How Long Does It Take For Breast Milk To Dry Up

Your body’s incredible ability to make milk doesn’t shut down in an instant. Is your breast still engorged, after switching your baby to formula?

Do you need your milk to dry up after your nursing baby has now weaned? I understand your pain and struggle to try to dry up, but do not worry.

In this article, we will be discussing the question of “How long does it take for breast milk to dry up”?. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and breastfeeding is no exemption. Read on…

Why You Might Want To Stop Breastfeeding And Dry Up?

How Long Does It Take For Breast Milk To Dry Up

As long as both the mother and baby are benefiting and happy, the baby should breastfeed as long as she wants. However, certain circumstances beyond the mother can cut the journey short.

  1. Not enough time to keep up milk supply due to work or lots of other responsibilities.
  2. A high-risk pregnancy such as a multiples pregnancy or one where preterm labor is a concern.
  3. Sickness such as cancer can make a mother dry up.
  4. Some medications are not compatible with breastfeeding, so moms need to wean and dry up.
  5. Loss of the baby.
  6. Excessive pain when breastfeeding or an insufficient breast milk supply.

How Long Does It Take For Breast Milk To Dry Up?

Generally, Breast milk is created based on demand and supply. The more often you nurse your baby, the more milk your body produces. This process works in reverse, the less frequently you nurse your baby, the less milk your body produces.

It may take you a few days, or up to several weeks or months, depending on your method of lactation suppression and your current supply.

By weaning over a few weeks, your body will naturally begin to recognize that the need for breast milk has dropped, and will produce less as a result.

However, even after most of your milk is gone, you may still produce some milk for months after you wean. If your breast milk re-surges without any reason, talk to your doctor.

Read Also: How To Refill Your Breast Milk Faster (10 Helpful Tips)

How To Dry Up Breast Milk

It’s important to have an effective strategy for drying up milk quickly. Always, remember to choose the method that works best for you.

Always consult your practitioner before taking any medications or herbs to help dry up your milk supply. Hopefully, these following options can help your milk dry up faster.

Natural Options To Dry Up Breast Milk

Cabbages

Wearing cabbage leaves in your bra can help relieve engorgement, which results to dry up your milk.

Always make sure you wash and dry the leaves, cutting out lumpy veins to avoid pain. Cool the leaves in the fridge as well before placing it in your bra and change it every few hours.

Wean Gradually

Replace 1 to 2 feedings daily until there are no more breastfeeding. This way, your body will gradually stop making breast milk. Sudden stopping of breastfeeds can cause engorgement and pain.

These step will guide you for weaning from feedings or pumping:

First Day: Pump breasts 5 minutes every four to five hours.

Second Day: Pump breasts 5 minutes every two to three hours.

The third day to Seventh-day: Pump to relieve pain and engorgement. Less than 5 minutes if possible.

Herbs

Remember herbs can act like medications, meaning they have risks and side effects. It’s important to talk to your health care provider before trying any herbal supplement or remedy.

Sage, peppermint & chaste berry helps to dry up breast milk because it contains a natural form of estrogen. This can be found in the health store as a tea, tincture, or pill form.

Apply Cold Compresses

Ice packs or a frozen bag of peas can help to relieve pain and reduce any swelling during the process of drying up breast milk.

Medical Options

Birth control

The first medication moms can use to help dry up their milk supply is a combination of Estrogen and Progestin birth control pills.

This medication is a contraceptive that requires a prescription and it might not be the best for you if you plan to be pregnant again.

Decongestants

These drugs are typically used when someone has a cold, with a possible side effect as a decrease in breast milk production.

This medication is usually available over-the-counter. 60mg pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) was shown to significantly reduce milk production.

Other drugs include:

Vitamin B

More recent studies have shown that high doses of vitamins B-1 (thiamine), B-6 (pyridoxine), and B-12 (cobalamin) may work well to suppress lactation.

Cabergoline

This drug isn’t approved for this use by the FDA. This drug works by stopping the body’s production of Prolactin, thereby initiating milk suppression. Do not forget to talk with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant before taking it.

Read Also: What Happens If You Drink Your Breast Milk? What Experts Say

Practical Tips To Avoid When Drying Breast Milk

How Long Does It Take For Breast Milk To Dry Up

Binding

Do not bind your bra or drink medication claiming to dry up breast milk without your doctor’s knowledge. Binding your breast can cause engorgement to get worse and can also increase your risk of getting mastitis.

Avoid hot shower

Some moms find that a hot shower can draw out milk ejection reflex (sometimes called a “let down“). Standing with your back to the water can keep this from happening. If you must face the shower-head, try using a towel draped over your breasts.

Pay attention to what you eat

Some foods can make your body produce more breast milk (lactogenic). If you’re trying to dry up your breast milk supply, avoid eating lactogenic foods.

Some examples of lactogenic foods are dark green vegetables (like spinach, broccoli, and collard greens), grains (like oats, millet, and brown rice), legumes (like peas and lentils), nuts and seeds (like cashews and almonds), green papaya, asparagus, and brewers yeast.

Try not to stimulate nipple areas

Your body can mistake certain touch for your baby’s feeding and may trigger your hormones to keep producing milk.

Note, if you try to stop making breast milk too abruptly, it can put you at higher risk for an infection called mastitis. Contact your health provider right away if you have any symptoms of a breast infection, including

  1. Fever
  2. Sweating
  3. Red streaks on your breast
  4. Chills
  5. Flu-like symptoms
  6. Breast that feels warm to the touch
  7. Hard lumps in your breast along with other symptoms

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Conclusion

I expect that this article answers your question “How long does it take for breast milk to dry up?” why not start following any of these tips today if needed?

Or if you have any other tips for moms who are looking to ease the pain of engorgement and dry up their breast milk? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.