Stopped Breastfeeding How Long to Dry Up?

Have you been breastfeeding your baby for a while but feel as though it’s about time to stop?

Has your baby stopped nursing entirely but your breasts still haven’t dried up?

Are you wondering what to expect when the end of your time breastfeeding your baby draws closer?

If you’re feeling confused about what’s going to happen now that you’ve stopped breastfeeding, you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll learn what to expect from your body as your hormones change at the end of your time as a nursing mom.

Read on to learn more.

How Your Body Changes when You Stop Breastfeeding

You’re probably very well used to hormonal changes in your body at this point, having gone through the process of getting pregnant, being pregnant, and nursing your younger infant. However, now that your baby is getting bigger and you’ve stopped nursing, you need to know what to expect from this new stage in your life as a mother.

process of getting pregnant
  • You’re not done with mood swings yet. You may be sick of them by now, ​​​​but you’re unfortunately probably going to have more mood swings as you reach the end of your breastfeeding time. If you notice these getting more severe than you’re used to, you may want to talk to your doctor about it.
  • Your milk supply may increase or decrease seemingly on a whim. You may be discouraged if you notice your milk supply actually increasing for a little while as you’re trying to get it to dry up, but don’t worry. Your supply could change from day to day and even a few times throughout the same day, and this is also normal.
  • You should start having a period again. This is around the time that most women notice their period returning. However, bear in mind that this doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant again up until this point. You can still get pregnant while breastfeeding in some situations.
  • Your breasts will return to their original size before you were pregnant. It may take a little longer after your milk supply has dried up for this to happen, but you can expect your breasts to return to the size they were before you conceived your little one sometime in the near future.

How Does Milk Production Stop?

You’re already aware that milk production doesn’t just instantly stop, but you may not be too sure of what to expect as it’s reaching the end. This may change depending on your individual situation, but the tips below should help you get a solid understanding of what may happen when you’re going through the end of your time breastfeeding your little one.

  • Prolactin is the hormone released by your body to encourage the production of milk. As your baby stops nursing, your body will naturally stop making as much prolactin, and therefore will also stop making as much milk. Your body will also begin making PIF, or prolactin inhibiting factor, which will encourage the end of your milk production.
  • Most women will notice their milk drying up within 7 to 10 days after the final nursing session, but it may take up to two weeks. In some rare cases it could take even longer than that. If you don’t plan to nurse your baby or pump breastmilk right after he or she is born, it will take about a week for your body to get back to normal in terms of milk production.
  • You may feel very uncomfortable while you’re waiting for your milk supply to dry up. If so, try your best to refrain from expelling any milk to relieve the pain and discomfort. Doing this will probably trigger your body to make more prolactin and will therefore prolong the amount of time you’re waiting for your milk supply to dry up.

It’s important to remember that this experience is not going to be the same for all women. What you go through isn’t necessarily going to be what your mom, sister, best friend, or cousin went through, and that’s okay! Everyone’s experiences are different, and it’s a good idea to have the help of a healthcare provider along the way to answer any questions you may have about what you’re going through.

3 Ways to Speed Up the Drying Process

If you’re feeling very uncomfortable as you try to get through the end of your time as a breastfeeding mom, there are a few things you can do to try to speed up the drying process. Remember that these tips aren’t necessarily going to work for everyone, but they may make a big difference for some moms. Always make sure to ask your healthcare provider about these options if you’re concerned about any negative reactions, and remember not to try them if you may be allergic to the ingredients in any of these suggestions.

1. Sage tea: 

a strong tea

Sage naturally contains a type of estrogen that is supposed to help encourage your milk supply to dry up more quickly. You can brew it into a strong tea with milk and honey to help improve the flavor as well as to give you some extra health benefits, or you can try it as a tincture available from many health food stores.

2. Vitamin B6: 

supplements

Taking vitamin B6 supplements has been known to help stop prolactin production in your body. This is a “take it or leave it” suggestion because some moms have reported noticing no changes when taking B6, but others have reported it making a big difference.

3. Cold cabbage leaves: 

cold compresses

This is a common alternative to cold compresses that is said to help dry up milk supply. You can spread a leaf over each breast and enjoy the cooling sensation of the leaves as well as the natural vitamins that will help encourage your milk supply to dry up more quickly. Keep the cabbage in the refrigerator beforehand to enjoy a maximum cooling effect.

These are all home remedies that may or may not work for you. Remember that these are not always recommended by healthcare professionals and it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor if you’re planning to try any of these. Regardless, they are widely recommended options that have been helping nursing moms get over the pain and discomfort associated with the process of drying up their milk supplies for a long time, so they’re worth a shot if you’re having trouble with this.

Conclusion

If you’ve stopped breastfeeding how long to dry up is probably a question that’s at the forefront of your mind. Your baby may be long since finished nursing, but you may still be producing milk. This is common, but that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable, and it’s always important to understand just what’s going on with your body at every stage of this process. Remember that if you have any further questions or concerns, you should bring them up with your healthcare provider.

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