How Long After Birth Does Your Milk Dry Up MOM Approved Guide
With pregnancy comes several challenges that a woman has to go through. Even during pregnancy, there is another set of difficulties that occur in the shape of bodily changes, as well as emotional and mental perturbation. All these challenges do not end with pregnancy. Most of them continue to exist even long after the baby has come to the world.
Most of these changes have to do with pregnancy hormones that bring drastic changes to the usual mechanism inside a woman’s body when she is pregnant. These pregnancy hormones are responsible for holding the pregnancy for all those months.
However, as a side effect of these hormones, bodily changes like pigmentation, large breasts, changes in the color of nipple, constipation, severe mood swings, and production of milk are all part of the hormonal changes. Before all the symptoms vanish entirely, it takes weeks or even months for a woman’s body to go back to being in its pre-pregnancy state.
There is an array of events a woman has to go through before things go back to normal. It is during the puerperium that a new mother feels vulnerable and exhausted the most. Now that the baby has been delivered, she has to not only take care of herself, but she has to take care of her new baby, too. In such cases, the mother becomes excessively worn out.
A mother may even go through pregnancy blues in this period, first because of the pregnancy per se, secondly, the new burden of taking care of the things around her including her own body and mental health.
However, one should realize that there are ways to make the symptoms less intense, and some may even help with easing them—one of the essential effects of hormones in the production of milk in breasts. As soon as a baby is born, the pregnancy hormones drop dramatically, and the hormone that produces milk soars to its highest peak. This is when a woman has to start feeding her baby.
During the first few months of pregnancy, a woman’s breast entirely engorged with milk to the point that it starts hurting. At the same time, when breasts are full of milk, it accidentally releases and soaks a woman’s clothing. Many a time, it becomes a source of utter embarrassment, especially when a woman is out in public.
On the safe side, women can try using several ways to stock the excess breast milk to feed her baby later on or even donate it to the mothers who do not produce enough breast or any breast milk for that matter to feed her baby.
In this article, we talk about how women can cater to excessive production of breast milk. At the same time, we discuss how a woman can deal with the problem if she considers stopping the breastmilk as a whole.
Keep reading the article below to find out what necessary steps and precautions have to be met to deal with breast milk if a woman does not want to feed her baby anymore.
Days Following Delivery:
As mentioned above, the pregnancy hormones and the lactation hormones work antagonistically. This means when the body has high levels of pregnancy hormones, the lactation hormones are at their lowest. However, right after pregnancy, the pregnancy hormones drop significantly while the lactation hormones surge in the body.
The lactation hormones work on the glands and ducts present in the breasts and stimulate them to produce milk. Therefore, when a woman gives birth to her baby, she sees the first release of her breastmilk known as colostrum.
This milk is different from the milk that comes after. The composition of colostrum is significantly different, and it is imperative to feed this to a child to aid their mental and physical development. At the same time, colostrum also helps in boosting the immunity of the newborn.
A baby needs breast milk right after birth to provide the baby with the crucial nutrients they need to help nourish them and help them grow in the first few months of life. There are many women who choose to feed their babies their breastmilk as it also facilitates in building a bond with their newborns.
On the contrary, there are a good number of women who do not want to feed their babies, and whatever the decision a mother makes entirely depends on her. A woman’s breasts become engorged when she chooses not to feed the baby as the breasts are continually producing milk. This becomes painful for the mother and puts a lot of pressure on the breasts.
Most of the times when the breasts are fully engorged, some milk may even leak from the nipples. It is essential to understand that a woman must let the milk follow. It means she must instantly empty her glands as soon as she feels that her breasts are entirely engorged. Upon failure to do so, may result in a condition called mastitis, where a woman suffers from severe breast infection.
How To Get The Milk To Dry Up?
The production of milk largely depends on how much a woman is feeding her child. This means, the more a mother feeds her baby, the more her breasts will produce milk. On the other hand, a woman who does not feed her baby as much will not produce large amounts of breast milk.
The production and the let-down of the breast milk also depend on the suckling of the baby. Therefore, as much as the baby sucks on the nipples, the breasts will keep producing more milk. This phenomenon is commonly known as “supply and demand”. Fortunately, this phenomenon ultimately depends on the mother and how much she is willing to feed her breast milk to her baby.
How Long Does It Take For Milk To Dry Up If You Don’t Breastfeed?
The choice of feeding breastmilk should be left on the mother, and she must be given breastfeeding advice without any judgement or questions. If a woman chooses not to feed her baby, then her milk will eventually dry up within a span of two weeks. However, this way of drying up milk can result in very painful breasts, and it may even lead to the development of breast infection.
How To Help With Engorgement When Not Breastfeeding?
A woman who chooses not to feed her child for any reason can opt for many ways that will help her in drying up her milk. One of the most common methods is to get a breast pump. Breast pumps help in excreting all the milk in the breasts in a bottle. Women who do not want to feed can donate this milk to mothers who can’t produce breast milk.
On the other hand, many women use medications to decrease milk production in their body. There are several drugs that aid in reducing milk production. These drugs are listed below:
Birth Control Pills:
The best option for women who are looking forward to stopping the production of milk in their breasts. It is the safest option for mothers who do not want to feed their babies, and neither do they want to become pregnant again. However, this method can only be done with a prescription in hand, and one must seek a doctor’s medical advice before taking these drugs.
Birth contraceptive pills are made of the same hormones that are crucial in pregnancy, and as we already know pregnancy, and lactation hormones work, it is of no surprise that when a woman is taking birth contraceptive pills, her milk production will reduce significantly.
Decongestants are used when a person is suffering from the flu and has a blocked nose. Decongestants help by clearing the airway and making it easier for a person to breathe through their nose. However, the action of a decongestant does not stop here. If a lactating mother is suffering from cold, and she intakes such decongestant medications, she may notice a significant reduction in breastmilk production.
The reduction is so dramatic that it constitutes up to 24 percent reduction in the total production of breast milk. This happens because a significant side effect of consuming decongestants is the reduced body secretions which also includes breastmilk.
How To Relieve An Engorged Breast When Not Breastfeeding?
Apart from medications, there are other and more natural ways to reduce breast milk production. Such methods include:
Cold therapy includes all those methods that will help constrict the ducts that produce breast milk; therefore, reducing milk production. One can practice cold therapy by using ice packs on their breasts. Ice packs also help with sore nipples and significantly reduce the production of milk.
Similarly, one can use cold cabbage leaves and insert it in their bras to help in reducing milk production.
Wearing Support Bras:
It is essential to look and wear bras that do not put pressure on the already engorged breasts. It will only cause the woman more pain. Therefore, it is necessary to wear bras that adequately support the engorged breasts and are neither too loose, nor too tight.
At the same time, if women have to go through leaking nipples during their entire day, then the best option is to wear milk pads. Such pads absorb the extra milk that leaks out of the breasts and keeps a woman dry and comfortable when she goes out.
Massaging The Breasts:
One of the most convenient and common ways to facilitate the let-down of milk is occasionally massaging the breasts. Massaging means a woman is preventing her ducts in the breasts from becoming clogged and painful.
However, one must keep in mind not to excessively massage the breasts as a continuous stimulation will lead to further milk production.