36 answers

How to relieve breast pain during weaning?

I am despratly trying to wean my 8 month old but I am so engorged. I haven't breastfed her since monday and I feel like I will explode. She keeps nudging me there hoping I will start to feed her and I feel like screaming and crying. Is there anything I can do for the pain? I know I shouldn't pump because that will just keep my breasts making milk. I have went from a B/C to a DD. They are rock hard. Please does anyone know what I can do to relieve myself?

What can I do next?


To relieve breast pain during weasning, some moms recommend cabbage leaves and pads. Take a hot shower and squeeze out all the milk you can and then when you get out put cabbage leaf and a pad in your bra. You will probably have to do it for a couple of days but it will help a lot. If the pain got worst, contact your lactation professional.

So What Happened?™

I had to take medication that is harmful to her, plus because of tests I have radioactive milk. It looks green. eww. One side has started to go down, the other is still too full. I can't express it because there is no nipple to hold on to. It is that full. I think it has gone down some though.

Featured Answers

Hi J.,
When I left the hospital from having my sons, they didnt give me any medicine to dry me up, they wrapped muh boobs up with 2 ace bandages, and told me to wear them for about a week or 2, that would help with the pain and lift them up for support and help dry them up, and it worked for me! good luck!

I had the same problem when I was weaning my first child. Pump just a little bit to ease the pain, and then you will dry up within a day or so. That is was worked for me.

You can actually take some sudafed and it will help dry everything up quicker. Cabbage leaves will help to relieve some of the pain, as well as ibuprofen. I hope that you get some relief soon.

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Weaning does not mean to stop nursing all at once. Try taking away a feeding at a time, that will help you not be so engorged or pump one less time a day. For the pain, take tylenol or advil. I learned this the hard way. With my first I stopped breastfeeding suddenly. It took almost two weeks for the engorgement to go down enough that it didn't hurt to the touch and even a month later the sides of my armpits/breasts were still tender.

1 mom found this helpful

Weaning is something you should do gradually. Decrease your nursing sessions by one a day for a few days then decrease by another session and so on...go slow. Your body will get the picture and decrease the milk supply as you nurse less. It should not be painful.

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Bless your heart. I know what your going through. I tried to quit cold turkey but after a half day i was over it. I started out slowly like cuttin on a cpl of feedings a day each day. And then i started breastfeeding only at nite and in the mornings. And then just stopped. Since you baby is already stopped breast feeding, you could pump a little bit to feel relief, don't empty the breast that is what triggers them to produce more milk. You can pump a little every time you get full and eventually they will stop producing milk. you can also go to www.breastfeeding.com and that will give you alot of information on what to do. That is where i found out how to wean. In the mean time go get in the shower and warm water over your breast to empty them some. And the cabbage leaves cold will also work to helpyour pain. Make sure you watch for mastitis. Good luck girl..
It is ok to pump just dont empty..


Unfortunately, I wasn't able to breastfeed either of my children due to medical problems that caused me to have a low milk supply, so I'm no expert. But, I have heard that cold cabbage leaves help, not only because they are cold, but because there is something in them that will actually cause your milk supply to dry up. Not sure if it's true.... Also, I don't think it would really matter TOO much if you took a shower and expressed just enough to be comfortable and then next time try to decrease the amount. I think going from full nursing to none so drastically is the problem. Your body may just need a little more gradual change.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

If you only express enough milk to releive yourself but DO NOT empty your breasts then the milk will stop making as much until you aren't making very much at all and then nothing. I have breastfed both of my children and this was how I did it. Good luck.

Please. please pump to comfort. Do not allow yourself to become so engorged that you get mastitis or an abcess.
It is avsolutely correct that you do not want to pump and pump and pump - as that will stimulate more milk production. However, it is perfectly fine to "Pump to comfort".
It is also OK to ask your doctor about over-the-counter pain releivers.
Some mothers also find cold compresses help with the discomfort (a bag of frozen peas or kernal corn works well).
The safest way to wean, though, is to eliminate one feeding at a time - allowing your body time to adjust the milk supply between.
If you need more information or suggestions, please let me know.
L. G

Its been years since this happened to me, but i remember thinking, if it wasn't for the extreme pain, i kinda looked like pam anderson!!! anyway, i found that standing in the shower and slowing making the water as hot as i could stand it and let it hit directly on the boobs. it took me about 7 days for them to slowly go down. but they should . just remember to wear those pad things because you will leak at the weirest times. like standing in the grocery line, and hearing another child cry might set it off. ice might help too (use a bag of frozen peas or something), and if yo are sure you're not going to beast feed anymore, naproxen works good. well i hope that helps!!!. take a picture (with a shirt on of course) so you will remember exactly what perky DD's look like!!!

