How do I get my breast milk to dry up?

Rachel - posted on 04/13/2009 ( 86 moms have responded )

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I've decided not to breast feed and now my breasts are extremely sore. How do I get them to dry up?

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ALIDA - posted on 04/15/2009

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I agree with amanda rucka i also used cabbage leaves to dry up my breast milk.....old school remedy but it really works you have to remember that cabbage retain water so it really works i did it.

Susan - posted on 04/15/2009

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Going to sound crazy. BUT how I dry up my breast milk is cabbage leaves. It does work.

Tracy - posted on 04/15/2009

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I'm an OB nurse and we tell our "girls" to limit fluids for a few days. wear a very supportive or tight sports bra, limit any stimulation, including a hot shower.  You should notice a difference in a day or so..

Miisz.Andreona - posted on 04/15/2009

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put cabbage on your breast it will help dry up your breast milk!

Julie - posted on 04/15/2009

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mine was graudual ... it took me over a month to completely ween her away ... i decided to do the slow switch and her daddy appreciated having more time w/ her while he fed her ... i didn't have any pain or leaking ... i just remember making sure to nurse at the same time every day, then in those feedings, eventually, i would do that feeding part breast and part bottle ... slow ...

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Starla - posted on 04/15/2009

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The DARKEST GReenest kind of Cabbage Leafs that fit over your entire breast to clarify Cabbage leaves.   Not just regular cabbage.   The longer you  nurse the less chance of breast cancer and also less chance of allergies, sickness, etc. for your kiddos.

Antonaya - posted on 04/15/2009

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You should take cold showers they say warm water just keeps the milk from leaking if your not breastfeeding

User - posted on 04/15/2009

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Cabbage!  Break off the leaves and stick them right over your breasts in your bra.  Beleive it or not....  IT WORKS!!!

Amanda - posted on 04/15/2009

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Release just enough milk to ease the fullness you feel, but don't actually feed.  Your body is set to produce only what it loses, so if you are only releasing a little at a time, your body is only going to produce a little, until eventually, it doesn't produce anymore.

Cathy - posted on 04/15/2009

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hi. thought this might help, i breast fed for 3 months. how i stopped was i wore a very tight bra and wraped myself in an acebaddage. you cannot let the milk leak out otherwise youll continue to reproduce milk. its a little painful for the first day or two but the pain goes away. hope this helps out, good luck i no its painful!

Alicia - posted on 04/15/2009

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Quoting Kristen:

cabbage leaves do the trick,


I have heard of that, but both my sil and I just used ibprofen for the pain and a little pumping and that was it. it dried up in two weeks.

Alicia - posted on 04/15/2009

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I understand what you are going through. once I decided to stop breastfeeding I was able to take advil and ibprofen. it helped with engorgement pain. I also pumped a little to help but less and less each day and I finnally dried up. it takes time so keep using your nursing pads cuz you will leak. good luck.

Heather - posted on 04/15/2009

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Pump a little to relieve the pressure....then a little less each time after.  Eventually you will dry up...but it will be less painful.  If you dont have a pump...then ween your child off.

April - posted on 04/15/2009

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Just wear a fitting bra for a week or so..the milk will dry up. once you decide just wear the bar if you nurse once you will need to start all over again and the pain will continue

Nashe' - posted on 04/15/2009

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Green cabbage leaves work!  (Only green) I was engorged also and could not breast feed my son.  On my paperwork when I left the hospital they had that on it and I can say it works!  Apparently there is something in the leaves that help dry it up.

Kathrin - posted on 04/15/2009

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hiya there, i have just recovered from mastitis after deciding not to breast feed! Let me tell you that i really hope you dont get this as i was soo ill i had to move back in with my mum i couldnt even look after my little one!



The advice i got was to just totally stop and keep a really tight bra on and try not to stimulate them in any way! Its about 2 weeks now and my milk has gone!



Take parecetemol for the pain, but if it gets really bad and lumps appear and your skin is warm/hot to touch, or you start to get a fever, get straight to the doctors.



Good Luck



x x x x

Jessica - posted on 04/15/2009

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ive actually heard that if you put cabbage leaves in your bra that that is supposed to help, weird, but its worth a shot if it doesnt work make coleslaw!!!!!





Lamieka - posted on 04/15/2009

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Quoting Alisha:

DO NOT use hot water or anything warm!!! The warm will stimulate the glands and will only make you produce more and become engorged, which will be extremely painful!! When taking a shower let cold water run on your breasts, and as soon as you get out put ice packs on them. I would try doing the ice packs about 2-3 times a day. Also wear a sports bra all the time! I did not breastfeed and I tried this and I was all dried up in about a week. Good luck, but remember NO HOT WATER!!!!



i took a long hot shower one time and that happend to me and yes it was very painful!!! but i did the ice packs and sports bras and it went away in about a week. but i never heard about the cabbage leaves until now so i will be trying that with baby no. two whenever that happens.

