How to Stop Milk Production if Not Breastfeeding?

A woman’s body never fails to inspire. From giving birth to a baby to producing milk for them, they can accomplish anything. Many health organizations have clarified that breast milk provides the best nutrition to the baby. According to the World Health Organization, mothers must give their babies breast milk for as long as possible, but the minimum duration should be at least six months.

The journey and struggles of breastfeeding are different for each woman. There might be several reasons for you to stop breastfeeding. But mostly, it is when the mothers think their babies are ready to be accustomed to food other than breast milk. Sometimes mothers feel discomfort because of engorgement and plan to stop breastfeeding. Whatever the reason, suppressing the lactation process is slow, and it might take days, weeks, or even months. In other words, the lactation process varies from woman to woman.

Some safe and effective ways and home remedies might help stop milk production once you have quit breastfeeding. We are glad to provide you with all these tips and remedies for how to stop milk production, the time it takes to stop, and other relatable answers to your questions. So, all the mothers out there, you better get to it!

Importance of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding holds high significance for both mother and the child. It provides the baby with all the nutrients required to stay protected against many diseases and allergies, such as pneumonia, leukemia, childhood obesity, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and type 1 and 2 diabetes. The importance of breastfeeding, especially in the first two weeks after birth, is because the proteins from this milk are easy to digest by the baby than the proteins of formula. Thus, helping a newborn in having the least digestive problems, such as rashes, colic issues, gas, etc. WHO advises to breastfeed the baby for at least six months.

How Long Does the Lactation Period Last?

Lactation begins in the second trimester of pregnancy as the prolactin and estrogen level rises, and the body prepares for lactation. The milk production is consistent for up to 6 months while the baby is breastfed regularly. The lactation period depends not on the mother’s capacity to produce milk but on the baby’s appetite.


12 Ways to Stop Milk Production if Not Breastfeeding

Here are some ways you can try to stop milk production if you are not breastfeeding. These include home remedies and some basic tips that you can follow to stop milk production a little quicker than the time it takes naturally.

Stop Nursing and Pumping

The amount of breast milk expressed by the body increases with its demand. The more you breastfeed or pump the milk, the more it will be produced. So, it is crucial to avoid breastfeeding and pumping. By decreasing the feeding and pumping sessions, your body will eventually get accustomed to producing less or no milk. If the discomfort due to engorgement increases, you can pump a small amount of milk, but make sure to avoid anything that can cause nipple or breast stimulation.

Avoid Hot Showers

Who doesn’t enjoy a hot and relaxing shower? But some women say that taking a hot shower elicits milk ejection in them. So, if you plan on stopping milk production, you should avoid hot water or turn your back to the shower so that water does not touch your breast. You can even cover your breast with a towel to avoid contact with hot water.

Start Using Herbs

Some herbs are known to possess the properties of lactation suppression. Some herbs that can help with stopping milk production include:

  • Sage
  • Peppermint
  • Jasmine
  • Parsley
  • Chaste berry

These herbs are usually taken in teas, or some can also be added as a seasoning on the salad. These herbs are known to lower prolactin levels which reduces milk production. Despite having a lot of benefits, these herbs might be dangerous for your baby. So, it is essential to consult with your doctor before using any of these herbs.

Start Using Cabbage Leaves

There is a lot of confusion about using cabbage leaves to stop or reduce milk production. However, there is strong evidence that cabbage leaves soothe the engorged breasts and comfort the mother. Take the cabbage leaves, wash them, and place them in the refrigerator. Once they are chilled, take them out and put them under your bra on your breast. Keep it like that for 2 hours or until it wilts, and then replace the leaves with new cold ones. It can help reduce the swelling and discomfort due to engorgement.

Take Birth Control Pill

Another option for drying breast milk is using a combination birth control pill. Such a pill has estrogen in combination with progestin. Estrogen is known to reduce the milk supply, but this might not be a good option if you plan to conceive a baby. In addition to that, this kind of birth control pill requires a prescription, so you will need to consult with your gynecologist before using this medicine.

Diet Control

Some food items can produce more milk, known as ”lactogenic foods.” Such foods include oats, flax seeds, and brewer’s yeast. So, if you plan to stop milk production, it is better to avoid lactogenic foods.


