Tips for drying up breastmilk (without the attitude)

I received an email the other day from a former FFF Friday poster who is expecting her second child in a few weeks. She’s already made the decision to formula feed from the start, due to her own (extremely valid, not that it should matter) personal reasons. She made a completely informed, well-considered decision about what was best for her family, and I am incredibly proud of her for that.

Anyway, she’s understandably concerned about the drying-up process; no one really addresses this anymore, considering all the focus is on breastfeeding. The consensus seems to be that if you have decided to formula feed, you’re on your own. (This has actually been on my mind a great deal lately, and in the next few months I will be working on the FFF Guide to Formula Feeding, so that there’s at least some info out there that doesn’t come from a formula company, or is drenched in punitive sarcasm à la Dr. Sears’s webpage on formula feeding.) This mom writes that she would “like to go into the hospital/postpartum period knowing what to expect, like how bad is it, how long does it last, what helps, what doesn’t. I mean google breastfeeding tips and you get millions of sites chock full of advice, google dealing with engorgement when not bfing and you get brow beaten and chastised. Don’t I deserve to know what to expect when I’m making the best choice for my daughter and myself?”

Yes, sweetie, you do. You abso-freaking-lutely do.

I was so worried about engorgement and the drying-up process when I had Fearlette, that it almost made me want to skip trying to breastfeed altogether. I worried that by engaging in some nursing, it would make my milk come in faster and at a higher volume than if I went straight to the bottle. I felt there was nothing I’d be able to do to stop the pain and discomfort of engorgement, and coupled with normal postpartum pain and my personal history of PPD, this seemed like a daunting prospect.

I’ll admit that I investigated ordering lactation suppressing drugs from overseas. These drugs, which can dry a woman up in one fell swoop – pain free – used to be readily available in the United States and Canada. They were administered by injection in the hospital, or prescribed by physicians and taken orally in pill form. I’ve heard horror stories of women in my mother’s generation being injected with these drugs without consent, so that they attempted to breastfeed and found themselves dry as a bone. Scary stuff, and totally disgusting on a myriad of levels. But that isn’t the reason that these drugs were eventually taken off the market. Apparently, they were causing rare but serious (and sometimes fatal) side effects. Enduring a few days of discomfort for the sake of avoiding death? Perfectly rational, if you ask me.

However, there are other medications that have been put on the market which – at least as far as anyone knows – are safer. In other countries, these are still perfectly legal, and even in the US, doctors speak in hushed tones about giving women who’ve suffered late-term or infant losses these drugs, as a show of sympathy (because really, does a mother going through that kind of pain need to be constantly reminded of the baby she could have been nursing, or deal with the physical pain of engorgement?). It seems unfortunate – and a bit odd- that the FDA has yet to approve cabergoline for the use of lactation suppression; it is perfectly legal to use this drug for hyperprolactinemic disorders; the FDA states that their reasoning for not allowing its usage as a lactation suppressant is because “bromocriptine, another dopamine agonist for this purpose, has been associated with cases of hypertension, stroke, and seizures.” Well, yes. But that’s a different drug. Even within one family of pharmaceuticals, different medications can vary dramatically. Zoloft and Prozac, for instance, are both SSRI’s, and yet Zoloft metabolizes differently in breastmilk and is the “recommended” anti-depressant for nursing women.

Until the FDA changes its mind, though, we are stuck with “natural” remedies for drying up milk. I honestly felt like cabbage in the bra worked wonders when I weaned off the pump with Fearless Child, but metastudies have found that this remedy works no better than a placebo. There is a pumping protocol that is supposed to help (designed for women recovering from the loss of a baby, unfortunately), but I haven’t heard anything about the efficacy of this remedy.

In my experience, however, the engorgement I felt with Fearlette was NOTHING like it was when I had a full milk supply going and abruptly weaned FC. It could have been because I’m one of those women who doesn’t get much milk until day 5 or so, and by that point, I’d already begun weaning her onto the bottle; I know some second-time moms whose milk came in like gangbusters within hours of delivery, so I imagine the engorgement would be much worse. Regardless, I do suspect that if you aren’t attempting to establish a supply or completely feed a newborn from your breasts, the drying-up process won’t be as difficult. Meaning that women who intend to formula feed from the start probably won’t have too much pain from engorgement. I had one day of hell – Day 5 – when it hurt to hold Fearlette, and I was too engorged to even think about dragging out the pump (for the record, pumping to relieve engorgement might be a good idea on paper, but you try getting those suckers into the flanges when they are rock-hard balloons of burning agony. Yeah. Good luck.) but after that, it really wasn’t so bad.

That said, it won’t be the same for everyone, so here are my tips for drying up your milk without too many tears (or ruined shirts):

1.As soon as you have decided to not breastfeed or stop breastfeeding, start wearing the tightest sports bra you can, at all hours of the day and night. I wore two, for extra support.

2. When you shower, face away from the stream: hot water will induce milk supply, plus it hurts like a you-know-what if you’re already engorged and sensitive.

3. This one is terrible, but on the day your milk comes in, when your child starts to cry, hand them off to your partner and leave the room. You’ll feel like Mommy Dearest, but I’m telling you – your body will have a biological response, and you’ll be in pain. And then you’ll start crying, and then both of you will be crying, and that will just be sad. It’s one day, and you can hold your baby at all other times – just let someone else handle the hunger cries for 24 hours.

4. If your OB was kind enough to give you a few pain pills for postpartum discomfort (c-section mamas, this is a given for you – most of you probably got a few weeks worth of Vicodin as a parting gift from the maternity ward), save a few. When engorgement starts, take them. Every 4 hours, as indicated. There is no shame in letting a narcotic sweep you into sweet oblivion until the engorgement is gone.

5. Drink No More Milk Tea. It’s tasty, and I really do think it works. At the very least, it probably has some sort of placebo effect, and everyone likes a nice cup of herbal tea, right?

6. Another product I liked were these little ice packs you can put in your bra. They were super soothing and the ice helps relieve engorgement.

7. Don’t be surprised if you still feel a let-down sensation for a few weeks after drying up. It happens, and it’s normal. Some women take longer than others to completely dry up, so be patient, and keep wearing that sports bra. It will pass, eventually.

I’d love to open this up for discussion, since it’s a topic that is seldom addressed. If you chose to formula feed from the start, did you experience much engorgement? When did your milk come in, and how painful was it? Any tips for women going through the same thing?

Suzanne Barston is a blogger and author of BOTTLED UP. Fearless Formula Feeder is a blog – and community – dedicated to infant feeding choice, and committed to providing non-judgmental support for all new parents. It exists to protect women from misleading or misrepresented “facts”; essentialist ideals about what mothers should think, feel, or do; government and health authorities who form policy statements based on ambivalent research; and the insidious beast known as Internetus Trolliamus, Mommy Blog Varietal.