Leah - posted on 04/15/2009

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When I stopped breastfeeding I would also take warm baths (or showers) and just let my breast sit in the water its very comforting, and when I was not in the shower or bath I had on a comfortable bra with cabbage leaves inside ... ya I know cabbage leaves ... sounds strange but it really works. I used them after both of my pregnancy's and it helped a lot mind you the only down side is the milk that dose drip out may make you breast sticky you'll have to shower a lot for the first little while but it will slow down and eventually stop ... hang in there it will / maybe painful at times but you can do it ;)

Nicole - posted on 04/15/2009

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cabbage leaves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would also just let the milk drip (or somtimes quirt out) while in the shower. Took me almost 3 weeks for my boobs to calm down. Still find im still producing a tiny amount of milk - about 11 months since i stopped.

Alisha - posted on 04/15/2009

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DO NOT use hot water or anything warm!!! The warm will stimulate the glands and will only make you produce more and become engorged, which will be extremely painful!! When taking a shower let cold water run on your breasts, and as soon as you get out put ice packs on them. I would try doing the ice packs about 2-3 times a day. Also wear a sports bra all the time! I did not breastfeed and I tried this and I was all dried up in about a week. Good luck, but remember NO HOT WATER!!!!

Bernadette - posted on 04/15/2009

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It is much better to ween as it reduces your risk of getting mastitis replace 1 feed with a formula feed and continue for a few days then replce another feed with a bottle for a few days and so on, but if you want to stop straight away your breasts will get sore and lumpy and hard. Don't express any milk out because your breasts work on a supply and demand system so the more you express the more you produce. Treat the symptoms with regular Panadol (paracetamol), use ice packs on your breasts ( you can freeze wet face washers) buy a whole cabbage, put it in the fridge and peel the leaves off and place them around your breasts inside your bra. Wear a firm comfortable bra even to bed. DON'T let the hot water in the shower run over your breasts although it feels good, the hot water stimulates a let-down response and will only leave you at square one by increasing your supply. The best advice I can give you is to contact your local child and family health nurse, she will be able to give you advice on your specific case. Good Luck 

User - posted on 04/14/2009

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I used  cold raw cabbage leafs(a nurse suggested it to me). Weird I know but I was willing to try anything and it seemed to help. It was my first time though so I have no time frame to compare to.

Christine - posted on 04/14/2009

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Ok I have used the cabbage leaves too but be careful when going into the store after your older kids see you use it in that way, because if you pick up cabbage or lettace then you 2, 3 or 4 year old may ask you (loudly) in the middle of the store " are those for you breasts mommy?" like my 3 year old did

Anna - posted on 04/14/2009

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That's true!!! The less you feed the less milk. What my doctor had told me also was to get 2 ice packs and put it right my breast  like your hugging them(out side of my clothing of course) and to wear a tight sports bra.

Amanda - posted on 04/14/2009

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Cabbage leaves from the freezer should work.  What ever you do...DO NOT pump or nurse because the milk will just start producing again.  Hang in there...you'll make it!!!!  :-) 

Cloie - posted on 04/14/2009

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Ok, so not that majority here, but taking benedryl will also help. I have several friends that accidentally dried themselves up, because they were taking benedryl for allergies. THey also said that it wasnt as painful as just stopping cold turkey.

Maureen - posted on 04/14/2009

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I'm a new mom... but here's what I've heard. Our breasts work on a "supply and demand" - so if you're pumping slowly reduce your time on the pump. Not sure how long it takes to completely dry up. By doing this, it tricks your body into thinking that your baby isn't needed as much as your providing... so it doesn't provide as much. Hope this helps.

Leah - posted on 04/14/2009

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Quoting Rachel:

How do I get my breast milk to dry up?

I've decided not to breast feed and now my breasts are extremely sore. How do I get them to dry up?



cabbage leaves help, keep in fridge & place in your bra. the cold leaves seem to help with the tenderness & milk quickly dries up, worked for me!

Julie - posted on 04/14/2009

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good question..my daughter is 1 1/2 now and I still have colostrum and I only breast fed for 3 weeks! 

[deleted account]

Helps to wean baby down - but don't pump, you are only encouraging your body to make more if you do!

Lindsey - posted on 04/14/2009

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after all the complications during my pregnancy, i KNEW i was not going to breastfeed my daughter. to relieve the soreness anm leak more and tightness, i wore a sports bra 24/7 with breast pads so that i did not feel them moving around. do not take a warm bath or shower cause this will just make them leak more milk. i bought some cold/heat pads for breasts by gerber at target and would let them get cold and lay them on my breasts at night. the soreness will not last very long...you should be much better anywhere from 72hrs to a couple weeks.





Niki - posted on 04/14/2009

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I also swear by the cabbage leaves! I gave up trying to feed my daughter too soon since it took my milk SO long to come in, but when it finally did i was really uncomfortable. The lactation consultant told me to put cabbage leaves in my bra. Its even better cold since it is soothing and when your breasts are engorged they feel hot. They really helped me.

