49 answers

Please Help Me Stop Leaking!!

Hi everyone. My name is Jen and I am 20 years old and my daughter's name is Candyce. I breastfed my daughter from the time she was born till she was about 6 weeks old. She will be 5 months on March 1st but I still have milk coming out and don't know how to stop it. I desperately need help stopping this.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Sage Tea seems to work for many mothers when it is time to stop breastfeeding. This herb is very astringent and acts as a drying agent in one's system. Many have had successful results. Sage Tea should be avoided if the person has a seroius kidney condition, otherwise it can be made into a tea and used quite effectively.
I hope this helps !

I had the same trouble with my son and I used Icepacks on them to help to freezedry so to say the milk.......and eventually it stopped the leaking since the baby didnt breastfeed. Ithere may also bea shot that you can take these days sice my son is 12 yrs old now, but the icepacks did work really well back then and hope thy would for you today.....

Take some cabbage leafs and place them over the nipples. It helps draw out the milk and also dry it up so you won't have anymore coming out. My midwife told me about it with my last child and so did my mom and a few of my friends. It worked for me so hopefully it will work for you.

More Answers

you are going to think this is crazy but you can give this a try. get a cabbage head, put cabbage leaves in your bra aound your breast. this is a old remedy but it actually works in usually drys up the milk in a couple of days. I have done this twice now. this is the olny remedy that I know of and was actually told this in the hospital by a nurse.there is someting in the cabbage leaves that will actually dry up your milk.

1 mom found this helpful

Take advantage of this! Formula stinks, cost a lot of money, and has to be warmed up at 3 in the morning! Ugh! Nurse her when you can, for as long as you can, and just use that awful stuff (formula)as a supplement. Eventually you won't even need bottles, and she can go straight to a cup.
I nursed two boys, and only ever owned 2 bottles!

You might want to try some cool cabbage leaves to place on your breasts. There is something in the cabbage that pulls the milk from your breasts and help them dry up. I hope this works for you.

My doc told me to use ice packs. I have not stopped nursing yet, but I am going to try it.

Lilypads are breastpads that are safe and re-usable, which adhere to your nipples and breast, preventing milk leakage. Not bulky like cloth or disposable pads, they will keep you from dripping on your clothes between feedings. http://www.amazon.com/Lily-Padz-Reuseable-LilyPadz-Breast...

I guess I'm not understanding why you would want to quit nursing?

The AAP (American academy of pediatrics) recommends breastfeeding for at least a year.

The WHO (World HEalth ORganization) recommends nursing for at least two years.

So still having breast milk, when your baby is only 5 months old sounds like a winning situation to me! Contrary to public opinion in our lovely state, a 5 month old is not too old to nurse or to nurse exclusively. Why not take advantage of your supply while it is still around?

That said, if you still want to dry up your supply, google "breastfeeding herbs to avoid" or something similiar. Most OTC decongestants will dry up milk pretty fast.

I experienced the same thing. It is very frustrating. Some women can leak for years after they stop breastfeeding. The most important thing is to make sure there is no nipple stimulation. Do not let the water in the shower hit them directly and make sure you wear a bra. Wear it to bed too if you can. And no other stimulation too if you know what I mean. I hope this helps.

Hi. I've been told that eating parsely dries up milk. You could try that.

I know what you are going through. I breast fed my 19 month old until she was 8 months old. At my yearly exam when she was 14 months old I was still leaking. The only thing my doctor told me was to stop stimulating my breasts completely. Only rinse them with water. I would love to tell you that that worked. It didn't. They recently stopped leaking around 3 weeks ago, but I am 15 weeks pregnant. I would suggest pregnancy as a way to stop the leaking. I do know that there are medications you can get that should help though. If the complete lack of stimulation doesn't work you should definitely see your physician.

I had an overabundance problem when I was breastfeeding. To control that, I drank sage tea. Sage has a natural form of estrogen in the leaves which helps dry up milk. I just bought some sage when I could find it fresh or dry at other times, crush a few leaves, threw it into the coffee maker, and downed several cups a day. It didn't taste horrible or anything like that. I was surprised with the results and think it really helped. Also, your milk will dry up eventually. It took several months for me, and I have even heard for some women it can take a year or more!
Another thing, don't let people make you feel bad about not breastfeeding. Only you know your situation. You are clearly asking how to stop your milk- not asking for a pro-lactation lecture. :) Good luck!

I have heard that some people put cabbage leaves on the breast to help dry up the milk.

Are you on any birth control?? I have a friend who is on BC and has not nursed in quite some time and she is still producing on one side. If that isn't it, I'm sorry I don't have any other advise. I stopped nursing my son after 11 wks, and two weeks later I was dry. I just wore a tight bra and tried not to stimulate them and it worked. Good luck though. I know it can be frustrating.
T.

