If you stop breastfeeding suddenly, your breasts may become full and sore and may leak milk. This is called breast engorgement. Many women have only mild symptoms that can be treated at home. But it can lead to more serious problems.
It's best to stop breastfeeding gradually, if you can. If you have to stop breastfeeding suddenly, you can use a breast pump to remove the milk and slowly reduce your milk supply. A lactation consultant or other breastfeeding expert can help you choose a breast pump and teach you how to use it.
To help prevent engorgement:
At present, there is no approved medicine that will reduce your milk supply and prevent engorgement.
Many women have only mild symptoms that can be treated at home. If your breasts become engorged, use one or more of the following methods:
Breast engorgement will go away as your breasts stop making milk. Pain and discomfort should go away in 1 to 5 days.
In some cases, breast engorgement may become severe, which can lead to a blocked milk duct or breast infection. For more information, see the topic Breast Engorgement.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 16, 2017
Current as of:
March 16, 2017
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017