Tips on How To Suppress Lactation After Delivery

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How to Suppress Lactation After Delivery

Learn how to suppress lactation after birth

Whether you have decided not to breastfeed, or you are concluding a breastfeeding journey after supplying breast milk to intended parents, you may go the lactation suppression route. Our team is breaking down what surrogates should know about lactation suppression after delivery.

What is Lactation Suppression?

Lactation suppression is the process of drying up your breast milk naturally or through medication. Breast milk production happens about 48 to 72 hours after delivering newborns thanks to prolactin, the hormone your body releases to start and maintain milk supply. For many lactating women, there will come a time where they wish to lessen excess or unwanted breast milk and stop their milk supply.

Why Choose to Suppress Lactation?

There are numerous reasons why a woman would choose to pursue lactation suppression. Through her breastfeeding journey, she may experience engorged breasts that feel hard from becoming full with milk. Breast engorgement and milk secretion can be uncomfortable and even painful for postpartum women. As such, they may choose suppression of lactation after the postpartum period. For some women, they may also suppress lactation after a miscarriage or stillbirth.

How to Suppress Lactation After Delivery

Once you decide weaning from breast milk production is best for you, there are a wide array of approaches you can try. Keep in mind that, when it comes to suppressing postpartum lactation, everyone is different; it may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for your prolactin levels to decrease and milk to dry up. Generally, this depends on:

  • the amount of milk you were making
  • the length of time that you’ve been nursing
  • your stage of pregnancy (if you haven’t given birth)

Regardless, it’s important to wean slowly. To expedite the lactation suppression process, many women will consider taking medications. Cabergoline, for example, can stop prolactin production, and pseudoephedrine (commonly known as Sudafed) can reduce your milk supply. Contraceptive pills containing estrogen can also aid in lactation inhibition. When exploring pharmacologic interventions, partner with a medical professional to determine the best medications for you.

How to Suppress Lactation Naturally

Decrease Breastfeeding Sessions

Alternatively, you can opt for non-pharmacological methods to decrease milk production. For one thing, reducing breastfeeding can help you to gradually decrease your milk supply over time. It can be tempting to pump to alleviate discomfort; however, slowly decreasing your pumping sessions can help you experience the least amount of discomfort and pain possible. If needed, you can express milk with your hands, but don’t express more than required. Further, refrain from too much breast or nipple stimulation, which can lead to more milk production and may even cause bruising.

Reduce Hot Showers

Another method for lactation suppression is avoiding hot showers, which can promote breast milk production. If this is difficult to avoid, stand with your back facing the water, or lay a towel over your breasts.

Incorporate Fluids and Supplements

Your diet and supplements can also assist in suppressing lactation. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially herbal teas such as peppermint tea and sage tea, is known to reduce milk supply. Brands such as Earth Mama Organics and Pink Stork carry teas specifically formulated to encourage weaning from breastfeeding. Some studies have shown that vitamins like Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 may help with lactation suppression, though it is always recommended to work with a medical professional before taking a new supplement.

Utilize Jasmine Flowers

Finally, women have also applied fresh jasmine flowers to their breasts, noting it can be an effective topical solution for suppressing lactation.

Things to Keep In Mind During Lactation Suppression

  • Through the lactation suppression process, you will likely experience leaking breasts. Let your milk leak. To catch leaking milk, opt for disposable or reusable nursing pads specifically for milk leakage, and once they’re wet, you can change them.
  • To minimize pain or swelling from reducing breastfeeding sessions, consider using cooling breast pads or ice packs. Cooled and clean cabbage leaves can also be placed under bra cups to soothe fullness.
  • If your breasts feel heavy, wearing a well-fitting, firm, and supportive bra during the day and at night can help you feel comfortable. To continue supporting full breasts while you’re sleeping, try lying on your back or side. Extra pillows can provide additional support as well.

Possible Complications from Lactation Suppression


Some women may encounter challenges during their lactation suppression experience. For instance, if you go through the lactation suppression process too quickly, you may develop mastitis, an infection in mammary gland tissue. Should you suspect an infection, discontinue reducing your milk supply and contact your doctor immediately. To reduce the likelihood of navigating these conditions, consult with a trusted healthcare professional before starting the lactation suppression process.

Employing Specific Medications & Techniques

Certain techniques may also pose complications. We recommend avoiding breast binding. Though it was a method used in the past, binding your breasts can lead to blocked ducts. Lastly, some medications can negatively impact lactation suppression. As an example, many sources across the Internet recommend bromocriptine, a prescription medication that is a dopamine receptor agonist. On the other hand, some advise avoiding it, as it can cause uncomfortable side effects such as headaches, nausea, and vomiting. If you have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or history of seizures, or if you were just recently pregnant, this medication should not be used.

Lactation Suppression Takeaways

We hope our information and tips can assist you in suppressing lactation. As we mentioned, this is an individualistic process, and for some, it may take longer than anticipated. Strive to remain patient through this process, and seek support from loved ones and qualified professionals.

Need more lactation information? Check out our page for Lactation and New Mothers.

Learn more about ConceiveAbilities Fourth Trimester Support.