Suzanne Barston – who has written posts on Fearless Formula Feeder.

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91 thoughts on “Tips for drying up breastmilk (without the attitude)

  1. When my second daughter Ariana passed away four days after her birth I was preparing for my discharge from hospital and asked the nurses how I would go about drying up my milk. It had already come in hard and fast the day before, because I had been hand expressing colostrum (ever the optimist) to give my critically ill daughter 'the best start'.

    What I actually should have been doing was to follow my first instinct, which was to bind my boobs and tell them to give her formula if she was strong enough because to be frank, I knew we were going to lose her, it was just a matter of when. The nurses told me to wear a tight bra, to use ice packs and to take paracetamol.

    After four days I was at my GP begging them to give me something, anything to dry up my milk. I was refused at every turn. The only advice I was given was the same as what FFF has listed here – Cabbage leaves, tight fitting bra's, avoid the hot water and as many painkillers as you can get your hands on (within prescribed / recommended dosages of course!).

    The pain for me was unbearable. But, please don't think that will be the case for you. As stated above, I was actively expressing – of course my engorgement was going to be bad, I'd been working for the milk supply from an hour after her delivery, every two hours for four days straight. It was always going to be awful, and I wish that someone had sat me down and said “Stop. This is going to do you a disservice, because you know she can't survive so this will only cause you more pain..”.

    Instead I copped the usual lines about how breast is best, liquid gold and my most favourite insensitive line 'saving preemies'. If you are preparing to formula feed from birth, then I suggest DO NOT TOUCH YOUR BREASTS. At all. After the birth take a shower, put on the tightest and firmest bra you can find and wear it non-stop. Take it off only to shower. If there is no stimulation from the moment of birth you will have a far less aggressive milk production than if you start/stop/start/stop express a little. (if that makes sense).

    Good Luck! I sincerely hope everyone respects your decision, and offers you practical and caring advice without any negativity. rely hope everyone respects your decision, and offers you practical and caring advice without any negativity.

  2. What about Sudafed? I know it's always considered a no-no for nursing mothers because of reducing milk supply, so would make sense to use it for that reason.

    For women weaning a few weeks post-partum, there's also the combined oral contraceptive, which helps suppress lactation by convincing the body it's pregnant again. Can't be taken immediately after birth, though, due to thrombosis risk.

    • Came here to post this!

      There are several drugs that they tell breastfeeding women not to take, because it can hurt milk supply.

      Pseudoephedrine is one, like you mentioned, as well as the combined birth control pill- any pill containing estrogen. As you mention, it carries the risk of thrombosis and shouldn’t be used until 6 weeks PP.

      In addition, antiihistamines like benadryl can also dry up milk (similar to the way pseudoephedrine does).

      Sage tea (sage, basically) contains a phytoestrogen – a plant estrogen mimic- that can dry up milk as well. However, I’m not sure what quantities you have to consume for this to work, so combined birth control pills might be more direct.

  3. I had one LC who finally figured out that breastfeeding was exacerbating some quirky underlying medical issues for me. I asked that LC how to dry it up, and she said cabbage leaves, but didn't really have much in the way of advice besides that. Since that sounded really gross to me for some reason, I pretty much just pumped a little when things got really bad and then dealt with it the rest of the time. The pain of drying it up didn't come anywhere close to the pain–physical and emotional–of breastfeeding.

  4. Anything that contains pseudoephidrine will reduce supply – got this from the nurse in my OBGYNs office. There has been a push to use it with HIV positive women in the third world. Don't just use it speakwith a sympathetic Dr, however it makes sense as it's a drying agent used for cold and flu.

    • I used the cabbage leaves when weaning my first 2 kids because I kept getting mastitis from clogged ducts and while its was very soothing I also got a rash later after getting a rash and being told I’m allergic to sulfa drugs I did some reading about my allergy and the cabbage rash is because of the sulfa allergy so don’t use them if you know your allergic to sulfa but if you don’t know and they give you a rash be sure to ask your doctor aboutmaybe being allergic to sulfa

      • Another good tip i have used when drying up my milk was nappies! Get some cheap disposable newborn sized nappies and wet the inside with about a cup or so of water. (or just run them under the tap for a bit) fold them back up again and put them into the freezer. when they are frozen open them up and place them into your bra. The relief is instant and when they melt, just toss them away. Good luck guys

        • This is such a great tip. I’ve been doing this and the nappies have provided such welcome relief from the two hot rocks on my chest!! I used decent Pampers nappies so they didn’t leak when they were defrosting on my boobs and like Linda said, they can just go straight back in the freezer – no need to add any more water to them. They cup your boobs perfectly too!

  5. I'd include the disclaimer that my supply was never great, but I had been lactating for 4wk when I decided to dry up. Since I was already only pumping, I simply started dropping pumping sessions over about 2wks until I just stopped. I went to my 6wk pp visit with OB and she said there was still some milk in there, but it wasn't enough to cause engorgement, leakage or discomfort.

    I only experienced a little engorgement, even when actively attempting to build supply, but the plugged ducts were the painful bit to me. Can unrelieved engorgement lead to plugged ducts? Or vice versa? Plugged ducts were the worst thing about Bfing for me (had them constantly during wks 3-4pp which was my peak supply, which was crappy, but enough to get plugged ducts), and in order to relieve them, I was always told to massage/pump/warm compress, all things which would encourage let down—so my question is, if you have plugged ducts and want to dry up, what do you do? I supposed you could take pain killers and ignore, but I would have feared mastitis which is no walk in the park either. Anyway, I was lucky in that the plugged ducts stopped occurring as I let my supply drop…perhaps that is always the case? I think that's a good question for a doctor or LC.

    • Hey – saw your comment about plugs – and maybe you’re done having kids so this won’t matter but maybe it’ll help someone else…

      I was getting plugged ducts almost every other day or so – sometimes in both breasts…until I started taking Lecithin supplements. It’s a fatty acid found in tons of food – doesn’t hurt baby…and after i started taking it – i only had ONE DAY in the rest of the days i pumped when i got plugged. I didn’t get a single plug while trying to wean!!!

      LECITHIN…and don’t listen to the lactation consultants when they scoff and act like it won’t help… ONE DAY… instead of EVERY OTHER DAY or worse…

  6. If you happen to have any prefold style cloth diapers (the style that's commonly sold as burp cloths), they make nice, soft, absorbent pads for any leakage. Especially good for overnight or if you just don't want to fiddle with the little nursing pads (or buy a whole box of them when you hopefully won't need nearly that many). And they have other uses, unlike the barely used box of cheap, crappy nursing pads under my bathroom sink that are apparently just waiting the couple of years for us to have another baby.

  7. what dried up my milk was nasal decongestants. i had no idea they dry up milk, but it's why my supply was minimal. i used afrin and then sudafed.
    these are the thinks no one tells you.

