23 answers

Dry up Milk Supply

I have stopped breastfeeding and I am wondering the best way to dry up my milk supply. I am VERY engorged and it is painful. Any suggestion would be appreciated. Please don't leave a reply if you are criticizing my decision to stop nursing. Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I quit by cutting out 1 feeling at a time, but you're right, it can be very painful. I put ice packs on at night and it was gone in a couple of days.

I know that a lot of people recommend sudafed to dry up milk. It has to be pseudoephedrine (I think thats what its called) not phenylephrine.

More Answers

My first of 5 children I stopped nursing cold turkey and became ingorged, later learning we shouldn't do it that way.
With the others I cut back on the number of feedings and did it slowly over a few weeks. If you some reason you do not want to nurse at all, I would manually express milk as if weaning, and gradually the supply will cut back as the supply and demand response kicks in.

I stopped cold turkey with my daughter and it hurt sooo bad! I looked like my boobs were deformed they were so huge. It took about 4 days of being morbidly engorged before I even started to dry up. I would express some milk in the shower and took tylenol for the pain, I also used the cabbage leaves and they did help.

I stopped gradually with my son and there was no pain or engorgement. If you have time and patience and want to pump to relieve the pain, you could just pump enough to relieve the engorgement,(and feed your child this) just dont not pump till you are empty. Pump for a week or so, start with 4 times per day, then gradually decrease a pumping session and it should slow the production so you are not engorged.

Good luck and good job nursing for any period of time.

Check with a lactation consultant. Mine told me that a tincture of sage is often used to dry up milk. I don't know how to make a tincture, but I imagine making something yummy with lots of sage in it might do the trick! Good luck!

Decongestants help! And the cabbage leaves really do work!

Wean off breastfeeding...you gotta train your breasts to stop producing and to slow down then you won't have so many issues with engorgement.

I stopped pumping 6mos. ago and I can still get milk out if needed, I don't leak or anything but it's still there it takes along time to be completely dried up.

You got great advice. I will just add that I haven't breastfed in 12 months, and I still produce milk. I'm not engorged, I don't leak, but when I go to manually express, some milk squirts out. (I check every month or so, just out of curiousity.)

I asked my Nurse Practitioner about this, and she said it is completely normal. It means that I am fertile and my body is ready to have another baby (even if I'm not--LOL). At my annual exam, we did check my thyroid and prolactin levels just to be safe--if they are off, it can cause milk production.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention this so you aren't freaked out or frustrated if you still have milk for months and months.

And I'll add GREAT JOB on breastfeeding at all! Pat yourself on the back--any breastmilk is great for your baby.

I stopped gradually with the help of pumping. For about 2 days I pumped every 4 hrs, next 2 days every 6 hrs, next 2 days in the morning and evening and next 2 days just in the mornings. It really worked great - no pain, no discomfort.
Hope that helps.

You can put fresh cabbage leaves on your breasts. I also heard that it helps to eat cabbage. Sage is supposed to help dry up breast milk. Many other herbs/spices are known to have drying effects: peppermint, oregano, thyme, etc. Hope that helps.

The best way is to stop slowly. That way your breasts get used to not making as much because they aren't unloading as much. But, since you have stopped already, I'd just keep pressure on them or wrap your chest and take advil for a few days. It should be better soon.
Best wishes,

I agree with other responder-If you just pump a little to relieve engorgement it sends the signal to produce less milk,because our milk glands mostly produce milk on demand and if you pump less and less every time they'll stop to produce milk eventually.Maybe this is not the fastest way,but it works.
And yeah,don't worry what others think,this is your personal decision and your breasts

I have not tried this myself, but I have heard that putting cold cabbage leaves in your bra at least helps alleviate the pain. A friend did this and said it helped, as silly as she felt!

Ypu can't quit cold turkey.... you have to gradually stop. first lessen the number of times you feed/ pump...and with each time, pump or express just enough milk from your breast so that the pain from the engorgment is gone ( don't drain your breasts completely). you should be ok and the pain should be gone within a few days.

