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"I weaned my 18 month old daughter 2 weeks ago, when will my milk dry up completely?"
I'm a 21 year old mother of one child, an 18 month old girl. Two weeks ago I decided to wean her, due to lack of sleep from frequent night time wakings. At the time, I was breastfeeding her to sleep, plus feeding her as she woke up, 5 or 6 times, nightly. In addition to the night time feedings, I fed her maybe twice during the day. It has been 2 weeks since I weaned her and I still have milk. I am not taking any medications or pumping. When should my milk dry up completely?
The decision to breast feed or not to breast feed is a difficult one to make. As you are aware, there are many benefits for mother and child when one breast feeds. It is also true, however, that breast feeding is not for everyone and is definitely not vital to raising a healthy and happy child. When a mother stops breastfeeding, it does take some time before the milk dries up completely, as you have already found out. You also have likely noticed that it is common for the breasts to become engorged with extra milk. If this milk is not removed, the body will slowly realize that it is no longer providing milk and the appropriate changes will ensue to cease breast milk production. Usually, the entire process takes somewhere from 1-3 weeks after complete cessation of feeding, which means it could happen any day. In the meantime, remove as little milk as possible to feel comfortable (and do that by hand expressing, rather than having the baby feed). Do not use hot compresses or bother with cabbage leaves, but rather use cold compresses as needed. Stay close to your baby and give plenty of close contact, even though you are not breast feeding. You should never prop up a bottle, even in the middle of the night, as this can cause dental problems among other issues. In other words, new babies will wake you up in the middle of the night, and you should still feed them in a manner similar to when you were nursing. Your pediatrician and obstetrician will be able to give you more direct counsel, and please speak with them about your decision to stop breast feeding.
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