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How To Stop Breastfeeding Cold Turkey – Tips and Tricks

Breastfeeding offers wonderful benefits for both you and your baby. It encourages mother-child bonding, provides wonderful benefits for the immune system, and promotes development better than formula.

Someday, your little one will have to stop breastfeeding, though. If you’re nearing that window or have had to randomly stop breastfeeding cold turkey, these tips will help you get through this tough time. 

Increase Mother/Child Bonding Time

One of the most common things that I’ve heard from moms that have quit breastfeeding is that they miss time with their baby.

When you hold them to breastfeed them, they are instantly cradled into your arms and looking into your eyes while they are being fed. Then, it seems like they are simply too busy.

They are running, jumping, and climbing while you are left missing holding them. That doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with that feeling of loss though.

Instead, you can incorporate other bonding activities into your daily routine to make sure that you still feel close to your little one. 

Get Moving Together

If your little one is constantly on the go, get moving with them! Sing and dance around the house together. Go for a walk or jog. Enjoy playing together at the park.

You can even enjoy a mommy and me workout class together! Doing things with your little ones instantly helps you feel closer to them and helps you bond with them. Even if it’s just cleaning the house!

Eat Meals Together

Just because you’re done breastfeeding doesn’t mean that you’re done eating with your baby! You can enjoy meals together still. Granted, you won’t be holding them like a baby, but you can still help them learn how to feed themselves.

You can feed them baby food, or help them learn to pick up finger foods. Eating meals together is a great way to help you feel closer to your little one. 

Take Them With You To Do Housework

It can be a lot easier to plop your baby in a playpen while you fold laundry, but this doesn’t help you continue to bond with them. Instead, take them with you.

Plop them amid the freshly laundered towels and play peek a boo while you fold laundry.

Sit them in their high chair next to you while you wash dishes, to let them enjoy finger foods while you cook dinner. Babies will appreciate being consistently by your side, and you’ll continue to bond with them. 

Be Prepared For Discomfort

When you stop breastfeeding, you are going to feel some discomfort. Make a plan to deal with that discomfort before you stop breastfeeding to make sure that you have to deal with the least amount possible.

These tips will help make quitting breastfeeding cold turkey a little bit more bearable.

Pick Up Plenty Of Cabbage

woman putting cabbage in her bra

Pick up some cabbage and stuff plenty of it inside of your bra. It can help relieve swelling and tenderness.

This might not be feasible all the time (no one wants to carry a cooler of cabbage around), but it’s one of many tools that you can have in your tool kit to deal with suddenly stopping breastfeeding. 

Hot Water Pads

Put some hot water on a washcloth or pick up some portable heating pads (like hand warmers) to provide almost instant relief.

This can help prevent swelling in your breasts. It can also help ease some of the discomforts that you’ll have when you quit breastfeeding. 

OTC Pain Medications

Over the counter pain medications, like Ibuprofen and Tylenol, can help ease inflammation. They can also help take away a small part of the pain.

Most women use these in combination with another method, like cabbage, to help alleviate as much of the discomfort as possible. 

Pamper Yourself

After you stop breastfeeding, your hormones are going to crash. The chemistry in your body will change. It can make you feel sad. Some women experience depression.

You might start to crave carbs a lot more. Fatigue and being tired are common, too. This is all perfectly normal, but something you’ll need to get through. 

Eat Carbs And Take Naps

If you’re tired, go to sleep. If you have a craving, satisfy it. If you don’t, you’ll just be tired and more cranky than you were before. Instead, listen to your body and don’t be hard on yourself during this time. It’ll pass. 

Take It Easy

When your hormones are crashing, you’re feeling like a wreck and you’re on an emotional roller coaster, it can be overwhelming. Add the extra aspects of life, like cleaning the house and cooking dinner, into the mix and it can get to be too much.

Instead, ask others to pitch in on housework. Do the minimum. Make Hamburger Helper. Try to lessen your load a bit to give yourself more time to rest, and to make sure that you don’t put too much weight on your shoulders. 

Try Yoga Or Meditation

Yoga and meditation are both wonderful to try and use during this time. They both can help you produce some feel-good endorphins to make coping with the emotional roller coaster from your hormones a little bit easier.

Yoga is great for your body, too! Practice mindfulness to help yourself stay calm and centered during this time. 

Have A Back-Up Plan For Certain Feedings

If your little one is used to breastfeeding as they fall asleep at night, you’ll need to have a backup plan in place for that.

If not, the additional screaming and crying can instantly make you feel like you’re about to have a mental breakdown. As long as it’s an option, cut out those feedings before you quit breastfeeding. It will make it easier for both you and your little one. 

Be Prepared For Your Little One To Be Mad At You

Breastfeeding has become the norm. They love laying with you or sitting on your lap to eat. So, when you suddenly change things, they are bound to resist.

Expect your little one to scream, cry, and be mad at you. It can be heartbreaking but trust that this will also pass. Your little one will eventually adjust to not being able to breastfeed anymore, just like you will. 

You’re Going To Leak

Pick up some nursing pads. If that’s not an option, cut maxi pads in half. I guarantee you that you will need something to help with the leaking!

If you’re just now quitting breastfeeding cold turkey and it hasn’t started yet, it’s best to prepare now by picking some up. Once your milk dries up, this will pass. 

Try To Resist Pumping

If you’re so engorged that it’s unbearable, only pump enough to provide yourself with some relief. Don’t pump more than you absolutely have to.

The more you pump, the more milk your body will produce. This can mean that it will take longer for your milk to dry up. All it does is prolong the uncomfortable symptoms.

breast pumps and a mother with her child

Don’t Bind Your Breasts

There is a common belief that if you wear a tight bra or somehow bind your breasts it can help your milk dry up faster. However, this is simply not true.

In fact, if you bind your breasts it can result in you getting mastitis. This can turn into a very painful infection. Instead, wear a bra that fits you well, but is not too tight.

Your milk will dry up in time. It can seem like it’s taking forever, and you might be desperate to try anything at this point, but it’s better to be safe instead of sorry when it comes to binding your breasts. 

In Conclusion

Quitting breastfeeding cold turkey can be a challenge. It changes your body, your breasts, and your child will have to adjust.

Make sure you are prepared to pamper yourself, handle leaks, deal with temper tantrums, and eat plenty of carbs! You’ll get through this.