Pain Relief Suggestions for Drying up Breast Milk

Updated on May 17, 2011
C.L. asks from San Francisco, CA
16 answers

I am looking for suggestions on pain relief when it comes to drying up my breast milk. I really don't want to get into about why I am stopping and I would prefer not to hear anything negative about my decision. I am just hoping I could get just suggestions on how to help the relief in general. I realize decreasing is good. I've read though sage. Like in a tea form or what? I've also read about sudafed. What does that do to it??

I should clarify that I don't plan on doing this cold turkey. I plan on gradually decreasing slowly but I'm just worried about the pain and just want to prepare myself.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I know a couple of people have said it, but cold Cabbage leaves are amazing! You have to replace them pretty frequently, but boy does it work wonders. I did it with my second child, and wish I would have known this trick with my first.



answers from Omaha on

I don't know the truth to it, but I've heard peppermint tea helps as well. Avoid oatmeal because it actually helps increase supply.

More Answers



answers from Chattanooga on

I have heard that putting cabbage leaves in your bra will help... I am in the process of weaning my DD, so I feel your pain! lol. You might try hand-expressing JUST enough to relieve the pressure, but not so much to induce a let-down. (My let-down takes a while, so I can express about 1/2 oz without getting it...)

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

hot shower on your boobs and hand express. Why not wean slowly instead of cold turkey? Less painful for both y'all.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

It only takes a couple days to dry up. I just put ice on my breasts, wore a really tight bra, and took motrin. You could express some if it gets too painful your body probably won't think your nursing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

All the below will help with some slowing of the breastmilk... but your body will never stop producing just enough in order to pick right back up in case it's needed again. The wonderful body and design of Mothers!!

With your older children being sick - this would be a horrible time to force wean your youngest who's about to have a growth spurt and could really use all your antibodies and the optimum nutrition breastmilk offers. Also - force weaning will not make your son sleep better - no matter what anyone tells you, until after a year.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I would highly suggest taking a couple of weeks and dropping one feeding every 2-3 days depending on your milk supply. It will be so worth it to not have the pain and it will give your hormones time to adjust. If you do this you shouldn't have any issues with pain.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Cabbage leaf in your bra as someone else mentioned. You're going to have to be extremely careful that you do not get plugged ducts that can lead to mastitis. Hand express just enough to keep the pressure down and the milk from going stagnant. Going cold turkey really isn't the best or most comfortable way to wean. It's going to be rough.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Sudafed and other decongestants that dry the nasal passages also dry other membranes and ducts as well including milk ducts. Antihisitimes are notorious for being safe during breastfeeding but aiding an illness in decreasing milk supply (since just being sick can decrease your milk). You could also try decreasing the amount of fluids you're taking in for a while without allowing yourself to get very dehydrated.

I'm sorry that you're having to go through this. I don't think anyone will judge you for doing what you have to do in your situation whether it's medical or emotional or both. How we feed our babies should never be something that we feel guilt over or judge other mothers over.

Oh, and pain relief... now that you're not breastfeeding you can take Advil Liquid Gels. I don't really bother with Tylenol unless I have to have a procedure done where there will be bleeding or risk of bleeding.

Also, cold cabbage leaves stuck into your bra. That helps relieve pain and dry up your milk.

Avoid beer, avoid oatmeal, and avoid other foods that are known to encourage milk production.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I remember using, and don't laugh, a bag of frozen peas to help with the pain. It seemed to form on my breast more gentle than an ice pack. Also, very little stimulation. When you shower, try to not really wash for a few day and avoid hot water on them. It will probably be painful in the beginning because you still are producing. Take ibuprofen for the pain too.

Good luck and don't listen to anyone who is negative! This is YOUR decision! Feel better! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

try hand expressing just enough to relieve the pressure.
Unfortunately cold turkey is the worst way to do it. if you can taper off it will be easier on you



answers from Seattle on

I did ice packs~also my obgyn put me back on regular birth controll pills and that helped a lot!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I used cold cabbage leaves in my bra. Also, when your breasts get to be just too full and uncomfortable, express just a L. bit of milk, either through a pump or using your hands. If you are using a pump, just pump enough to relieve the pressure but not to empty the breast so that your body won't think it needs to make more milk. It only takes a few days for your body to understand that it doesn't need to make milk.



answers from Dallas on

My sister took Sudafed to dry her milk up.


answers from Norfolk on

I did ibuprofen and ice packs and the engorged feeling went away in about 2 or 3 days. Sage can be bought in pill form or tea form, but it really didn't make a difference in my supply. Try to avoid warm showers, keep those things cold cold cold! This process is hard--best of luck!


answers from Nashville on

I have always heard that the cold cabbage thing helps.

They also make gel pads to put in your bra, that you can refrigerate (or freeze, if you can handle that much cold!) that are made to relieve the pain of engorgement. I'm not sure where they are sold... but I'm sure Babies R Us would carry them or know somewhere else to look...

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