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Stopping Breast-Feeding Suddenly

Topic Overview

If you choose not to breast-feed or if you have to stop breast-feeding suddenly, your breasts may become full and sore and leak milk. This is a condition known as breast engorgement. Many women experience only mild symptoms when they stop breast-feeding and do not require treatment. Massage, cold compresses (to reduce swelling), and wearing a good support bra may help ease discomfort. You can also ask your doctor about taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Try to gradually stop pumping or breast-feeding. Drop one feeding or pumping session every 2 to 3 days and space out the rest. In a few days, drop another feeding or pumping session. This way you will avoid painful breasts and will reduce your chances of getting a plugged duct or breast infection.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised April 30, 2013

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