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How to dry up breast milk?

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© dharmacat (Flickr)
How do you dry out breast milk?
If you don’t nurse or when you stop breastfeeding, your milk will dry up naturally after a week or so. However, the process can be quite painful as during this time the breast becomes engorged.
How can you relieve the pain?
There are some simple tips that all mums can follow to take away some of the pain.

Breastfeeding pump
In the meantime if you are not sure whether you want to breastfeed or not, it is good idea to use a pump to express the milk in order to stop it drying up. But if you no longer need the breast milk don’t use pump too much as your body will think that you still have to produce milk so you will get nowhere.

However, if you are feeling really uncomfortable you can hand express just enough to relieve discomfort. If you are weaning your child, then by gradually reducing the amount you breast feed them will also help as this signals to the body to produce less milk.

Natural painkillers
It may sound odd but when you stop feeding, put cold cabbage leaves down your bra. This helps reduce swelling and engorgement and has been used by nursing mothers for centuries. While it may look silly, it actually helps. It is important to break up the leaves though, so that there are no hard veins running through it and also to be able to place them comfortably in the bra. However, if you are in any way allergic to cabbage or sulfa, don’t use them.

Ice packs
You can also use ice packs wrapped in a towel for twenty minutes a few times a day to bring down swelling. While heat is often used to treat discomfort, it is not advisable when dealing with engorgement as this can encourage breast feeding milk production.

Medicine
If you really are struggling with pain, taking an anti-inflammatory medicine like Ibuprofen can help.

Herbal treatment
Another effective herbal remedy is sage tea as sage has properties that can help stop breast milk production.

Fluid intake
Finally, drink lots of water. A lot of women think that they have to reduce the amount they drink when drying up breast milk supply, but this won’t help with the engorgement and might lead to dehydration.

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