By Jacque Ordner BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC
It’s relatively easy to find information on increasing milk supply and maximizing pumping, but what happens when it’s time to pack the pump away? Weaning from the pump can be confusing and scary for some moms. With our step by step method, you can make a plan to wean from the pump safely and comfortably!
There are many reasons a mom would wish to wean, but if you are considering weaning due to breastfeeding problems, an IBCLC can help! If your desire is to continue providing breastmilk for your baby, but things aren’t going well, reach out for help! You can schedule a free consultation with one of our Spectra IBCLCs HERE.
Step 1: Determine what your goals are. Do you want to get down to just one or two pump sessions per day? Do you just need to eliminate the middle of the night sessions? Or, do you want to wean completely? Knowing your end game will help you make the best plan for you! It’s also important to remember that reducing pump sessions will result in a reduced milk supply.
Step 2: Determine when to start. Now that you know what your goals are, you can evaluate when to start the weaning process. The more milk you’re making and the more sessions you need to eliminate, the longer the process will take. Plan for at least one week per session.
Step 3: Pick a session to eliminate first. Weaning S L O W L Y is the best way to ensure you don’t end up with clogged ducts and mastitis. For this reason, we just want to pick one session to focus on at a time. Do you loathe pumping over your lunch hour? Are you gleefully daydreaming of cutting out that middle of the night pump? Think through your pumping schedule and settle on one session to whittle away first.
Step 4: Cut back slowly! Reduce the pumping session of your choice by just a few minutes. In general, reducing by 5 minutes is effective. You can keep all other sessions the same.
Step 5: Evaluate. How is your body responding to the reduced pumping time? If things are going well, continue with the next steps. Conversely, if you’re experiencing clogs or uncomfortable engorgement, consider going even slower. You can reduce by just 3 minutes and even allow a few days for adjustment before continuing to reduce.
Step 6: Repeat. If your body is adjusting to the reduced pumping time, repeat steps 4 and 5 until the session has been fully eliminated. Then, review your overall pumping schedule to determine if you need to space out your remaining sessions before choosing another one to eliminate.
Ready to tackle weaning? Need to wean faster? Schedule a free consultation with one of our IBCLCs to make a custom weaning plan. Click HERE to schedule.