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Lactating a Year After Breastfeeding

written by: Kecia • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 12/7/2010

It is normal for women to find themselves lactating a year after breastfeeding. There are a few steps that you can take to prevent this from happening to you, or to alleviate the situation if you are currently faced with it.

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    For most mothers who have breastfed, milk production does not cease the moment they wean their baby and, in fact, it possible to still be lactating a year after breastfeeding. In some cases, mothers have experienced leaking and discomfort after three years of having stopped breastfeeding. The key to lactation suppression is being proactive in slowing the need for your body to make milk until it has completely stopped.

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    The Importance of Lactation Suppression

    When you decide to wean your baby from breastfeeding, you need to make sure that you take the proper steps to not only stop your baby from getting milk from your breasts, but also to stop your breasts from producing milk. Trying to let the milk go away on its own can lead to engorgement, or simply having milk in the breasts for several months or even years. There are many home remedies that you can use while and after weaning that will help you to dry up your milk so that you are not lactating a year after breastfeeding.

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    How to Stop Lactating after Breastfeeding

    There are several ways that you can relieve your breasts from producing milk naturally.

    • Wear a supportive bra while weaning as well as after breastfeeding. Avoid wearing one that is too tight, but make sure that it does fit snugly to help restrict milk production.
    • Express a tiny amount of milk when you are feeling engorged. A warm shower can also help with the engorgement, and it provides a great place to release a bit of milk. Do not pump or express enough that will completely drain the breasts, as that would cause your body to think you are still breastfeeding. This thought will continue the production of milk.
    • Sage tea offers a natural way to boost estrogen production so that your milk production will cease. The spice can be purchased in most supermarkets or health food stores. To prepare the tea, add one teaspoon of rubbed sage to a cup of water. Allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. It is recommended to add some honey to the tea as well, as sage has quite a bitter flavor.

    These remedies can also be used if you are still lactating a year after breastfeeding, especially if you are still dealing with discomfort or leakage.

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    Medication to Stop Lactation

    For many years, doctors treated those who wanted to stop lactating by offering medication to dry up the milk. These same drugs have also been administered to those who were still lactating a year after breastfeeding as a way to relieve their leaking and discomfort. It has been found, however, that the most common medicinal treatments for lactation suppression are dangerous to the mother’s overall health.

    Parlodel is a common medication that was given to mothers who had weaned their babies or decided not to breastfeed. It was later found that this medicine put the women at a higher risk for a heart attack and stroke. Another common treatment was large doses of estrogen. However, it was found to increase the risk of blood clots that could be deadly.