Try taking an antihistamine - that dries up your milk pretty quickly. I didn't know this when I was breast feeding my first two kids and actually wanted to nurse longer, but I took antihistamines and accidentally dried up my milk. It actually took me getting pregnant again to dry up my milk completely this last time... I nursed my 3rd to 14 months. My 4th is due in May, and now in my 3rd trimester (almost exactly a year after I weaned my 3rd child) I am now leaking again!! :) I hope you can get your milk to dry up. That can be frustrating.

Steph

It will sound completely bizarre, but try cabbage leaves. Use a rolling pin to help it fit around your breast and place it in your bra for 20-30 minutes at a time. It might take a few days of this, but it should ultimately work. This has been used in hospitals and by midwives for ages for women who choose not to nurse to get their milk to dry up. The theory is that there is an enzyme or other chemical in the cabbage leaves that suppresses milk production.

I would advise you to pay a visit to your ob-gyn. I had a problem with leakage a couple of years ago that was caused by elevated prolactin hormone in my blood. This can be caused by several different things- one of which can be a brain tumor!! not to scare you. Mine was not caused by that but with some supplemental hormones for a short period of time it cleared up on its own.

Hi Jen- there are certain herbs you can use to dry up your milk : sage and parsley. Drink the sage in a tea (infusion)--a lot of it. You can use the parsely in capsules, but it is faster to juice it and drink it (probably best mixed with other juices like celery and
carrot).
There is also a "dry-up" medication but the side affects are questionable

J., I am a mother of three and breastfed each one. Just based off of my experience, it does seem like a lengthy amount of time to still be producing milk. The only advice that I can really give is to make sure you don't do anything with them, meaning don't do any type of pumping or expressing the milk for relief. As painful as I remember it being it is absolutely necessary to not relieve yourself. Hopefully, eventually your body will get the message and stop producing. If not, then I would suggest speaking with your doctor. I'm sure that he/she could help. Good luck!
- T.

I have read the responses to your request and want to add something that I noticed was left out. When you use cabbage you need to break the veins in the leaves before putting it into your bra. You also have to leave the leaves in all day and night until your mild dries up...of course you change the cabbage out. Also, by putting the cabbage in the frig it will help with the discomfort of engourgement...which lasted two weeks with my first child. There are meds that your dr can give you, but I do not know what they are. Hope this helps. I am having the opposite problem...I am trying to get my milk to increase...I wish there was a veggie that worked for that! :-) I would wear the whole produce aisle if I had to!

You should call your doctor and tell him what is going on. They have ways to help. Otherwise binding yourself tightly for days eventually they will stop. I too nursed mine so long that when I quit it just stopped. If you don't have to quit maybe you should just start again. I think it is such a special time, and it was always an excuse for me to sit down and relax for a minute. I loved nursing but did get sick of it after a year. Nine months is the shortest I ever went and he quit me. You should trust your body, it knows what is right...but like I said if you have to work or something get the meds from the doc and they will dry you up.

Sage Tea seems to work for many mothers when it is time to stop breastfeeding. This herb is very astringent and acts as a drying agent in one's system. Many have had successful results. Sage Tea should be avoided if the person has a seroius kidney condition, otherwise it can be made into a tea and used quite effectively.
I hope this helps !

It's true as crazy as it sounds but cold cabbage leaves in your bra really work and if not get some corned beef and have dinner :)
Good Luck,
Val (A fellow leaking Mom)

I am 38 years old and my youngest child is fifteen.........and guess what I still have breast milk. I have been to the doctor for it and the responds has always been the same..........it's just my hormones. They have tried several different birth control bills, yet very little change.

Hi J.,

I breastfed my first 2 kids and when i stopped, I just dried up naturally but I am not sure if maybe it was just nature's time you know? Because I breastfed for the first 9 months so I am not sure if maybe its just that your body, once it started breastfeeding expected to do it for a bit longer, but I do know that a dr. can give you something to help you dry up, because they give something to moms who choose not to breast feed at all. So, just go back to your dr. and explain. I hope it works out for you,

B.

Hey J.,

I have heard that cabbage can help reduce your milk supply (and it helps with engorgement) You can put cold cabbage leaves or gel pack in you bra. Someone also said that eating cabbage would reduce my milk supply. I don't know if it's true, but I hope this helps.

H.
~Peachy!

What a shame. All those wasted nutrients and immune boosters, falling like gold in your face, and you upset about it.

Aw, it's a wonderful world.
C., RN

There is a wives tale I have heard of, I have not tried it myself, but supposedly useing cool cabbage leaves, by placing them inside your bra will help to dry up the milk.
good luck

I have had 2 friends use cabbage leaves and it worked like a charm in a couple of days. Supposedly, the enzymes in cabbage have a drying effect.

