It would take time to wean your baby simply because this is a gradual process so never do it abruptly. In general, stopping breastfeeding cold turkey could be quite challenging for both the baby as well as the mother. But most of moms will eventually come to the time when weaning their kid is unavoidable.


Even though you would definitely miss most of the special moments feeding your kid, it could be pleasant to know that you could go and eat everything you want from that time. So let us show you on how to stop breastfeeding cold turkey.

Health risks for a weaning mom

Maybe you need to wean your kid due to several inevitable situations. For example, your doctor would have suggested you not to breastfeed as you are taking a particular dose or ill. It could also be simply because you need to go somewhere for some time so your kid will be away from you.

In general, stopping breastfeeding cold turkey would have some effects on the body of women in various ways:

​1. Engorgement and pain

When you are breastfeeding, the body is used to making milk based on the demand of your baby. Now that you stop this process, it would definitely build up a considerable amount of milk in your breast, like a balloon that is overflowed. As a result, the breasts would expand to provide more room for all that amount of mild.

It is really a painful feeling, so you need to prepare for this situation. In addition, always remember to make a gradual process, instead of abrupt stop.

2. Abscess or breast infection

Infection and mastitis often happen to some weaning mothers. Its common signs might include pain, redness of your breasts and perhaps fever. See your doctor as soon as you experienced the first signs of infection.

3. Aggravation of depression or feeling of loss

Sometimes, stopping breastfeeding cold turkey could make a woman feel inadequate or incompetent and even result in depression. In addition, as prolactin and oxytocin hormones help to calm both baby and mother, the sudden withdrawal of hormone could make a mother feel stressful and cause her emotions to work improperly.

Health Risks of Cold Turkey Weaning to Baby

Abrupt withdrawal from breastfeeding could be also stressful to your baby. In addition, it could have effects on his or her well-being and health in a lot of aspects, especially on:

1. Loss of protective function in breast milk that would calm the baby

In fact, the breast milk of a mother helps to keep a kid calm and also stabilize the tummy of your baby, thereby keeping him from some common illnesses. Stopping breastfeeding cold turkey could make your kid colicky and irritable. Moreover, loss of mother’s comforting breasts could make him or her cry constantly for hours, which happens not very often before when your kid is still being breastfed.

2. Increased risks of contracting infection

As said before, breast milk of the mother helps to keep the tummy of a baby in check. When you stop breastfeeding, he or she has to change to formula milk and eat solid food, which could increase the possibility of diarrhea and stomach flu. To avoid this, try to introduce just one type of food each week and not to overwhelm the tummy of your baby.

3. Drop in weight

If you do not wean gradually but abruptly, your kid could lose the primary source of food and would need time to get used to new solid or formula foods. In fact, new flavors and tastes could make your kid hesitate to eat. Along with the feeling of loss because of routine change, you kid would feel down quickly, thereby having negative effect the weight as well as slow down his or her growth.

How to stop milk cold turkey effectively

No massage, no pump: We suggest you not to express the milk only to relieve your engorgement or pain. In other words, do not pump and stimulate the breast, but endure your pain whether you must. Eventually, the milk would dry up and could be reabsorbed to the body.

Use cabbage leaves: You could attempt to wrap the sore breasts by cabbage leaves. Moreover, you could also crush the leaves and then spread it on your breasts to increase drying potency.

Ice pack: You could also use cold compress or an ice pack to relieve breast pain or engorgement.

Natural treatments: You might try to use peppermint oil or sage to relieve the pain in your chest. You could also drink peppermint tea or sage. Those types of herb could make you calm during the process of drying up the milk.

Nancy D. Richardson

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