For mothers who want their bodies to stop producing milk immediately, there are steps to take to help suppress your milk supply as soon as possible. For others, continuing to pump may be a more therapeutic route for your grieving process. Milk donation and helping others in need can be a positive experience for grieving families.
The time it takes for milk suppression will be different for every person. Some mothers will take days, while others take weeks, it just depends where you are in your journey. The most important point is to reduce milk supply gradually to reduce risk of infections. Pump to relieve pressure and discomfort only. Consult a lactation consultant in your area for some one-on-one help to get the results you need.
Tips for Stopping Breastmilk Supply:
- Wear a supportive bra that hold breasts firmly, but do not bind.
- Use ice packs or over the counter medications to help manage pain.
- Hand express or use a hand pump when possible to provide relief.
- Avoid long hot showers, which can trigger let-downs leading to additional production.
Natural Milk Suppression Methods:
- Sage tea- contains natural estrogen which helps to dry up milk production. Add some honey to sweeten the taste.
- Chilled cabbage – put some chilled cabbage leaves in your bra and change out every 2 hours. This can provide pain relief and comfort from engorgement.
Medications for Milk Suppression (Consult with your doctor before taking any medications):
- Birth control that contains estrogen can help to slow milk production. Consult your doctor about your options.
- Some women have had success in taking certain over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants. These contain pseudoephedrine to help to dry up bodily fluids including to help slow milk production.
- Your Doctor may prescribe medications as well; consult your doctor to learn more.
Signs of Infection:
Infections including mastitis and plugged ducts can happen when milk expression changes drastically. Watch out for signs and symptoms of an infection including:
- Warmth or redness
- Red spots on the skin
- Lump or hard areas on the breast