27 answers

Feeling Engorged After Weaning

Hi Moms,
So I just weaned my 19 mo old about 4 days ago and now my breasts are engorged and really painful. Does anyone have any advice on how to relieve this? I have tried hot showers and a heating pad to get the milk to flow, but no luck. I haven't tried pumping because I'm afraid that will lead to more milk production. I don't remember going through this when I weaned my first and I would love any advice. My breasts are so painful they keep me awake at night and I cringe everytime I pick up my daughter because the tiniest bump causes pain.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I used cabbage leaves when I weaned both of my kids. It works and the cool leaves feel good actually. Good luck!

I would hand express a little, just enough to ease the engorgement. You don't want to end up with an infection.

More Answers

Hi N. -

Do you like to drink tea? If so, you can use sage or lemon balm. Buy herbs that were organically grown or wild crafted. Mix about 1T of dried herb per cup of tea. You can drink 2-6 cups of tea per day.

When making a tea with dried herbs, bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add the dried herbs - 1 Tablespoon per cup of water - cover the pot and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain the herbs and enjoy your nice relaxing cup of tea.

The tea can be kept up to 3 days in the refrigerator if you want to make a quart or 2 at a time.

If your breasts are sore, you can place chilled cabbage leaves in your bra. I know it sounds funny but it really helps relieve the sore/tender feeling. Remove the leaf when it warms up and replace with another.

If you are in Payson, stop into Chakra Botanika to get your herbs.


M. M. Ernsberger
Certified Clinical Herbalist
Certified Master Hypnotherapist
Square-foot Gardening Specialist

1 mom found this helpful

Try cabbage leaves in your bra. I know it sounds funny, but it supposedly helps with engorgement. Also, pump a little bit. I was afraid too, but my breasts would get so rock hard and painful, that I needed to, barely any milk would release, but it would help.

The same thing happened to me when I weaned my 16-month-old. I was worried that if I nursed, my milk production would increase rather than stop, but the opposite happened. 3 days after the "last" nursing, I was so uncomfortable that I broke down and nursed him. I expected that my breasts would fill up again, but they never did and that was truly our last feeding. Besides relieving the discomfort, it was nice to have the nursing bond with my son one last time. Good luck!

Oh yeah, I also used Sage Tincture (you can get it at the Herb Store) to help stop my milk production. You can also take dried sage from your kitchen and have a couple of tablespoons a day.

I just read about a product called "No More Milk Tea" by Earth Mama Angel Baby. It has sage & parsley and a few other herbs that help to dry up milk supply. I haven't tried it because I was always pregnant again while I was weaning. Anyway, there are a couple stores in the valley that carry this brand, you can find them on the website.

In the meantime, get some relief by expressing or pumping a little & using cold packs. It usually doesn't take too long for your body to adjust the supply. But you don't want to get plugged ducts in the meeantime. Good luck!

I am surprised that they are so full at 19 months! Cabbage leaves are worth a try, wear them in a bra till they are warm, then repeat. Also it might sound weird but have you tried taking something like sudafed. It dries up your nose, and your breasts. It worked for me when I did not want it too. Good luck

Go ahead and try pumping if you want... I wasn't very successful with that, I just took weaning really slowly.. like once a day, then every other day, every few days... I was never painfully engorged.

Congratulations on nursing for so long! :) I would pump just a small amount to relieve some pressure. Your body will get used to it and not make as much. I nursed mine from 9-26 months (all four different times) and I would slowly take the amount they nursed down so I never felt engorged. If you do that with the pump, just take a small amount off, it might help. Good luck!

This sounds weird, but wear a snug sports bra and put cabbage leaves over your breasts, inside the bra. It takes a day or so, but it really works! Once the leaves wilt in your bra, replace them with fresh ones. Just do that over and over, and your milk production will stop. This is what I had to do when I came home from the hospital with my second child (I didn't want to breastfeed).

I had the same thing happen to me when I weaned my twins. After about 10 days of pain I was temped to pump, but a friend told me to get cabbage leaves and put them in the freezer and then put them in your bra (I did it at night) and it worked!!! No more pain! I know it sounds crazy - but it really does work.

A little about me:
I am a proud mommy of twin boys - 20 months.

I would hand express a little, just enough to ease the engorgement. You don't want to end up with an infection.

