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140. The Truth About Eliminating Lactation Right After Birth

Did you know that IBCLC's help with stopping lactation, just as much as we help with starting lactation? Even when our clients wish to stop lactating right after birth. If you plan to give donor milk or formula from the beginning, and stop lactation, then this episode is for you!

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Read the full transcript here:


Welcome to the breezy babies podcast. This is episode 140. The truth about eliminating lactation right after birth? Could you use more confidence as a parent? Welcome to the happy place for boobs and babies. You're in good hands. Breezy babies is where we ease your transition into parenthood because it's a bumpy road. Am I right? I'm your host Bri the IBCLC. And if you'd like to make life as a parent more breezy, you're in the right place. I'm here to deliver small bite sized tips and tricks so you can crush your parenting and lactation goals. I'm honored to be on this journey with you. Let's go. Hello, so good to be back with you today. I just put my baby down for a nap. Of course, like you know, like I always do before I come to record this podcast, but I quickly realized that I needed to put myself down for a nap as well. So I did. Luckily my baby takes longer naps than I do. So I'm feeling refreshed and ready and still have some time to come and talk to you today. I have a little bit of a different topic to talk about today. I don't talk about this a whole lot. But I recently met with a client where we talked about cutting out lactation stopping lactation right after giving birth. And I thought what a great idea for a podcast episode. And I'll explain a little bit why I think that is such an important topic. And you might be surprised to hear that coming from a lactation consultant. But it was a really cool experience meeting with this client recently. And I want to share a bit more about it with you. But before I get into that, I want to read a really short and sweet five star review from Julie freed. This was a very recent Google review that was left for the breezy babies team. And Julie said 10 out of 10 Absolutely the best of the best Did you know that leaving a review means everything to a small business. So thank you Julie so much for leaving that review. So appreciated. Okay, and one other thing before I get into my story about the client that I recently met with I want to tell you how much I love my stairwells bag for going to in person lactation consultation. This, by the way is not a sponsored post. I just truly love their bag and holds all my supplies for going to my consultations and it's cute. When I first started private practice, I needed a bag to carry all my stuff and I didn't really have anything so I just grabbed an old beach bag, striped a beach bag, it worked for a lot of years but over time, it kind of got over full and my my baby that I carry around for lactation visits my baby doll. My real life baby that I carry around to lactation visits was always like hanging out the top of it and it just looked like not very professional. So in the last oh my gosh, it's probably been at least a year since I've had my stairwells bag. I love it. Everything fits in nicely, I can zip it up. There's different compartments to hold on my all my supplies. Technically, it's a pumping bag, but it works perfectly for consultations. As a lactation consultant. If you would like to check out Sarah wells, I wanted to share my affiliate discount code with you. It's breezy, 15 for 15% off at Sarah Wells We'll put that link and that discount code in the show notes if you are looking for a new fabulous pumping bag in your life or if you happen to be a lactation consultant that does in home visits I would highly suggest as Sarah wills bag. Okay, I'm ready to tell you the story about a client that I recently met with. She actually lives locally to me. We met over secure video though, which I call telehealth.
So she actually had no interest in breastfeeding after her baby was going to be born. Which is why I made a point to tell her how awesome she was for setting up a consultation with me because that would be scary, right? Setting up a consultation with a lactation consultant when you actually don't want to breastfeed at all. And guess what she was self pay nonetheless. The majority of our clients here at breezy babies are actually covered by insurance which means that they get free consults. Now in order to qualify for free consults my clients have to be lactating. They have to be lactating and producing breast milk at some level. What exactly does that mean? It means that clients who are pregnant in their second trimester or beyond are lactating. It means that after birth, and all throughout their feeding journey, they're lactating, obviously, but it also means that they're covered through free consultations all throughout the weaning process, even up until their last drop of breast milk, which PS it can take weeks and months for the full weaning process to happen. I currently have a handful of clients that I've been meeting with over the last year, we met initially about latching and positioning and supply and all that regular stuff. But then we also met when mom was returning to work as an example, or when baby was starting solids, and the parents wanted to find a good balance between breast milk and solids. And we also met in some instances when mom was sick or started her period or had unexpected dips in supply. I met with moms before they left on a trip and had questions about pumping and leaving behind breast milk while they were gone, and bobble bottle feeding. I met with parents when the weaning process was ready to start as well. So it's so fun to see that full process from beginning to end, all the way through. But back to my client who was planning to stop lactation as soon as possible. She was technically lactating at that point. While some insurances may have covered that she chose to do a console even though she was self pay, which I just I really have to applaud her for that. I'm just so impressed with her taking a proactive approach to make the transition as painless as possible. It just it's so smart. And I told her how much I love doing consultations about things a little bit different than the norm that I teach about so often. I've had very few clients over the years set up a consultation with me about this exact topic that I'm talking about today. But I know there are many of you out there who might just be interested in learning about this as well, but you just don't know who to ask. Again, I'm going to say lactation consultants help just as much with stopping lactation just as much as we help with starting lactation. So