  8. Kamagra jelly starts actually working in 10-15 min! I feel a better effect with less side effects of Kamagra. I took the drug about once a week and have not had any bad experiences. Also Cialis never give me the desired effect! But I personnaly think this is a different kind of medication.

  9. I have IGT, so I never experience engorgement. But I have read that sage and peppermint in tea or other strong doses help to decrease supply in women with too much milk production. They are often recommended to help ease the discomfort of weaning, so they might help with the first engorgement as well.

    • I have been pumping for 2 mos now and am done trying to BF and encourage a good latch. I need to start enjoying time with my daughter instead of pumping every 3 hours. My LC has me eating peppermint Altoids and drinking sage tea and it is definitely helping decrease my supply! More natural than sudafed albeit taking a little bit longer.

  10. I'm sorry for those of you who have to suffer through the agony! Though I'm sorry for myself sometimes that I can't seem to nurse my kids. With my 3rd my milk made NO effort to come in and quitting was as easy as pie! With my second I tried to nurse her for a few weeks but she didn't get much and when i gave it up it was easy too. My first I breastfed for 4 months not realizing the whole time that she wasn't really getting enough and I was nursing ALL DAY/NIGHT long to give her enough. When I suddenly was moving to a new house and busy I realized I just couldn't give her enough and she was starving and not growing! Yikes. Went straight to the bottle and there was some slight engorgement for a couple days, but nothing to even complain about. The fact that my milk makes no effort to come in anymore just makes me feel fine about formula feeding my kids.

  11. I didn't experience much painful engorgement, but I would have periods of uncomfortable “fullness” throughout the 2 and a half months that I was pumping. I got a plugged duct once and that was pretty painful, but a combination of massage, cabbage leaves, and warm compresses cleared it up quickly.

    At 4 weeks postpartum, I decided to wean from pumping. With the help of the IBCLC I was working with and my own internet research, I came up with a plan for gradual weaning. It look me 7 weeks to wean. It involved cutting down the time of each pump session by 2 minutes each week, and gradually spacing out the time between sessions. I wish it hadn't taken so long, but I was scared to death of mastitis, so I didn't want to risk doing anything more quickly. And it honestly seemed like it didn't matter what I did, I still kept producing a bunch of milk. Even after I pumped for the last time, I still leaked milk and had to wear breast pads for several more weeks. It made me feel bad in a way, knowing that I made plenty of milk and was still choosing not to breastfeed or pump even though there are so many women who struggle with supply issues… but I know I made the right decision for me and my family.

    • How cold medicine works to dry up breast milk (information is best!):

      Most decongestants (pseudoephedrine for instance) are sympathomimetic type drugs – they mimic your sympathetic nervous system, or your “fight or flight” nervous system. When in fight or flight mode your body constricts peripheral blood vessels (vessels in your fingers, toes, skin, nose, etc) so it can dilate central blood vessels (heart, lungs) so you can fight or flight better (dilated blood vessels = more blood supply to heart/lungs = more oxygen in blood = more oxygen to muscles). When constricting peripheral blood vessels, they won’t be able to supply secretory cells the fluid they need to secrete, so the secretions (snot, etc) dry up. This includes drying up milk.

      Just for those curious! I can’t comment on cabbage etc

  12. I didn't BF my first and ditto what pp said about about tight sports bras and I used an ace bandage to bind my chest as well. I also used Sudafed. I had a few days of pain but would say that I jwas done with it all by 2weeks pp.

  13. With my eldest I had been pumping for over a year. I used the cabbage leaves which may not have actually helped but the coolness of them made my poor boobs feel better. My other three kids I never got too far with making the milk happen so the engorgement was not all that bad and a sports bra helped. With my youngest they hurt the worst even though I only ever did a half hearted try at nursing and that was when I was thankful for my drugs. I thought about trying some sudafed but my husband had cleaned out our supply with his last cold and it was not worth the effort to get more.

  14. Cabbage leaves are amazing. I know it's weird, but it genuinely takes the pain out of your boob, placebo or not. I didn't have much supply, so other than the initial engorgement when my milk came in, I didn't have to worry about drying up when we realized K wasn't eating, but I am a little worried with #2, and I plan on keeping cabbage leaves on hand (and Sudafed sounds like a good idea too!).

  15. This makes me realize that my supply issues were really not just in my head as some folks have told me.

    I pumped round the clock for three weeks (and tried nursing my twins when allowed by the NICU staff) and when I decided to stop pumping I had absolutely no discomfort. The LCs seemed surprised by this – like I was just pretending that I wasn't pumping more than a few cc's at each 30 minutes pumping session…

    Anyways, thanks for the info – it's nice to see real, non-judgemental info about formula feeding out there!

  16. Guest–Nope, not just in your head! I have twins too, and I was trying to exclusively pump and during peak production, maybe got 2oz after 45min of pumping. Maybe. That whole supply and demand thing didn't really work here…the pump was demanding for 45min every 3-4hr and my boobs weren't convinced. How are your twins doing now?

  17. Also be sure to take into account the potential side effects of pseudoephedrine, which can exacerbate heart problems. I have to echo MissN, do talk to a doctor first to make sure you're a good candidate.

  18. Many lactivists will argue that a pump does not work as efficiently as a baby's mouth; I was told by 3 different LCs that pumping was worthless unless I was planning to go back to work right away, it would hurt more than help my situation, and that no one–no one–can exclusively pump, their milk WILL dry up. Never mind that I was getting a good 4 ounces per side per pump, and if it weren't at all effective, why were they so adamant that women returning to work pump?

    Plenty of people just. don't. make. milk. Period. No amount of posters in hospitals, catchy slogans, lactation consultants, paid maternity leave, public service announcements, breastfeeding-friendly societies, or badgering by health care professionals, family members, or random people you met on the street will change that. And even if that number of women who don't make milk is the paltry 2% lactivists cite (often dismissively, as if everyone is just using that as an “excuse” to stop breastfeeding) is true, that's still thousands and thousands of women. I happen to think it's not an accurate number, and since I've yet to come with any actual hard evidence that that 2% is correct, my opinion is just as valid as theirs.

    A few ccs for each 30 minute pumping session sounds suspicious to me. Of course none of us can diagnose anything over the internet, but this article may have some helpful information for you: Don't let people tell you something like this is all in your head, it sounds like you did plenty to try to get breastmilk to your twins.

  19. Hi Amy – I'm so happy that this blog exists – I felt kind of alone in my BFing struggles (and “failure”) before I found this community.

    Yeah, the supply and demand thing didn't work for me either. The pumping while taking care of two newborns was a bit much for me – especially since the pumping was yielding so little. Even in my hormonal and anti-FF brainwashed state, I couldn't believe that the tiny amount of breastmilk they were getting was worth the hours per day of pumping. It turned out that I was severely hypothyroid (something no one bothered to check even though I have a thyroid condition) which – among other issues – was probably affecting my supply.

