Drying up breast milk


Has 7 years experience.

Does anyone know of a vaccination or medication that you can take to dry up your breast milk? I'm pregnant with my second baby and I'm not going to breastfeed (please don't bash me!) and some friends of mine said they got a shot to dry up their breast milk. I asked my OB about this after I had my first son and I was told that these meds aren't used anymore because there was a risk of having a CVA with them. Have any of you OB nurses (or anyone else!!) heard of this? I had such a hard time breastfeeding my first baby that I quit after a month and it was so painful - if there's a chance that I don't have to go through that again, then I don't want to. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Edited by swirlygirl


Has 10 years experience. 288 Posts

Those shots etc are not done anymore. When your milk comes in, avoid breast stimulation as much as possible. If you get uncomfortably full, hand express a tiny bit to comfort. do not hand express so much that your breast becomes soft - this will ecnourage more milk production. Wear a snuggly fitting bra, but do not "bind" your breasts which can contribute to mastitis. Within a week, your milk should be nearly gone.

I do feel the need to say, however, that your last breastfeeding experience has no bearing on this one. Babies are different; some have a difficult latch and others have a great latch from the get-go. If you don't want to breastfeed, then you shouldn't. But if you are basing it on your first experience - just be aware that it has no bearing on your second experience.

Most people have less painful engorgment and "milk coming in" with subsequent babies than with the first, too.

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 36 years experience. 6,375 Posts

Years back, we used to give delestrogen injections and/or Parlodel (orally) to mothers who didn't plan to breastfeed.

These meds have serious side effects, including hypertension, and have fallen from favor.

Most bottlefeeding moms can get adequate relief from breast engorgement (or avoid it altogether) by using non-medical methods. These include wearing a tight, supportive bra 24/7, avoiding stimulation of the breasts by physical contact, in the shower, etc., applying ice packs, etc.

Ask your doctor for more information or find a good book on childbearing in the library.

I really think you will find this experience to be quite different this time, if you choose not to attempt breastfeeding. The baby will not be sucking and stimulating milk production. I doubt that you will experience the level of discomfort that you fear.

Good luck to you.

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 36 years experience. 6,375 Posts

Most people have less painful engorgment and "milk coming in" with subsequent babies than with the first, too.

Very good point!

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery. 17 Articles; 5,259 Posts

We don't do the Parlodel anymore for reasons mentioned in other posts.

What I tell moms who don't plan on breastfeeding is:

1) wear a snug bra - but not so tight that it's binding

2) hand express only enough to relieve some discomfort, not to completely empty the breast

3) cabbage leaves - stick them in your bra and leave them there til they wilt, then get some more and repeat

And as someone already mentioned - it might not be so bad this time around. :)

mama_d, BSN, RN

Specializes in tele, oncology. Has 10 years experience. 1,187 Posts

When I weaned my first, who decided to be independent and stop breastfeeding quite abruptly, I used the cabbage leaves. I was grasping at straws and was surprised that they did seem to help.

brillohead, ADN, RN

Specializes in Cardio-Pulmonary; Med-Surg; Private Duty. Has 5 years experience. 1,781 Posts

Just to confirm what others have said, not all breastfeeding experiences are the same.

I have a large group of breastfeeding friends, and one that had "easy" babies the first two times is now a month into the raw/cracked/bleeding nipples associated with a poorly latching babe (and this is after FOUR different lactation consultants!). She is so frustrated that she's about to give up if she doesn't find some relief soon (has an appt with a pediatric ENT to look for anatomical reasons for the latch problems). This is an experienced BFing mom who had NO problems at all the first time around with latching, proper milk production, nipple soreness, etc.

Every child is different. You might want to give yourself a chance this time around, you might have a totally different experience.

I nursed my child exclusively for 12 months, then supplemented with formula during weekdays (when I was at work -- basically, I just stopped pumping) and continued to BF at home until he weaned himself at 17mos. Last week I kept a friend's 4wo baby overnight so mommy and daddy could get some sleep (mom is a breast cancer survivor, so BFing wasn't an option for her this time). I could not BELIEVE how much more work there is to formula feeding vs breast feeding! Bottles, and measuring, and mixing, and warming, and checking temperature, all while the babe is screaming for dear life, and then washing the bottles and nipples later, etc. When that 4am feed came, my eyes were so blurry that I had trouble seeing the measurements on the side of the bottle! That's when I realized just how much easier I had it with my own kid nine years ago, when I could just lift my shirt and immediately get to business.

If you do decide to not at least give it a try, I echo the earlier advice -- reduce stimulation and wear cabbage leaves in your bra. Wishing you a happy healthy pregnancy with a happy healthy baby!


Has 7 years experience. 106 Posts

Thanks for all the advice guys! I've actually already made up my mind a long time ago to not breastfeed this baby - and I have heard from many people that no 2 babies are the same with breastfeeding, but it was so terrible with my first baby that I'm absolutely not going to try it again. In the course of a month - he never latched on, I had to exclusively pump which is sooooooo time consuming, after the first week he was so jaundiced that he had to be hospitalized for 2 days under the bili-lights and he lost a pound in that first week. None of the lactation nurses that I saw ever told me that breastmilk keeps them jaundiced longer, so I felt like his hospitalization was completely my fault. I had cracked and bleeding nipples so I had to give him breastmilk with blood and pus in it, then I got mastitis. That's when I quit and I felt so guilty and depressed that I couldn't even feed my own baby that I ended up taking Lexapro for about 6 months. I'm just not up for all that this time around.

Thanks for the advice about the meds and the cabbage leaves, though!!


Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience. 1,302 Posts

You were doing the best for your baby--please, please don't feel that you caused his hospitalization. A lot of babies get jaundice and need to be under bili lights. It's not a culpable offense, truly.

Talk to a lactation specialist if you need to dry up your milk. They can recommend some extra things we can't here on this site :). The other suggestions were good, though.

It sounds like his latch was incompatible with nursing, for whatever reason. I hate to harp on the same topic, but it really might be different this time. I nursed several children and had kiddos that took to it like pros from the start and others where both of us struggled. If you do decide not to try, don't let other's comments bring you done. It's nobody's business but yours.

You had a rough time with your first one; usually recovery, etc. goes a lot more smoothly when your body has gone through it before.

Just take out the cabbage leaves before they start steaming...they don't smell so great then :D.

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