As a woman who has chosen not to breastfeed with both of her children (after a week and a half with Hazel and before birth with Jameson), I deal with drying up my milk at the same time that I am recovering from birth. I have been searching for the best ways to dry up breast milk quickly and as painless as possible… and that is the ultimate dream, because drying up your milk is freaking painful.
I have done this twice now. The first time I had no plan, because I thought I was going to breastfeed, so I just did a basic google search and tried a few of the ideas. This time I had a plan, but the plan had to be tweaked. I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share from personal experience what has been tried and true for drying up milk for me.
Cabbage is the MVP of drying up milk. It has worked wonders for me both times I have gone through this. I used cabbage immediately and frequently my first time and I recall my milk drying up within a few days. This time around I tried cabbage cream instead of actual cabbage – I started using it in the hospital my first night postpartum and continued to use it for like week before ditching it for real cabbage. After using real cabbage for ONE DAY, I felt relief by that night. I would recommend skipping the cabbage cream and starting with actual cabbage the day your milk comes in. Basically, you put a cabbage leaf in your bra over each breast. I put a folded paper towel between the bra and the cabbage, because it gets wet with cabbage and breastmilk. You can use the cabbage leaves for 2 hours and then switch them out. I have noticed that constantly using the cabbage for a least 2 days (but not while sleeping) will make a drastic difference.
No Milk Tea
Tea has also been a huge asset when it comes to drying up breastmilk. My first time around, I read that peppermint and sage might help, so Jeremiah would make me peppermint tea with a sprig of sage in it. I drank at least one cup every day and feel like it made a difference. This time around I tried just peppermint tea for a couple days and then switched to No Milk Tea. I drink the No More Milk tea three times a days and noticed a huge difference. I also felt like the No More Milk tea tasted really good whereas I just kind of tolerate the peppermint. In addition to No Milk Tea, I am taking No Milk Supplements, but I’m not positive if they are doing anything or not.
Sudafed & Benadryl
Apparently decongestants and allergy medicine can help decrease milk supply. A nurse at the hospital I gave birth at recommended Benadryl to me, so I took that for two nights with little results before reading online about Sudafed being a possible tool. The day I woke up in excruciating pain, I started taking Sudafed every four hours during the day and taking one Sudafed and 1 Benadryl at bedtime, I saw an immediate difference the next day.
Snug Fit Bra
I can’t say for certain whether this is a big one or not, but it is highly recommended and I wore a bra all day and all night both times I dried up my milk. It is helpful for using cabbage and with pads to collect any milk that may be released.
All of these recommendations I use together. Once I started wearing the cabbage in a snug fit bra from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep plus drinking the No Milk Tea in the morning, in the afternoon, and right before bed while taking Sudafed throughout the day and at bedtime with Benadryl, I was NOT seeing any results. By results, I mean less engorgement, smaller breasts, less leaking… getting your milk and drying up your milk is a painful process. I have experienced many tears and breakdowns and feeling like I cannot go on in this much pain, but after starting the regimen above, I noticed results that night. The engorgement has gone down gradually every day. By the third day, my breasts had decreased majorly in size and no longer ridiculously tender to the touch. So personally I know this works and it’s what I am going to start doing on day 1 next time around.