish to relactate after a while, do not worry. There have been numerous women who have done it all over the world.


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Subhasree Nag


Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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