Whether it’s because baby is gaining weight, you’re returning to work, or simply because you want to put the pump away, it’s important to know how to stop pumping in a safe and healthy way. Abruptly stopping pumping can lead to painful engorgement, clogged ducts, or mastitis. Instead, take your time and make the transition gradual.
The most common method to wean off the pump involves reducing both the number of pumping sessions and the time spent at each session. This will help to slow breast milk production and eventually allow you to stop pumping completely.
Begin by decreasing the amount of time you pump at each session by a few minutes each week. Eventually, you will reach the point where your milk is only being pumped for the purpose of relieving fullness and to maintain your supply.
You can also lengthen the times between each pumping session. This technique is easier than reducing the length of each session because your body will reabsorb milk that isn’t expressed. Keep in mind, however, that milk production is typically highest in the morning and lowest at night. Therefore, it may be easiest to eliminate your evening pumping sessions first.
If you are still struggling to reduce your milk output, try cutting out one pumping session per day. Continue to do this over the course of a few weeks or longer, and you should be able to reduce your milk output down to a few ounces a day.