Once you stop breastfeeding, you’re bound to have engorged breasts. Your body continues to produce milk because it doesn’t realize that it no longer needs to.
It can take weeks for your body to catch up to the fact that you’re no longer breastfeeding. These tips and tricks can help you get through having engorged breasts even though you’re not breastfeeding.
In this article
- How Long Does It Take For Engorgement To Go Away?
- Relieve Engorged Breasts With Quick Pumping
- Cold Compresses Can Reduce Swelling
- Cabbage Leaves Have Helped Engorged Breasts For Years
- Speak With Your Physician About Medication
- Take Ibuprofen For Pain And Swelling
- Wear A Bra That Fits Properly When Engorged
- How To Dry Up Your Milk Quickly
- In Conclusion
How Long Does It Take For Engorgement To Go Away?
Once you stop breastfeeding, your body will need time to adjust to no longer breastfeeding. Most women will notice that their milk starts to dry up within two weeks.
For some women, it might take a little longer. As a general rule of thumb, the longer you have been breastfeeding the longer it can take for your milk to dry up. In the meantime, use these tips to feel comfortable.
Relieve Engorged Breasts With Quick Pumping
Your breasts feel engorged and painful because they are full of milk. Too much milk. If you express that milk, it can offer some quick relief.
If you choose this option, it’s important to only express a small amount of milk at a time. Your breasts produce milk on a supply and demand basis.
This means that if you pump a large amount of milk, your body will produce a larger amount in return.
Instead, express only enough milk so that you can get some relief. Any more than that and you could signal your body to keep producing milk.
Cold Compresses Can Reduce Swelling
Applying a cold compress can provide temporary relief. This can reduce swelling drastically. Once the swelling is reduced, you’ll find that it’s easier to express that tiny bit of milk to find relief. You will also be in less pain.
There are special compresses that are designed for breastfeeding moms. These are circular in shape so they fit perfectly inside of your bra. Simply pop them in the freezer and then apply them to each breast for 10-20 minutes.
Another great option to try is a pack of frozen vegetables. Peas work the best, but you can use any frozen vegetables. Because they are so small, they easily conform to fit your breast perfectly.
If you need something fast, try a frozen towel. Place a towel in the freezer until it’s ice cold. Then, place it on your breasts. It won’t last as long as an ice pack or frozen vegetables, but it will work in a pinch until you get a better option.
Cabbage Leaves Have Helped Engorged Breasts For Years
Cabbage leaves can help absorb some extra moisture that will cause discomfort from engorgement. If they are cold, they also work as a cold compress.
To use this method, wash the leaves of green cabbage. Then, place them in the refrigerator. Place one cabbage leaf over your breast before putting on your bra. Then, simply change them as they wilt. (That will be every 2-3 hours.)
They are not as cold as ice, so there is no concern about hurting your skin due to the extreme cold. Cabbage leaves can also help reduce milk production in as little as 12 hours.
Speak With Your Physician About Medication
There are medications that can help your milk dry up quicker. Typically, these are used for mothers that were breastfeeding and suddenly lost their child and need to stop producing milk more quickly for obvious reasons.
However, if you find that you’re still producing milk weeks later even though you’re not breastfeeding, it can be worth a shot. Speak with your physician regarding medications that might be a good fit for your situation.
Take Ibuprofen For Pain And Swelling
Consider taking an OTC medication like Ibuprofen if you can. It’s important that you speak with your doctor as people with certain conditions should avoid taking Ibuprofen.
Once they give you the okay, take it as directed. Most packages state to take it every 4-6 hours for pain and swelling. This can help reduce both engorgement and the pain that comes with it.
Wear A Bra That Fits Properly When Engorged
If you were breastfeeding before, your breasts were more than likely much larger. This can lead to your bras being stretched out. While it won’t make engorgement worse, it can make you more uncomfortable than you already are.
It’s also important not to wear a bra that is too tight. Previously, it was recommended that women bind their breasts or wear tight bras to help dry up milk faster.
Studies revealed that not only does this not work, but it can also be dangerous for women. Binding engorged breasts can result in clogged ducts or mastitis, which can be fatal. Instead, stick with a bra that fits correctly.
How To Dry Up Your Milk Quickly
Your breasts are engorged because they are still producing milk. Once you stop producing milk, the engorgement stops. These tips will help you instantly decrease your milk supply so that your breasts are not engorged longer than they have to be.
Weaning Instead Of Cold Turkey
If you can, avoid dropping breastfeeding like a bad habit. Instead, take your time with the transition. This means to drop one feeding at a time.
When you opt for weaning, it gives both your baby and your breasts time to make the adjustment. Women that wean instead of going cold turkey often experience less engorgement overall.
Avoid Nipple Stimulation
Nipple stimulation can also signal your breasts to produce more milk. Make sure to avoid satin bras and other things that might stimulate your nipples.
Avoid this during sexual activity. Wear a loose shirt whenever possible to make sure it does not rub against your breasts. The less your breasts are encouraged to produce milk, the faster it will dry up.
This cream provides all the same benefits as cabbage, but it’s a bit more convenient. If you’re constantly on the go, it’s not realistic to carry around a cooler packed with cabbage leaves.
Instead, you can drop this tube in your purse and apply it every 3 hours to get the same benefits. It not only helps with engorgement, but it can also help your milk dry up faster so you don’t have to suffer as long.
Avoid Hot Showers And Baths
Instead, stick with lukewarm showers for the time being. The hot water can feel soothing, but it can also stimulate your breasts. (It seems like everything does!)
It can be horrible if you love the relaxation of a hot shower, but it can help you get through this a little bit quicker.
If your breasts are engorged, remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Typically, this will only last for a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, try cold compresses, avoid any type of stimulation and make sure to keep some cabbage leaves or Cabo cream handy to provide relief. Don’t forget to wear a bra that fits properly too!