Whether exclusively pumping or combining breastfeeding with pumping sessions, weaning off the breast pump must be done similarly to weaning your baby from the breast. With improper weaning, you may experience breast infections such as mastitis, discomfort from engorgement and sudden hormonal changes that can cause depression, according to Debbie Donovan, a board-certified Lactation Consultant and former La Leche League leader. Use more gradual means when weaning yourself from the breast pump to ease your body into this transition.
Drop one pumping session every three to seven days to gradually eliminate pumping. Only eliminate pumping sessions as it feels comfortable. You may need to start with pumping less and less at a session before completely dropping it.
Pump only enough milk at each session as needed to decrease engorgement and make your breasts feel soft enough to make you comfortable.
Increase the time between pumping sessions. If you pump every three hours, try waiting for 3 1/2 hours and increase the time between sessions by a half hour each day.
Decrease the time you pump by only a few minutes at each session. Start by reducing your 20 minute pumping sessions to 18 minutes. After a few days, drop your pumping time to 16 minutes. Decrease the pumping time as you feel comfortable until you reduce your time to nothing.
Place cold refrigerated pieces of cabbage or cold compresses available from breast pump manufacturers in your bra to ease pain and reduce slight engorgement.