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Advice About Sore Breasts After Weaning

I am hoping that some of you may have advice about remaining as comfortable as possible when weaning your child. My daughter just turned two and I decided that it was right and timely to wean her. She has been breast fed 1-2 times a day (with a few exceptions of more often when she has been sick) for about a year. We started talking about it about a week before she turned two and she seems to be doing okay. Anyway, I do not want to break down, which I have done in the past, but it is HURTING. Do any of you have any suggestions about relieving the pressure in my breasts without creating more milk? I also would really like to avoid any infection. I would also love some insight into how long this lasts. I think that if I prepare myself I can ride it out. It does make it difficult to distract myself from this transition :) Thank you.

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I second the cabbage leave suggestion. Also, take motrin for pain. I also wore a tight running bra to protect them. It takes a good week and then they start to soften up. I'm prone to mastitis so my child's Pediatrician actually prescribed me antibiotics before I weaned my last to avoid it. Mastitis is no fun! Good luck!

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When weaning my first, I would express a bit of milk in the shower - just enough to relieve the discomfort. Cold compresses really helped, too. I've heard that cool cabbage leaves in your bra can help, but haven't tried that one myself. I remember most of the discomfort being over pretty quickly, but it taking quite a while for milk production to stop completely (a month or so).

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I second the cabbage leave suggestion. Also, take motrin for pain. I also wore a tight running bra to protect them. It takes a good week and then they start to soften up. I'm prone to mastitis so my child's Pediatrician actually prescribed me antibiotics before I weaned my last to avoid it. Mastitis is no fun! Good luck!

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Purple cabbage leaves are amazing! I put them in my bra and it helps so much, it does dry them up, if that is what you are wanting! Hope this helps!

I know this is a little late, and I haven't weaned yet, but when I talked to my doctor about it, this was her advice. Since 24 hours may be too much, start by reducing the AMOUNT of time she nurses when she does. So if it takes her 5 minutes on one breast, stop her at 4 minutes. This is so your body will slowly get used to producing x amount. She also said that there are women who have to nurse for literally a minute before they can completely stop.

I've heard that taking certain herbs help the milk to dry up. I think it was sage that my friend used but I'm not sure. There probably is a tea that you can drink. You could ask at a health food store or section in a grocery store.

I used heat - heating pads, warm towels and showering. I would also massage the places that were sore, especially in the shower while they had the warm water on them. Sometimes a little milk would come out but it sure felt better and after maybe 2 weeks I felt much better. Good luck - you will feel better soon!

When my first child weaned himself, I thought I would burst- but only my high producing right breast. It was hard as a rock and hurt a lot. I think it had been about a week or so since he had last nursed. I just could not look at my pump ever again (or so I thought) so I nursed him one night after he was asleep. He emptied my breast and that was the end of it. For me it just took getting that last milk out of there- I had stopped producing. Just reading your note makes me feel your pain. You are a great mother! Good luck.

I weaned my hardly nursing daughter at age 2 and was surprised by how much milk was still being made. I put cabbage leaves in a tight fitting bra. Change the leaf out every hour or so. (No one will notice they are in there.) Be sure to frequently massage any hard (and, yes painful) spots to keep the ducts clear. This is good to do in a hot shower or bath. You should see relief within a week or so.

Pump or express enough milk to relieve the pressure, but not until you are unable to express more. After doing this, bind your breasts (ace bandages worked well for me). This reduces the "refill" space available and encourages your body to cut back the milk supply more quickly. Some women advised me to not express or pump at all, but my doctor advised against this. If your breasts are hard of painful from being full, not expressing any milk can lead to mastitis. My doctor said as long as I am just expressing enought to relieve the pressure and hardness and then stopping, I will not stimulate my body to make more milk. I had to express periodically for about a week after initiating weaning, so it shouldn't take horribly long.

Good luck!!

I've heard benadryl can help. Good luck!

Make a tea of sagebrush(rabbit brush or ephedra) and sage the common garden variety. Both fight infections and dry up secretions of the body. Milk is a secretion of the body.

I used both when my milk returned when I dry nursed a friend's baby for about forty minutes. Did not expect that and yes my glands hurt but all dried up quickly on the tea.

Good luck. Nothing clears the mind like weaning your child after nursing so long.
You've done your children's health both mental a physical a great service.

I realize this is not actually an answer to your question - but I would really encourage you to consider not weaning yet. You could consider your hurting breasts as a sign that it is not yet time to wean. Especially since your daughter is only nursing once or twice a day, it doesn't take a lot of you time, and it will still continue to provide her (and you) with many benefits, including physical health (both for general immunity and nutrition as well as extra help when she is sick), emotional wellbeing (contributing to her sense of safety and belonging), and bonding - the very special connection the two of you share, which will help her in her intimate relationships later in life. It is generally best to wean when the child is ready, unless there are strong reasons to wean sooner. Since she is only nursing once or twice a day, she may well gradually wean on her own within a few months or a year. I imagine this may be your last child, and I would encourage you to savor the special relationship until she is ready to move on (there are emotional benefits as well to letting her take the lead in weaning). La Leche League has a lot of good information, including an excellent book called How Weaning Happens (which basically encourages child-led weaning but also has information about mother-led weaning and how to help with issues such as your question).

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