    In any case, my twins are great – healthy, happy, extremely chatty! Their third birthday is around the corner, so I pretty much have the whole FF/BFing thing behind me. Yay for that. I still check this blog frequently, though – it still feels healing to read other people's similar stories and such.

    How are your twins, Amy? How old are they?

  20. Teri – I love you! Thank you for this!

    Yeah, more than a few people told me that “how much you pump does not indicate how much milk you are making” or something along those lines. I wondered that if this were really true, why, in the NICU fridge all the other moms had huge bags of milk in their slots while I had tiny vials.

    In any case, thank god that time in my life is over. Now I can worry about other things – like how my kids think mashed potatoes are an exotic food…

  21. Sudafed / the decongestant that starts with “psuedo” will help. I can't spell it. Otc, and relatively cheap. While I breastfed, my midwives told me to specifically avoid it if I had allergies/ cold that it'd dry me up.

    Also, sage supplements!

    I was horribly engorged and nursed, I can't freaking imagine how painful it would be without something taking the milk out. You FFF from birth have my sympathies! OUCH!

  22. So, I'm a breastfeeding counselor….I promise I visit the site not to troll, but to learn how to be more compassionate and helpful to the women I work with. Anyway…I probably wouldn't recommend the whole tight bra/ace bandage thing because that will often lead to plugged ducts, (which I have had) and they hurt like a bugger themselves. Unresolved plugged ducts often lead to mastitis, which will make you feel like you got hit by a truck. If it is at all do-able, the easiest thing on your body once your milk comes in, is to pump just a bit whenever you start to become uncomfortable, but before you are rock-hard and in pain. Pump just enough to soften the breasts. Your milk supply will decrease over time. Also, advil, ice, etc. can be life-savers. You can give that pumped milk to your baby if you want to and feel good about it, or maybe donate it, or dump it. Gradual takes longer of course, but will have a lot less discomfort.

  23. monkeytoes, that doesn't help for a woman who bottle feeds from birth and isn't planning on ever expressing milk. I bound up during my c-section and didn't take the bra off for a week. I took sponge baths and dried the bra with a hair dryer. It was more painful than my surgery recovery. The only way I could get through was to send my husband back to the hospital for narcotics. I swelled up to a FFF size… stretch marks all over my boobs and I never even expressed milk! My supply was insane.

  24. I think the more positive attention this site gets from breastfeeding consultants, health care professionals, and public policy-makers, the better. What we're doing right now for breastfeeding promotion isn't working. It's creating an us vs them environment in which people who can't/shouldn't/don't want to breastfeed are painted as monsters, and those who breastfeed as saints, when neither is true. It diverts attention away from the positives of breastfeeding and accurate, helpful information for those who bottle feed, whether it's BM or formula in the bottle. Women who want to breastfeed are booby trapped not by the formula companies, but by breastfeeding activists who pretend that there are no downsides to breastfeeding and that it comes easily and naturally to all. This site is rife with their stories. Breast is not best for everyone, and no one has a right to treat women and children as if we're all robots and only deserve impersonal, one-size-fits-all medicine.

    The only way we will truly achieve good breastfeeding support is if folks take the attitude that you have–approaching breastfeeding with compassion. Many women who frequent this site wanted nothing more than to breastfeed, and were in some cases absolutely devastated that it didn't work out. Many aren't done having kids, yet the methods of bad LCs and breastfeeding activists are very off-putting. I can't speak for everyone, but for my part, hearing that there are breastfeeding consultants who are trying to listen to people like me gives me hope that maybe no one else will have to go through the kind of heartbreak and pain I went through.

  25. I intended to formula feed from the start, so perhaps as you mentioned it was more bearable for me. Day 3 my milk came in. I remember the engorgement – I swore my boobs were the size of my head and my husband actually caught a glimpse and laughed so hard, but it wasn't unbearable pain. I used some ice packs in the hospital (which, by the way, didn't have break pads so I had to use washcloths in my tight bra and I kept soaking through them), and once I got home on day 4 I only needed the ice packs for maybe a couple of hours. It honestly wasn't really bad. However, I could have been focusing more on the pain from the c-section incision and being dead tired than the breast pain. I was only really engorged for maybe 36 hours.

    Rambling but just meant to provide a little hope to others out there.

  26. Thank you so much for the advice and for skipping the “breast is best/ normal” speeches.

    Most people who frequent this site and not anti- breastfeeding. It just wasn't right or wasn't working for their families. I believe a few regular visitors actually breastfeed/ breastfed. And yes, I realize there a lots of moms who would have liked to BF but didn't get the help they needed. Sorry about that.

    I think you posted exactly the sort of thing most of these ladies (and gentlemen, occasionally) are looking for– advice and support without the judgment. (Correct me if I'm wrong, FFF.) Kudos for trying to educate yourself to better serve your clients, too. You sound like my kind of breastfeeding counselor. 🙂

  27. You know, the thing with “no pump is as efficient as a baby” is that it's still all going to differ from woman to woman. Even among women who have no problem producing enough to nurse their babies, they're going to respond differently to the pump. They'll need to pump more or less often, they won't get the same amount each session, maybe they'll respond better to a different type or brand of pump.

    If we think the misinformation about breastfeeding and formula feeding in general is bad, the misinformation about pumping is atrocious!

    • I exclusively pumped from day 10pp and my supply was (and still is) completely insane. When I was pumping every 2-3 hours (what I was told I would have to do by a LC) I was making like 60oz a day and freezing tons of it (all of which has gone bad now because of that lactate making it taste funny problem I never knew existed until it was too late).

      Anyway, anyone who says exclusive pumping “never works” is wrong. There are no absolutes in medicine or the human body and certainly not when it comes to babies! I only pump 3X a day and still make more than enough milk for my baby, though I am about to start weaning him (not because of supply issues but for other reasons).

      I am so glad this website exists, I had been feeling bad about my decision to wean until I got on here! 🙂

  28. I'm no expert – I just have my own personal experience to draw from.

    However, I just want to reiterate that when I placed my tiny vials of breastmilk in the NICU fridge that it was obvious that the other moms were pumping large quantities of milk and most had so much stored up that they were freezing it. Based on this observation, I would say that – at least in a NICU situation – most women who are producing milk do respond to a pump.

    It seemed like the NICU nurses agreed with this because they were surprised and confused when they saw how little I was pumping. If it is indeed normal for women to not respond to a pump, then one would think that the NICU nurses who deal with lots of pumping women wouldn't have been surprised to see what was going on with me.

    The NICU nurses did tell me about poor moms who had babies in the NICU for long periods of time who gradually lost their supply despite pumping. This happened especially to women who could not be with their babies a lot due to work or other cirumstances. So, pumping may not be enough to keep up a supply in the long-term. However, at least in the few weeks post-partum – pumping generally looked to me like it works for most women.