Start Wearing a Supportive Bra

There are chances that your breast might get swollen and ache due to the engorgement; in such cases, you must provide the required support to your breast. But make sure that the bra does not cause breast binding as it can cause more pain and lead to mastitis or blocked milk ducts, which can be dangerous. For this reason, it is imperative to wear the correct bra size.

Take Sudafed

Sudafed or pseudoephedrine is an over-the-counter medicine known to reduce milk production. Drugs can have side effects and risks, so it is better to consult your doctor first while using this medication. He or she can guide you if it is safe to use or not. While using Sudafed, the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia are quite common.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is found to help suppress lactation. It works best if you haven’t started producing breast milk yet. Although vitamin B is safe to consume, you must talk to your healthcare provider before using it.

Try Massaging the Breasts

Massaging the breasts cannot precisely reduce milk production, but it can surely help to ease the pain of engorgement. Make sure to gently massage the breasts and do not massage the nipples, as nipple stimulation can lead to milk production.

Start Using Breast Pads

After hearing your baby cry, you likely produce more milk, and your breasts might get full. There are high chances of leaks this way. To prevent these unexpected leaks, try wearing breast pads, as they can surely make your everyday life a bit more comfortable.

Try Minimizing Breast Stimulation

Anything stimulating your breast and nipples can lead to more milk production. So, if you are planning to reduce milk production, make sure that you do not pinch your nipples to check if the milk is dried up or not, as it can lead to more milk production. If you feel that your breasts are full, express only a small amount of milk because if you empty the whole milk, you’re stimulating your body to produce more milk.

How Long Does it Take to Stop Milk Production if Not Breastfeeding?

There is no exact time to stop milk production if you are not breastfeeding. It may vary with each individual and depends on a lot of factors. The milk suppression may take longer if you have been nursing for a long time. It might take days, weeks, or even months to stop. It all depends upon the methods you opt to stop milk production. Usually, gradual weaning is the best way to stop milk production. Still, you might produce a few drops of milk even after the milk production stops. It is entirely normal. But if you feel other symptoms, it is suggested to talk to your doctor.

What are the Possible Risks of Stopping Milk Production Abruptly?

If you try to stop milk production abruptly, there are possibilities of specific health risks. These risks involve infection, engorgement, or blocked milk ducts. All these conditions cause severe discomfort, swelling, and even pain in the breasts. To relieve the engorgement, you will need to express some milk, but it should be noted that the more milk you express, the longer it will take to stop production.

When to Seek Medical Help?

It is completely normal to feel some discomfort while you are trying to stop milk production. But if this discomfort increases and causes other symptoms such as pain, fever, or swelling, it is time to seek medical health. These problems usually arise if you try to stop milk production abruptly. Some other symptoms about which you need to stay alert are mentioned below:

  •  Mastitis: An infection in the breast that results in redness, swelling, or fever- flu-like symptoms.
  • A Blocked Milk Duct Is a common issue in women who breastfeed and causes pain and warmth in the breast.
  • Depression, Anxiety: Mothers experience these feelings of depression, anxiety, and self-harm after delivery or weaning.
  • Nausea, Vomiting, and Dizziness: These symptoms might appear after the reaction of reducing the milk supply abruptly.

If the milk supply does not decline within two weeks and you also experience these symptoms enlisted above, it is essential to consult with your doctor and seek medical help.

What if the Milk Production Continues After 2 Years of Lactation Suppression?

A condition in which the body produces milk long after the cessation of breastfeeding is called Galactorrhea. The milk production, in this case, is not related to pregnancy. It might be due to an increased level of prolactin hormone that stimulates milk production. It is advised to talk to your gynecologist if the milk production continues after two years of lactation suppression.


Breastfeeding is a part of giving birth and raising the baby. Breast milk is extremely important for the baby as it contains all the optimum levels of nutrients they require. But stopping milk production can be challenging if you choose not to breastfeed. You can block or reduce milk production by following some simple home remedies. These methods include herbs, cabbage leaves, birth control pills, vitamin B, and pseudoephedrine. In case the milk production does not stop even after the lactation suppression or you find any other symptoms such as mastitis, blocked nipples, swelling, redness, and fever, then you must seek medical attention.