don't be scared to ask help from an IBCLC will all IBCLCs be as understanding. Maybe not there may be some that judge your choice. But in the end, it is your choice. My feeding and lactation goals are never my client's goals. I can't and shouldn't project that onto them. Sure I've chosen to breastfeed all four of my kids until at least one year, does that mean that should be the goal for all of my clients to no weight. Everyone has different circumstances with life and work and also just different anatomy and hormonal differences just to name a few. What I'm trying to say is if your lactation consultant judges your lactation goals and tries to change them, then find a new lactation consultant. In this day and age of telehealth, you have access to another IBCLC no matter where you live. Did you know that the I in IBCLC stands for International? It's an international certification I have so yes, I can meet with anyone in the world. And not just those that live in Utah. That's not the case for all professions. Usually, most health health care professionals are restricted to only a certain state that they can practice in or a certain region that they can practice in. Anyway, back to my client. I really appreciate that she trusted in me I want to share with you some of the main points we went through during her consultation because I No, no, no, that there are others out there who also want to go straight to Formula after birth, and not breastfeed at all. But at the same time, they want to make sure that their breasts are taken care of. So let me share with you today. And of course this does not take the place of meeting one on one with an IBCLC when I met with my client recently, I was able to answer specific questions that she had that applied to her birthing goals and her sperm specific circumstances. I was able to see her health history and medications she's taking to really tailor our plan of care for her. This podcast is not medical advice. It never is. I am not your IBCLC until you hire me and sign a consent inform saying that I can give you medical advice. But with that in mind, let's jump into my general top three tips for suppressing lactation after birth. Okay, tip number one is consider alternative feeding methods like donor milk or formula. So if you are considering going through this process of stopping lactation right after birth. First you want to think what are your goals? Will you exclusively use formula? Do you have a friend or a family member or someone else you know that is willing to donate breast milk to you. donor milk might sound a bit crazy or impossible, but I see it happen all the time on mommy Facebook groups, mom's offering their extra breast milk for those who want it others who are putting out and ask for anyone with extra breast milk on hand. Now that's in the mommy Facebook group here in Utah that I'm a part of, but I know that almost every state and probably even around the world, they have sites like that where you can share your breast milk with others or ask for others to share their breast milk with you. Now, I know that you might be thinking why would a person give donor breast milk if they don't want to give their own breast milk? There can be a lot of different reasons for this. One possibility is a parent who just doesn't feel comfortable with latching or even exclusively pumping, maybe because of a sexual or mental abuse system situation. Maybe after that abuse. They just aren't interested in breastfeeding directly, but they still want to provide their baby with the benefits of breast milk. That would be a unique situation, but not an impossible one. Again, I've seen all ends of the spectrum when it comes to breastfeeding and lactating goals. So I'm here to support parents with wherever they land and whoever your ibclc is, they should also support your goals and where you want to land on that spectrum. The more common situation with this first tip is families who choose to formula feed only as they work to dry up their milk supply. So if you know of a family who was planning to do that, can you share this podcast episode with them? Chances are they have questions, but they would never think to seek out a podcast all about boobs and breastfeeding, right.
So please share this episode with them. A last thought on this tip. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, you can breastfeed a little and given the majority of formula, you can give half donor milk and half formula you can do any combination that works for you. As long as you're using safe feeding methods, of course, like preparing the formula appropriately, for example, according to the directions on the label and not doing your own mixture. Also if you plan to not breastfeed at all. But after delivery, you have this small angling to try and latch and feed baby colostrum. You can your feeding plan is never set in stone goals can change over time. Okay, tip number two is take care of your breasts and avoid pain. This is a really important one. And the main reason why my clients set up a consultation with me she wanted to avoid any pain, which I totally get. That's a really smart thing to avoid after having a baby. So here's some tips that we talked about. These are just some general tips. But of course you want to work one on one with your ibclc to get specific tips that are tailored towards you in your situation. So some possibilities are to wear a supportive sports bra but nothing too tight. We really want to avoid binding the breasts This is why you don't do a Google search on how to stop lactation because you're probably going to see something that talks about an ace bandage that you can wrap up your chest very tightly to stop lactating. I actually have been to a presentation on lactation where they talked about how binding the breast tightly to stop lactation can actually do permanent damage so not something that we're going for right? So we're not binding the breast tightly but we do want a supportive sports bra and it might be smart to not use underwire during this time. Cold can be your best friend. And you know I'm going to talk about breast massage and breast gymnastics when needed. I love these two things. I teach pretty much any client that I meet with about breast milk That and breast gymnastics, even my client who was not wanting to lactate at all. Why? Because I wanted her to watch closely for any clogged ducts, and I really wanted her to avoid mastitis. If you are not sure what breast massage and breast gymnastics are working one on one with an ibclc as smart or you can also check out my Instagram at breezy babies. And I do have some videos and highlight bubbles on there about both of these things, the breast massage and the breast gymnastics. Something else that might be smart is them