I did pain killers and the tight sports bra. It took me 4 days for the majority of pain to go away (I stopped when daughter was about 2 months old). I think my milk supply was completely dried up within 2 weeks and did not have take pain meds any more after 4 days.

On the weekend I had my hubby feed my daughter because the less I was around when she was hungry the less pain/pressure I had, he even did the night feedings. That seemed to really help.

Congratulation for breastfeeding, no matter how long you did it! I believe even a short period of time helps you and your baby.

Now that you are done, though, try pumping (just enough to relieve discomfort but still leave the tanks full but not painfully so), ice packs applied to the area help some folks, Tylenol helps some, too. It's a supply and demand situation, it just takes a few days for your breasts to adjust to the changed in demand.

It may also help to have someone else give baby it's bottle until your breasts dry up some as for many people just thinking of feeding the baby gets the milk factory going.

PS: Try not to worry about what other people think. I'm sure you wouldn't agree with all their opinions or choices either. :-)

I never tried the cabbage leaf thing, but I heard it works. What I did was just pump for a minute or two each time I felt engorged---just enough so I felt comfortable. I also wore a sports bra (with nursing pads)--the tightness also helps. It probably took about a week. Good luck!

I did the tight sports bra (in fact I wore two at a time) and pain killer. I was REALLY uncomfortable for about 2 days and then it was all down hill.

Go and get a couple of heads of cabbage. Freeze them and place the leaves into a tight fitting bra. Replacing the leaves as soon as they start to wilt. You need to do this for about 3 days. Take some Motrin (if no Asprin allergy) every 6 hrs around the clock for about a week. You must wear a bra for 24 hours a day for at least 10 days. Off to shower of course!! Shower with only your back to the shower. Wash your hair only to the back and do very little touching to your breast. Take benadryl (if not allergy) for about three days a couple of times a day. No sex and no foreplay. Hubby needs to stay away from your breast entirely. No alcholic beverages for the next 10 days. Have someone else do as many of the feedings as possible in the next 5 days. This should take care of it.... Then enjoy your baby.... Good Luck.


Go in a warm shower, massage your breasts from the top and armpit toward your nipples and squeeze out the milk to relieve the pressure. The warmth from the shower or from a warm washcloth will help soften the tissue a little bit to make it possible for you to get some milk out. You may have to do this a few times a day for several days or longer but it will get better!

Hope that helps!

First off, good for you to write that last sentence!!!

You should or can pump just a small amount off when you are in such pain. Within a few days, your supply should go down a bit as it's getting used to not being nursed, etc.

Good luck!

www.askdrsears.com should have good info about stopping nursing, however, im not sure that any of it really helps; i had milk for 3 months after i stopped nursing my son, and another friend of mine never nursed her kids and she had milk for 3 months too!

good luck. there are suggestions to relieve engorgement pain, so i hope those things help you. again, check that website. i hope you find the info you need.

trust yourself. as far as other people criticizing you, i want you to know that ONLY YOU are the expert on your child and your relationship. NO ONE makes your decisions except you. the more you trust your needs and your baby's needs, the less that other peoples pushing information will bother you. you will be able to hear it and not feel guilt or anger about whether or not you should or want to use it. you are the mom, you do what you have to do !!! :D good luck

I quit by cutting out 1 feeling at a time, but you're right, it can be very painful. I put ice packs on at night and it was gone in a couple of days.

I know that a lot of people recommend sudafed to dry up milk. It has to be pseudoephedrine (I think thats what its called) not phenylephrine.

I did the cabbage leaf thing with my second and wish I would have known about it with my first --AMAZING!!
I just had a couple of heads of cabbage and peeled off fresh leaves every couple of hours and put them in my bra. I was dried up in about 3 days. The pain was gone after about 2.
Good luck to you!!

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