It’s been 11 days since I decided to stop breastfeeding Olivia. I made the tough decision on Friday, September 20th to finally end it. Not because of “society” (I don’t care about what people think of breastfeeding for over a year) …I stopped because I felt like Olivia would breastfeed only in response to her emotions and not for feeding hunger. It was hard for me because I wanted to breastfeed her for 2 years, but all good things must come to an end, right?
I woke up that morning thinking, “Now what do I do with my breast-milk production!?”..My fear was the pain and discomfort of engorgement (which is not fun!). The only thing that I could think of was the Old Wives Tale of using cabbage to aide in drying out breast-milk. Not by eating it, but by placing it inside of your bra and letting the cabbage do all of the work. This was the safest, natural and only route I decided to take despite all of the crazy advice I was given. That Friday morning before I went to work, I stopped by a local grocery store and bought a ball of cabbage, placed pieces into my bra and yes…I cried. I cried because I knew there was no turning back. I cried because I wondered how my daughter and I would replace that bonding time that we had during breastfeeding sessions. I cried because it was a reality that my daughter is growing up 😦
Well, It’s been 11 days and my breast milk production has finally ceased. Here are some things that I learned during the process:
1) Cuff the pieces of the cabbage around your nipple, don’t cover your nipple.
2) The cabbage will not work in 1 day. It takes a full week (when used correctly) to show results.
3) You will get engorged within the first 24-48 hours, but don’t get discouraged. Continuing to place the cold pieces of cabbage around your breast provides relief!
4) Replace cabbage pieces every 3 to 4 hours.
5) Tight sports bra’s didn’t work in my favor because the bra would squeeze my boobs and my milk would end up near my collar bone! Not cool, so I wore snug, comfortable fitting bra’s to let my milk fall where it should, in my boob!
6) I believe that the decrease of milk production made my hormones go crazy. I was very emotional during that week.
7) I don’t think that cabbage actually dries out your milk, it seems to help with engorgement by releasing swelling.
8) Keep some kind of perfume or scented body spray with you at all times. Cabbage does not have the most pleasant smell!
Olivia took the change very well. Every now and then I could tell that she might want to breastfeed, but it’s never an issue. Do your research and make sure its the right decision for you and your baby if you decide to end breastfeeding. I am such an advocate for breastfeeding and I think its awesome for any amount of time. Our 18 months of breastfeeding bliss has come to an end but despite my fears, our bond is still stronger than ever.
Here are links that helped me to learn about the cabbage method: