How To Stop Breastfeeding Without Getting Mastitis

Are you worried about getting mastitis upon weaning your baby from breastfeeding?

Is there a way to lower the risk or even prevent mastitis from occurring?

What precautions can be taken to reduce the chance of mastitis when stopping breastfeeding?

If you are searching for answers to the any of the questions above, you're definitely in the RIGHT place. Read on...

  • Between 3% and 20% of breastfeeding mothers develop mastitis 
  • Symptoms include redness, soreness, and warmth in the breasts 
  • Abruptly weaning from breastfeeding can cause mastitis 
  • Slowly decreasing milk production can help prevent mastitis

With this article we'll help you understand mastitis, we'll explain how it sometimes happens as you stop breastfeeding, and give you tips for avoiding its development. We'll also discuss some natural at-home treatments and medical treatments for mastitis. By the end of this post you'll know how to stop breastfeeding properly! READ ON...

Weaning is a natural, inevitable stage in your child's development. Even so, it's not uncommon to experience mixed emotions and physical changes during this time. While there's new-found freedom, there's also some sadness of the passing of this intimate part of life.

Mastitis is a very common condition; between 3% and 20% of breastfeeding mothers develop mastitis. We understand it's an uncomfortable condition, but luckily it's easily treatable. If you're one of the many breastfeeding mothers wondering how to get through this troublesome annoying illness then you've come to the right place.

How To Stop Breastfeeding  Without Getting Mastitis

How To Stop Breastfeeding
Without Getting Mastitis

Your body makes breast milk as it's needed. Milk released by baby or by pump is quickly replaced until the breast is full again. When the breast is full, a message is sent to the body saying to slow production.

We know that abruptly weaning can cause mastitis, but it is possible to gradually decrease breast milk production. Use these following tips to down-regulate milk production which will in turn help you stop breastfeeding without getting mastitis.

  • Lengthen the time between feedings and/or pumping sessions over time.
  • Decrease the amount of milk released with each session. Express just enough milk to feel comfortable. Leaving your breasts overly full during this process could put you at risk of mastitis.
  • Stop breastfeeding slowly over several weeks to allow them naturally adjust.

Treatments for Mastitis

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Natural Home Remedies for Mastitis

Moderate warmth helps trigger milk letdown and gives pain relief. The warmth also helps get milk flowing. Moist heat such as a shower out wet compress is most effective.

Gentle massage works much in the same way as warmth in that it relieves pain and helps get milk flowing. Warmth and massage are often combined.

***PLEASE NOTE: Even while you have mastitis, you still need to empty your breasts. If breastfeeding you will need to hand express or pump. Mastitis will become worse if you stop expressing milk.

Pharmacological Solutions for Mastitis

Although pregnant and lactating women are limited as to what medications they can take, there are pharmacological options available when necessary. Of course, speak to your doctor before taking any medication or supplement.

conservative treatments

If symptoms are mild then over-the-counter remedies may be helpful. Anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen, and analgesics such acetaminophen can be used to help mom feel more comfortable. Aspirin should definitely be avoided.

If symptoms may longer than 24 hours, get worse, or conservative treatments don't work then you should see a doctor. He/she will do a full assessment and prescribe antibiotics or other pain relievers. Common antibiotics include dicloxacillin or fucloxacillin, and cephalexin.

What is Mastitis?

Clinical definition

Mastitis is usually clinically defined as “a tender, hot, swollen, wedge-shaped area of breast associated with temperature of 38.5C (101.3F) or greater, chills, flu-like aching, and systemic illness...Redness, pain, and heat may all be present when an area of the breast is engorged or ‘‘blocked’’/‘‘plugged,’’ but an infection is not necessarily present.”

Mastitis can easily be defined as spontaneous inflammation of the breast tissue though our discussion will focus on mastitis as it presents in breastfeeding women.


Noticing mastitis includes the following symptoms:

tender lump under the skin
  • Breasts that are any combination of red, hard, sore, hot, and/or swollen.
  • Red streaks or lines on the surface of the breast.
  • A tender lump under the skin.
  • Feeling achy or rundown similar to flu.

How Mastitis Relates to Breastfeeding 

Contributors for Mastitis 

Mastitis is generally avoidable and not serious. Women who are breastfeeding are more susceptible to developing it. There are several breastfeeding behaviors that can contribute to the development of mastitis.

  • Abrupt weaning contributes to mastitis because ducts can become painfully engorged.
  • A shallow latch or poorly fitted nipple shield are also risk factors. Engorgement or blocked ducts can occur when a baby is not properly emptying a breast.
  • Tight clothing such as a bra, or even the straps of a heavy bag, pressing on the glandular tissue in the breast could interfere with milk flow.
  • Infrequent emptying of the breast due to separation from the mother, or who I'd feeding less due to illness.

Best Practices for Preventing Mastitis

In general, good habits such as the following prevent mastitis:

Feed equally from both breasts.
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    Drink plenty of water and avoid dehydration.
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    Prevent sore cracked nipples.
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    Feed equally from both breasts.
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    Completely empty breasts.
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    Bedside hand washing has been shown to reduce the incidence of mastitis.


Mastitis is a very common condition of breastfeeding mothers, though not a serious one. Most episodes clear up with conservative over-the-counter treatments. As long as you use good breastfeeding practices you should encounter very few problems.



Additional Research

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