There are many reasons people choose not to breastfeed or cannot physically breastfeed. If you are in the category of not breastfeeding, remember, that is okay! Do not allow others to put you on a guilt trip. It is your body and your baby, so choosing what works for you is your decision!
A bit about milk production:
About halfway through pregnancy, your body begins making colostrum. After delivery of the baby and placenta, your body will begin to make more mature milk that will start to come in after a few days. If the milk is not being used by feeding or pumping, milk production will gradually slow down and eventually stop. Around 7-10 days postpartum, hormones should return to the non-pregnant level. Here are some tips to help ease the discomfort or engorgement you may feel while your milk is drying up.
Apply cool compresses or ice packs to the breasts. Some prefer frozen peas as they shape to the breast nicely.
Take anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen.
If the discomfort is unbearable, it is ok to express a small amount of milk; but only enough to ease the discomfort. Keep in mind, though, expression at regular intervals can signal the body to produce more milk and slow down the drying up process.
Shield when showering! Stand with your breasts away from the warm water flow, as the water can stimulate milk flow, and thus, milk production.
Soothe with raw cabbage leaves inside your bra around the breasts. You can refrigerate or freeze the leaves for a nice cool sensation. There has not been a lot of research done to support cabbage reducing milk production, but it is a safe method, eases discomfort and worth a try.
If you notice any signs of mastitis, such as painful redness on a breast, possibly in a pie slice shape, or if the breast is warm to the touch, and/or you have a fever and feel tired (like you have the flu), please call your doctor right away. You might need medicine to help treat the infection. This is not something you want to put-off doing as it can get worse if not treated properly.
There are many herbal supplements and concoctions suggested on the internet as well, but please check with an herbalist and your doctor before trying any, as many can be toxic if not used properly, may have side effects you are unaware of, or may interact poorly with medications, even over-the-counter meds.
Whatever the reason for your decision, you are the only one who knows what’s best for your specific situation, and whether you choose to pump, feed from your chest or not, we support your choice and want to offer assistance, if needed. To learn about bottle feeding and formula, visit WebMD to watch how-to videos and safety tips for a great start.