  29. You know how my story went. The engorgement was freaking horrible and I cried and cried.

    I actually totally and utterly recommend cabbage leaves – they completely saved me (placebo or not ;)). I was told to wash them and put them in the fridge for an hour or so before use so that they were nice and cold before putting them in my bra – which was a shock at first but so so soothing after that. As soon as they got too warm/been on for 2 hours i changed the leaves.

    Also i didnt use the whole leaves, i cut them to fit in my bra cups and they made me feel better aobut walking around with cold cut veggies in my bra. 🙂

    The only nice nurse in my baby(read 'hell')friendly hosiptal told me to also make sure they were not stimulated at all, dont even have the shower warmer running over them and this also helped me.

  30. I've always wondered about the whole babies are more efficient than a pump thing. I could see this being true 20-30 some years ago when hospital grade (or even the Medela double electrics that are readily available today) were not as easily obtainable and women had to rely on small, manual pumps. But now, I find that very difficult to beleive considering anyone can rent a hospital grade pump or go to Babies R Us and buy a good quality double electric pump.

    If all of the moms don't mind me asking… in your experience did you find it was possible to pump milk (without letting the baby latch directly to your breast) from birth? I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of direct nursing (for several reasons, 12 week maternity leave, extremely important to share responsibilties with my husband from the start, not a person that can do well without at least some solid stretches of sleep, don't have the patience for latching difficulties/cracked nipples, just dont want to do it…), I don't even want to try it, not even once. My ideal would be to exclusively bottle feed, but with pumped colostrum/breast milk and also with formula (if I could pump so that half the bottles were breast milk and half were formula, at least for maternity leave, I would consider that success). Does anyone know if this type of scenario is possible (or better, did you yourself do something like this)? Can you pump less frequently if you are only aiming for a partial supply (I really dont want to have to pump every 1.5-2 hours around the clock). I'd love to hear any insight from voices of experience.

    • Kristin–I had a hard time keeping up with the every 2 hour demands from my newborn, so I started pumping. We did 1/2 formula and 1/2 breastmilk. It worked fabulously, and has been for the past few months. It is possible 🙂

      • I only pump every 3-4 hours, sometimes I get busy and have to wait as long as 6 hours. But it has all worked out and I have kept my supply for 5 months.

  31. I knew from the beginning that I would not be able to breast feed my first child due to a medication that I must be on that passes through breast milk (but not through the placenta during pregnancy). I was disappointed and felt the need to explain to everyone who ever asked me if I was breastfeeding why I wasn't.

    I got the general cabbage leaves, tight bra, no hot water blasting on my breasts and no manually expressing advice from the PP nurses before leaving the hospital. Overall it helped. I did notice that if I took a particularly hot shower or went without a bra I would leak more. I got engorged about 6 days after the birth of my son but it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, it was painful, but I think since I hadn't attempted bfing it wasn't as bad. For me, bags of frozen peas were the best. I had them ace bandaged to me everywhere…ankles, feet, breasts, you name it. My husband can wrap a mean ace bandage. It was a weird a few days with multiple bags of frozen peas strapped to my chest but the engorgement went down in two days. The leaking however, persisted all the way to 6-7 weeks PP. I used to be a no-bra sleeper but after wearing a bra to bed for 6 weeks I really feel weird not wearing it now.

    I never tried the cabbage leaves – I had frozen peas at the house already so I thought I'd try them first.

  32. I didn't pump exclusively but know some people who did and it worked well for them; on the question of efficiency of pumping vs baby feeding I did always find that I could pump max 3 oz per side but my baby grew like a fiend on BFing so suspect was not producing as much with pumping as with direct nursing but that may have been related to the fact that I couldn't always pump at convenient times and sometimes had to do so after a feed.

    The experts say it's good to pump after a feed as the letdown mechanism is already taken care of but I found that I had better supply with pumping when I had skipped a nursing feed. I also found I had to pump longer to get a feed's worth than it took to just feed baby directly but that may just be me.

    It was not really more efficient but it *was* a lifesaver in allowing me to work and my husband to give night feeds in addition to a formula supplement about 20-30% of the time. I did find my supply going down as I switched from about 90% nursing to 70-80% nursing + pumping/supplementing though.

  33. I pumped for 14 months for my eldest, so it is possible to maintain a supply long term. He never latched on due to his medical issues. I pumped every two hours except at night where I cut myself a break and slept for nice chunks of time the entire time he was in the hospital (six weeks) once he came home I went to every three hours. The every two hours I believe really helped me establish a good supply to start off but was greatly helped by him being in the hospital with nurses to watch over him so I was not handling a newborn while also trying to maintain that schedule.

    I encourage you to give it a shot, it is within the realm of possibility and if it does not work out there is always a viable alternative in formula.

  34. That was my goal as well–I honestly have no idea since I only put my babies to my breasts for the 3 days we were in the hospital and my milk hadn't come in yet. As soon as we were home, I switched to exclusive pumping, which didn't produce enough for 2 babies (pumping every 3hrs, for 40min). But I gave them what I got mixed with the formula for 4weeks until I threw in the towel.

    Pumping wasn't so great for me, but as others here point out, it IS possible. One of my friends is currently BFing…her daughter prefers the bottle to the breast, but my friend can pump 8oz/breast in a 20min pumping session. She's a good producer. The baby has only had breastmilk (not that my friend is opposed to formula) because her supply is so insane. However, her bra size is around a Jcup, which is tough to find bras for.

  35. Day 5 was the worst for me too (because by day 3 I'd already decided to go formula). It wasn't as bad for me as I thought. I was sore as all heck and wearing a tight sports bra REALLY helped. I didn't really use anything–maybe some Tylenol–to help with the discomfort. My little one continued to smell it for a few days and it took almost a month to completely dry up. I was only sore the one day; the others, it would just come out randomly, especially after a shower (no matter how many times I turned away, it always stimulated the milk).

    I have to admit I was pretty blessed to not have as much pain as many other women do.

  36. FOr me, pumping was great. I would have kept it up indefinitely if my husband hadn't had to go back to work after 4 weeks and I was dealing with PPD and being alone w/ a baby all day long. Check out the Exclusive Pumpers group on BabyCenter… they have tons of great info about pumping. There are women on there who have been EPing for a year or more!

  37. The doctor told me to stop cold turkey…my baby Aaliyah-Milan is 18months now…and she is pissed with me…i feel so bad but i've been using these cabbage leaves all day and their working the engorgement is no longer here i just want the fullnes s& the milk to hurry up& dry my is next week! : )

  38. My milk came in full force and breastfed successfully for 4 weeks, but I just couldn't function any more with the lack of sleep! Yesterday I decided to go 100% formula which meant engorgement and pain. I pumped all of my milk from both sides and binded myself with medical/athletic self grip bandages. It has been 15 hours and I still am in pain. Even though I want to take them off I am not! I did the same with my other 2 children who were 9lbs. 12oz and 9lbs 8 1/2 oz and ate every 2 hours. My youngest child was 14 when I had my 3rd son a month ago. I was really shocked to see how hard everyone is pushing breastfeeding and looking down (and making you feel guilty) on those not wanting to breastfeed. Why is it now so terrible to formula feed? The formulas are much more healthier than they were 14 years ago!!!

