The Painless Way on How to Stop Breast Feeding Cold Turkey

When it comes to weaning your baby, experts recommend that you do it as gradually as possible. This is to allow the both the mother and baby to readjust emotionally and physically. However, there is a variety of reasons why mothers would need to stop breastfeeding cold turkey.

For one, abrupt weaning is needed when the mother needs urgent medical attention that would affect the quality of her breastmilk. There is also the more unfortunate case wherein the baby or the child died.

Whatever your reasons are for stopping breastfeeding cold turkey, you should understand the fact that doing so will come with a few consequences such as mastitis, blocked ducts and a deep feeling of sadness.


With that in mind, you need to find a way on how to stop breastfeeding cold turkey painlessly. Well, we are here to help you out! Here are some of the things that you need to know:

What You Will Need

  • Milk alternative
  • Baby Bottle
  • ​Cabbage LeavesIce Pack/ Cold Compress/ Frozen Pack of Veggies
  • ​Over-the-counter pain/ anti-inflammatory medications
  • ​Nursing Pads
  • Sage Tea

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Stop Breastfeeding Cold Turkey

If you are stopping breastfeeding due to medical reasons, you should go through all the steps. If you lost your baby (our condolences!), you should skip steps 2 and 3. So are you ready to learn how to stop breastfeeding cold turkey? Read on!

Step 1. Consult with your doctor.

Consult with your doctor

Before you start the weaning process, it is recommended that you consult with your physician first. He may be able to give you some pointers on how to minimize the complications and issues that come with stopping breastfeeding cold turkey.

In addition to that, you should also seek a professional opinion on what type of food or milk alternative is best for your baby. He can also give you some suggestions on how to make the weaning easier for your baby.

Step 2. Decide on food alternatives to give to your baby.

solid food for baby

The next thing that you should consider is what type of food or milk you should give your child in place of your breastmilk. The alternative that you will choose may vary depending on the age of your baby.

If your baby is under the age of one, the most suitable choice would be a commercial infant formula. If your baby is more than one year old, you can directly transition him to whole cow’s milk, coconut milk along with solid food.

Pro Tip: Keep in mind, though, that lactose intolerance is quite common in infants. That’s why you should take caution in giving cow’s milk to your baby. Start with only a little and watch him carefully for any side effects.

Lactose intolerance in infants commonly manifests as gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Step 3. Seek support from other people.

father feeding baby

Another problem that you would face when weaning is to transition your baby from drinking through your breast to feeding using a sippy cup or a bottle. Most infants will not take a bottle or a sippy cup when it is their mother that gives it to them because they will associate her with nursing.

Because of this, you would need to ask other people to give your child the bottle.

Pro Tip: Experts claim that the father is the best person to give the bottle to your baby.

Step 4. Prevent leakage.

Prevent leakage

Since your body is used to producing milk, do not expect it to stop doing so within just a day of weaning. That’s why you should expect leakage from your breasts which may last for weeks. The best thing that you can use to manage leakage is nursing pads.

You can place these inside your bra, and it will be the one to absorb the milk that would come out of your nipples.

Step 5. Dry up your milk.

dry up your milk with cabbage

As mentioned above, milk production will persist for up to a few weeks. However, there are some simple techniques that you can use to facilitate the drying of your milk.

For one, many mothers claim that drinking sage tea has helped them to dry up their milk. Even if there are no enough scientific evidence to back this up, it may be worth a try. However, keep in mind that herbs may interact with certain medications so talk to your doctor first before drinking this tea.

Another commonly employed technique to dry up milk is to place cold cabbage leaves in your breasts. Wash, dry and remove any lumpy veins from the cabbage. Place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes then carefully arrange it inside your bra. Change the leaves after every couple of hours or once they start to wilt.

Step 6. Manage the pain.

 Apply a cool compress to your breasts

Source: Wikihow

As mentioned above, abrupt weaning will come with a few consequences and the most painful one is breast engorgement. The pain is similar to the pain that you had experienced when your milk first came in. Lucky for you, there are some ways on how you can manage the pain.

The first option that you have is to use a cold compress. You can place cold compresses, ice packs or a frozen bag of vegetables on top of your breasts to reduce swelling that causes pain.

Another technique is to take anti-inflammatory medications that can also help with the swelling. Again, it is best that you ask your doctor what is the best pain or anti-inflammatory medication you can use for your condition.

Lastly, you can try expressing a small amount of milk for comfort. Keep in mind that you should express an amount only that’s necessary. Avoid expressing too much as doing so can trigger your body to produce more milk, thereby lengthening the weaning process.

Pro Tip: Taking a warm shower can help relieve pain and is also the best time to hand express an amount of breastmilk needed to make you feel comfortable. But do not forget to shower with cold water afterwards to prevent the stimulation of milk let- down reflex.

Step 7: Check for signs of breast infection.

manage the pain

Another consequence of abrupt weaning is plugged ducts which may cause breast infection so it would be wise for you to regularly check your breast for signs of infection. These include hard lumps on the breast, severe breast pain, and fever. If you have noticed these signs, call your doctor right away.


Weaning is best done gradually, but there are some instances that would call for sudden weaning. If you are in any of these situations, then you should understand that abrupt weaning comes with consequences - pain, breast swelling, and much more.

If you wish to find a way on how to stop breastfeeding cold turkey with minimal pain, just simply follow the steps that we have mentioned above. I pray for a smooth-sailing and hassle-free weaning process for both of you and your baby!

If you do have a few questions, please share them with us in the comments section! I would love to talk to you there!

Lily Hayes

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Lily Hayes. I am a strong-willed woman who believes that motherhood is the greatest experience in this world. More...

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