J.,
Why did you stop brestfeeding in the first place? It is the best thing for your baby. I had a baby who was five weeks early and did not have a good suck reflex. I struggled with being able to breastfeed for three months. I pumped non-stop, saw the breast-feeding counselors at my hospital, and tried so many things. My daughter is very smart and has been very healthy. I don't mean to say that formula is bad (I work and dried up when my daughter was only six months), but I feel you should feel blessed that you can give your child the best nutrition you could give.

ask your dr. he has meds he can give to stop the hormone from the lactation process.

I had the same trouble with my son and I used Icepacks on them to help to freezedry so to say the milk.......and eventually it stopped the leaking since the baby didnt breastfeed. Ithere may also bea shot that you can take these days sice my son is 12 yrs old now, but the icepacks did work really well back then and hope thy would for you today.....

Hi J.,

I just want to ask first if you've talked to your Dr. or midwife, N.P., or P.A. about this? If it's really painful or upsetting you need to check with a professional to make sure you're alright. I'm sure you are but when it's about the body, it's always good to know things are working right.
I nursed my four until each was about 3 months and it would always take about a year to dry up, the last one was 18 months old before it stopped all together. If it's been 3 1/2 months since you've stopped I hope it's slowed down some for you by now.
There's always the old fall backs like wrapping yourself tightly with a towel or something, applying ice several times a day,or wearing tight bras. There are shots or pills you can get that will dry your milk up, or one time I went on the birth control pill and it helped. With my last one I thought it was never going to stop, even after the initial 2 weeks of swelling and pain, but I found that by expressing just enough to stop the leaking it did slow down the production a little each day until finally it stopped. You know how the idea is that you only make today what the baby needed yesterday? By expressing just a little bit, just so you don't leak, it will regulate itself soon and start drying up.
I hope something works for you soon, hon, you sound like you've had enough for now. Take good care, Katb

Go to your Ob and ask them for some medication to stop lactating. Most people stop producing milk soon after they stop breastfeeding; others require a little more help. Are you pumping? If so, you need to stop. The pumping puts hormones into your body that tell your body to keep producing milk.

Call you OBGYN! Your hormones are not right yet. Tell them what is going on and I amsure that they can give you something to fry up your milk.
Y.

Your milk will dry up in time. Since breastmilk is produced on the supply and demmand principle since there is no more demand there will soon be no more supply. Be patient. It may take a few more weeks or longer. The leaking will stop but you my be able to express milk for some time. I could express milk for couple of years after I weaned my baby!

i unfortunatly did not have the leaking problem with either of my two children i just seemed to dry up. if you havent already contact your dr. and discuss with them when you stopped breast feeding and that you are still leaking. i believe there are pills to help dry you up that the doctor can prescribe or they can give you advice on how to properly make it stop. your bond with your baby may just be very strong and your bodies instincts are just not wanting to give up all that production.
hope this helps!
A.

This may be a little late- but try cabbage leaves. They are supposed to dry you right up, but I kind of think that is when you have just stopped. These ladies are definitely on to something and I would consult your doctor.

Take some cabbage leafs and place them over the nipples. It helps draw out the milk and also dry it up so you won't have anymore coming out. My midwife told me about it with my last child and so did my mom and a few of my friends. It worked for me so hopefully it will work for you.

First off, if your daughter is 5 months old, she still could really benefit from any breast milk you have. Ever given the thought to breast feeding again?
If that's not going to work for you for whatever reason, I used to suggest to my patients to use cabbage leaves in the bra. I have no personal expierence with it, but patients swore by it.
Jenn (also RN)

I did the same for 6 weeks! Congratulations to making it! I agree with the other posts that its the best thing for baby--especially with the cost of formula and my son goes through a can a week! It's expensive!! ANYwho---Buy a head of cabbage and place it in the fridge to make it cold. Then take some leaves and put them inside your bra. It works but its a little weird. Good luck!

Hi J., I am also a nurse but I have some different advice for you. Yes it is true that breastmilk is excellent for your baby and you don't have to stop. I breastfed my son for 12 months, but if you are ready to stop then that is okay too. Do not feel bad if you are ready to stop and don't let anyone pressure you into to doing something that you don't want to continue.
The best way to dry up your breastmilk is not to nurse or pump your breasts. Apply some cool compresses throughout the day to your breasts, cabbage leaves, ice packs, wrapped in something so that the ice is not directly on your skin, for about 20 mins. each time several times a day. Also wear a very snug fitting sports bra, or if you don't have one have someone help you wrap an ace wrap around your breats. Make sure that when you take a shower that you face away from the warm water and not let that hit your breasts directly b/c this can stimulate your milk. As your milk is not expressed (able to come out) from nursing, pumping etc. your breasts will become engorged (swollen and very tender) don't worry this will get better over a few days. Your body works by supply and demand. If you are not excreting the milk your body will think that it does not need to make more. I hope this helps.

