One of the causes of mastitis is poor drainage from the breast during weaning. Therefore, it is important that specific instructions are followed when reducing the amount of milk that is produced during weaning.
*It is important to continue draining the breasts when suffering mastitis. For this reason it is not recommended to wean during this time.
How to carry out weaning properly for the mammary gland
Weaning is the process according to which the baby stops breastfeeding exclusively and reduces it until the feedings are completely eliminated. This process can occur naturally for months or even years, or it can be directed by the mother and reduced more abruptly.
Regardless of the baby’s age or reaction to a weaning situation, whether gradual or abrupt, the fact of reducing the mother’s milk production requires a follow-up of its evolution in order to avoid complications: milk retention, pain, mastitis …
Weaning is part of lactation so we must continue to accompany the mother during weaning, controlling and acting in the event that milk retention occurs. If this is the case, it is necessary to encourage draining the breast until these lumps are reduced and you stop feeling pain or discomfort.
The amount of milk that you express should be proportional to the discomfort and be careful not to express too much milk as we could stimulate the breast more and achieve the opposite effect: produce more milk.
If there is pain, discomfort or lumps, it is advisable to apply a cold compress (never apply heat), massage the breast, express milk and even take anti-inflammatories.
Ineffective or dangerous practices during weaning
As we commented before, to avoid mastitis during weaning it is important that if the mother needs it, she continues to drain on the breast. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid techniques such as: swaddling the breasts like they did in the past or to give guidelines recommending to avoid the pumping of milk.
It is also not advisable to stop ingesting liquids because the production of milk is not related to the amount of liquids we drink but to the stimulation of the breast.
The indication to administer cabergoline (Dostinex(r)) is neither adequate nor effective when breastfeeding has already begun and the mother has been breastfeeding for months or weeks. The medication appears to be effective only if taken immediately after delivery, as it acts as a prolactin inhibitor and interferes with the onset of lactogenesis II.
Recommended weaning practices
To achieve a successful weaning we can extract an adequate amount of milk whenever there is discomfort or lumps. The mother must be informed that in order to ensure that the breast does not bother her, she must express a little less milk every day in order to achieve a physiological reduction in milk production.
And remind the mother that even months or years after weaning, if she manipulates the breast, she is likely to experience the appearance of secretion from the nipple. As long as this does not happen spontaneously, it is a very common and benign situation.