  39. I've been exclusively pumping for 2 1/2 months, producing 10-12 oz a sitting. Quit cold turkey 3 days ago because of having to return to PPD drugs (second birth). It hasn't been that bad. Cabbage is a good temp cold pack, pretty much, and some tylenol and its been no huge trouble. I'm busty, GG cup, with fibromyalgia and terrible back issues, so I'm surprised, but there you have it. It was worse the first time but not even close to the every day discomfort of pregnancy.

  40. I was really pleased to read this article. When I first discovered I was pregnant I really thought I wanted to just formula feed. My mother never breast fed me and I know many women who have just formula fed. During my pregnancy however I was constantly badgered about breastfeeding so I finally decided to give it a shot. While in the hospital we ran into many complications and I became frustrated and so did baby. It was not the pleasant “bonding experience” they talk about. We both dreaded feeding time. I finally decided to ask for a pump and try bottle feeding my breast milk. I was given such a hard time by some of the nurses and lactation consultant in the hospital. I was really put off by this, it should be my decision right? It's nice to hear someone with the same opinion. Wonderful for women who can provide that for their children but it's not for everybody.

    I pumped for about 5 days before I finally decided to give up on the breast milk all together, so my milk has come in big time. I am currently still waiting for it to dry up. I am taking ibuprofen and wrapping them very tightly with ace bandage wrap and ALSO using cabbage leaves. Anything to alleviate the pain. The wrapping helps. I'm not sure if the cabbage leaves are really helping with the drying process but they do feel really good when they are fresh out of the fridge. Thank you for the positive and informative article.

  41. Hi guys

    I have been lucky enough to be able to breastfeed my beautiful little girl for 6months, I then converted to part BF & part bottle feed as I was on the waiting list for an operation & knew that I would not be able to BF for a little while with the drugs & the type of op I was having. I have never been able to express a large amount (30mls after an hour pumping on average) but my little girl was putting on weight fine so I knew it was a pumping issue rather than anything else. So anyway as I had to solely bottle feed following my op I decided that now was the right time to convert her to bottle only rather than having to start again when I go back to work in a couple of months (she is 7months now & I go back when she is 9months) & as I had an 'expressing amount' issue I decided that formula was the best way forward for us both.

    I have enormous respect for all mums, regardless of whether they BF or bottle feed so am pleased to see the comments on here & their 'arguments' for both, I also have to say that havin experienced both sides there are for's & againsts for both & a mum should do what is best for her & her baby! It was lovely for my little girl & I to bond & then on converting to bottle it has been lovely for my hubby & her to bond, so I am very pleased with how we have progressed.

    So now onto the milk drying subject! As I have BF for 6months plus I obviously had quite a supply rate going & am struggling to find any advice for someone in my circumstances who has BF for so long & now converting completely to bottle- do the same things apply to me ladies- cabbage leaves, tight bra, etc etc & is there anything else recommended? I have heard certain 'teas' mentioned, such as nettle- do these work? I am now 8 days post BF & now starting to get sore & lumpy (not too bad which I guess is down to cutting down slowly), I want to go cold turkey so the process is as quick as poss so any advice would be appreciated.

    I am very proud of how my little girl has gone from solely BF to bottle fed so well but would like to suffer as little as poss myself for it so hope you can help!

  42. I went straight to formula with my baby, whom I just had on June 13th and for a couple of days, my breasts were engorged and it was severe, fever, the chills, the heat on the breasts and the pain was awful. I actually didn't know about engorgement til I figured there was something wrong and I looked it up.

  43. i had to give my baby girl up for adoption. the adoption was within the family (her daddy's parents), so i was still around her. we decided to formula feed from the start.on the fourth day after her birth my milk started to come in. on the 5th day it came in fast and hard. i was in the walmart bathroom adjusting my bra when i felt a hard lump in my right breast, within the hour broth breasts where huge, hard as rocks, heavy and sore. i couldnt even lay on my side or lean over to reach for something without crying from pain and engorgement. cabbage leaves caused extreme irritation, sports bras and shirts got soaked thru with breast milk, tylonel didnt really help, ice packs help for only an hour at a time. no one told me not to express milk so i did for a day or two, before i mentioned it to my fiance's mother and she told me to STOP. so she said ill probably have an extra few days of being uncomfortable. its only been 8 days since my daughter Abby has been born and it is so hard to see her not in my care, to be more uncomfortable when my milk lets down and wants to feed her when shes hungry and to hear her cry. i hope i feel better soon……..

  44. I am so glad I found this site. My little girl is 4 weeks today and I have been pumping and giving formula. She has never latched on. In the hospital the nurses were almost violent trying to get her to latch and it was a bad experience for both of us. She would end up screaming and I would end up crying about how I couldn't even feed my baby. My milk came in on day two and it came in hard but I couldn't pump a whole lot out. We were finger feeding so she wouldn't get used to a bottle. We were in hospital for four nights and bottle fed on the last night and continued to regularly try to breast feed. I have tried numerous times at home to get her to latch and she honestly just has no interest in my breasts, she doesn't even attempt to suck even with milk being dripped on her lips and tongue. My breasts hurt, I've had clogged ducts, my nipples are raw etc etc. I still feel so much guilt for wanting to just stop the pumping. My supply is not great but not horrible and I pump every three hours. If it wasn't for societies pressure, I think I would have just stopped and continued formula only and been happy but I feel this horrible guilt for stopping when I do have milk. I just want to enjoy my baby and be happy and this whole thing is frustrating and stressful. I can't even hold her without my boobs hurting from the pressure or her wiggly arms or legs hitting them. I will continue to read your site and hope that I can get beyond the guilt and move on and enjoy my daughter.

  45. I have just had my first baby and due to having a ruptured breast implant I decided not to risk breastfeeding. My milk came in around day 3 and my breasts were very painful, hot and prickly, it was very emotional as I took my bra off to shower and my breasts were just leaking. Having left my breasts totally alone I was able to cope with ibruprofen and paracetamol. That pain only lasted the one day and day 5 they no longer hurt although I am still leaking small amounts of milk. I have had a tight bra on 24/7 which has helped.

    So good to read about others in the same boat. I felt such a failure at not being able to breastfeed.

