Drying Up Your Milk Supply

on August 06, 2014 in Breastfeeding, Drying Up after Weaning

All mothers reach the time when nursing comes to an end and they need to dry up their milk production. This may happen when a mother elects to stop nursing in the early weeks of nursing or later when an older baby or toddler is weaned or stops nursing on his/her own.

When weaning happens while a baby is young and the milk supply is abundant, there are a couple of ways to proceed. Keep in mind that unrelieved engorgement is nature’s way to lower and end the production. You can allow the breasts to stop making milk on their own by wearing a supportive bra and using cold packs and ibuprofen for comfort. The engorgement will come to an end after several days.

Some mothers with a full supply may want to dry up taking at a slower pace by expressing milk only when feeling too full. By removing just a bit of milk infrequently one breast at a time, the production will slow and ultimately end. Double pumping will stimulate the milk more than single pumping does.

When an older baby is weaned or ends nursing on his own, you may also experience some engorgement. When a baby weans after many months of nursing and there are just a few feedings a day, you may not suffer through engorgement but many mothers find that after several days of comfort, suddenly engorgement occurs seemingly out of the blue.

Regardless of when weaning happens, while going through the engorgement period, avoid forward facing showers that can stimulate the nipples, engorgement and milk flow. Sexual foreplay can also stimulate milk flow and continued production.

Some mothers find that drinking sage tea a few times a day for 2-3 days can also help to dry up milk their milk. Steep a 1-½ teaspoons of dried sage leaves in a pint of freshly boiled water for ten minutes. Drink up to three cups a day for no longer than one week. Dried sage can be found at most health food stores.

One company makes a weaning tea. Earth MaMa Angel Baby, makes Organic No More Milk Tea, a blend of sage, peppermint and parsley, herbs traditionally used to naturally reduce the production of breast milk for the purpose of weaning. It can be found on-line and from the company for about six dollars.

Lastly, many mothers have an emotional response to bringing nursing to an end. Even if the mother herself initiated weaning, feelings of sadness and loss can occur.