[deleted account]

Our body is amazing!!! The less you nurse the less you will make. So my advice is to slowly drop the feedings down. That will make you feel more comfortable.

[deleted account]

I wore a sports bra about 2 sizes to little so I would be really  smashed tight and I put thoes nursing pads in there and I think in about a week it was all dried up.

User - posted on 04/14/2009

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Cabbage Leaves are fantastic. I know it sounds wierd but it does work, buy half a cabbage put it in the fridge wait till it is cold then put it inside your bra until it goes warm, then use another cold leaf it might take 2 days but it does work

Geraldine - posted on 04/14/2009

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drink Eno and black coffee for a week (not together silly, lol).  This was told to me when I had wanted to stop breast feeding and it worked

Amanda - posted on 04/14/2009

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i didn't breast feed either and had lots of milk to get rid of, so a friend suggested to me to wrap a towel tight around my breasts and fasten with a pin, this will drain any milk and will also stop you filling up again, i done this on a day i wasn't going out and it worked a treat, good luck with whichever method you try hun.

Kelly - posted on 04/14/2009

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Do you want them to dry up or to ease the soreness? When I had my 1st child (1988), they were still giving out the pill that dried you up and that was GREAT. By the time I had my second child (1989), they discontinued the pill and I had to go naturally. I only breastfed my youngest (#4) and it took a year to dry up. There was no soreness but every once in a while, I could still squeeze it out. When I asked my doctor, he said that you could breast feed a child for 40 yrs and still produce milk. Some women are faster than others at drying out (apparently I was a slower one).



Tight bras were great and I didn't remove them for a week. Of course that meant my husband couldn't dare even try to peek at them. They would make me literally scream in pain if I knew he had a remote thought of touching them. LOL Oh, those were the days.

Dana - posted on 04/14/2009

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Amanda Rucka is absolutely correct. I wasn't able to nurse because of medication I had to take. This truly worked ( 3 times!).

Wendy - posted on 04/14/2009

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Cut down the feedings little by little, if you stop completely it will result in mastitis or a plugged duct. Trust me those are not fun at all.

Carys - posted on 04/14/2009

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What I did was drop the second feed of the day, and waited until I didn't feel sore. Then I stopped alternate feeds so that I produced less and less milk. I still had mastitis after I stopped completely. A friend of mine has four children, and every time she stopped, she stopped feeding dead, and took plenty of painkillers to ease the pain.

Jeanne - posted on 04/14/2009

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One thing that you have to avoid is stimulating the breasts.  So make sure when you take a shower you don't stand facing the stream of water.  A lactation nurse can also give you tips.

Sara - posted on 04/14/2009

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I used cold cabbage after both my chilren.  I felt better in just a matter of days!  Wear a snug bra and put a cold cabbage leaf in each one.  Crazy but it works!

Jeanne - posted on 04/14/2009

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One thing that you have to avoid is stimulating the breasts.  So make sure when you take a shower you don't stand facing the stream of water.  A lactation nurse can also give you tips.

Savannah - posted on 04/14/2009

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I had my baby in Sept and decided not to breast feed, my midwife said to wear a tight comfortable bra with nipple pads and they will dry up. They were still sore though! But after a couple of weeks they were fine.

Tish - posted on 04/14/2009

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I choose not to breastfeed my daughter, I just got a very snug fitting sports bra to help constrict my breasts that i put on immediately after having her when i think about it. It took about a week of doing that and using cold compresses in the evening to help with the pain. I should point out of course that i went though quite a few of those breastfeeding bra pads during this time, and you should avoid letting the water hit your breasts in the shower since the warm water will stimulate them to produce more milk. I hope this helped you out.

Patricia - posted on 04/14/2009

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Stop breatfeeding massage in hot showers and soon you will wonder where all the milk went to...

Kerri - posted on 04/14/2009

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Quoting Rachel:

How do I get my breast milk to dry up?

I've decided not to breast feed and now my breasts are extremely sore. How do I get them to dry up?



Wear a very snug sports bra w/ pads. Try your best not to let anything touch them! Even the slightest touch from a shirt will make them leak! After about a week they will dry up completely. You should notice the soreness going away after about 2 days or so. Hope this helps!

Mandy - posted on 04/14/2009

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Quoting Christina:



I have heard (and did this myself), that since your breast milk comes from glands - you can take an antihistamine to help dry them up quicker.






this really does work and it isn't painful. i recommend claritin D b/c decongestants try you up too. so having an antihistamine and decongestant works wonders...i got sick with a cold while breastfeeding and just took 1 (b/c i knew it makes u try up) to releive the sinus pressure and it almost tried me completely up, luckily i was able to get it back by breastfeeding my baby more often than usually. works wonders though when you really do want to dry up and you don't get engorged in the process.

Stacey - posted on 04/14/2009

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Cabbage.. totally nuts I know but it's been used to dry up milk for AGES.

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