  46. I wish I had found this site 4 years ago when I was struggling with breastfeeding my son (like Christine, he would never latch on and the hospital nurses were also pretty insistent that I stick with BF). I felt that pressure to continue breastfeeding even though I was miserable. I'm thankful for my mama, mother-in-law, and husband who finally told me what I needed to hear– BF does not make me a better mother. Being a happy mama who enjoys her baby makes me a better mama. So here I am, now home with my 3rd son who was born Aug. 1, and I am bottlefeeding him from the get-go. I've felt more connected to him and am able to enjoy these early days so much more. My breasts are engorged but I don't have the guilt like i did with my first 2 sons to BF. hang in there, Christine and others who are struggling.

  47. First of all I love is site! I just had my third child and also just found this site. I have PPD after my first but felt the pressure to breastfeeding even though it prolonged my PPD symptoms and my anxiety. After my 2nd I decided I would try and that lasted a day. Best decision I have ever made!! My anxiety was gone as I was no longer worrying about the next feed time or when I had to pump. Drying up the second time was way worse then the first time though. I recommend pretty much what everyone else has said, sports bra, cabbage leaves (though you will smell), do not express any milk (only prolongs the process), and wear ice packs as often as you can. Engorgement lasts about 2-3 days depending how much milk you have already saved up but be prepared to leak for a while longer. I am currently in the process of drying up after my 3rd was born last Thursday. I breastfed him for 2 days and then my anxiety spiked so I stopped. Don’t feel guilty! You are doing what is right for your baby if it feels right to you. You can still lose the baby weight and my kids are way healthier than my friends who only breastfed.
    Thanks for this site!! It is definitely needed!!

  48. Its al long story, but my son is now 3 weeks old and I am pretty sure I’m going to start formula feeding him. Not only dies he have reflux, gas, and colic, he’s very aggressive at the breast and has eaten me raw. I’m currently taking antibiotics for the second time due to severe mastitis. I’ve tried everything to make bfing possible, but he doesn’t latch well and on under incredible stress. Because of the mastitis, is there anything else you can reccomend for drying up? Not only am I engorged I’m in horrid pain as well. Please help! Thanks so much in advance!

    • Hey Ashley- first of all, SO sorry you are going through all of this. Yikes.

      Depending on what country you are in, you might be able to get a medication which will dry you up. I think it’s available everywhere except the States, although you have to get a doctor who is willing to prescribe it. I would call your OB regardless – even if you are in the US – because sometimes even doctors here will prescribe another drug which has an off-label use for this purpose.

      Other than that- I’m honestly not sure. Can you see if you can get some really good painkillers? If you’re switching to formula, there’s no risk to the baby, and it might help you get through the next few days. Luckily the drying up process should only take a few days, which I know is no consolation when you’re in the middle of it. What saved me was Vicodin, cabbage leaves, and I hate to say this – but I could not go near my son when he cried for food. My husband had to take over. It was a horrible few days, but once it was over, it was an immense relief. Hang in there, mama. It gets better, I swear. Email me if you need to vent or have any other questions, okay? formulafeeders at

  49. Hello,
    With my first I never even thought of doing anything but nurseing but after two weeks I went cold turkey. I remember one day of pain and huge brick like boobs but compared to the emotional probelms I went through with nurseing I didn’t even mind. No one has ever understood that nurseing would cause a negitive emotional effect on me because it is suppose to be good for emotional recovery. I have had three children now and my emotional postpartum was way worse with my first. With my second I didn’t even try breastfeeding. I went straight to formula and was very happy about it. The nurse at the hospital gave me a really huge ace wrap which I would put on with a sports bra. The pain was pretty bad for about a day but I dried up quickly. With my third I felt very guilty at choosing not to nurse I decided to pump for just a few days in order to get the “liquid gold” I actually didn’t mind it but I strictly pumped. I am currently trying to dry up after two months of pumping. I have a great supply which has completely come in and this time seems different maybe because I let my milk come all the way in. I noticed that when I would ovulate ( yes four weeks after birth I ovulated then had my period at six weeks postpartum and I was exclusively pumping) that my milk production went way down so after two days of pumping less and then with my second ovulation I quit and havent pumped for the last three days. My pain isnt bad at all but it just seems to be going very slowly… I have hated that no one understood my choice in not breastfeeding. Nurseing was painfull with blisters and rawness physically and then emotional pain was so bad not nurseing made me a better mom to my babies and im so glad and greatful to find other mamas out there that understand.

  50. So grateful for this article. It’s day 4 and I am super -engorged and in pain. I survived the snarky comments and looks from.the mursing activists and now I am.just hoping my chest doesn’t explode. Between these blimp sized boobs and a c-section incision trying to heal, it’s safe to say I advocate drug use. I’ve had my sports bra on for two days now and my prescription drugs close at hand. Definitely getting some sage tea today and some cabbage! Can’t wait to feel relief. Thanks!!!!!

  51. I just had my third baby two weeks ago and it has been hell trying to breast feed. My kids seem to be lazy latchers so I always end up pumping. This time my baby would start screaming from 9pm-2am and then again 4am-6am. every night. Not knowing what it was I decided to try formula to see if it was the breast milk. Still pumping, she still was screaming. My first baby I pumped for 4 months and then went through the agony of drying up. I would wrap my breasts and put cabbage leave on…but it still hurt. My second baby I was so determined to pump as long as I could so I ended up taking Domparadone which is a pill that helps produce milk…well then I started having heart palpitation and had to stop. So drying up began.
    It sucks having the third now because being in pain and having to take care of three kids now is challenging. Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I am wrapped up tight using ice packs until I can get to the store.

  52. I am a surrogate mother,I gave birth to my surro-baby on Thursday 12/2712 he was born at 31 weeks in pregnancy and is doing well. The parents and I planned on my milk being provided for 6 weeks once the baby was born. So I started pumping after he was born. It is now Saturday 12/29/12 and I have now been told to stop pumping because the parents don’t want my milk. My milk came in fully this morning and now I am left with no pump rental and full boobs!

    The LC told me before I left that in case the parents end up changing their mind and don’t get my pump (which obviously I just said they did) there are some things I can do. So first thing was to hand pump my breast to relieve the fullness.. on top of that I should massage toward the nipple to prevent clogged ducts (trust me the last thing you want is a clogged duct! I had it with my first pregnancy). Warm compresses will help with keeping the milk flow out and not get clogged. If you have red streaks that are warm and hard, go to the doctor! She also told me that if I use cold cabbage leafs in my bra it will help retract the milk. Once a leaf loses its freshness change it. Keep away from stimulation around the nipples!