Try drinking sage tea. It's not bad if you like sage!! Drink as much as you can. It helped me! Also cabbage leaves and ice packs helped me dry up a little when I was engorged in the hospital....Good Luck

Hey Jen,

Go to your ob doctor. There is a pill they can give you to dry you up. It worked great for my friends who needed the same help you do.

Hope this helped.

True so true. Cabbage leaves do the trick. I just had my baby last year and when I could not breastfeed anymore my husband got heads of cabbage, washed the leaves and put them in a ziploc bag. Bruise the leaves by running the end of knife down the insides to open the "pores" of the leaf and place them inside your bra. I put a little saran wrap over the top just to protect my bra. After a few hours or when they start getting warm, put two more in. Do this consistently for at least two - three days. Make sure you keep them in the fridge, they need to be cold and bruised before applying. They will cup over your breast and pull the milk out into the leaves. It really works, I just did it and my milk dried up with no problems. Good luck, let us know how it works for you.

you need to bind your self, this is what you do. get a ace bandage and wrap it around your breast tight. then only take it off to shower and put it right back on(a clean one) sleep with it on. after about three days you should be good. your breasts will be hard and sore but it passes. hope this helps.
T.

Check out La Leche League online. While they usually deal with not enough milk, they have some info on how to dry up (I think it's along the lines of "don't do this when you're trying to nurse"). I know there are some herbs that can increase milk production, and others (sage & peppermint, I think) that can decrease it. I nursed both of mine till they were much older, so can't say how normal this continued milk production is, but I do know that for the first 3-4 months postpartum your body's pregnancy hormone levels will still be high (women who decide not to breastfeed and then change their mind have this window of opportunity to start nursing again and produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed; after this time, it's much harder).

Check w/your doctor or pharmacist about some medicine you can take. I know they don't give anything specifically for that (a friend of mine lost her baby to a heart defect, and her doc said there wasn't anything he could do), but some of the stronger birth control pills might stop your milk supply.

Other than that, you can bind your breasts and see if this helps. Most people don't have a problem with this, but my SIL did this and kinda got an infection. It wasn't any big deal, but it was like her milk got stopped up and plugged a milk duct, and it was sore for a few days. Finally, she stopped wearing her tight bra and massaged the area (like she was breaking up and moving down the impacted milk) and the spot went away and she had no problems. It's extremely unlikely that this would happen to you, but thought I'd give you a way to deal with it just in case.

I have read some of the responses posted to your request Jen and I have to say I'm on the "take advantage of this situation" side. Your body knows what it is doing. It knows you still have a baby to feed and it's trying very hard to convince you to put your baby back to your breast. There are too many benefits of feeding your baby the one thing specifically designed for her for me to even begin rattling them off to you. And despite any claims any formula maker has to make about how "closely resembling breast milk" their formula is, it's a big crock of doo-doo. Here's a recent article from Science Alert of Australia/New Zealand about how among hundreds of beneficial substances in breast milk, stem cells have now also been discovered. Please take a look, http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20081102-16879.html .
Breastfeeding as long as you physically can and, as long as your baby still wants it, is of such unbelievable benefit (not only now but as a foundation for their life-long health)that no pharmaceutical (or formula) will ever come close to reproducing the effects.

Contact your local LLL, La Leche League support group, they can help you. If I may ask how come you stop breastfeeding, sounds like you're able to provide milk for your daughter? Are you giving her formula now?

birth control, the patch. Maybe your body has not stopped because your child still needs it. You can always nurse when you get home or before you put the baby to sleep. Once a day won't hurt you and it will give your baby so much. Plus all the protection that the baby gets through your breast milk helps you not to have to go to the doctor’s office or ER.
But I do not know your situation. Maybe you are having health complications with it, you are bleeding and in sever pain other than the normal contractions. If you are not susceptible to clotting, ask your GYN to prescribe Orthoevera, the patch. The hormones in it will help you dry out. My baby is 10 months and still nursing like an addict, which I love and will miss, but when we are going to stop, I will patch it up.

Cabbage! It may smell but if you wrap the leaves around your breasts it will dry them up in just a few days. I attempted to breastfeed with my daughter and when I decided to stop I did this and I was good in about two or three days. Hope this helps.

Hi, I know this sounds crazy, but it works! Get two large leaves from a head of cabbage and place one in each side of your bra. Switch them out when they wilt. It should stop in just a few days. It worked both times for me! Make sure that there is no stimulation to that area. Sometimes just a little touch can stimulate breastmilk to leak out.

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