pain relief for inflammation may be ibuprofen, and maybe acetaminophen. But again, this is going to be very tailored very specific to to your circumstances, you are going to want to be careful about no stimulation. So who don't want anything that's going to brush against your nipples. Even just letting the water in the shower hit your front side, as you're going through this process of decreasing your milk supply and completely drying it up. You don't even want the water to hit your front side in the shower. So even your shirt when you're turning, if that stimulates your nipples, that's not going to serve you well. Now, some of my clients, I would recommend for them possibly cabbage leaves, or extra strength Cabo cream could be some great options. One thing that's really important during this is stay hydrated and eat nutritious foods. There could be situations where you're thinking, Oh, if I drink a lot of water, I'm going to make a lot of milk and I don't want to make milk so I'm not going to drink water. No, no, no, we still want to feel yield that fuel you that's really important during the postpartum period, fueling your will is very important. Staying hydrated is very important. So part of our plan is not going to be to starve your body of those important nutrients and water during the postpartum period. Now, you probably already know that there are some medications that can decrease supplies such as birth control with estrogen, decongestants, such as such as Sudafed, sage, and peppermint, no more milk team. Again, this is something that would be very specific, very specialized, that you would want to talk about with your ibclc. After looking into your health history, and what medications you're currently currently taking, to see if one of those things would be a good fit for you. Overall, the best plan is to gradually decrease supply with this. So some hand expression might be necessary. Using a hand pump might be necessary. For example, every four hours, maybe for five minutes, you are hand expressing or using a hand pump for the first day or two. Then after that every five hours for three to four minutes, you're using a hand pump or hand expressing and then maybe just a few times per day after that you're using a hand pump or hand expressing Do you see how that's a slowly letting letting down and coming down instead of just going cold turkey which does not work well for everyone. Now, I do want to say there are some people that just never felt fullness and just didn't really have a hard transition of of suppressing their their milk supply after giving birth. And there's others that really try hard to not stimulate their nipples and, and go through this process. And yet, they just still have so much milk coming in. So this journey is gonna look very, very different from person to person. But overall, removing just enough milk to soften the breast but not empty them can be super helpful. And while you're doing that, you might want to consider how you feel about feeding that milk that you are hand expressing or pumping to your baby. It's a possibility maybe you feel comfortable giving them that colostrum, that early milk as your as your hand expressing or pumping it anyway, and maybe you don't. But it's just something to think about and include in your in your lactating goals, and what your plan is going to be going into this. And then my last tip for you is be patient and enjoy your baby. This whole process of weaning again can take several weeks. It's not always just like due to turning off the faucet right after birth and it's just done like that. This can be a bit of a process it takes some steps down. So you're gonna want to be a little gentle with yourself and and just go easy because this could take some time. And I also would recommend to still do skin to skin with your baby, both after the birth and even all the way into the postpartum period. Doing skin to skin with your baby is not just about oh, then we latch and then we breastfeed and skin to skin is only for that no skin, the skin is also about bonding, it's about regulation, it's about that connection, your baby has just spent nine months, maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less inside of your belly, and they still want to be near you, they want to smell you and hear your heart beating. And that closeness is so important. It's kind of like coming back home. And I also think of skin to skin time with your baby as kind of like a reset button. So just because some families are not breastfeeding doesn't mean that skin a skin is off limits for them or that they shouldn't do it. I still totally recommend to do skin to skin with your baby. Okay, there you have it, are you feeling a little bit more confident about going through this process of suppressing lactation after birth. Again, working with IBCLCs are still an important part of this. We do help with stopping lactating just as much as we help with starting again, the top three tips that I talked about today are number one, consider alternative feeding methods like donor milk or formula. Tip number two was take care of your breasts and avoid pain. And tip number three was Be patient and enjoy your baby. Again, if this process of stopping lactation after birth does not apply with you, I promise there's someone you know in your life who does need this information and I would so appreciate it if you would share this podcast episode with them. I will be back next week for more great information for you. I hope to see you there. And of course I'm gonna leave you with you're strong, you're smart, you're beautiful. You're a good friend to all. Bye.
Bye. If you would like more help, check us out at breezy It's the happy place for boobs and babies, where you can take an online workshop on topics from breastfeeding to baby gas. Learn baby massage, get a pumping plan before returning to work and even get one on one lactation help from our IBCLCs we meet with families both in home and also all over the world via secure video and guess what? These lactation consultations might even be covered by your insurance. Click the link in the show notes or visit breezy to see if you qualify. Also connect with us at breezy babies on Instagram and YouTube. And last if you love what we do, please leave us a review on Google or Apple podcasts bye.


The truth about eliminating lactation.

How much I love my Sarah Wells bag.

What does it mean to qualify for free consultations?

My lactation goals are never my client's goals.

Consider alternative feeding methods like donor breast milk.

Support your breastfeeding goals.

Tips on how to stop lactation.

Pain relief for postpartum.

Hand-expressing or hand-pumping.

Be patient and enjoy your baby.

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