Hello and how are things going so far now? the best thing to do is always use the hottest water you can stand and i mean really hot and soak towels in it and place it on your breast as often as you need and it will make them go down and it feels so good....another thing you can do is ask your Dr. and he can give you a pill that will help dry them up alot faster. Good luck and please let me know how your doing.... D.


It does hurt. My sons only breastfed for 10 days. I expressed with my hands for a while and when I wasn't doing that I was wearing a Sports bra that was a little too tight. It will keep your breasts from sagging a little and your body heat will help dry the milk up a little faster. But since you breastfed your child, start slowing weening her and yourself off from it. Take one time a day for a week away, then two a day the next week. and so on until you are completely thru breastfeeding in 1 day time. by then you should be almost completely dried up and then use the sports bras
Hope this helps. Hugs

I was told by my lactation consultant to stand over a big bowl of very warm water and place my breasts in it. It would relieve the pressure and not tell my breasts to keep making milk. As soon as I put my breasts in the bowl of warm water, they just started spewing milk and I didn't have to do a thing! It was great relief and breasts finally got the idea. Hope this helps for when you can't take a warm shower.

I started pumping within 24 hours due to my son being in the NICU. When he was 5 months old I was pumping 20oz of milk every 4 hours. I am not the type that can do a little today and less tomorrow. I stopped cold turkey and I paid for it. I was told to us cabbage in my bra. It sounds strange I know but I guess it is the cold I don't know but it did help. What helped me the most was getting in a bath of warm water and letting the leak. As long as you don't stimulate it will not cause more milk to produce it will just help with the pain. I would get on my tummy in the tub and I would stay sometimes until the water was almost more milk then water.
Good luck!

You actully should pump just enough to ease the pain. As long as you don't empty them completely you will not increase you milk supply. When I weaned both my girls, I cut out one feeding a day for a week then by week #2 had completely weaned them and just pumped once or twice a day. When I pumped it was just enough to ease that full feeling. You definitely don't want to get engorged, that could cause a breast infection and that is NO fun.
Good luck.

You can apply a warm wash cloth, and let it sit. You can express a little in the shower, this will relieve some, but will not encourage production. You can do the cabage thing, put cabage on your breasts when they hurt, this will also dry them out.

I just weaned my son and had the same problem. I am not sure if you have doen this or not, but I weaned by dropping one feeding per day until I was down to only one feeding a day. Even still I became engorged. I called my Dr. and she recommended taking extra strength Tylenol and also putting a wash cloth with warm water on my breast to help with the pain and massaging the breasts. It helped eventually although it took some time. I also would breast feed my son every couple of days (when it became too unbearable) and each time tried to go a day or two longer before feeding. It took a couple of weeks but I am finally finished. I have also heard that if you have to pump (to prevent infection) only do it for a minute-just to allow some relief and that will not increase your milk production. Good luck!

Ice packs! Ice packs! Ice packs! Get a wrap around bandage and wrap yourself with ice packs! That was the only thing that releived me.

Everything I have read says do not quit feeding "cold turkey" so to speak. You are supposed to gradually reduce feedings ( unless you have a situation that prevents you.) Otherwise, you could end up with an infection that is even more painful. I would try cutting down to one feeding a day for a few weeks and use cabbage leaves. Hopefully that will help. Good Luck!

You can try decongestants (Sudafed) they help dry up the milk, while red cabbage leaves in the freezer for a few minutes placed inside your bra will help with the pain of engorgement. Hang in there, I know this must be awful...

Hi Jacqulyn,

I did the same thing when my son was only a month old. (He couldn't keep the milk down) I was hurting so bad that I was in tears. I fianlly called a breastfeeding hotline that my hospital gave me before I left. They actually told me to still pump. Just gradually reduce how many times you pump a day. You will want to cut 1 pumping out probably every several of days or even a week. Eventually you will dry up. Trust me, it is alot easier and less painful that way!!!


I had the same problem when I was weaning my first child. Pump just a little bit to ease the pain, and then you will dry up within a day or so. That is was worked for me.

Just try and squeeze a little from each breast. Just enough to ease the pain. They will dry it just takes a little time. In the mean time try taking a pain reliever like motrin etc..

run warm shower water over them and express the milk with your hands. this helped me. u can also try pumping into a bottle so she can get the nutrients from the breast milk.

I have gone through this twice with my girls and actually the best thing i found was after i had gone several days without breast feeding was to pump one more time to get the excess milk out. i only had to pump once or twice and i was completely dry. Good luck!

You can actually take some sudafed and it will help dry everything up quicker. Cabbage leaves will help to relieve some of the pain, as well as ibuprofen. I hope that you get some relief soon.

It sounds like you are trying to do it all at once... and thats not good for either of you.

Start with just one normal nursing and eliminate that one. Choose the one she is the least dependant on and that you can easily distract her with something else. Do this for ONE whole week and give your breasts time to adjust. If she seems to get anxious or insecure just stay at that level of progress for a while. As the both of you adjust then another one can be eliminated. Breastfeeding is just as much an emotional need for babies as it is a physical need and really should be done gradually for both of your benefit.

