how can i relieve the pain and engorgement from stopping breastfeeding?

Kristi - posted on 05/13/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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i recently started to stop breastfeeding and now my boobs are huge and rock hard. it hurts! how can i relieve the pain and engorgement?how long is this going to last?

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[deleted account]

The best thing for this is to express enough milk out of both sides til you feel comfortable (not empty as if you empty your breasts then you will actually increase your milk supply rather than decrease it) the best place to do this is in a nice warm shower or bath where the steam naturally relaxes your body and your breasts will naturally express themselves.



I also suggest for the pain cabbage leaves in your bras. It sound odd but they draw the heat and pain away from your boobs and decrease the risk of you getting an infection etc. Its just a pain to have to keep replacing the cabbage leaves with fresh ones but it does help with the pain.



Lastly ... If you want to reduce your milk flow fast then I'd suggest you drink black coffee. I personally hate it and think its disgusting but after 3 days of drinking black coffee (only 3 times a day was needed) and warm baths and cabbage leaves I was dry and only leaked the smallest droplets of milk which didnt bother me as i still used breast pads until that too finally stopped (after a week or so)

[deleted account]

Kristi, I'm uncertain why you thought you had insufficient milk - the fact that you are so engorged now suggests that you had plenty!

So if you wanted to continue breastfeeding your little girl, you've obviously got the milk, but if you don't, there is lots of helpful advise in these posts!

Good luck!

Lorelei - posted on 05/15/2010

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Try Cabbage leaves and also wear a really tight bra only if you no longer want to breastfeed. Something about the tightness and pressure helps stop milk production. Also fill up your sink or bathtub with hot water to where you can barely stand it and the soak your breasts.

Angie - posted on 05/14/2010

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I would express some milk out just to make you feel a bit lighter. You can see what milk is coming out so express only the first milk first. If you want to stop don't express the hind milk out as it will only encourage your body to produce more. Try a warm bath as well will help the milk just flow out and you will feel more comfortable.

Katie - posted on 05/17/2010

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Well it sounds like you've tried cabbage leaves and cold compress, but you still have milk being made!

I dont think we're meant to stop cold turkey.
Even though you thought that you didnt have enough milk, it seems you still need to feed sometime during the day to relieve the pressure and build up of milk.

Even though I am not stopping yet, some days my girl seems to feed less, and my boobs can still be full at lunch time, or get really full overnight. Then she feeds again and the boobs adjust.

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16 Comments

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Nichole - posted on 05/18/2010

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I agree with most people here. The best advice is to wean gradually. Don't stop cold turkey or you'll end up in the amount of pain you are in right now. I started cutting back a feeding once a week. So eventually after about a month or so, I had cut all feedings out and my milk supply lessened according to the low demand I created. I still have my milk now but I don't breastfeed adn I'm not in pain.

Jessie - posted on 05/17/2010

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you obviously still have plenty of milk so keep breastfeeding! nothing is better for her and formula is not an adequate substitute for your milk. if she is still hungry put her to breast more often! how old is she? maybe it's a growth spurt which can be exhausting but doesn't last long.if you absolutley have to off a few ounces of the icky formula but not unless you really feel she is hungry. how old is she? maybe your milk hasn't had enough time to stablize a supply for her. there is a lot of support for increasing your supply on this forum try that instead of weaning! best of luck Mama!

Tera - posted on 05/17/2010

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You really need to continue feeding the baby. I never had to go through any pain what so ever because I gradually stopped. If you go cold turkey it is very painful. The best way to go about this is to slowly ( I mean over 4-6) weeks start feeding less and less. This will make stopping very simple and painless.

Rosanna - posted on 05/15/2010

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How old is your baby? I would continue bf her since you obviously still have milk otherwise you wouldn't be engorged. You can supplement if you think she's not getting enough food, but continue to breastfeed at the same time. Take it down slowly is the key to stopping altogether. Lose one feeding at a time until you no longer feel the pressure.
It's up to you, but it sounds like you still have a lot of milk and don't need to stop.

Krista - posted on 05/14/2010

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Breast shields worked wonders for me! they put enough pressure on your breast to express a little milk and relieve engorgement. cold packs are awesome as well...

Renee - posted on 05/14/2010

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I am going through the same thing right now and ice packs work wonders! Gerber makes breast warming and cooling pads but anything frozen also works. I pump out about an oz or 2 then i put the ice packs on and it seems to really help. Also dont stand facing the flow of hot water in the shower b/c that actually makes you produce more milk.

Myra - posted on 05/13/2010

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i had that regularily. i was told by my doc the milk needs to get out. either feed it to the baby or pump it out. if pain gets real bad go to your doctor, there is smedication u can take

Kristi - posted on 05/13/2010

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i stopped kinda cold turkey..it seemed like i wasnt producing enough cuz my daughter would still be hungry after i was done nursing, so thats y i stopped. i nursed her a few times one day, and then just once the next. now ive stopped. ice packs work until i take them off and the cabbage leaves only work at first when theyre cold, after that its a lose cause, and it dont take long for them to get warm

Kristin - posted on 05/13/2010

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Did you stop cold turkey or is baby still nursing? If you went cold turkey, how do you feel about breast feeding baby fewer times, but continuing for a bit longer. If that doesn't work, you can pump or express just enough so that you are no longer in pain. Do not fully empty the breast, as that will keep you producing milk. It will substantially go down in the next few to several days.



If baby is still nursing, drop only one feeding at a time and a few to several days apart. You may have tried to drop too many too fast.



Warm showers, cold gel packs, cabbage leaves (I've heard), binding, and I think OTC pain relievers can help (ask your doc about this).

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