  53. my babys is 2 weeks old my breast got hard and know they are too soft i wanted to know if i could still breast feed having soft breast

  54. I’ve breastfed my 5 kids 10+ months each and I’m even done with the attitude! Thanks for the straightforward info. Now to implement it on my angry breasts…

  55. I want to thank you for writing this blog. I was fortunate enough to be able to BF my daughter for three months and my son for 9 months but neither of my sisters were able to BF. It amazes me how insane people can be about “breast is best”….I won’t lie…I BF only for one reason… was free. I am an RN and was shocked after my daughter was born how HORRIBLE the public health nurse that came to see me in the hospital was. She had ME scared about the nurses on the floor wisking my daughter away and feeding her the horrible formula, blah blah blah….if they can incite fear in me, an RN, I can only imagine the fear that incompetent nurse caused moms that did not have any medical training. I reported her to the nurses on the floor because i felt she was being way to unfair and was worried how she would treat the women who decided to bottle feed their babes. So thank you! I am currently weaning my son and did the slowly remove a feed over time. It’s taken us two weeks and he decided that breastfeeding was too much like work for him and he would rather use his cup. I am starting to feed some discomfort but it’s not too bad yet. Last time he BF was two days ago. Hopefully it wont get too much worse!!!

  56. I have been pumping milk for almost 5 months, everyone kept telling me my milk would dry up soon and I wouldn’t be able to provide 100% of my sons nutritional needs…well they were wrong and I am still waiting for this milk to dry up! I have had enough of pumping, I reduced my sessions to 4 a day and since then I have plugged ducts etc and its been horrible. I recently got sick and its made this impossible, I cannot function like this anymore. This evening someone told me about getting soe drugs to dry up the milk, I am in Australia and I have my fingers crossed you can get them here – it will be the first thing I ask my doctor and at 6 months my son will be 100% formula fed! I have done enough, I need my life back.

  57. I tried breast feeding with my son because I was told it would be the best but found out fast that between inverted nipples and my son having problems latching on that he was losing weight. The dr kept telling me to keep trying and even gave me a pump to help but nothing worked and I made the decision to go to formula. I was thrilled with the results and happy to see my lil man putting on weight ,but I was slammed hard by engorgement and leaking. It was so very painful and I was constantly making sure I wasn’t leaking through my shirt. No one could give me a good remedy for drying up my supply and no one seemed too concerned or cared. I went through 2 boxes of nursing pads and hurt for weeks. Like they said above if you don’t plan on bf at all then don’t touch them! I’m pregnant with my second child and plan on formula feeding from the start. Too much stress and pain for me and my baby to go through.

  58. I nursed my first child for one year with no problems. Stopping was easy since my supply wad getting low. I recently had a second baby and his belly doesn’t seem to like my milk. The pedi says he has a milk/protein intollerance. She said I need to completely eliminate dairy and soy from my diet. This has been extremely hard for me. My son has been on a hypoallergenic formula and is much more content. I have been pumping for 3 weeks and feel he will never get it. I tried reintroducing some bm this week but he seemed uncomfortable. I’m struggling with the decision to throw in the towel on pumping. Mother’s guilt is terrible.

  59. I am a breastfeeding mama w/a almost 5 mo old. I am very sad that I have to quit, but due to lack of milk production I am forced to quit. I get all mopy and sad b/c I wanted to breast feed until my baby is at least 1 yrs old. I find myself getting teary eyed over this . Any suggestions/


  60. I had my daughter 22 days ago. My milk came in the night I left the hospital, and it only ever leaked from my left breast. It still hasn’t stopped, although right now it seems to only be leaking once or twice a day and only a few drops… All of the nurses INSISTED it would be completely gone in 7 to 10 days. Everything I read says the same thing. Apparently I’m a freak of nature. haha They hurt really bad for about two days and then for about 4 or 5 days after that I could feel when I was going to start leaking. It was like having contractions in my boobs. It was uncomfortable, but not unbearable. Now I’m just waiting for this stubborn left boob to stop leaking…

  61. My son is six months old and I have to quit breastfeeding in order to take depression and anxiety medication. I feel terrible and I can’t find any website that says anything supportive or helpful. It’s all very rude and sarcastic and makes me feel like my son is going to be ill and stupid for the rest of his life because I’m weaning him off before he’s 8 years old (over-dramatic, but I’m upset) its very refreshing to find a supportive post and I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels bullied.

  62. I recently lost my son, preterm delivery due to an infection/incompetent cervix. I was told that I probably wouldn’t lactate, because I was only at 22 weeks gestation when I was induced. I have however, DEFINITELY been lactating. It came hard, and fairly quick but it hasn’t been TOO painful. I’ve only been using cabbage leaves because my doctor refused anything else. I was told antihistamines help though.

  63. I believe women should always stick to the natural remedies…that’s what mothers have used since the beginning of time even before estrogen injections or other non-natural methods for drying up breast milk.

  64. i know this is an old post but im really happy to have found this.

    My daughter is 4 weeks old and i have given up breastfeeding due to a low supply which isnt in my head. for the last 3 weeks i have been pumping around the clock giving her top up after every feed and i just had enough. Also taking fenugreek and Motlulim to incease my supply but nothing worked.

    I have PCOS and my breasts never develped right when i was teenager. But the midwives never told me that the PCOS could effect my milk supply and i think if they did i would not have tried to breastfeed.

    Since i have given up which was only yesterday that i decided i have been able to enjoy my little girl by giving her cuddles and talking her. Since it really doesnt feel like work anymore. So we are going to catch up on some bonding time that we have missed out in the first month.

  65. Hi. I need help. My son is 2 years old and it seems like he will never leave the breast. I am in so much of pain, my nippels are really painful, and i think now is the time to get him off. I just dont know how im going to do this. Any advice will help me.
    I want to dry my milk up without any pain!!
    When i get home from work that is the first time he wants and he feeds like most of the time during the nights. I cant deal anymore. I am always tired at work
    Screaming for help please

  66. I just wanted to thank the creator of this website. I am so grateful. It can feel so lonely as a FF mom! Thanks for all the tips. I am totally convinced formula (from day 1) was the right choice for us!

  67. I’m in the process of trying to dry up my milk. I have been trying to drop a feeding every few days. I’m still becoming very engorged between the feeding that I’m breast feeding.
    I have just started taking birth control again, I have also started taking Sudafed to help my milk dry up. I’m planing on getting some cabbage leaves to also help.
    My question is should I quit breast feeding totally or do all the above and keep dropping a session a day till my little guy is having all formula?
    Please help.

  68. I’m curious- I am a surrogate, and I had the baby 3 days ago. I nursed him twice in the hospital, and have pumped just a few times for the parents. They are on their way back home today (yay!), so i am done with pumping. Of course, today my milk came in. Is the sage tea safe this early on? My understanding is it has estrogen in it, which carries risk and why I cant take the pill for another month.

  69. Hi I’m from sg, currently i have stop feeding my baby for few days as down with cough, fever,flu and sore throat. And i did have engrosement breast and i pump out for relieve and its work. And i have been like reducing pumping from 1 day 3 time to 2day 1 time and i have some let down milk sometime. Can i know whether is it slowly i will have dry up milk soon if i stop pumping ?

    Hope someone can help me thanks

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