I researched this....I found that antithistamines help dry you up. Cabbage leaves in your bra help with inflammation. Sage tea also helps you dry up.

Hi N., as the ladies say below, cabbage leaves is what works! I used that for both of my children & that really did help me out. I wore a sports bra & put the cabbage leaves in there. Follow the directions, as Kristi the nurse explains it.

Also, I was told by the nurese @ the hospital not to put my breast under the hot water because that is what stimulates them to want to produce more milk.

Ice packs work great but you may have to do a little pumping also.


I'm a nurse and we tell all the mommies to use cabbage leaves. I know it sounds weird, but it works. Keep the cabbage in the fridge. Take out one leaf per side and score the middle with a fork in the shape of and X place the X on your nipple then put your bra on like normal. When the cabbage get warm and wilted change it. It really works, you will only need one head of cabbage.

Good Luck,

Hi N.,

Cabbage leaves work, I have been told. But it is very smelly and will stain your clothes or bras. What I was told to do is to empty my boobs by either pumping or nursing one final time. Then I got 2 ace bandages and binded myself up. I wrapped my boobs up as tight as I could possibly stand it and kept those on day and night for 2 days. I never had any pain other than the discomfort of being bound. I have told several others to try this method and they have loved it! It works without pain. Good luck!

I never did have to try this, but I swore I would if the hot showers didn't work. I had a cold when I was breast feeding and the Dr. said to becareful of allergy medicine and decongestants because they could dry up the milk supply. My sister-in-law and I always said if we got engorged when weaning, we would try it. Especially at night when you'll be sleeping anyway. Maybe worth a try?

This may sound crazy but my daughter in law tried it and said it worked:

Buy a head of green cabbage and put the a couple of the leaves in your bra.

Hey, I said it sounded crazy!


I used this when I initially started nursing and I've heard it's amazing when you're weaning. You can get it at a local store and they can help with any questions/give advice that you might need. This is an easy alternative to using cabbage leaves. It's made from cabbage leaf extract.


I have always used Gentel Naturals Teething drops, they have always worked for my daughter and they aren't very exspensive. You can get them at any drug store like walgreens.

I used cabbage leaves when I weaned both of my kids. It works and the cool leaves feel good actually. Good luck!

The cabbage thing works! I did it and was only miserable for about a day. It is kind of gross but......make sure you are wearing a tight bra. I actually wrapped an ace bandage over the top of the bra too......Good luck!

N.- It's fine to pump enough to relieve the pain and pressure. It won't hurt anything. I had the same thing when I weaned and that's what was recommended to me. I also then recommended it to one of my girlfriends and it helped her as well. Good luck.

I wore a tight sports bra for two days to relieve the engorgement when I weaned my daughter at 19 months. It really seemed to help. I did pump the first day because it hurt so much, I only pumped enough to relieve the pain. It really only lasted about five days for me and then it got much better.

Hi N.,
The best thing that worked for me on my oldest two boys was weaning them gradually. However for my daughter it was different. I suggest that you use your breast pump. Don't pump for long. Just enough to release the pressure. If you pump the entire breast empty it will think you still need to keep your supply going. Also don't pump as often. I hope this helps. Good luck.

This is going to freak you out, but buy cabbage and keep leafs in the freezer and put them inside your bra. This will help with the pain and will dry your milk up faster. It's kinda gross cause when the cabbage gets warm, it stinks, but it should work in a couple of days. My doctor's nurse recommened this and it worked, but again, it's kinda stinky.

Good luck.

I remember experiencing the exact same thing when I weaned my first child. I finally pumped (only 1 time) and it completely dried up after that. After that experience and now that I'm not a fan of pumping, I would have just let my child nurse. As far as I understand it, you're milk will only continue as long as you are consistently nursing. I hope that it goes well for you.

I have been weaning my son for 4 days as well and my breast are starting to feel alot better. I have been doing a combination of cabbage on the breast (be sure to break the veins), altoids as much as i can (yes altoids the breath mint---mint helps dry up the milk..and its probably the closest you can get to real mint in such short notice) and mint tea (I'm using bigelow mint medley spearmint and peppermint..2 bags in one cup and toss a few altoids in the cup). I went from not being able to lift my arms up to minor discomfort here and there.

If all else fails---at least you'll have fresh breath.

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