J., I know what you are going through. Definitely try the cabbage leaves. Get a fresh head of cabbage and keep it in the fridge. Snap a couple of the veins in the cabbage leaves and put one leaf(per breast) in your bra, cup shape facing your breast. Then wrap your breast, bra and all, in an ace bandage to help press the milk out. Try to wrap as tightly as you can handle. I know it sounds crazy, but it really does work. The cold cabbage also helps take away that heat your breasts are holding not to mention it helps ease the pain. I walked around with cabbage hanging out of my bra for several days...it was worth it. Good luck.

Cabbage leaves! Cabbage leaves! Cabbage leaves!

I cannot say that enough! Although it may sound extreme, it works. In about 7 to 10 days, you mill will dry out. If you try at any point to get the milk out yourself, you will produce more (No one told me that; I found out on my own). My aunt told me about using cabbage leaves, and they work!

Now, for relief, using warm water works.

J. B

I called the lactation consultant in my area. She said to take cabbage leaves and apply them to the breast. Once it wilts, apply a fresh leaf. She said that something in the leaf of cabbage helps dry up the milk. She also said that if the pain got bad to express just a little milk off to provide comfort but do not pump it all out. Within a few days one of my breast had dried up completely and the other side took about a week and a half. The nurse said that this was a common thing. You may call your local hospital and see if they have a lactation consultant that you can speak with for more advice.

Cold, cold, cold! When I wanted to dry up my milk after quitting breastfeeding my first, a nurse at my OB's office told me to keep them iced and in something binding. So, I put on the smallest bra I had, put ice packs on top of that, and then a nursing bra (obviously bigger and could hold the ice, etc.) on top of that. I wore that for 2-3 days and it completely dried up my milk and provided much needed relief from the engorgement -- so painful! Good luck!

I used cabbage leaves and pads. Take a hot shower and squeeze out all the milk you can and then when you get out put cabbage leaf and a pad in your bra. You will probably have to do it for a couple of days but it will help alot. I didn't believe it either but it worked with me.

I didn't breastfeed my daughter so when my milk started coming in I was in the sam epain you are now. I would wear a sports bra or an ace bandage wrapped tightly around my breasts all day long and while sleeping too. I also slept with cabbage leaves stuck in my bra while I slept which helped alleviate the pain. It took my about a week of doing this for it to go away and them to be back to almost normal. One thing I was told by a lot of people was that if you want it to go away make sure you are not squeezing it out. Turn away from the hot water in the shower because it will help the milk come out and try not to pump if you can help it. Hope this helps some.

The last thing I would advise is to quit cold turkey. You can end up with mastitis, at the least is very painful not to mention the possibility of infection. My recommendation is to start weaning yourself. I would pump every 6-8 hours for a day or so then extend it and try to make it as long as I could between pumping. And don't pump all the milk out. Just get enough to take the majority of the pressure off. Your body will do the rest and make the adjustment. I think the whole process took 1-1/2 to maybe 2 weeks before I quit altogether. Don't put yourself through that. Besides, you can still use the milk in bottles for as long as it lasts. I breast fed both my sons and weaned them and myself the same way both times with no problems and little discomfort. Email me if you have any more questions or problems. I will be glad to help.

I went thru that with my 1st daughter. I got so engorged that I couldn't move or stand to be touched. I tried the cabbage leaves but it didn't work. What my doctor told me was to wrap an ace bandage as tight as possible (the big ones that cover your breast in one wrap). Leave it on for 48-72 hours and do not take it off. It worked like a charm. I was totally relieved after i took it off and had no more milk. If you need anything you can e-mail me at ____@____.com. I totally understand your pain! Good luck.

Hi J.,
When I left the hospital from having my sons, they didnt give me any medicine to dry me up, they wrapped muh boobs up with 2 ace bandages, and told me to wear them for about a week or 2, that would help with the pain and lift them up for support and help dry them up, and it worked for me! good luck!

I agree with Shannon. Take it one day at a time. Start with only feeding in the morning for a week...or morning and dinner...then start taking one feeding away until your milk just depleats. It worked for me and I don't remember hurting very bad at all.

I had to quit cold turkey on breast feeding because I was put on a medication that my daughter could not have. After a day of pain, I pumped every bit out of my breasts that I could. I then bound my breasts in ace bandages as tight as I could stand and stayed that way for a few days. Of course I had to rewrap a few times because the bandages would loosen from time to time but it did the trick and after 3 days I was able to take off the bandages and I was dried up. I think the trick was to totally drain my breasts before I bound with the ace bandages. I hope you feel better soon.


I think you should still breastfeed. You still have 4 months until they should be on the bottle. Unless this makes you uncomfortable. Have you talked to your doctor about this? I'm not sure what else to do. Hope this helps some.

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